Is Avigdor Lieberman Too Dovish?

Has anyone ever accused Avigdor Lieberman of being too dovish?  Too soft on issues like the future of the West Bank, where he resides?

A politician who lives closer to West Palm Beach than to the West Bank thinks she knows better than the hawkish Israeli foreign minister.

Republican Karen Harrington is making a second attempt to unseat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida's 20th District, which runs between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. She got 38 percent of the vote in 2010 in the heavily Democratic district with a large Jewish population.

Speaking before a New York audience of opponents to Palestinian statehood and U.S. Middle East policy, Harrington told a dinner for the Hebron Fund that Palestinians already have their own state and it is Jordan.

The event was to raise money to support a continued Jewish presence in Hebron, the West Bank city considered holy by both Jews and Moslems, and a site of frequent clashes by the radical in both communities. 

 “A two state solution in the Middle East is already in place and that constitutes Israel and Jordan," she said. “President Obama is placing Israel at risk and his reckless foreign policy change concerning Israel retreating to 1967 borders must be adamantly rejected.”

She told Arutz Sheva, a pro-settler news group, “I find it very disturbing that those in the Obama administration who are clearly Palestinian sympathizers are calling on Israel to negotiate with terrorists,” she said. “Israel must be allowed to charter its own course and the role of the United States is to stand behind Israel and support them unequivocally.

In other words, Washington should shut up and support Israeli policy regardless of what it is.  Would she say the same if Israel had a leftist government?

Appearing by video with Harrington at the Hebron event was Rep. Allen West, R-FL, the firebrand who has bitterly attacked Wasserman Shultz and has invoked Nazi comparisons when going after those he disagrees with.  He called Wasserman Shultz, the first Jewish congresswoman from Florida, "vile, unprofessional and despicable," a "coward" and "not a lady" when she criticized his support for a proposal to increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

It will be hard for politicians like Harrington to outflank Lieberman on the right, but that won't stop Republicans from being uber-Hawks in an election year when GOP is trying to make support for Israel a wedge issue in its quest for Jewish support.

"Discussion about Jordan as a Palestinian state is against Israeli interests and against reality," Lieberman said. "Saying Jordan is Palestine opposes international borders as well as the peace accord we signed with them.

Lieberman specifically attacked MK Aryeh Eldad of the far right National Union party for pushing the "Jordan is Palestine" theme.  Such talk has Jordanians worried because they see the Israeli government as heavily influenced by like-minded politicians, so the fact that the disavowal came from Lieberman was significant.

But that's something Harrington probably can't understand.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.