Prospective Labor Party Leader Supports Settlers but No One Else

PNN – Palestine News Network –  18.08.11 – 12:50

Candidate for Labor Party leader, Shelly Yachimovich, released a statement saying “I certainly do not see the settlement project as a sin and a crime.” on Friday. Her interview with the Israeli daily, Haaretz, comes in the midst of the largest social protest in Israeli history.


ImageShe defended the settlement movement by calling it “a consensual move” and reminding her constituents that, “it was the Labor Party that founded the settlement enterprise in the territories. That is a fact. A historical fact.”

Yachimovich also spoke up about her opinions concerning the protests and settler participation in the demonstration, “One of the most significant points of strength of this protest is that you don’t see the conventional political posters. There is a new language, a unifying language, a uniting language.”

But Yachimovich has not inspired unity in and of herself. At times making populist votes and then alienating that very same public with a condescending tone, her charisma and tenacity inspire both contempt and respect.

A journalist by profession and self-identified feminist, she is well-known for making searing comments concerning the oligarchic nature and privatization that has denoted Netanyahu’s government. “Both Netanyahu and [former Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert constantly spoke about thinning out the public service. Netanyahu said that the education system is a fat cow that doesn’t give milk. When you consider that there is a fat man and a fat cow that doesn’t give milk, you don’t transfer budgets to them, period, because you think they should be thin or privatized. That is a Thatcherite approach, which has nothing to do with the political right or left. What is happening now is so potent that it is shaking off the old discourse that shackles us to the same dogmas and the same rhetoric, but is finally connecting to the truth. Until now that truth has been kept hidden.”

Despite her vehement criticism and suspicion of Natanyahu’s economic policies Yachimovich does not believe that the tent protestor’s cry for social change and greater financial egalitarianism will be met by pulling funds from the settlement and defense budgets. “I am familiar with that well-known equation: that if there were no settlements there would be a welfare state within Israel’s borders. I am familiar with the worldview that maintains that if we cut the defense budget in half there will be money for education. It’s a worldview with no connection to reality.” When asked if she supported the boycott movement in the far-left she stated unequivocally that she was “not is favor of boycotts.”

Surprisingly, Yachimovich (typically a prolific bill proposer) has yet to respond to the situation with anything more than nay saying but continues to widen her circles of criticism to include the likes of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni. “Kadima is now in large measure a more economically neoliberal party than Likud. The dominant economic voice in Kadima is a privatizing one, a voice that protects the owners of capital. Take note that even on the natural gas issue, there was authentic opposition in Kadima to a redistribution of the profits from the gas.”

But if she wishes to gain enough public and internal support for her push for the chairmanship Yachimovich will have to do more than rain on other people’s parades.


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