Connect to share and comment

Political suicide of a peace-loving party

The Israeli party of conscience dissolves, and with it a rare leftist voice in a rightist country.

More members of right-wing parties who don’t stand for nearly the same things as Meretz, mainly when it comes to peace talks and religious affairs, and a so-called centrist party, Kadima, which is largely home to Likud Party retreads with less than savory records when it comes to Palestinian affairs. At the last election a year ago, many Meretz voters cast their ballots for Kadima simply because they thought a vote for the diminishing Meretz was a waste.

The party committee suggested Meretz messed up at last year’s elections by giving the top spots on its electoral list to men of European Jewish background (read, the people most considered to be elite and out of touch). No woman, Arab or Jew of Middle Eastern or North African background had a reasonable chance of making it into the Knesset, thus making the party seem — you guessed it — elitist and out of touch.

Meretz leader Oron’s response this week was to say he’d look for a bigger party or movement with which Meretz might join. That’s a long fall from third-biggest party.

By the way, the third-biggest party in the Knesset today is Israel Our Home, headed by the bullish, rightist foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. Last month, Oron stood in the Knesset and accused the militaristic Lieberman of wanting to turn Israel into Sparta.

Perhaps Oron was suggesting that, in the Peloponesian War between the two great Greek states, he’d have been on the side of Athens, with its traditions of democracy and equality. Well, that didn’t work out too well for Athens, which surrendered in 404 B.C. Now Meretz is rolling out the white flag, too.