Amram Mitzna 311.
(photo credit: Ron Friedman)
Labor leadership candidate Amram Mitzna vigorously denied a front-page report in
Ma’ariv on Thursday that quoted him making a statement about front-running
candidate Amir Peretz that the newspaper interpreted as racist.
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to the report, Mitzna told pensioners in Givatayim that if elected, he could
cooperate with fellow candidates Isaac Herzog and Shelly Yacimovich – and that
they, unlike Peretz, added value to the party.
“They aren’t Amir Peretz,”
Mitzna said according to the report. “He comes from another
Another report quoted Mitzna saying Peretz was “from another
The newspaper interpreted “another land” as a reference to his
native Morocco, and proclaimed in a headline that the “ethnic genie” had been
uncorked in Labor.
“I was referring to his political approach, not his
ethnicity,” Mitzna said, complaining about Peretz’s mass registration drive,
which he believes tainted Labor with people who don’t belong in Labor, or who
joined the party illegally.
Mitzna’s spokesman, Gil Solomon, said he was
present at the speech and that Mitzna did not say such a thing.
Deputy Mayor Iris Avraham, who does not support Mitzna’s candidacy but was at
the event, said he had been misinterpreted.
“There is nothing wrong with
talking about different political cultures,” she said.
“Mitzna and Peretz
are very different people. There was nothing racist there. All attempts to
ignite a racial dispute in Labor are unfair and incorrect.”
Herzog and venture capitalist Erel Margalit said they did not think Mitzna had
bad intentions, or was a racist. Margalit called upon all six Labor candidates
not to criticize each other, except on matters of policy.
Peretz, who is
on a fundraising tour in the US, did not respond to the report.
sources close to him called Mitzna “a nostalgia candidate from another
They said that if the report was accurate, it showed he was unfit
to lead Labor.
Peace Now Secretary-General Yarive Openheimer endorsed
Peretz on Thursday because of his support for the peace process and his ability
to bring frustrated Likud voters from poor sectors into the party.
Peretz is the only candidate who can lead a clear diplomatic approach, as well
as a tough stance on socio-economic issues,” Openheimer said. “He can offer a
sharp alternative to parties on the right and in the center.”