'Yacimovich too supportive of PM in Gaza conflict'

Oppenheimer and other activists say Labor didn't differentiate itself enough, must call for long-term solutions and criticize Netanyahu.

Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich 521 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM / THE JERUSALEM POST)
Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich 521
Labor activists voiced opposition to party leader Shelly Yacimovich's behavior during Operation Pillar of Defense on Thursday, saying she aligned herself with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
A parody blog called "Shelly Yeminovich," a play on her last name and the Hebrew word for right-wing, featured a photoshopped picture of Yacimovich standing in an outpost with a giant knitted kippah on her head.
"Yeminovich" posted a clip of Yacimovich speaking out against a ceasefire on Channel 1 News. Another post featured an Eretz Nehederet sketch in which a comedian playing Netanyahu thanked the woman who supported him – Yacimovich.
Former Peace Now secretary-general and Labor candidate Yariv Oppenheimer said that in a time of war, it is important to show patriotism and be careful in criticism, but still differentiate Labor's path from that of Netanyahu and the Likud in diplomatic issues.
"After four years of Netanyahu with no diplomatic progress, it is important that Labor say something," Oppenheimer explained. "We must remind the public how we're different and call for a long-term diplomatic solution with the Palestinian people, while the Likud is just trying to buy time."
Party activist Assaf Halachmi said that Yacimovich's support of Operation Pillar of Defense reflected the opinions of most Labor members. He pointed out that one-third of Israel's population was under attack and that, as a candidate for prime minister, it was the right thing for her to call for the IDF to stop that situation.
According to Halachmi, Yacimovich did not do enough to clearly differentiate between Labor and the government, and she should have supported the operation in terms of ensuring quiet for residents of the South while criticizing the government.
"The criticism is that Yacimovich and the party did not emphasize the fact that support for the operation does not cancel the major differences in opinion in issues of society, economics and diplomacy, and specifically that the Netanyahu government's inaction led to the military situation in the South," Halachmi explained.
The activist also voiced opposition to Yacimovich's call to freeze all primary campaigning during the operation.
"Not only is this undemocratic, because the primary date is on November 29, but specifically at this time we must work insistently to change the government and build a strong, high-quality list," he added.