The Labor party is convinced that it can somehow disassociate itself with the Left, call itself the ‘center’ and sneak its way back into power with semantic tricks. It will take the entire left-wing camp down with it.
By Tom Cohen
Last year, a delegation of Knesset members went to visit PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Among the MKs who participated were Hilik Bar of Labor and Tamar Zandberg of Meretz. There had been a terror attack a few days earlier and there was some pressure to cancel the visit. But MK Bar, who was the head of the Knesset’s Two-State Caucus, wasn’t deterred. A bona fide Zionist, an IDF captain in the reserves, he thought he would be immune from the accusations that would be hurled at him.
The delegation members went to Ramallah, were photographed meeting with the PLO chairman and put out press releases. But MK Bar didn’t foresee the might of the Right’s propaganda machine. A few hours after the delegation returned to Jerusalem, the settler organizations got to work: they bought up ad space in newspapers and accused MK Bar of encouraging terrorism. His Facebook page was flooded with insults, op-eds turned him into Haneen Zoabi and even some members of his own Labor party began attack him.
MK Bar still bears the scars of that visit to Ramallah to this day. He learned his lesson. Ever since, he prefers to stand with the attackers and not those under attack. In the year since, he has joined the Right in its campaign against symbolic recognition of Palestinian statehood, and just last week led a public censure of MK Zandberg in the Knesset. A complete 180. Nobody today would dare say Bar and Meretz are part of the same political camp.
Once a year, more or less, the Labor Party undergoes a shift of this sort. Today the party is identified with past social protests, tomorrow it will be with the institution’s economic reformers. Today it wants to end the occupation, tomorrow it will join the Right in its attempts to strengthen the WZO’s Settlement Division, or in its slew of legislative attempts aimed at strengthening the occupation.
The public doesn’t buy it, of course. Does anybody actually believe that Isaac Herzog — who was ready to sacrifice his top spot to Tzipi Livni, all while chasing Meretz voters — has really become the...Read More