With the formation of the two left-wing Zionist Knesset slates, one for Labor and the other for Meretz, it is no longer possible to argue that there is no difference between them.

Meretz presented a slate in which the opponents of the occupation stand out, those for whom the struggle is the foremost banner, above any other. Labor presented a slate which does not have even a single active opponent of the occupation. This is not a trivial matter.

Conclusion: The two parties must not run together, otherwise the ideological difference between them could well be obscured.

The price of dilution is higher than the risk, which almost doesn’t exist, of either party failing to pass the electoral threshold. Zionists who are unable to sleep because of the occupation more than anything else, and who still believe in the two-state lie, voted for Meretz. Leftists in their own eyes only, for whom the occupation is an exhausting issue, important but not crucial, two states but there is no partner, voted for Labor. These two approaches must not be combined. There is no room in the tiny, dying camp of the Zionist left for more goulash, even when the heart’s desire is the existence of the non-Zionist left in Israel.

It is hard to understand why Meretz is the one calling for unity. It would be more appropriate for Labor to do everything possible to unite, as it always has done. To mix Mapai with Ahdut Ha’avoda, both of them with Rafi, Labor with Mapam, despite all the differences. It can be said to Labor leader Merav Michaeli’s credit that she sees the differences. To her discredit, it should be said that she flees from these differences like from fire. Meretz’s yearning for a merger stems from fear of failure and of seeming to put party interests above national ones, but that was supposed to be the legacy of the previous Meretz. With Zehava Galon at its head, Mossi Raz in the second spot and Gaby Lasky as sixth – three people who spent their careers in a manner that stirs admiration for the fight against the occupation – Meretz has nothing to be ashamed of by its uniqueness, and it must preserve this any way it can. If it joins with Labor, Meretz will lose its image, which has finally been rejuvenated.

By contrast, Labor presents a slate of those blinded by the occupation. None of its candidates with a realistic chance of being elected to the Knesset knows anything at all about the occupation, how it looks from up close and how criminal and evil it is. The occupation doesn’t even interest them. It may be that the last time Michaeli visited the West Bank was when we drove together for a dinner in the village of Ramin in honor of the most veteran administrative detainee at the time, Osama Barham. A quarter of a century has passed since then. Now she and her party haven’t a word to say about administrative detention – imprisonment without charges – even when one of its bravest victims is dying in agony.

Meretz cannot run on the same slate with those who ignore the occupation. There are more than enough of those in the Knesset, almost all its Jewish members. A Meretz that unites with such politicians will betray its path. It did so in recent years, and it’s a good thing that it has, to some extent, gotten over this. “Naama Lazimi and her colleagues are more to the left than Meretz,” wrote Nehemia Shtrasler (Haaretz, Tuesday), threatening to enable the rise of the far right to power because of Michaeli’s refusal to unite with Meretz. For Shtrasler, the left is first and foremost organized labor, not the occupation. Even Haaretz’s editorial on Monday encouraged Michaeli to agree to the merger, warning of a “political tragedy” – the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to power.

For fans of the horror genre, these are considerations that must not be taken lightly. But there are also more important considerations, ideological ones. If a Zionist party that fights the occupation has no place, not even the smallest, in the Knesset, then there is no longer a Zionist left in Israel, it will have been put to death.

It is very difficult to impossible to oppose the occupation and remain Zionist. It is very hard to impossible to be a non-Zionist Jew in Israel. We must give Meretz the slim chance of proving it is possible. If Meretz is diluted with Labor, only the Arabs will oppose apartheid – and this will mark Israel as being worse than South Africa. At least there, white people, many of them Jews, fought against the regime.

QOSHE - Meretz Must Not Merge With Occupation-blind Labor - Gideon Levy
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Meretz Must Not Merge With Occupation-blind Labor

7 15 35
02.09.2022

With the formation of the two left-wing Zionist Knesset slates, one for Labor and the other for Meretz, it is no longer possible to argue that there is no difference between them.

Meretz presented a slate in which the opponents of the occupation stand out, those for whom the struggle is the foremost banner, above any other. Labor presented a slate which does not have even a single active opponent of the occupation. This is not a trivial matter.

Conclusion: The two parties must not run together, otherwise the ideological difference between them could well be obscured.

The price of dilution is higher than the risk, which almost doesn’t exist, of either party failing to pass the electoral threshold. Zionists who are unable to sleep because of the occupation more than anything else, and who still believe in the two-state lie, voted for Meretz. Leftists in their own eyes only, for whom the occupation is an exhausting issue, important but not crucial, two states but there is no partner, voted for Labor. These two approaches must not be combined. There is no room in the tiny, dying........

© Haaretz


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