Nothing illustrates the political bankruptcy of the Israeli political center better than this image of Tzipi Livni, founder of the Ha-Tenuah Party holding hands with her freshest catch, Amir Peretz, former Labor defense minister and second highest vote-getter in the recent Labor primary.
The image of a former Mossad agent and ideological descendant of the Stern Gang canoodling with the former head of Israel’s labor movement, the Histadrut, is revolting.
It reminds me of a game of musical chairs in which each politician scurries from one seat to another seeking the biggest payday and best advantage for himself without regard to principle. At the end of the game, there will be one player left with no chair on which to sit: it will be Israel’s center-left itself. It will have maneuvered itself into irrelevance, thus leaving the ultrantionalist right in triumph, controlling all the chairs and levers of power.
During this press conference, Livni had the chutzpah to claim (with Peretz sitting beside her) that Labor didn’t invent the social justice movement. That in fact, Jabotinsky had called for social justice in his own political manifesto.
The reason Peretz is offering for abandoning Labor is that its current chair, Shelly Yachimovich is refusing to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian issue during the campaign; and she’s refused to rule out joining a coalition government with Likud.
That’s all well and good. But does Peretz really think that joining with Tzipi Livni will bring Israel any closer to a peace deal with the Palestinians? What did she and Olmert ever do that brought the country any closer to peace with the Palestinians?