Barak rivals: Clouds are hanging over him, too

Defense Minister Ehud Barak's political opponents in the Labor Party mocked him on Sunday for asserting that he was cleaner than the heads of the other major parties. Speaking at a Labor Youth convention, Barak said, "If a fraction of the clouds of suspicion hovering over the heads of leaders of other parties were also hovering over any of the members of my party, Labor members would be asking them to step down." Barak was referring to the Winograd Committee, the ongoing police investigations against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and a new investigation into opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu that was published Friday in Yediot Aharonot. Political opponents of Barak in Labor said he had no right to make such accusations when the National Fraud Squad in Bat Yam was still investigating allegations of forgeries in the June Labor primary. Labor central elections committee head Amnon Strassnov filed a police complaint about irregularities in the Druse and Arab sectors. "From the posh Akirov Tower in Tel Aviv where Barak lives, the clouds are below, so I guess he doesn't see them," one Barak opponent said. "That's what happens when you live in a skyscraper. The clouds hover under you, but they are still there." Another Barak opponent accused him of "acting like a political hack instead of a party leader" and "smirking with a cynical Barak smile" when he made the statement. Barak's spokesman responded that "those in the party who lack the esprit de corps to help, should at least not interfere and harm the party from within."