New movement to back Meretz for Knesset unveiled

Oron says goal is to fill vacuum in political establishment; ex-Labor MK Baram says his former party has been regressing for many years.

haim oron 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haim oron 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A new left-wing political movement that plans to back Meretz for the next Knesset was unveiled at a Tel Aviv press conference on Friday. The new group is made up of some 30 former Labor lawmakers, academics and businessmen, including former Labor politicians Avraham Burg and Uzi Baram, authors Amos Oz and David Grossman and Hebrew University law professor Mordechai Kremnitzer. "Labor has been regressing for many years, and not just because of [Labor chairman] Ehud Barak," said Baram. "This is an attempt to form a new left-wing party. It is true that Meretz is its central component and that there are still disagreements over the name, however, we have not come to join Meretz but to form a new alternative. Clearly the weakening and collapse of the Labor party from a public perspective has paved the way for us to do this." Oz criticized Barak's apparent inconsistencies. "Barak declared at Rabin Square his intention to move on with the peace process and he declared war on settler violence," he said. "But I then read in the newspaper that he is expanding settlements and approving construction in the territories. Our goal is to unite all those in despair over their parties and those who support peace, and to bring a new proposal to the public. I won't be there [on the party list] and I am not a politician, but Meretz chairman Haim Oron is the most suitable figure." Kremnitzer said that the aim of the new movement was to "create a democratic, social movement that will appeal to those both on the Right and the Left." Oron wrapped up the press conference by saying that that the goal was to "fill the vacuum in the political establishment, and [particularly] on the Left." On Thursday, Labor's Ophir Paz-Pines and Yuli Tamir announced that they would remain in Labor, despite Oron's offer for them to join his list. Meanwhile, Minister-without-Portfolio Ami Ayalon's future in Labor was still in doubt amid speculation that he planned to team up with Oron. Ayalon was set to meet Barak for talks later Friday.