16 thoughts on “Labor Leadership Votes to Join Likud-Led Coalition – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. The point is that the whoring is an inevitable nature of the terrible electoral system; Labour is now the same as Shas. But I’m surprised you don’t acknowledge the choice is more complicated. I understand that – as an American progressive Jew – you primarily see things through the prism of the peace process, but there are other choices at stake. The difficult choice behind Labour party members last night was 1) To let Bibi make his bed and lie in it, i.e. to be forced into the narrow right-wing coalition he didn’t want and then watch the country go to the dogs, in the hope that it will soon collapse and that Labour will be in a position to pick up the pieces a few years down the line, or 2) To force some important policies through for working Israelis, at a time of serious economic problems, and try and prevent the Bibi-led government from sliding over to extremism. Plus there’s the possibility of sidelining Lieberman, who is rather angry at the whole deal.

    I understand why you’re in favour of (1), and I also understand your cynicism regarding Barak’s motivations. But surely you can have some empathy for the difficulty of the choice?

    1. whoring is an inevitable nature of the terrible electoral system

      That may be so. But Tzipi Livni seemed not to fall prey to the same temptation. So I’m afraid that “whoring” is an inevitable nature of Labor pols like Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres (who also never met a right wing coalition he didn’t want to jump into bed with).

      To force some important policies through for working Israelis, at a time of serious economic problems, and try and prevent the Bibi-led government from sliding over to extremism. Plus there’s the possibility of sidelining Lieberman

      Ehud Barak, friend of the working man. It’s a nice slogan. But who believes it? The $100 million fund set up to “help” Israeli workers was a “buy off” to enlist the support of Histadrut for this weird deal.

      I would much rather see a true rightist coalition do its damdest to work its will on I-P issues & fail miserably. Then the people would have a real choice when the next election comes. As it is, Barak will have absolutely no impact on moderating the coalition. Even if he does he will at best turn it from an extremist coalition to a neutered coalition which accomplishes absolutely nothing good or bad. But we all know that stasis, unlike in other contexts, is absolutely lethal in the I-P context. THe status quo kills.

      So no, I have no empathy for Barak’s choice. There is no difficulty there for him. He made the choice not for any of the motives you mentioned. He made it because he wishes to remain a minister & continue being a mover and shaker.

      1. I take more seriously the assertion that the two-state solution is close to collapse.

        That that solution is heads and shoulders more plausible and ultimately more desirable in the region, is beyond obvious to me. (Currently, the two societies are nationalist in orientation, FIERCELY so. And, to compel them to live in a single-state would nearly inevitably result in brutal civil war, and then likely with a MORE DOMINANT Israel at the end of it.)

        Netanyahu is far more savvy than just to annex, which would squarely pose the democratic vs apartheid argument, and the democratic would win (but then with the never-ending civil war and/or partition, anyway).

        With Labor in there, by vetoing the worst (which is not happening currently on KEY expansion sites), there is the prospect of preserving the option of two viable states, rather than going to the dry side of the Cascadian rain shadow.

  2. Richard, the population of Israel is about 7 million, who could possibly be a mover and shaker in such a small population.

    Do you know the saddest thing about that book I sent you the review of? The saddest thing is we have two basically pissant people’s fighting over not very much and holding most of the world to ransom over it.

  3. Richard,

    First let me credit you with being more prescient than I’ve been about Bibi’s abilities. I’ve always seen him as a “Fawlty Towers”-like ill-meaning clown whose schemes always backfire. But he has shown some Nixon-like savvy here.

    He knows that his personality is a liability rather than an asset. So during the campaign he recruited venerated Likud figures (Begin, Meridor) to make him seem more “respectable” for center-leaning voters – but also young, charismatic settler-proxy wingnuts like Tzipi Hotuvelli to attract the growing extremist constituency. It partially worked; on a personal direct level he is still a terrible campaigner.

    However, he has read the coalition-building map perfectly. He ID’ed Barak as the weak link that would bring the whole less-than-far-right opposition crumbling down, and he worked him from day one.

    Now there may be a snowball effect at Kadima. Livni’s quest for personal integrity notwithstanding, most of her rank and file are plain Likud hacks (sprinkled with the worst Labor had to offer). These hacks will now wonder how come their hack-brethren who remained at Likud or Labor get to enjoy the spoils of government, while they get to play “opposition” to policies they really don’t have much against. Either Livni will be out, or a sizable contingent will defect back to Likud for a fraction of the spoils.

    Either way, the Bibi-Barak deal may spell the end of the Kadima phenomenon before it kills off Labor. And the coalition now seems stable – which in Israel nowadays, still means two years max before a major reshuffle or new elections.

  4. Richard, you are going to be very disappointed. It will be at least three and a half years before new elections, if not four, though there may be some reshuffling. The only thing that could bring it down is if Lieberman is forced to resign because of legal proceedings against him and he decides to take everyone with him. Otherwise, this government will be stable. Shas and Israel Beitenu will not bring it down since they know they will not have it ant better than this. There will be a lot of “crises” nut they will be resolved one way or another. Barak won’t bring it down. Labor is not likely to split in the near future, and even if it did that won’t bring the gov’t down. The other parties are now too small to bring down the gov’t.

