Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, now grandstanding at the UN, is the daughter of Eitan Livni, the chief operations officer of the Irgun terrorist organization. Among Irgun’s most spectacular operations was the blowing up of the King David tourist hotel in Jerusalem, which killed dozens of innocents (also some British intelligence officers). Just to give you an idea of how things change, the Irgun bombers disguised themselves as Arabs. Obviously, in 1946 Arabs could be presumed not to be dangerous, which explains the disguise; it was people who looked like they might be violent Zionists that would have attracted suspicion. Later generations of rightwing Zionists have attempted to convince the rest of the world that the Arab kaffiyah is an icon of terrorism; but their parents were perfectly willing to display it as a sign of innocence (and perhaps with the intention that the Arabs should take the fall).
Likud leader Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu actually attended a celebratory commemoration of this cruel act of terror in 2006 along with elder Irgun members!
Irgun also carried out the infamous massacre of Palestinian civilians at Deir Yassin in 1948. Note that this village had a peace agreement with the Haganah, which Irgun refused to honor.
Since she has never repudiated Irgun’s actions, she does not make a convincing poster child for the condemnation of terrorist groups that field candidates in elections, her current campaign.
One wonders if Livni regrets her own father’s having been elected to parliament as a member of the Likud Party, or if she thinks Netanyahu should be allowed to run for office. Or, um, there is the question of her own good self.
Her government fired 1.2 million cluster bomblets into Lebanon last summer, mainly in the last days of the war. Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons that are only useful on the battlefield if fired into massed troops. The Israelis did not use them that way. They spread them around on civilian farmland as the war was clearly ending. That is an act of naked terror fulfilling no war aim, and Lebanese children are still being killed by the bomblets. Israeli President Shimon Peres has called the action a mistake (as he has called the whole war a mistake.)
‘ Livni, 47, first came to political notice as a teenager, taking part in violent demonstrations by right-wing Greater Israel nationalists against US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger when he tried to arrange territorial deals between Israel and Arab states with his shuttle diplomacy.
“My family is part of the founding history of Israel,” she has boasted. Her father’s gravestone bears the inscription, “Here lies the head of operations of the Irgun Z’vai Leumi” . The stone also bears a carved map of ‘Greater Israel’ extended to take in the opposite side of the Jordan river. in keeping with the old right-wing Zionist ditty that went “The River Jordan has two sides, and both of them are ours!” ‘
Livni’s current campaign is not even a good idea. It was only after the Irish Republican Army fielded candidates from its political wing, Sinn Fein, that Britain and the US gradually had someone they could negotiate peace with. You can hardly hold talks with someone who is blowing you up. But you can talk to his colleague who is just doing ordinary politics. Over ten to fifteen years, such arrangements can create the political distance necessary to bring conflicts to a close. But then the Livnis only know one way to bring conflicts to a close.