Labor rebels forming new movement
Four MKs to launch movement with ideological forum at Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 19, 2009 23:24
2 minute read.
paz pines 248 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The four Labor rebel MKs will launch a new political movement next month, laying the groundwork for what could eventually become a new party that would aim to replace Labor.
MKs Ophir Paz-Pines, Eitan Cabel, Yuli Tamir and Amir Peretz decided in recent meetings that breaking off from Labor at this stage would cause too many legal problems and could result in them having to pay part of the party's astronomical debt.
They chose instead to form a new political movement that would not yet be a party, but could eventually become one. The advantage of forming a movement and not a party are that it causes no legal problems and it allows the four MKs to already start raising money under the guise of a non-profit organization.
"The movement will be a skeleton for a future party," a source among the rebels said. "The MKs can't get away with quitting Labor yet, but they are allowed to join as many ideological, non-parliamentary movements as they want."
The movement will be launched with an ideological forum at the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv. More than 100 top Labor activists, former MKs and mayors will be invited to the event.
The goal of the event is not only to flex the Labor rebels' political muscles but also to emphasize that the MKs' dispute with Labor chairman Ehud Barak is ideological and not personal.
A source among the rebels pointed with pride at a Dahaf Institute poll broadcast on the Knesset Channel this week that found that most Labor voters believed the rebels' struggle was ideological and just and not personal and political. The poll found that Labor would fall to 10 seats in the next election and that a new party led by the rebels could pass the electoral threshold.
A name has not been chosen yet for the new movement, and the rebels have not decided who among them is the leader. They also have not decided yet whether their new party would run on its own or try to join up with Meretz or Kadima.
"The election is still far away," a rebel source said. "This far before the election in the US, no one thought Barack Obama would win. An international diplomatic process led by Obama could spur a new leftist party to advance Obama's agenda."
An official close to Barak responded that the four MKs should quit the Knesset and return their mandates to the party. The official pointed out that this was what former MK Ephraim Sneh did when he formed his Israel Hazaka party ahead of the last election.
A rebel source responded that Barak was just worried that if the four MKs broke off from Labor, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be forced by pressure from Likud Ministers-without-portfolios to give two of Labor's ministries to them.
"Barak did everything possible to undermine Amir Peretz when Peretz was leader of Labor and Barak was just a private citizen, so he should be the last one to criticize us," the source said.