This is how Reuters correspondents systematically characterize Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman (when they are not referring to him as "fiery"). It is, of course, a form of name calling, a well-worn propaganda device intended to slap down a public figure with a cheap label and thus elicit a negative emotional reaction to that person from an unsuspecting audience.
Jerusalem Bureau Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller continues the Reuters tradition in a story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to comments made by Lieberman regarding Israel's relations with Turkey and prospects for a peace deal with the Palestinian Arabs:
Note how Heller attempts to shift responsibility for his own editorializing with a reference to anonymous "commentators" allegedly doing the name calling, a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism. Heller then editorializes further, characterizing Lieberman's suggestion for an alternative interim accord with the Palestinians as "pouring scorn on the stalled peace process". We've not seen Heller employ similar language to describe recent talk by Palestinian leaders of their "Plan B".Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to keep his coalition intact before a vote this week on Israel's budget, has opted to play the diplomat in a flare-up with his fiery foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Commentators accused Netanyahu of kowtowing to the ultranationalist Lieberman at the expense of Israel's international image, but agreed a coalition crisis had been averted for now and predicted the budget would pass.
In blunt public remarks on Sunday, Lieberman said Israel would not apologize to Turkey over the killing of nine Turks by Israeli commandos during a raid on a Turkish ship trying to break a Gaza blockade in May.
Pouring scorn on the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, Lieberman told a meeting of Israeli diplomats a permanent peace agreement was impossible and the best option would be "Plan B," a long-term interim accord.
The comments seemed at odds with Netanyahu's stated desire to patch up relations with Turkey and U.S. efforts to keep alive a peace effort that has foundered on his refusal to extend a partial freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.
Heller blames Netanyahu, and by implication, Israel, for the failure of peace talks by pointing to the expired ten-month building moratorium for Jews in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") when it was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who filibustered on negotiations for over nine months and walked away entirely when the moratorium ended in September.
Only in the Orwellian realm of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau can Palestinians like Abbas, Saeb Erekat, and Nasser Al Kidwa, who demonstrate the most uncompromising positions on national rights, be caressed as political "moderates" and "pragmatists" while Israelis like Lieberman are blackened with the "ultranationalist" tag.