FM to Consul: Quiet or Quit

Foreign Minister Lieberman is furious over the Israel Consul in Boston who condemned government policies, but local Jews back the Consul.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

Lieberman furious with Boston consul general
Lieberman furious with Boston consul general
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) angrily reacted to the publication of an anti-government rant by the Israeli Consul in Boston and said that quitting “would be the professional thing to do.”

Boston Consul General Nadav Tamir sent a cable, first disseminated by Channel 10 television, under the title of “Sad passing thoughts on Israeli-US relations.” The communication stated, ”There are people in the U.S. and Israeli politics [sic] who ideologically oppose Obama and are willing to sacrifice the special relationship between the two countries in order to advance their political agenda.”

Foreign Minister Lieberman said that anyone “who is uncomfortable with government policies can resign,” but Tamir has won support among Boston Jewish leaders.

  Boston Consul Tamir    Tamir has served in his position in Boston for three years, and his term of office expires next year. The Boston Globe quoted local Jewish leaders as saying that Tamir has mobilized support for Israel in the area.

Contradicting Lieberman’s statements that “it is not his [Tamir’s] place to express political opinions or to criticize the political echelon,” Steve Grossman, former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said, “I think he believed, and believes, he has a responsibility to provide his government with timely and relevant information that will enable them to make the best possible decisions that will affect his government and the U.S.-Israel relationship. And I think that is an entirely legitimate and critical part of his job description,’’ Grossman said.

He did not comment specifically on the content of Tamir's three-page letter, which included statements that U.S. President Barack Obama and his advisors are not naïve on the Middle East. “On the contrary, I believe they are much more realistic than their neoconservative predecessors,”’ Grossman told the Globe.

Ayalon rejected support for Tamir, saying it reflected Boston’s liberal “bubble.” The incident parallels a larger political battle involving the Obama administration, American Jewry and the government of Israel, which previously enjoyed general support in the United States.

President Obama’s has surrounded himself with dovish advisors who have pushed aside AIPAC, which as a matter of policy backed Israel government policies, and instead has highlighted groups such as the new Jerusalem ("J Street") Street lobby, which not only opposes the Israeli government but also actively campaigned for dovish politicians, including President Obama.