Tag Archives: Labor

Now Available in Stereo: Kadima’s Livni Cut Down by Both Labor and Likud

The Knesset is clearly back in session..

Been a while since I did some politics, mostly related to the fact that Israel’s Parliament was on summer recess. But, have no fear – They’re back & raring to go! Kadima’s Livni late last week opened things up pledging to bring ‘relentless opposition’ to counter internal party criticism of her, which has been mounting steadily.

Her first major move was to sharply criticize Defense Minister & Labor leader Ehud Barak for spending a wad-load of money on a recent excursion to a Paris military exhibition (He was representing Israel’s significant weapons export industry).

Will that be cash or credit? $150,000 dollar hotel bill

Barak & his crew certainly spent a pretty penny, staying in one of Paris’ most expensive hotels & burning serious cash. Not exactly a smooth move by Ehud in tough economic times while on public dime.

In response, Livni pulled her typical above the fray gambit taking an opposition position criticizing Barak on ethics.. Laudable, but surely it occurred to someone in the Kadima brain trust that with former Kadima PM Olmert literally on trial for corruption, playing the little angel might not be the wisest of moves or tactics!?

That’s when all hell broke loose..

Until now, most of the heat Livni has felt has been internal from Kadima, but her critique & the fresh Knesset session clearly caused a snap – Get a load of the Labor & Likud responses!

“The double standards and hypocrisy of Livni have reached new heights,” Labor responded in an official message. “She would be better off checking first what is going on in her own party, which is the most corrupt party in the history of Israeli politics [and] which has created, through a number of scandals, reprehensible norms in public, criminal and ethical fields. The entire public remembers the parade of suspects for violation of public trust, theft, false documentation, vice and other offenses.

There are some double entendres in there. Olmert as mentioned, but also the criticism that Kadima corruption resulted in Livni stealing the party leadership, sidelining her rival Shaul Mofaz in last years party leadership race – A key source of the welling of internal resistance Livni is facing within Kadima, a divided house. The statement goes on..

“Livni’s voice was not heard then,” the response continued. “Livni would be better off remaining silent rather than reciting slogans from her public relations advisers, and to act in accordance with the saying that ‘people who have butter smeared on their heads shouldn’t go out in the sun.’”

That’s coming from the Labor Peace Party! Never fear however, Kadima’s rivals in the Likud (her former home) had some choice words for her too. Effectively making this broadcast in stereo..

A senior Likud official also issued a response, blasting “Mrs. Livni’s hypocrisy,” which he said was “breaking records in Israeli politics.”

Everyone is clearly well rested and ready to rock up there in Knesset land.. We’re already in ‘record breaking territory’. Should be a fantastic silly season, nothing could make me happier. I’m going to need to buy more popcorn for the big show : )

‘Great Statesman’: Obama will have something to prove here in Israel

That’s a big sell these days, that Obama is a ‘Great Statesman’

Other than the fact that he mostly met his 1st foreign leaders 3 months ago this summer on his big world tour, this like most everything else about Obama is mostly fantasy spun up by his adoring legions. Personally Obama reminds me more of the Teflon Don, you know the gangster in the suit employing Chicago style dirt to achieve his aims while the common folk sing his eternal praise.

Willingness to meet the World’s worst regimes for coffee & tea does not a great statesman make incidentally, but that’s not my concern at the moment. A greater concern are the statements made by Obama & Biden regarding Israeli politics previously, specifically Obama’s denigration of the Likud, historically one of Israel two leading parties and a current favorite to sweep into power in our upcoming elections..

The left in Israel is already trying to make hay

Israel cannot elect Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu prime minister after the United States voted for president-elect Barack Obama, because of the differences in their views on the Middle East conflict and economic issues, Labor and Kadima MKs charged Wednesday in the wake of Obama’s victory. [...]

There’s more there, including the sad & pitiful statements so typical of our left wing of late, who have tried everything under the sun to secure their own asses and seats in a manner not befitting statesmen of any stripe. Bush was of the right, yet he dealt fairly and with respect with our center left governments as well as our center right wing governments. He respected Israel’s right to choose & define its own destiny in this regard.

We don’t need no thought control..

Will Obama step forward, in contrast to his previous statements before he became a ‘great statesman’, and state that Israel has both the right & the responsibility to choose its own destiny and elect its own leaders in democracy? Or will he play into the hands of Israel’s left and his own convenience, by unduly influencing Israel’s internal politics and subtly intimidating Israel’s electorate, as our own left is already doing in order to create the great socialist order?

