'Peretz is making bad mistakes'

Aides urge Labor head to speak more optimistically about Israel's future.

amir peretz 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
amir peretz 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Labor chairman Amir Peretz has made every mistake possible en route to his drop in the polls from 27 to 19 in a fourweek period, Peretz's own advisers told The Jerusalem Post on Monday and Tuesday. Peretz has his share of critics inside and outside of Labor, who have been vocal about the Labor leader's missteps. But more significantly, Peretz's own advisers found no less than five serious blunders that he had made recently. The most obvious mistake, according to the advisers, was that Peretz avoided speaking about everything other than socio-economic issues. They said Peretz's views on the matter were well-known and he should have been building up his reputation as someone who knows something about where Israel should draw its borders, matters of religion and state and other issues. According to the advisers, Peretz should speak more optimistically about Israel's future and refrain from giving his usual doomsday scenarios about how bleak things will be if anyone other than him is elected. They said that Labor supporters were natural optimists and people wanted to hear that things would get better soon. The third mistake was failing to keep former Labor chairman Shimon Peres in the party. They said that Peres would not have jumped ship to Kadima had Peretz not made him feel unwanted. The advisers made no mention of former prime minister Ehud Barak, who Peretz shunned similarly, but who was not missed by Peretz's people. Labor MK Shalom Simhon, who is close with Barak, said he believed Peretz wanted both Peres and Barak in the party, but that he had been blocked by top Labor MKs like National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Minister-without-Portfolio Matan Vilna'i, who were afraid that Barak might steal the Defense portfolio from them. Simhon said that Labor bylaws permitted Peretz to put two people on the Labor list after the January 17 party primary. But Peretz's spokesman said enough efforts had been made to attract the two and Peres and Barak both said privately that they were not interested. The fourth and fifth mistakes were more cosmetic. They said that Peretz needed to grow out his mustache more because the shorter it was, the more he looked like Russian dictator Josef Stalin. And they said that Peretz needed to look more professional and wear ties. "He should never allow himself to be photographed holding a chicken ever again," a Peretz adviser said. Channel 10 reported on Tuesday that Peretz had fired campaign manager Moti Morell and demoted him to "assistant." Peretz's spokesman responded that Morell was never the campaign manager and that his title had not been changed. Morell said that he had not even been asked to prepare a campaign for Peretz yet. He warned that the officials around Peretz were blocking him from becoming involved and that Peretz would pay the price for it. "I wish him well with his social revolution," Morell said. "If Peretz would have started a campaign with me immediately after he became Labor chairman, he would currently have 30 mandates, but he didn't and that's why his support has fallen."