    1. You’re an Israeli. Tell me the last govering coalition that lasted a full term. You’d have to go back a long ways. Tell me the average length of recent governing coalitions: actually two years is a long time. This one will be even shorter.

      You remind me of rightist commenters who bragged about John McCain winning the presidential election. I don’t hear much from them on that score now. We’ll see what tune you’re whistling when the coalition topples of its own weight.

      Labor is not likely to split in the near future, and even if it did that won’t bring the gov’t down.

      If you were a real estate agent, you could sell yourself swamp land in Florida and call it a beautiful suburban home. Labor is riven as we speak. The only question is how cohesive the rebels will be and what path they choose. With 66 votes and 7 Labor rebels they could indeed bring down the government. And why wouldn’t they?

      1. First of all, I never said anything about McCain, so that’s irrelevant. The coalition has 69 members (not 66 “Jewish Home” signed up) and if United Torah Judaism joins that’s 74 anf if National Union joins, that will be 78. In any case there are already 69 coalition members. The number of rebels have been reduced from 7 to 5 as Braverman and Ben-Simon have already announced they will abide by the Labor decision and vote for the government.Labor party members cannot vote no confidence in the government without disqualifying themselves from the next election unless they form a new party. The best they can do is abstain.
        Second of all, a full term is 4 years and 10 months. I am not predicting a full term. The government always fall prematurely as parties try to distinguish themselves from each other before the next election. The coalition, as I said, may reshuffle, but it will survive more or less for at least three and a half years.

        1. I never said anything about McCain

          Didn’t say you did. That little piece of right wing prognostication came via Bar Kochba. I’m still waiting for him to eat his hat considering how wrong he was.

          The coalition, as I said, may reshuffle, but it will survive more or less for at least three and a half years.

          If I was a betting man I’d challenge you to a bet. You’re such an easy mark & will lose this one.

          1. And this was the tilte of your post on Sept 17, 2008: “Livni Squeaks to Leadership Victory, Becomes Next Prime Minister”
            Whoops, I guess you jumped the gun there Richard. And this is the last sentence of the same post: “She will become only the second female prime minister in the nation’s history after Golda Meir.” Well, that might be true, but we will have to wait at least three and a half years to see. Would you like your hat with mustard or ketchup.

          2. I had no idea that Shas would prove so extortionate in its demands that she would refuse to accede to them & go to elections. If not for that she WOULD have become PM. I’m proud of what she did in standing on principle which she’s done twice in also refusing to becoming a handmaiden to a Likudist right wing government.

            And I’ll match my predictive abilities against yours any day. I predicted that Iraq would be a disaster & opposed it. I predicted Lebanon 2006 would be a disaster & opposed it. I predicted Obama would win well before he was ahead in the polls. I predicted Gaza would be a disaster & solve nothing & guess who was right?

            I’m holding you to yr bogus 3 1/2 yr prediction. The government falls in a year or less.

      2. Sorry Richard, I’ll have to strike a middle path between you and Amir this time 😉

        Make the 66 into 69. Mafdal (now called “the Jewish Home”) just signed a coalition deal. Add to that quite likely, the 5 seats of ultra-Orthodox Aguda. As to Labor rift, the hard-core rebels are 3-5: Yechimovich, Pines, Tamir and to a lesser extent Peretz and Kabel. The number actually leaving will probably be towards the lower end of this range. So Bibi will have 70+ seats (without counting future Kadima defectors), and roughly “one party to spare”.

        The self-interest of spineless politicians will be the glue that holds this crap together. As has been true for most Israeli coalitions.

        Still, this coalition is not likely to last two years. Israel’s general situation is too unstable for that. Israelis voted as if Bush is still in power, while the Middle East reality will be shaking loose from the terrible Bush model.

  5. I always find it amusing when people call Tzippi Livni a person of “integrity”. They apparently forgot that she was elected to the Knesset in 2003 on a “right-wing” Likud list that promised NOT to destroy Gush Katif. She then followed Sharon in breaking that promise. She now talks like a life-long member of the peace camp. Thus, her ability to betray people who voted for her was considered a great, noble thing. When Barak betrays his promises and his voters by joining a “Right-wing” government, he is a despicable traitor. Seems like hypocrisy to me.

  6. Richard, you’re right about Barak. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s possibly achieved a good deal for people who live here, i.e. people who don’t have the luxury to let the country go to the dogs.

    As for the Labour rebels, they won’t vote against the government (I think) because the Labour party voted in favour of joining the coalition, so to rebel would be anti-democratic.

    1. people who don’t have the luxury to let the country go to the dogs.

      Your entirely questionable assumption is that the new government won’t “let the country go to the dogs.” I believe just the opposite. Not only will it do so, but Labor’s participation in it rather than in opposition will send it further to the dogs than it otherwise would go.

      to rebel would be anti-democratic.

      Your claim that 680 central committee members constitute the Labor Party’s “voice of democracy” that the rebels should heed is also questionable & quaint.

    2. Barak is the chief person responsible – more than Bibi, more than Sharon, more than any Arab – for letting Israel-Palestine go to the dogs this decade.

      Taking his word – that he’s selling out for the country’s sake at face value – is beyond laughable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link