Before Syria, Iran, the Palestinians and all manner of dangerous foreign policy plays available to him, Obama will have an opportunity to first show how much he respects the State of Israel and her vibrant democracy, specifically by repudiating the kind of self serving schlock served up above by our own politicians and stating that whatever Israel chooses, the choice will be respected & welcomed by the new US administration once he takes office. He met with Bibi previously, that’s a positive start though the meeting reportedly was cool.

Netanyahu and Israel’s own right wing have so far been gracious in regard to Obama’s victory. We will be at the height of election fever specifically around Obama’s inauguration, he will have ample opportunity to shows us his statesman ways in this regard..

Times Up: Kadima needs to request 2 week coalition extension

Slow going

Livni’s associates are blaming holidays for delays, but wherever the blame lies the 1 month coalition constructing period allocated by law expires today. Having been elected by 400 some votes in the Kadima primary, Livni was supposed to have put together her ruling coalition by this date and applied formally to institute her government.

Alas, so far only Labor has agreed in talks formally to participate, and there are problems internally within Labor over the agreement. I blasted Barak last week over what I perceive as profound weakness and prominent members of the party agree, which will pose a small challenge in ratification. Kadima & Shas meanwhile are in talks to come to terms over billions more shekels, upon which the coalition talks still hinge.

Livni is a big spender

The agreements so far hammered out by Kadima with Labor are estimated to cost the state in excess of 1.5 billion new shekels worth of unallocated spending with a cool billion or two more still coming via Shas. It has been an expensive few weeks, now Livni will apply for her last 2 weeks allowed by extension in order to try and spend more to secure her un-elected government.

Some hints as to the direction of Livni’s possible government are already manifesting, while the Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian & Iranian tracks are bouncing all over the map with varying parties trying to secure their interests in the chaos. On the question of Lebanon & Hezbullah tying in Syria the word from Livni so far is:

  • Capitulation on the UN resolutions she herself negotiated.
  • Capitulation on borders already affirmed by the UN as legitimate
  • Capitulation by Israel regarding security overflights..

All in return for what Livni’s associates are calling a non-aggression pact, which will prove to be worthless clearly as it will not be recognized by Hezbullah who now control south Lebanon & beyond.

In other words, Livni’s government will be vying with Olmert’s previous government for the honors of ‘worst leadership period in the history of the State of Israel’ and she hasn’t even cemented her coalition yet.

Breaking bread with Livni: The Coalition is hitting early bumps

Swinging left to Meretz was a very BAD idea..

Livni’s 1st political move was a classic mistake. Instead of immediately leaning right to secure goodwill within Kadima and without, where she lacks it most and where the country is also leaning most, she went left to the Meretz no man’s land of political oblivion.

Of course the reasoning is simple enough, they are going gaga for Livni on the far left. The glowing media and support is akin to a warm embrace, comfort food for a very weak slim win. Further, the ideological platform she is pushing in negotiations falls squarely in the Meretz camp. Thing is she accomplishes more than just alienating the right in a move like that, she also alienates the left, or in this case Labor party’s leader.

Struck by lightning (Barak)

Barak himself as Prime Minister already flirted with the Meretz platform 10 years ago, it cost him his job. Why on earth Livni thought he may enjoy flirting with that platform openly again, especially in light of his already low opinion of her - all in order to secure her the PM job is beyond me?

Being 1st out of the gate to reinforce the common view that she has sacrificed every principle of her Likud roots, and now even Kadima’s own charter is not a genius play. The notion that this is Sharon’s heir politically we are seeing is as I stated divine comedy. The empress has no clothes so far. Judging by the media roundup below, no one is as of yet tossing her any either. If anything, there’s a concerted effort to challenge the legality of her win within Kadima forming now, and a possible flirt between Labor & Likud on a power sharing agreement. Anyone get the feeling Livni wants to share power and rotate the big PM chair? Me neither.

Livni is not the only one who can form a govt

She is dominating the media, but President Peres can be approached by other factions to form a govt. Peres & Olmert are now racing to get things squared away, Peres may even delay his trip to the USA for the UN general assembly to keep the paltry Livni momentum going. The last thing he wants is to come back in a week or so and be presented with a government option that does not even involve Livni, a national emergency government of the left & the right which leaves out the so called center party and Livni entirely..

Look at this math..

Labor 19, Likud 12, Israel Our Home 11, Shas 12 = 54
NRP 9, UTJ 6, Pensioners 6.

