Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Sunday, 3 January 2010

Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman tells envoys not to grovel

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (image from 9 December)
Mr Lieberman also leads a right-wing party, Yisrael Beiteinu

Israel's hardline Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has told Israeli ambassadors to stop "grovelling" and defend their national honour.

He told a shocked audience of some 150 envoys in Jerusalem to "stop turning the other cheek" whenever Israel was insulted, Israeli media report.

The envoys were reportedly given no right of reply at the conference.

"We received a monologue without being able to hold a discussion," one unnamed ambassador told Haaretz newspaper.

'A response to everything'

Israel's top diplomat, who worked as a nightclub bouncer in his youth in the USSR, is known for his abrasive style. He famously once said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could "go to hell".

"I have seen that some ambassadors identify themselves with the other side to such an extent that they are all the time trying to justify and explain," he told the ambassadors meeting at the foreign ministry, according to several reports of the event.

"Terms like 'national honour' have value in the Middle East," he was reported to have said.

"There must not be an attitude of obsequiousness and self-deprecation, and the need to always justify the other side. This is the wrong approach.

"We will not turn the other cheek. There will be a response to everything," the reports quoted him as saying.

In an editorial, the liberal Haaretz condemned Mr Lieberman's "shamefully bullying approach" and called for him to be sacked.

Print Sponsor

Peace an illusion, says Israel FM
08 Oct 09 |  Middle East
Profile: Avigdor Lieberman
06 Feb 09 |  Middle East
Israel recalls 'naked ambassador'
12 Mar 07 |  Middle East
Israeli ambassador recalled over affair
08 Apr 99 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Jerusalem Post FM: We've made enough gestures to Abbas - 7 hrs ago
Yahoo! News Israeli diplomats too diplomatic, FM says (AFP) - 10 hrs ago
France24 Israeli diplomats too diplomatic, FM says - 10 hrs ago
Haaretz Lieberman scolds diplomats over 'placating the world' - 24 hrs ago
Telegraph Netanyahu proposes peace summit - 62 hrs ago

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific