Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Like its diaspora, Jewish state increasingly drops its socialist-Left pretenses, embraces its socialist-fascist essence

Zionist Left Writes Its Own Obituary

Barak and Netanyahu kill off Israel's Labor Party
( -- by Jonathan Cook --

Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, appears to have driven the final nail in the coffin of the Zionist Left with his decision to split from the Labor Party and create a new “centrist, Zionist” faction in the Israeli parliament. So far four MPs, out of a total of 12, have announced they are following him.

Moments after Barak’s press conference on Monday, the Israeli media suggested that the true architect of the Labor Party’s split was the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who, according to one of his aides, had planned it like “an elite general staff [military] operation.”

Netanyahu has pressing reasons for wanting Barak to stay in the most right-wing government in Israel’s history. He has provided useful diplomatic cover as Netanyahu has stymied progress in a U.S.-sponsored peace process.

Barak had been happy to oblige as the government’s fig leaf, so long as he was allowed to hold on to his post overseeing the occupation of the Palestinians. But as Labor became little more than a one-man show, it was racked with revolts, its MPs and handful of cabinet ministers regularly threatening to pull out of the coalition.

Netanyahu, however, has a larger purpose in seeking to draft the Labor Party’s obituary – one related to the cementing of a domestic consensus behind the right’s vision of a Greater Israel. The prime minister is hoping to unpick the last strands of the Israel created by the founders of Labor Zionism.

Labor’s impact on Zionism was truly formative. During the 1948 war, the party’s leaders established Israel as a socialist state – even if it was of a strange variety that worried almost exclusively about the welfare of its Jewish majority and carefully engineered systematic discrimination against the fifth of the citizenry who were Palestinian.

For the next three decades Labor ran Israel virtually as a one-party state, centrally directing the economy and its major industries through the party’s affiliated trade union federation known as the Histadrut.

Labor’s political power rested on its economic power. Most of Israel’s middle and working classes relied for their employment on state corporations, the security industries, the civil service, and government firms – and that ensured votes for Labor.

But as Israel’s economy began to wane, so did Labor’s electoral fortunes. The right-wing Likud Party – home to Netanyahu – won power for the first time in 1977, championing both the settlements and economic privatization. These moves further weakened Labor...MORE...LINK

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