Labor slams rebel MK Cabel for ‘kissing up to Kadima’

Knesset member called Labor "this crazy party" in an Army Radio interview, mocked possibility any new leader could save party; former leader Amram Mitzna undecided on political comeback

Amram Mitzna 311 (photo credit: Ron Friedman)
Amram Mitzna 311
(photo credit: Ron Friedman)
The leadership of the Labor Party escalated its battle against rebellious members of the faction on Thursday when it announced that it would punish any Labor MK who worked against the party.
Labor chairman Ehud Barak was reportedly upset about comments that rebel MK Eitan Cabel made to The Jerusalem Post, warning former Labor leader Amram Mitzna against returning to the party.
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“I would tell Mitzna: You were already burned once in that job, and next time the fire can hurt even more,” Cabel said to the Post and then reiterated on Army Radio.
Cabel further angered Barak by telling Army Radio in jest that if Kadima offered him a top slot on its list for the next Knesset, he would not turn down the offer.
The Labor leadership immediately released a statement pleading with Cabel to quit the Knesset and return his mandate to the party.
They noted that Cabel’s post on the party’s list was given to him because he was Labor secretary-general, so he was not elected by the party’s central committee.
“He has openly been working against the party for a long time,” the statement said. “He clearly doesn’t see his future in the party, and he was not elected by its activists, so he has no moral right to continue to represent Labor in the Knesset.
There are many people who want to contribute to the party and help it defeat people like Cabel who want to destroy it.”
Labor officials escalated the attack even more later on Thursday when they accused Cabel of being in close contact with the head of the Kadima council, MK Haim Ramon, who they said was giving him marching orders.
“The festival of faction members doing whatever they want is over,” a top Labor official said. “From now on, Labor institutions will be convened to enforce the party’s bylaws in order to punish any faction member who works to harm the party from inside. We will not let Cabel take advantage of his last days in Labor in order to destroy the party from inside, harm its image and kiss up to the heads of Kadima.”
Cabel responded by mocking the pressure campaign against him and thanking Barak for giving him such good public relations.
“They can’t do anything to me,” Cabel said. “They can’t prove that I negotiated with another party, and they can’t stop me from speaking to anyone. I still pay my membership dues to Labor, I haven’t voted against the government and I haven’t been as tough on Barak as others have in my public statements.”
Meanwhile, Mitzna met Thursday with Meretz head Haim Oron and denied reports that he had decided to seek the Labor leadership.
He said that despite Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer’s call for him to run, he was far from making a decision about whether to return to national politics and if so, with which party.
Sources close to Barak denied a report on the cover of Ma’ariv that Barak had asked Mitzna to run for the Labor leadership and had indicated that he himself would not run.