|Avigdor Lieberman. 'Treated like a sophisticated criminal, a Russian mobster' Photo: Gil Yohanan|
|Hanoch Daum Photo: Itzik Biran|
Because he's different
Op-ed: Lieberman affair says a lot about our ability to accept person with foreign accent, unusual look
The story is not the acquittal.
Neither is it the fact that an indictment was filed over a human act, a small mistake made by a person who received something without asking for it and did nothing with it. There were no grounds for going to trial over that, but that isn't the concerning and serious focus of the Lieberman
The story is completely different, and it's Kafkaesque and distorted and says a lot about our ability as a society to accept a person with a foreign accent and a slightly different look, who advances to the State's leadership thanks to his skills.
The real story of the Lieberman affair is the story of the premise we had here, that Lieberman is a sophisticated criminal, a Russian mobster, a bloodthirsty racist. The story is about a person who is declared a suspect for 17 years. An extremist. A dangerous person.
And for 17 years a person goes to sleep at night with the heavy burden that he is being haunted. That people want to get him off the road. And for years and years, he speaks on the phone and his conversations are recorded and transcribed and are subject to analyses and discussions, and his very personal life is exposed to many people, in the name of the law.
Is there a person who deserves this iniquity? Is there an honest person who can say now that the investigation Lieberman went through does not border on persecution? Is there an honest person who can say right now that Lieberman was not treated in a particularly scornful, patronizing and suspicious manner? Is there anything that can compensate Lieberman for the distress he and his family suffered from the headlines and the stories and the interrogations and the detentions and the accusations?
Lieberman emerged innocent on Wednesday (in an affair which was difficult to understand in the first place), but the law enforcement system emerged guilty of one of the most serious, prolonged and cruel delays of justice this State has ever seen.
The least the State Prosecutor's Office can do now, and that is really the least of the least, is to announce that in light of the conclusive and reasoned court ruling, and in light of Lieberman's inhumane suffering following the monstrous foot-dragging of his trial, it has no intention of appealing the verdict.
Moreover, that it plans to leave Lieberman alone and let him open a new chapter in his life, a chapter in which he can take a full breath inside without feeling a small pain at the end of each breath, serving as a reminder of the threat hanging over him.
And together with the legal system, we should remember that all of us are largely to blame for our inability to accept the other.
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