We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Israel’s Labor Party just signed its own death warrant

9 9 0
04.07.2019

The Israeli Labor Party on Tuesday elected a new leader, Amir Peretz, to lead the faction ahead of Israel’s upcoming general election on 17 September. Faced with a choice between the old guard and two young, dynamic candidates, the party membership opted for the former.

In doing so, the ailing party has signed its own death warrant. Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, the Israeli left has once again turned to the past, afraid of tackling the difficult questions required to rebuild a meaningful opposition to over 40 years of right-wing rule.

Amir Peretz can hardly be said to have swept to victory yesterday. The veteran politician received 47 per cent of the vote in a primary which saw a 46 per cent turnout, the lowest in the party’s history.

Peretz had tried to avoid holding a leadership election at all, hoping that the party’s central committee would select him as its new chair in light of his decades of political experience. Instead, the vote was put to the party’s some 65,000 members, in what was at the time perceived as a blow to Peretz’s aspirations.

He nonetheless prevailed, taking over the leadership of a once-dominant party from Avi Gabbay, who many have accused of running the party into the ground. His infighting with Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni and her brutal dismissal from the Zionist Union alliance in January, as well as his failure to position Labor as a meaningful alternative to the centrist or right-wing parties, has been blamed for the party’s dire performance in April’s general election.

Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu come together in Tel Aviv on election night on 9 April 2019 [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu come together in Tel Aviv on election night on 9 April 2019 [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

The party won a historically-low six seats, a third of the 18 it held in the previous Knesset (or 24 if you count the contribution of Livni’s Hatnua to the Zionist Union). If the Labor Party wasn’t already calling for Gabbay’s head, revelations that he had mulled a proposition to join Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition in a last-ditch effort to form a majority government ended any hopes of........

© Middle East Monitor