When the supposedly dovish Shimon Peres tells Ynetnews the world will ultimately have no choice but to go to war with Iran, you have to wonder why the world continues to see him as a distinguished elder statesman:
The conversation with Peres also touched on the hot security subjects at hand. Regarding the Iran crisis, Peres said: “In the end there will be no choice but war with Iran,” referring to the international military option against Iran’s nuclear program, not a war between Israel and Iran.
Often when I read such statements from Israeli politicians I have to ask myself: “What are they smokin’?” How in heaven can this guy believe that anyone except Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and George Bush want this option? How can he not understand that this would be a demented policy option. Sure, it would solve a few problems for Israel by perhaps knocking out one of its more dangerous adversaries, but at what price? Eternal war between east and west? Perpetual conflict between Muslim and Christians and Jews?
Statements like Peres’ also give Israel a bad name here in the United States where no one but the Bush hardliners and Pentagon war planners are talking in such martial terms. The fact that Aipac and Israel are the ones beating the drums loudest for such an outcome looks bad to Americans who’re sick and tired of Mideast war and not eager to start another one.
Peres also issued another provocative, but slightly less delusional call for Kadima and Labor to unite as one party:
The Knesset is “as split as it was before. Therefore, the most proper thing to do now is unite Kadima and Labor.”
Peres…is convinced that such unity could rescue Israeli politics and stabilize the Knesset. Peres, however, made no comment about his rival Labor leader Amir Peretz.
Speaking to Ynet…Peres explained how he interprets the proposal: “What are the differences today between Labor and Kadima? Nothing. In the previous government there was a prominent different between the two large parties because of (Likud Chairman) Benjamin Netanyahu, whose economic policy neither Olmert nor Ariel Sharon liked, and certainly I didn’t either. But now? There is no difference. The right thing is for the two parties to unite.”
Again, the guy is in cloud cuckoo land: no difference between Kadima and Labor? What a laugh. What he means to say is that if HE were leading Labor instead of that Mizrahi-jerk Peretz that there’d be no differences between the two parties. But the problem with Peres previous leadership of Labor was precisely that there appeared to be no differences between Sharon and himself. This in turn gave Labor voters nothing, in effect, to vote for. And if the two political leaders were so similar, why cast a vote for Peres’ Labor when you could vote for Sharon directly?
The whole point of the leadership battle which Peres lost is that Labor voters rejected the latter’s vision of an eternal bedding-down with Sharon. So why should Labor be interested in what it rejected earlier?
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, not someone I often agree with, in this case has things precisely right when he says:
“It’s too early to talk about such things. I understand Peres’ anxiety, because he knows that he is part of a party without any political structures, without roots and without any organization.”
“This party [Kadima] was only founded for the sake of the convergence, and there is nothing in it beyond the convergence. That’s why Peres talks about a future unity. These dreams are too early,” he added.
Peres is thinking about his political legacy and doesn’t want to be remembered for his betrayal of Labor before the last election. If he can engineer a realignment by which the two parties unite, then he can resume his grandfatherly image as uniter and peacemaker. I hope the Labor party doesn’t allow Shimon to assuage what may be a guilty conscience. It should not be the party’s job to disband merely so its former leader can sleep better at night. A union with Kadima would be profoundly ill-advised.