Rabin ceremony snubs Amir Peretz, angering Labor

Benny Gantz to headline memorial; no right-wing speakers invited.

Amir Peretz sports a new look – without his trademark moustache (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
Amir Peretz sports a new look – without his trademark moustache
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
Labor officials denounced the organizers of the annual memorial gathering for former prime minister and Labor leader Yitzhak Rabin on Saturday night in the Tel Aviv square in which he was assassinated, because its party leader MK Amir Peretz was not invited to speak.
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz will be the keynote speaker at the event, titled "Yes to Peace, No to Violence." No other politicians are expected to take part in the ceremony, which is organized by a non-profit focused on memorializing Rabin.
Labor MK Itzik Shmuli tweeted on Tuesday night: “A reminder to the organizers of the memorial who strangely refuse to have the Labor Party present on stage on Saturday night: The purpose of the ceremony is to preserve Rabin’s legacy and not erase it.
“Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, was chairman of the Labor Party, and was murdered because he led ideological and historic processes in [the party’s] name – even if that doesn’t work with the taste or considerations of the organizers,” Shmuly added.
MK Merav Michaeli, also of Labor, said that "Rabin was murdered when he was chairman of the Labor Party, when he acted to implement an ideology of peace between Israel and a Palestinian State. Labor continues to fight for this ideology, and it is unreasonable that our chairman Amir Peretz will not speak at the ceremony."
Democratic Union also came out against the organizers’ choice of speakers, saying that their decision “to exclude the Left’s leadership from the state hurts Rabin’s legacy…This is cooperation with the deviant de-legitimization campaign against the Israeli Left and its leaders. The ceremony’s organizers cannot be afraid to make clear statements. The large audience that goes to the ceremony and believes in peace, equality and democracy should have proper representation on the stage.”
Rabin’s granddaughter Noa Rothman ran in the last election with the Democratic Union, but did not get a seat in the Knesset.
The ceremony's organizers responded that “the peace camp includes the entire political spectrum, and all those who continue [Rabin’s] way will come to the square…We decided that MK Benny Gantz, who is the head of the Blue and White Party and has the mandate to form a government, will be the central speaker. Every other claim or statement is false and hurts the real purpose of the ceremony.”
No right-wing politician was invited to speak at Saturday night's ceremony either, even though Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi of Likud, spoke at last year's event.
Additional speakers include Shimon Shabas, the former director-general of the prime minister's office when Rabin was in power, and Yaron Zilberman, director of "Incitement," Israel's submission to the Academy Awards, about the lead-up to the assassination. Clips from the movie will be screened during the event.
An event organized by youth groups, bringing together Arab, Jewish, religious and secular youth, will be held in Rabin Square on November 10, the national memorial day for the former prime minister.
The Knesset will hold its memorial ceremony on the same day.