SO ABOUT ISRAEL.

SO ABOUT ISRAEL. First Ehud Olmert launched an immoral war against Lebanon in response to Hezbollah's aggression against Israel. Then the war embittered nearly the entire country against Olmert, making his hold on power tenuous only months after his massive electoral victory. Now, the once-centrist leader has, in a single blow, decimated his ties to the center by entering into a coalition with the extremist Yisrael Beiteinu party. What Avigdor Lieberman's merry men advocate is, to be blunt, ethnic cleansing: as the creepy name (which translates into "Our Home Is Israel") suggests, Yisrael Beiteinu believes the million-plus Arab citizens of Israel must be expelled.

According to Haaretz, one of Lieberman's right-wing rivals blasted the move, insisting that "Yisrael Beiteinu has abandoned its principles and is joining a left-wing government." But notwithstanding the resistance of the Labor Party to abandoning the Olmert coalition, Lieberman's entry into the government signals the opposite. Since the incapacitation of Ariel Sharon, the Kadima Party has always been a cipher, unclear as to what its true prescriptions -- aside from unilateral withdrawal from the Palestinian territories -- actually are. Now, in a moment of political crisis, Olmert is filling in the blanks, in the most noxious of ways. Lieberman is to be made a Vice Premier, and Haaretz reports that he'll have a portfolio dealing with "strategic threats." But from the perspective of a moral Jewish democracy, Lieberman is a strategic threat.

--Spencer Ackerman

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