Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman has clarified his views on citizenship, racism and the creation of a Palestinian Authority state in Judea and Samaria. In an article written for the New York Jewish Week, Lieberman defends his calls for “responsible citizenship” and says, “I also advocate the creation of a viable Palestinian state.”
Lieberman defended himself against accusations of racism. Many countries demand “responsible citizenship” from immigrants, he said, defining “responsible citizenship” as a commitment not to undermine the state or call for violence against it.
“Some journalists have emphasized that I am proposing criteria for citizenship that other countries apply only to naturalized citizens and not to those native-born. To these critics I respond that it is an irrelevant distinction... A commitment to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship should apply to all, irrespective of place of birth,” he argued.
While some called Yisrael Beiteinu “racist” or “fascist,” it is actually the Knesset's most diverse party, Lieberman said. The first ten Members of Knesset on the party list include four women, three people with physical disabilities, and Druze community leader Hamas Amar, he pointed out. In addition, the Yisrael Beiteinu list includes Anastassia Michaeli, the first convert to Judaism to serve as an MK.
"We do not ask Israeli Arabs to share in the Zionist dream,” Lieberman said. “We are asking them to accept that Israel is a Jewish state, the only one in the world.” Minorities are welcome to live in Israel as long as they accept its existence, he said.
Lieberman ended his article with a nod to U.S.-Israel relations, and to U.S. President Barack Obama. “As part of the next government, I look forward to working with President Obama,” he said.