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Plan to flood Likud with leftists is deceitful and impractical

An attempt to infiltrate Likud with leftist voters is both immoral, impractical, and liable to backfire

The leftist swamp is abuzz in the last few days following an initiative (Hebrew) by Gil Kidron, who wants 10,000 leftists to join the Likud party in order to change it from within. So far, he says, he’s managed to convince 400 leftists to register themselves as Likudniks. Kidron, who makes no bones of the fact he is mimicking Moshe Feiglin and his Manhigut Yehudit (“Jewish Leadership”) faction, tried to convince me to join. He failed, so I’ll take the time to explain why.

To begin with, and most importantly, this idea is immoral, because it is based on deceit. While Kidron keeps saying nothing he plans is secret, the idea of overtaking a party by activists who abhor its ideas in order to change its policy is deceit nevertheless. It’s done according to the rules and is completely legal, yes, and it is still deceitful. There’s plenty of untruths in Israeli politics without us adding to it.

Secondly, this idea encapsulates both despair of politics and a cynical attempt to bypass. Essentially, Kidron says that our camp has no change of achieving power; So, instead of working hard, showing a stiff upper lip and waiting for the pendulum to swing leftwards – which it may still do – we should behave as cuckoos, and lay our eggs in other birds’ nests. There’s nothing to bring over Likud voters to your ideas like their surprise when they hear one of their elected representatives speaking hotly about the need to end construction in the settlements.

In response, Kidron has pointed out that if rightwing cuckoos like the authors of “Torat Hamelekh,” the murderer Yoram Shkolnik, settler leader Meir Bartler and other extreme right-wingers (Hebrew) register to the Likud, and manage to drag into the Knesset Kahanists like Tzippi Hotovely and characters like Ophir “McCarthy” Akunis, Danny Danon and others – well, they can’t bloody well complain about a few leftist cuckoos.

That, however, is not the case. The Likud was, once, a liberal party – or, at least, one which struggled between its liberal and nationalistic elements. That was a long time ago, however: Some 30 years ago. There are still liberal remains in Likud – the names of Rubi Rivlin, Benny Begin and Dan Meridor are often mentioned – but they no longer serve as anything more than fig leaves.

The chasm between the right wing and liberalism is no longer bridgable. An anti-human rights demonstartor (Photo: Yossi Gurvitz)

The chasm between the right wing and liberalism is no longer bridgable. An anti-human rights demonstartor (Photo: Yossi Gurvitz)

Benny Begin made it clear when he left the Knesset after the 1999 elections: There is no longer an electorate, he said, for people like him, who – trying to square the circle – believe both in Greater Israel and in human rights. More than a decade has passed since that speech, and the chasm between the Israeli right wing – which is essentially volkisch and is based on a concept of racial superiority, the so called “Jewish genius” – has widened to the point it can no longer be bridged. Like many good things in Israel, the liberal right wing became a casualty of the occupation. You can’t be a liberal and lord it over another people. Human rights are not divisible. The Likud voters of today are clearly right-wingers, people who cheer Danny Danon when he describes Rubi Rivlin as a “collaborator of the left.”

Ok – some of Kidron’s supporters would tell me – so what if it’s immoral. Screw morality. We’re fighting for our country. All means are sanctified by this cause. I understand their argument, but it fails, for several practical reasons.

Let’s start with the funding. In order for Kidron’s method to work, 10,000 leftist will have to cough up 64 NIS per year each, for two years (the baseline requirement for registering as a Likud member). This means some 1,280,000 NIS which will make their way from the left, which is already severely underfunded, to the Likud. If those people give that money away to purposes they actually believe in, it will do much more good.

Next: The likud voting system. It allows candidates to distribute the famous “liquidation lists”, which tell their registered supporters who to vote for, and more importantly who not to vote for. Assuming leftist cuckoos do make it to the primaries, it’s a safe bet all real candidates will order their supporters to vote against them. And if they do manage to survive this, which is not likely, the Likud has a party tribunal, which can eliminate candidates.

Furthermore, while the Kidron supporters won’t get far, the Likud can use the attempt to infiltrate it as a bloody shirt to be waved. It will say that the left is so frightened of it, it is trying to deceive the public. Any decent demagogue can run wild with this. Kidron’s move is likely to fail, but will serve as rhetorical ram against the left for decades. The damage, ironically, will be worse if Kidron actually manages to push a leftist as a Likudnik MK.

In short, Kidron and his supporters are asking to waive our principles in order to carry out a political operation whose chances of success are nil, and the damage from it is significantly greater that any miniscule reward it may actually get. Say “no” to Kidron. Let’s leave politics-as-deceit to the long-time specialists: The settlers.

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    1. Mitchell Cohen

      I like the way the caption below a woman holding a poster saying, “settlers are people too” is described as an “anti-human rights” demonstrator….Cute!!!!

