An Israeli Cabinet minister blamed the political far left for the country’s problems.
Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman lashed out Tuesday after learning that far-left group Gush Shalom had called for a boycott of musicians scheduled to appear at celebrations of the West Bank settlement movement.
“Our troubles, our problems, our casualties – all are due to these people,” Lieberman, who heads the rightist Yisrael Beiteinu party and who lives in a West Bank settlement, told Army Radio.
“I have nothing against the Arabs or the world. My grievance is with the Israeli left,” he said. “They are trying to break us from within at any cost, to break up every consensus.”
Lieberman further referred to leftists as “Hellenists,” a term favored by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the outlawed far-right movement Kach.
The comments drew fire from the left-wing opposition. Meretz Party lawmaker Yossi Beilin said Lieberman has a “twisted mind.”
There were misgivings even within Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government. Lawmaker Danny Yatom, whose Labor Party is the biggest partner to Olmert’s Kadima, said Lieberman’s statements “suggest that he doesn’t understand democracy.”