'It's not easy for me to be proved wrong.' Peretz on Election Day
Photo: Amir Cohen

Sucker, I've had it

I believed you were ideological, but I was wrong. An open letter to Amir Peretz

Dear Amir,


Over the course of the recent campaign, you claimed many times to be an ideologue, that you wanted to lead the country because you had clear ideas about what would be good for the people of Israel.


I believed you. I believed you when you spoke of putting social issues at the top of the national agenda, something I still believe changed the nature of Israel's political discourse. I believed you were a different sort of politician – someone driven by ideas rather than power, a man who would remain true to his beliefs the day after Election Day, as opposed to so many others, and would continue on the path that led people to vote for him.


Maybe I'm naïve, but I thought that all the folks who failed to take you seriously, who viewed you as no more than a curious "phenomenon", were no more than cynics who'd lost the ability to identify a true ideologue standing right in front of their faces.


No more than an image


With one statement, that it is not at all clear if you have any intention of fulfilling, you managed to do away with this entire image. Apparently it really was no more than an image.


A coalition with the right-wing? Of all the things you could possibly have said – a coalition with the right? What happened to negotiations with the Palestinians? To strengthening moderate forces in the PA? To unilateral withdrawal in the absence of other possibilities?


What happened to minimum wage, instead of greasing the pockets of the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) politicians? You proved that you, too, have no limits when it comes to the game of Knesset seats called coalition negotiations.


How could it be?


In the best case scenario, you brought up this possibility as an attempt to give yourself more leverage for negotiations. In the worst case, you really did want to see it through, if only it were possible.


Either way, we are speaking about a coalition with parties that have little connection to the stances and beliefs that inspired most people who voted for the Labor Party. More correctly, there is no connection.


This absurd idea, whether possible or not, stands in direct contradiction to everything you represent in my eyes, and, if I'm not mistaken, in the eyes of many other Labor voters.


Spit in our faces


We believed in you, and you spit in our faces. There is no other way to put it. The criticism your colleagues leveled at you was the understatement of the year.


It's not easy for me to be proved wrong. For months, I tried to convince my friends, to explain that the time has come to vote for true ideology, rather than corrupt politics, to put the social agenda above the generals who flood the political arena, to give our votes to someone who was more than "just another" politician interested in little more than passing out personal favors – salaries, bonuses and government cars.


I admit it: I was excited to put the "Labor" ballot in the envelope last Tuesday. I felt this election was fateful, and that for at least one day, I, the little guy, had the opportunity to influence the future.


Voting for Labor


I voted for you, in contrast to many of my friends. I didn't go with the "worst of a bad lot." Many people wanted Kadima to win, but voted to strengthen the Labor Party because the elections had already been decided by Election Day.


Not me. I had no problem voting for a Moroccan leader. To the contrary: I hoped with all my heart there would be a revolution. I wanted Amir Peretz to be prime minister of Israel. My prime minister.


I thought you were up to the task, that your agenda was correct. I believed you would fight for a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians and that you would halt our descent into destructive capitalism.


I believed, hoped, that you were not "just another" politician.


Now, it has become clear that you are prepared to do anything to improve your position for negotiations. That you are no less cynical than those who refused to believe you really were an ideologue.


Sucker, I've had it.


Aya Ben-Amos is an editor at Ynet


פרסום ראשון: 04.04.06, 09:36
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