Either of those last three added is enough to secure a slim majority without Kadima, Meretz or elections, and the pensioners and UTJ are easy enough addons. With all the freed up Kadima portfolios it is darn right near a jamboree where everyone gets to keep their corrupt cozy seats, and even get a few juicy new ministries. It is a Kadima nightmare scenario..

Even Assad has a better opinion of Livni than Barak (Haaretz)
Comptroller mulls corruption probe of Kadima primary
(Jpost on the race rift exploding)
Barak – ‘Israel needs nat’l emergency gov’t’
(Jpost on a Labor Likud power sharing agreement)
Olmert: I have decided to resign as prime minister of Israel
(Jpost, everyone assumes Peres will appoint Livni)
Labor sources: Barak seeks early general elections (Haaretz)
Mofaz supporter calls for recount of Kadima primary (Haaretz)
Livni says Kadima will continue to lead Israel (Ynet)

Hitting the brakes

The last link shows Livni is already backtracking to ‘National Unity Government’ talk, meaning that her plans to maintain the current coalition seem stalled entirely, she assumed she could just patch together Olmert’s coalition and tack on Meretz for more seats, but you know what they say about the old adage assume? When you ASSUME you are ‘Making an ASS out of U and ME’.

She better not assume she is guaranteed to be the party leader being offered the shot at forming a govt either, as by displaying further hubris she may be in for a surprise. She also assumed she would landslide the primary, and she assumes she will landslide a general election too..

How many times in one week can you ‘make an ass of yourself’ is the real question?

Meretz Appeal: Livni’s Kadima is in big trouble

Loss of Mofaz may signal serious blow on a number of levels

Kadima was formed as a center party, but since Olmert’s takeover just after Kadima’s inception, the party has marched steadily left towards Labor & Meretz positions. Olmert’s intent to ram through concessions and talks with traditional enemies like Syria despite near zero public approval, and Livni’s personal stewardship of Palestinian track talks have only cemented the drift.

Half & Half

What gave Kadima unique strength and allowed it to lean left so dangerously was its makeup. Formed with former Labor & Likud MKs, the labor half gave ‘moderation’ legitimacy while the Likud half gave ‘security’ legitimacy. Top of the list in the hawk department was Shaul Mofaz. His departure leaves Livni in a lurch on a number of levels.

He takes with him a massive chunk of the security legitimacy, Livni has zero security knowledge, zero military understanding, and is seen rightly so as a dove. Kadima voters who value old Likud harder lines (we are speaking of half the party) are not necessarily overjoyed or even voting with Kadima going forward now that the Labor / Left wing of the party, is in command. I myself was a Kadima supporter under Sharon, my vote is long gone back to the Likud.

Worse, Mofaz is a hero of the Sephardi component. Being Iranian and hailing from the Likud he carries with him a strong contingent of Mizrahi eastern Jewish support within Israel, and they are livid – citing old Ashkenazi racism within Kadima as a factor in his some 400 vote loss which by all accounts, looked contrived and staged for Livni.

Meretz

The elation of the Meretz party with Livni is further damaging, NO ONE in Israel of political stripe wants to be associated with the Meretz platform, which is seen as near treasonous these days in the holy land by a great majority of voters. Worse, Meretz represents the Liberal Elite for many, the worst stereotypes of old Ashkenazi racism and power. These things are anathema to Mizrahi Jews who are sizable with heavy voting power.

Livni dropping hints that she may opt to form a coalition with Meretz, Labor & the Arab parties, thus giving her a razor thin 60 or 61 seat majority government (in order in reality to pressure the Mizrahi Jewish based Shas party) is like a race lightning bolt striking Kadima. Combined with the loss of Mofaz (he is shrewd) Livni’s pleas for unity seem like whimpers compared to the rumbling ‘race thunder’ now being loudly heard.

Queen Livni may have to bow

She does not like Mofaz personally, nor does she have solid relations with Mizrahi / eastern Jewry in Israel. This is not an enviable position because on either side..

  • Whether it is winning Mizrahi support within Kadima to keep the party relevant seat wise
  • Or winning Mizrahi Shas support outside Kadima for coalition purposes

The new ‘Meretz Ashkenazi Queen’ is without them ruling over a very small, even tiny kingdom. Come coalition time, or election time something needs to happen here or the Livni reign will be a short one indeed, worth perhaps 8-10 seats. If this rift widens we may even see Kadima & Labor merge. That may sound insane because Barak & Livni’s relationship is also bordering on blows – But, in the realm of Israeli politics gaining seat numbers is King, and the King trumps even the Queen.