peace now 88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Around 700 members of the Israeli Left met in Tel Aviv on Friday for a
conference meant to strategize new courses of action and chart the path of the
leftwing of Israeli politics.
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The national leftwing conference was held
at the ZOA house in Tel Aviv and organizers said that the turnout was double
what they expected.
Organized officially by Peace Now, the conference was
promoted purely through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and
lacked any sort of advertising budget.
The panels at the conference
covered subjects including cooperation among the different branches of the Left,
from the non-Zionist to the center-Left, how to return the Left to the forefront
of Israeli politics, and what the Israeli Left’s message and response should be
to the recent revolutions in the Middle East.
The conference hosted a
number of current and former Knesset MKs from the Left, such as Daniel Ben-Simon
(Labor), Colette Avital (Labor), Ophir Pines (Labor), Haim Oron (Meretz), and
Naomi Chazan (Meretz), among others. The panels and the round-table discussions
did not have a significant showing of Israeli Arabs or politicians or activists
from Israeli Arab parties.
Panel discussions were often heated, with
disagreement mainly focused on the concepts of whether or not to form a new
leftwing party or make an alliance of all of the leftwing parties, including the
non- Zionist Left. Whether or not the non- Zionist Left has hurt the mainstream
Left was another contested subject at the conference.
National Activities Coordinator for Peace Now said he believes “there is an
awakening of the leftwing and the turnout [at the conference] proves this. It’s
happening among the leftwing from the radical Left to the more moderate Left and
we can get this power to come together for the next elections.”
called the conference a big success, in particular due to the fact that the
turnout was much higher than he and other organizers expected. He said that the
point of the conference wasn’t to hammer out any sort of agreements among the
different branches of the leftwing, rather “to launch a dialogue. We didn’t try
to reach any sort of agreement we were looking to build different directions
wherein we can work together.”