a different side of Israel

Tag: Labour Party

Independence Day

“…In its formative decades the government of Israel was almost indistinguishable from the party of Labor.”

Wrote Time Magazine’s Karl Vick of Ehud Barak’s departure from Labor.

He continued:

“David Ben-Gurion, the new nation’s equivalent of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson rolled roughly into one, headed both the party and the government it largely populated.”

Proving his inability to separate Israel from his own United States of America, he compared the formation of the Jewish State to the American colony’s secession or better, coup d’etat from Great Britain, because Barak compared his departure from Labor and formation of an independent faction to Ben-Gurion’s historied Labor departure. This journalist is like a child who misbehaves because of some adult activity, unrelated to his own: a window breaks in the house, mom yells, so the kids pees on the carpet and screams. When the child grows up, he learns to deal with the wild energy like an adult. No call to ring America’s Freedom Bell here Mr. Vick.

With Labor’s pull from Netanyahu’s inter-Knesset support league, the coalition’s majority in the 120-member Knessent falls to 66 from 74.

Isaac Herzog, Binyamin, Avishay Braverman, Ben-Eliezer and the rest of the Labor bongos can finally stretch their legs in the back seat with Barak out of the driver’s seat, Herzog said:

“The Labor Party, which founded the State of Israel, got rid of the hump on its back…Ehud Barak’s masked ball is over.”

Nay, the Palestinian’s masked ball is over!

Einat Wilf, one of four Labor members who will join Barak in the brand spanking new Independence faction said:

“I don’t belong to the camp that believes Israel is solely responsible for the failure of these [last summer in Egypt and America] negotiations…The Palestinians bear responsibility for not entering the talks. Some people have sent them a message to wait around for a new government.”

The other Labor babies to join Barak are Matan Vilnai, Shalom Simhon and Orit Noked.

The Independance faction will be “Zionist, Center and Democratic…

Labor Party Blues

Many democratic governments have a Labor Party. It usually follows a left-wing ideology, supporting such causes as trade unions. Most of these governments are aligned in the Socialist International. Formed in 1951, this is a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor political parties.

Comrades, you can start blowing your harmonica now!

The Labor party of both Israel and the United Kingdom belong to the organization – and each of these respective labor parties are currently in opposition to the ruling party of the given country.


Four Labor-party MKs recently praised Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog‘s intention to challenge Defense Minister Ehud Barak for leadership of the party. Herzog is the son of former Israeli President, Chaim Herzog.

MKs Amir Pertz, Eitan Cabel, Daniel Ben-Simon and Raleb Majadele said however, in order for Herzog to be taken seriously by Barak, Herzog’s announcement must be accompanied by “meaningful leadership actions” such as resigning from his role in opposition leader, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s party.

Labor was the only Jewish faction to have MKs vote nay on the new bill requiring new Israeli citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a “Jewish and democratic” state.


And the Labor-party of another country too has made its way into today’s post and that country is Britain. was poised to send a Mazal Tov to Ed Miliband, who was elected over his brother David on September 25, the first ever Jewish leader of the 110-year-old British Labor party. Now we are revoking the prestige of his receiving a Mazal Tov and instead: “tisk tisk…”

The young Jewish leader, formally Secretary of State for the new British Department of Energy and Climate Change, harbors an opinion of Israel which sadly deviates from the pro-Zionist leanings of former prime ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, also Labor party blokes.

In Miliband’s keynote address to the Labor’s annual Manchester conference earlier this month, the MP told his party that they should feel pressure to “strain every sinew” in ending Israel’s naval (and aerial) blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Jewish country’s “attack on the Gaza flotilla was so wrong.”

Louise Ellman, a Labor MP from Liverpool and chairwoman of the Jewish Labor Movement, told the Jewish Chronicle (the main Jewish newspaper in England):

“It was very disappointing that his conference speech criticized Israel without mentioning Hamas rocket attacks on civilians”

She said,

“It’s important for Ed to show he is evenhanded on the Middle East, and the first things he must do are support the universal jurisdiction legislation, show he is opposed to boycotts and support a negotiated peace agreement.”

The Labor party is favored by most British Jews, so Miliband’s stance has brought to that atmosphere a tinge of concern.

One party insider said:

“These are serious issues requiring serious answers,”

He said,

“Ed’s not about to make up policies on the fly just to answer a reporter’s questions. Moreover, there are a significant number of pro-Israel members of his shadow cabinet.”

The 40-year-old politician isn’t THAT bad though, he did issue the following statement to Labor Friends of Palestine:

“The major instrument for influence at our disposal in relation to the Middle East is trade policy. I am against blanket boycotts of goods from Israel. But Israel, and all countries in the region, must live up to the commitments they have made to respect human rights as part of trade agreements. The EU must be tough enough to ensure that these commitments mean something.”

