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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Problem of Israeli Political Schizophrenia

The Israeli Labor Party just elected a new leader, Avi Gabbay.  The Labor Party was for decades the dominant political force in Israel.  It ruled the country from Israeli independence in 1948 until 1977 when the Likud won its first election.  Labor came back into power at various times after that.  In the last 15 years, however, the Labor Party has gotten smaller and smaller.  It is now a mere shadow of its former self.

It's not hard to understand how this came about.  All you have to do is listen to what the new leader has to say about one issue:  the future of Jerusalem.  Gabbay's position is at best schizophrenic.  He says he supports keeping Jerusalem unified while at the same time advocating for turning over control of the city's Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority.  I'm not making this up; these are the man's actual views.  He wants to splinter control of the city but to keep it unified.  That's like advocating a crack down on gun crimes while calling for a holiday on gun law enforcement.  There is no way to reconcile the two pieces of this position.

Without a doubt, the voters in Israel can see the internal contradiction in the Labor party positions.  Most likely, this sort of nonsense will consign Labor to the sidelines for the foreseeable future.  The party may even disappear.  It's a strange end for a party that was so strong not all that long ago.

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