Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Benny Morris: The Fruit of Israel's Labor | The National Interest

Anyone who is following the recent split of Israel's labour party, should read this great historical summary by Benny Morris.

Where I tend to somewhat disagree with Morris' analysis is on the claim that the final blow to Labour came in the form of the Palestinian's pertinant refusal to accept a state:

In the first decade of the third millenium, the Palestinians—Arafat and Abbas (and, needless to say, the fundamentalist anti-Semitic Hamas)—had, again, rejected not so much a set of proposals as an idea, a principle, the two-state solution. They wanted all of Palestine, and not an inch for the Jews.
And it was this rejection that destroyed the Israel Labor Party, which lost, and lost big, in all the general elections that followed Camp David. In 2000, the Israeli electorate grimly came to understand that there was no "peace partner", that the Palestinians would not, would never, sign on to the existence of a Jewish state in any part of Palestine, and that what Labor stood for—a two-state solution—was a sad delusion. So the electors voted for the hard right, the soft right, God's various anti-Zionist and ultra-Zionist parties, even a pensioners' list, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, anything and anyone but Labor and its conciliatory affiliates. The electorate had moved, perhaps irremediably, to the right.
Now Labor is left with four-five Knesset members (in a 120-seat chamber), no platform, no leader—and no future.
Well, yes... Labour lost its mandate because of what it stood for, twice in Israel's rather short history. But the Palestinians were fairly consistent in their position. It's Labour's inability to read into reality as it is, not as they wish it could be, that turned them into a marginal left-wing party.

I will not be surprised if Labour will merge with the far-left Meretz and together the parties will gain perhaps 7 or 8 seats in the next Knesset.


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