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Mar 15, 2021

Gafni was right in not complaining

Yesterday it was reported that UTJ planned to file a complaint with the electoral board and with the Attorney General against Avigdor Lieberman in an attempt  to get him disqualified from running in the elections to his recent anti-Haredi incendiary statements. 

Initially I was a little upset, even if Lieberman deserved it. Why was I upset? Because UTJ has, in the past and even in the very recent past, refused to support such initiatives to disqualify candidates form running when they said things supporting terrorism against Israel and other anti-Israel extreme statements. UTJ always justified their refusal to participate by explaining that they will not support banning anyone, as once they do it can be turned around to ban the Haredi politicians next. Makes sense. Fair enough.

So why suddenly try to disqualify Lieberman? Because he said something against you? It is still against UTJ policy.

Yehuda Shlezinger is reporting now that they actually did not file the petition to have Lieberman disqualified. it turns out that head of UTJ Moshe Gafni nixed the plan. Gafni said that besides for the fact that they wont do anything about it, in 2021 MKs are allowed to say the worst anti-semitic things and nobody protests.

Besides for the fact that almost all the main politicians plus many reporters did protest Lieberman's words, that would precisely be the reason to file the complaint, not to not file. Regardless, I think Gafni was right. It makes them consistent with their regular policy. If they broke it now just because it was something said directed at them, how would they justify non-participation in such complaints in the future? Was this really more inflammatory than a candidate having said an entire city should be destroyed or support of terrorists?

Also, trying to disqualify Lieberman would end with some boomerang effect, likely giving Lieberman a boost. Ever since Lieberman said what he said, the boomerang effect has worked in the favor of the Haredi parties, with them gaining a lot of sympathy (that might turn into voters) and momentum.

I think blocking it was the right move by Gafni, both strategically and morally.

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