(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM & FACEBOOK)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak intends to form a new protest movement that will try to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, he hinted in private conversations on Tuesday.
Barak called for a new movement to be formed Monday night at a speech in Herzliya, though he did not say that he intends to form it himself.
But when asked Tuesday if he had started fund-raising for the new movement in America, he replied “not yet.”
Barak has been spending much of his time in Boston, due to his business consulting for companies around the world and public speaking.
He was recently shown on television sitting next to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at a game. Kraft is a strong supporter of Israel, but is unlikely to contribute to an anti-Netanyahu movement.
Speaking at a book-launching event by former general Shlomo Gazit on Monday night, Barak said a new protest movement should be formed that would promote dialogue among different Israeli sectors and have clear values.
“It should not try to be more Bibi than Bibi,” he said, referring to Netanyahu’s nickname “it should restore the spirit of unity and hope.”
Barak’s statement was interpreted as criticizing both Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who has been moving to the Right, and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, who intends to form a new party ahead of the next election with views very similar to Likud on the diplomatic and security issues.
In the speech, Barak criticized the government’s handling of a recent spate of fires, and the right-wing politicians who rushed to call them all arson.
“This was populism and oversimplifying by those who see only black and white, and especially black,” he said.
Barak spoke in August at an event of Darkenu – a grassroots organization that has been recruiting activists to work for defeating Netanyahu in the next election movement – which could meet Barak’s definition of an anti-Netanyahu protest movement that calls for unity and hope.
Darkenu CEO Polly Bronstein said she would like to believe that Barak was inspired by Darkenu, which has been concentrating on reaching out to people in the periphery who have supported Likud in the past. She said that both Barak and Darkenu would like multiple movements and parties to unite ahead of the next election.
“We would be happy to see and we may later pressure for forming a party that will unite parties with similar values and present a strong, moderate alternative to the Right, as Kadima did in the past,” Bronstein said.