Labor activists want ministers out

Planning late night vigils at home to force resignation.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 22, 2010 01:33
2 minute read.
girls at tel-aviv protest

Tel Aviv protest 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Two weeks after Likud members received phone calls “from” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling for the resumption of construction in Judea and Samaria, Labor members received calls on Wednesday “from” former prime ministers David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin.

A group of Labor activists has copied the recorded-message gimmick used against Likud ministers by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, in an effort to pressure Labor ministers to leave Netanyahu’s government. The campaign features excerpts from Rabin’s speech the night he was assassinated and a message from Ben- Gurion about how the party founded the state and must therefore preserve it.

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The phone calls invited the Labor members to a rally that will be held at Tel Aviv University Thursday night, inaugurating the “Stop Israel from Self-Destructing” campaign.

Further copying the settlers, the main speaker at the event will be Labor chairman Ehud Barak’s former bureau chief Gilad Sher. Netanyahu’s former bureau chief Naftali Bennett heads the settlers’ council.

The campaign will blame Netanyahu, and not US President Barack Obama or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, for the lack of direct peace talks that the prime minister has been promoting since he took office 15 months ago. It will pressure Labor ministers Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman to quit the cabinet posts that they have used to push for peace talks, and join Kadima and Meretz in the opposition.

“The reason there haven’t been direct peace talks is not because of Obama, but because the government speaks in so many messages,” said campaign director Dedi Suissa, who is a former Barak aide.

“The Arab world and the world at large doesn’t want to deal with a right-wing government. We don’t want Labor to provide kosher authorization for an extreme right-wing government that is destroying the country. We have no reason to commit suicide with them.”

No current politicians will speak at the rally, which will be followed up by late night and early morning vigils outside the homes of Herzog and Braverman in Tel Aviv. The Labor activists will wear black at the vigils “to mourn Israel’s impending self-destruction.”

Should direct talks not begin by the time Netanyahu’s 10-month West Bank construction moratorium ends on September 26, the anti-Herzog and -Braverman campaign will intensify in an effort to force them to quit by the symbolic deadline of November 4, the 15th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination.

“We started this campaign to tell ministers to advance peace or go home,” campaign spokeswoman Dana Oren said.

“They say that Barak is the most powerful minister in the cabinet. If he really has so much power, now is the time for him to use it.”


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