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Israeli Labor and Ours

December 6, 2010

Etgar Keret

Tel Aviv Monday. In the 70s there were three great models for labor or social democratic parties : the Swedish Socialists, the West German Social Democrats and Israeli Labour. The last had effectively shaped the state, giving it its language and its army, its kibbutzim, its social system. It ruled without interruption.
Today? It ranks fifth among Israeli parties behind two religious parties and behind the party for Russian immigrants. What happened, I asked Left-leaning novelist Etgar Keret? He said the party had lived on a narrative of making negotiated concessions to Palestinians that would, given movement on their side, lead to a two state solution. But after the failure of the Clinton – Barak initiative all Israelis saw was a second Intifada. Following that, disengagement from Gaza saw a Hamas election win. The Labor narrative about the nation’s future dissolved. When Barak emerged as a Rightwing defense minister the support of Israeli Arabs drifted away. Loss to the Right, loss to the Left…

The model, inspirational social democratic party shrunk to bit player status.

Food for thought.


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