Anti-Olmert Rally, Part 1

Anti-Olmert Rally, Part 1

In the May 1 visit to Meretz USA of Meretz MK Avshalom (Abu) Vilan, he told us of imploring Gen. Uzi Dayan (the organizer of this past weekend’s oust-Olmert rally) to press the goal of Olmert’s resignation but not of a new election, for two reasons:

  1. Frequent elections are making Israel’s government unstable; the last election was little more than a year ago.
  2. More importantly, Netanyahu would be returned to power at the head of about 35 Likud MKs.

Abu feels that it would be far better that Peres or Livni replace Olmert with a new Kadima-led coalition and that with Meretz’s support, embark upon new avenues toward peace, via the Saudis, the US, Abbas and the European Union. He personally trusts Peres more than Livni, feeling that Livni’s not experienced enough and that her right-wing Likud roots make her suspect. But I find Peres ultimately untrustworthy because of his habit as a political intriguer. Hence, I think that Livni might be better, but either one as PM would be a source of new hope.

Below is an abbreviated description of last week’s oust-Olmert rally from the MideastWeb for Coexistence site, by one Joseph M. Hochstein of Tel Aviv:

What made this demonstration different from others was the crowd’s diversity. Members of opposing political factions shared the square. Young men wearing National Religious knitted skullcaps prayed in groups alongside secular Tel Aviv residents. …

The closest the audience came to a display of vocal unanimity was when Eliad Shraga, a reserve paratroop officer who heads the Movement for Quality Government, exhorted them to act as judge and jury and answer whether Olmert was guilty. They found the Prime Minister guilty, of course, but the performance lacked spontaneity. …

Cheerleading aside, the only words that seemed to evoke a genuinely spontaneous reaction were uttered by Meir Shalev, the novelist. He mentioned 40 years of occupation in a disparaging way, and some people in the northwest part of the square started booing. Later, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) commented that Shalev’s remark showed his hate of settlers.

Someone I know refused to attend the demonstration. He said he did not want to help Benjamin Netanyahu become Prime Minister. His meaning became clear from the scene at Rabin Square.

Dark-blue signs calling for Elections now were everywhere. They competed against the red-and-black logo that displayed the demonstration organizers’ motto, Bunglers, go home. Many members of the crowd wore dark-blue Elections now stickers on hats and shirts. Young demonstrators displaying Elections now signs took over the top of a Holocaust monument that dominates the southern part of the square. Elections now was clearly a message from the organized political Right.

Despite the Elections now infiltration, people did seem to be making a real effort to keep the non-partisan spirit of the demonstration. Political parties refrained from displaying party signs, and few people in the crowd wore t-shirts with party slogans or symbols. No partisan politicians were invited to speak (unless you include Uzi Dayan, the demonstration organizer, whose Tafnit movement failed to win a Knesset seat in the last election). …

– Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv
[Cross-posted from Israel Like This, As If]
Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

By | 2007-05-09T04:06:00-04:00 May 9th, 2007|Blog|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Thomas Mitchell May 9, 2007 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    While I agree with you that both Peres and Livni would be an improvement over Olmert, I agree with Abu Vilan that Peres would be preferable. Peres has demonstrated in the past a genuine interest in peace. Due to his advanced age this would be his last chance of being premier and personally advancing the peace process if that proved possible. I think that he would not waste this opportunity. The remainder of the term could be used to groom Livni as the Kadima candidate for prime minister in the next elections. Livni says the right things, but has little record to look at. This would then give the left and center two realistic candidates to run for prime minister–Livni and the Labor candidate (Barak or Ayalon). I also agree with Abu Vilan that even if the Likud didn’t look ready to win the next election, the Knesset should serve out its present term. This is like when Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974–we didn’t hold congressional elections; the vice president simply became president. Likewise Peres, who is vice premier or deputy premier should become premier.

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