      Reply to Comment
    2. It was taken during the counter-demonstration against the human rights march. Why would anyone protest against a human rights march, if she wasn’t against them?

      Reply to Comment
    3. aristeides

      But Mitchell, that’s not the sign she is holding. What does it say?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Mitchell Cohen

      Yossi, I think you are intelligent to know it is not so black and white….That would be like saying anyone who is “pro-choice” is “anti-babies” or anyone “pro-life” is “anti-women’s rights”.

      Aristeides, it says “Im Tirzu” (which is a, cough, cough, right of center movement) and I can’t read the rest that has been cut off. At any rate, you want Israel to disappear, so there is no sense in debating with you anymore.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Mitchell, if you go out of your house on a Friday morning to protest a human rights march, please spare me the bullshit about how you care so much about human rights.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Mitchell Cohen

      If I ever apply to be a columnist here, I will provide my resume. 🙂 Not before then….

      Reply to Comment
    7. sh

      She was part of a counter-demonstration, Mitchell. Now that you mention it you’ll be happy to know that the counter-demonstration was well protected by all manner of armed toughies in uniform. And as usual when settlers are being rowdy (not all of these were), the cordon of soldiers/police had their backs to them and were facing the human rights demonstrators as though they were the enemy.

      Reply to Comment
    8. aristeides

      Thanks for the translation, Mitchell. Let’s judge the woman by the sign she’s actually holding instead of one that she happens to be standing near. And an Im Tirtzu sign would certainly qualify her as being anti-human rights.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Ady

      Mitchell- you are just absurd! You won’t even come to live here in Israel- so please spare us of your contribution- we do not want it..
      Did you serve in the IDF? I am pretty sure I know what the answer to that is..
      Israel is the country of all its inhabitants so as long as you are not one- please bud out!!!
      and SH is right! I was in the march and it was obvious who is a violent fanatic and the minority.. I have pictures to prove that!!
      And one more thing.. “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of humanity”-Albert Einstein

      Reply to Comment
    10. Henry Weinstein

      Counter-demonstration digested: Settlers Rights against Human Rights.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Mitchell Cohen

      “Mitchell- you are just absurd! You won’t even come to live here in Israel- so please spare us of your contribution- we do not want it..” [End of Ady] Too late, have been living here for 17 years; both my kids were born and are being raised here….
      “Did you serve in the IDF? I am pretty sure I know what the answer to that is..” [End of Ady] The answer is “yes” and I still do miluim….
      “Israel is the country of all its inhabitants so as long as you are not one- please bud out!!!” [End of Ady] Yes it is; including for those like me who don’t share 972’s views (i.e. the majority of Israelis)….
      Shavua Tov….Have a nice week 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    12. Ben Israel

      All the parties that use a “primaries” system to choose their chairman and Knesset list use “vote contractors” to sign up people (often for money or other considerations) in a party who would never vote for the party in the elections. I recall hearing statistics that say something like 30% of the members of members of MERETZ and the Labor Party are Arabs, few of whom vote for the party. I also recall that KADIMAH has something like a 20% Arab membership (I am including Druze in the “Arab” category). Sharon did this with the Likud which gave him a majority in his party that supported his destruction of the Likud, something that went against everything the party ever claimed to stand for. Thus, the people of Israel have their candidates for public office, including the Prime Minister, chosen by people who don’t care at all who the leader is. Totally undemocratic. I am surprised this does not outrage Israelis, yet I only saw one editorial that denounced this system, that was in Ha’aretz some years ago.
      Sheli Yechimovich managed to win against the party machine and the vote contrators that supported Amir Peretz. However, Ehud Barak’s comeback a few years ago won by getting the vote contractors on his side. His case is instructive, he is someone no one likes, with a proven record of failure yet he won the primary becasue the Arab vote (which still remembered the October 2000 incidents where 13 Israeli Arabs were killed) was paid well to vote for him. They even interviewed an Arab on the radio who said he would never vote Labor in the elections because he remembered October 2000 yet he was being paid for vote for him in the primaries. Why this didn’t set off a firestorm of anger has puzzled me to this day. The Israel populace is the most docile, sheep-like people I have ever seen, and the recent demostration haven’t changed my mind about this.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ben Israel

      Albert Einstein made that comment voluntarily living in World War I Berlin working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Insitut and whose salary was paid by German militarist industrialists who were profitting by the war.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Ben Israel: “The Israel populace is the most docile, sheep-like people I have ever seen, and the recent demostration haven’t changed my mind about this.”
      Coming from you, Ben Israel, this is both distrubing and heartening. Disturbing in that one of the right sees the same process as many on the left. Heartening because that means that, apart from religion and ideology, some can agree that something needs to be changed. I advocate a Constitutional Convention partly because it might effect a change in present political process; I have suggested that the discontent measured by J 14 might find outlet in such a goal. But I’m not exactly a mover or shaker.

      Reply to Comment