Ed and David Miliband’s late father, Ralph Miliband was a war refugee from Nazi Poland, who came to England in 1940, a Marxist and professor at the London School of Economics. He has gone down as one of Britain’s most beloved left-wing intellectuals.

The Miliband’s mother, Marion Kozak, now 75, escaped genocide and deportations in Poland and fled to Belgium, where she was hidden by a Christian family.

Upon immigrating to London, she became an advocate of groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Miliband’s older brother, the 44-year-old David, former foreign secretary, has established a track record for pro-Israel engagement.

Author of “A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel Robin Shepherd”, feels that analysis cannot account for Miliband’s “baseline political values.”

“Miliband comes from left of the Labor Party, which is instinctively hostile to Israel, and if he becomes prime minister, like all others, he will defer to the interests of the Foreign Office and the European Union, both of which have that as their default position as well,”

Shepherd told the JTA.

“I don’t see a lot of maneuverability there.”

Economy’s Bloody Sunday

Wall Street recently faced yet another historical Black Monday, and yesterday the crisis has finally traversed both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, when the Israeli Stock Exchange, located at E’chad Ha’ham Street, encountered its very own Black Sunday.

Israeli Stock Exchange at 54 Ehad Aham St.
Image via

Interestingly enough, although E’chad Ha’ham refers to a specific person in Jewish history, it can also be translated to “the man on the street”. So while America has its Wall Street, we have our Man on the Street Street.

So stocks are tumbling. What’s next? Presumptive Prime Minister Tzipi Livni and Labour chairman Ehud Barak met yesterday together with top economists to discuss the unavoidable crisis. Livni and Barak are currently negotiating the state’s budgetary constraints, since the Labour party (Ha’Avoda) has many demands it wishes to see fulfilled before it agrees to join Livni’s coalition. But when the economy is shaking and tumbling, can Livni afford Barak’s price tag?

We already know that some the of the major banks in Israel, Leumi for example, were highly exposed to Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual. How will this affect our saving accounts and pension plans? Leumi executives say it’s too early to tell.

Can the Israeli man on the street handle the crisis at the Man on the Street Street?

Labor Party Primaries Hardly Noticed In Israel

No One Worth Voting For - Labour 2007With Israel Labor Party primaries only hours away, and on top of current security issues such as the beleaguered town of Sderot and military actions into Gaza, tomorrow’s inter-party primary elections for a new Labor Party leader seem to be so boring that even the most mediocre TV program will probably receive better ratings.

The three front-runners, including present party leader and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, also include former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and a newer ‘kid on the block’ former Naval Chief Ami Ayalon; who appears to be the front runner, and the only new face among a group of hopefuls whose aspirations are not generating any excitement within a political party which is only a shadow of it’s former self.

Peretz, running a distant third behind ‘Rear-Admiral’ Ayalon and Barak ‘The Watchmaker’ (Barak’s favorite hobby is disassembling and reassembling watches and clocks) still thinks he can pull off an upset and retain his present position, made increasingly unstable in the aftermath of the sensational Winograd Report. Amir appears to have delusions of grandeur, however, as pre-primary polls show him able to garner less than 20% of the party vote, compared to Barak’s 31% and Ayalon’s 35%.

Barak also appears to be suffering from a few delusions himself, as his short term as Prime Minister resulted in Israel’s hasty pull-out from Lebanon in May, 2000, followed by the disappointing Camp David Summit later that summer and the Second Intifada in the fall. Even Barak himself seems to have some doubts as he was quoted recently as saying: “if there will be a run-off, I’ll lose it (the election)”.

Ayalon appears to be the only possible man who might possibly be able to bring some new life into the party which was virtually unopposed in Israeli politics for nearly thirty years. But in light of present realities, even he may have an uphill struggle due to infighting within Labor, together with Ayalon’s personal connections with Palestinian Professor Sari Nusseibeh concerning a two state solution for Israelis and Palestinians; a not too popular conception nowadays with Kassam rockets still raining down on Israel’s southern regions. The aftermath of last summer’s war, coupled with the present Hamas led hostilities in the south, has increased right winged feelings and given strength to more hawkish political parties, particularly opposition Likud party leader Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Natanyahu.

In the fall-out from events which may occur during the coming days (especially if the conflict with the Palestinians grows more intense) it may even set the stage for such people as Arkadi Gaidamak to become even more popular at the expense of current politicians, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who appears to holding onto power by the skin of his teeth. If Gaidamak continues to win friends and influence people, as he has with his assistance to Sderot residents and others in distress, even he might be a possible political leader in the not so distant future. After all, with all the millions that Arkady has, he doesn’t need to be corrupt – he has enough money already.

Labor’s chances of being in the next Israeli government are not too good at this point. But Israeli politics often results in strange bedfellows; and when push comes to shove, this party could very well be right in there again, alongside an even more right-winged government. After all, a deal is a deal, even if the ‘menu’ is not too palatable.

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