Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lamenting Labour

Today I woke up to hear the news that Israel's defense minister and Labour party chair has resigned his party position and decided to start a new political movement. This probably signals the long anticipated demise of Israel's Labour movement.

Ever since Barak,, the current outgoing leader exposed Arafat's dirty crotch in 2000, which was followed by the very deadly second Intifada, Labour has failed to position itself as a candidate ruling party. So much for the glorious party of Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Rabin... so much for the party that controlled all branches of the state until 1978.

The amazing thing is that except for a few old socialist farts, nobody is really going to miss it. There are however, people on the left who came to believe that Barak's departure will breath new life into the dying party. Meanwhile, Barak is starting a movement which will be called the Independence Party, pandering for a 'centrist' niche that became vacant after Kadima, under the inept leadership of Tzippi Schpitzer (aka Livni) drifted leftwards.

Based on recent statements, it appears that the move was coordinated with the rest of Israel's ruling triumvirate (Netanyahu and Lieberman) and it seems the three are working towards creating a stable, natural centre right alliance.

I was never a fan of Barak, but I must admit that he is a master of realpolitik. I think his long time involvement with the left was strictly opportunistic. So is this move.

the balance of power look like now?

Labour is left with Braverman, Herzog and Ben Eliezer (and a few others) who are mostly considered as far-left.

Barak brought 4 of his cronies to his new party.

It is rumored that Amir Peretz is about to defect to Kadima. With Dan Halutz's recent enlistment in the party, Kadima is starting to look like a joke.

It is possible that the rather small split will trigger a wave of defections. For example, it is possible that centre and right of centre members of Kadima will join either the Likud or Barak's new party.

What does it mean for the coalition? It will be smaller, but I predict more stable (once the dust settles).


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