And no, that memorable phrase was not mine. Rather, it was an appraisal that outgoing Party chair, Zehava Gal-On offered after the incoming Party chair, Tamar Zandberg, said in a TV interview that she would be willing to enter a future governing coalition with Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu Party. This, of course shocked many members of Meretz, who mistakenly thought it was a party of the Left(!)
Gal-On tweeted in response:
Such a statement is disgraceful! I will never sit [in a coalition] with such a corrupt racist.
When Zandberg attempted to Left-splain the former Party leader that the choice in the next election, as she saw it, was between an “[ideologically] pure Meretz begging for its life or a Meretz under my leadership which will return to being a meaningful force in forging the agenda of a center-left government.”
To which Gal-On forcefully replied:
Why stop at Lieberman? I suggest you display a bit more pragmatism and announce that Meretz under your leadership will be a meaningful force in forging the agenda in a Netanyahu-Bennett-Lieberman government.
If we’re going to lower our ideology into the toilet at the very least we’ll need quite a large handle [to flush it down].
Someone needs to explain to Zandberg that the only time Meretz was ever a “meaningful force in a governing coalition” was when Shulamit Aloni led Meretz into a coalition with Labor. That was decades ago. Labor is a shadow of what it once was due largely to the ideological temporizing of Shimon Peres, who started the Party’s downhill slide by repeatedly joining coalition governments with the Likud. Peres had no political agenda, no values other than power. Power for its own sake.
After a point, Labor voters decided that if they wanted Labor to sit with Likud they might as well vote for Likud rather than Labor. This is how Labor became politically irrelevant. This is the path Zandberg has chosen. It will lead Meretz to the same dead-end. Instead of the current Meretz MK count of six, I predict it will win three under such a platform.
One of the winners will be Hadash and the Joint List, which seems to be the only left political grouping that doesn’t dilute its values in a naked quest for power. The downside of this is that Israel is such a thoroughly racist society, that any Party containing or, God forbid, led by “Arabs” is one that must be sidelined and, if necessary, criminalized.
It also speaks volumes about contemporary Israeli politics that Zandberg can call a Meretz-Israel Beitenu coalition a “center-left” government. Avigdor Lieberman, centrist and statesman. Excuse me, while I’m sick.