Israeli leftists hold national conference in Tel Aviv

Panels covered cooperation of different branches of the Left and how to return the Left to the forefront of Israeli politics.

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.
The national leftwing conference was held at the ZOA house in Tel Aviv and organizers said that the turnout was double what they expected.
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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.
Etai Mizrav, 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.”
Mizrav 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.”