Post-election thoughts by Akiva Eldar

Post-election thoughts by Akiva Eldar

The day after Israel’s national elections, Akiva Eldar’s Haaretz column focused upon the poor showing of Israel’s left-Zionist Meretz party. These are some of the reasons Eldar provides for Meretz’s fall from five to three (possibly four) seats:

… the more dovish circles among the traditional voters accused the party of betraying its basic principles in supporting the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last month. [Actually, Meretz opposed the ground assaults in both conflicts, with a split in the ranks regarding the use of air power.– ed.] Traditional Meretz voters are unforgiving of indecisiveness and cannot disregard unnecessary wars. Some of these hardcore voters, thus, supported the even more left-wing bi-national party Hadash.

…Meretz also paid a heavy price for the fragmentation within the left wing bloc. Almost two of the seats that should have gone to Meretz went to the Green Party-Meimad and to other smaller niche parties with similar platforms, like the Green Leaf Party.

…However, it looks as though the deadliest blow was dealt in the final days before the election. The close tie in the polls between Kadima and Likud, and the campaign messages that whichever of the two would gain more seats, would be tasked with forming the next government, compelled Meretz voters, considered involved and educated citizens, to abandon their party and vote for Kadima in efforts to “rescue” Israel from a Benjamin Netanyahu-Avigdor Lieberman coalition. …

By | 2009-02-12T01:08:00-05:00 February 12th, 2009|Blog|6 Comments


  1. Anonymous February 12, 2009 at 8:23 am - Reply

    With all my respect,

    There are many things I don’t understand, I’ll ask two questions.

    1. Meretz supports the air-strikes on Lebanon and Gaza.

    How come you can not analyse that Israel, who violated the half-year “period of rest – truce” from the beginning, by not loosening the blocade, but strengthening it has another option than militry violence?

    2. I don’t manage to understand “left-wing zionism”.
    Zionism is a colonial ideology.
    Left means: anti-colonialism, anti neo-colonialism.
    I quess you like to see zionism as a non-colonialism ideology. Maybe you can try to explain?

  2. Thomas Mitchell February 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Historically left-wing movements in great powers or advanced countries have not necessarily been anti-colonial. The socialists supported French colonialism in Indochina and North Africa. The Soviet Union colonized Eastern Europe. And Italian Fascism, which began as a left-wing movement advocated colonialism. Zionism defined itself as a national liberation movement. The socialist elements within Zionism wanted to build a Jewish state within Palestine rather than colonize the Arabs.

  3. Ralph Seliger February 12, 2009 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Dear ‘Anonymous’:
    Meretz didn’t simply support “the” air strikes; it supports the principle that Israel is permitted to respond militarily to attacks on its territory. Meretz activists and leaders had some differences with each other on what response may or may not have been appropriate re Lebanon and Gaza. Meretz party statements opposed the ground invasion of Gaza and advocated an early cease-fire in both conflicts.

    Zionism is NOT a “colonial ideology.” Zionism succeeded as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Israel was widely supported by the international left during its struggle for independence in the 1940s. Part of that struggle was an anti-colonial rebellion against Britain, the colonial overlord of the Mandate of Palestine.

    Sadly, the successful Jewish effort to establish Israel as a refuge for the survivors of the Holocaust and other victims of antisemitism has caused the conflict with Palestinian and other Arabs. “Left-wing Zionism” is a constellation of movements and political parties that has worked for domestic social and economic justice and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the Arab world.

  4. Anonymous February 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    @ Ralph,
    waiting for moderation…

  5. Anonymous February 20, 2009 at 11:31 am - Reply

    @ Ralph,
    My earlier reaction disappeared in the virtual space…
    I would like you give a reaction on my remarks that there WAS an alternative to violence, when Israel wanted to stop the attacks.
    An Israeli spokesman NOW admitted that there were no rockets during four months. Israel had to violate the truce, not just by not loosening the blocade, but by killing 6 Gazans, before the rockets started again, the rockets that Israel needed as a pretext to start the war. If I in Holland, not by the mass-media, but by reliable internet-information, knew this fact when the attack on Gaza began, I think Meretz knew this as well….

    The rebellion in the 40-ties (and earlier) was not only against Britain, the terror against the Palestinians started long before the official 1948 war.

    The left-wing support was higly due to mis-information. I learned in the fifties in a non-christian school that Israel was a big kibbutz in an empty dessert, and I think my teachers didn’t know any better.
    But Meretz knows now.
    The jewish effort you mention was succesfull, BECAUSE of the violence against the Palestinians and because of the Hasbara…

    I think it is honest that you put “so-called” when you mention “left-wing-zionism”.

  6. Anonymous February 20, 2009 at 11:35 am - Reply

    @ Thomas Mitchell,
    thanks for your reaction.Historically, a long time back, you are right.
    But now Left (does not equal social-democratic) is anti-colonialist and anti-racist.
    Israel is both colonialistic and racist, on a daily basis.

    Which socialist elements within Zonism were not able to see what happened to the Palestinian people and their houses, villages and agricultural grounds?

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