Palestine/Israel News and Information
The myth of Amir Peretz’ Revolution Shraga Elam
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005
It is very interesting how a myth is being created. The new case is of Amir Peretz as the authentic voice of the Mizrahim, of the oppressed and discriminated Jews inside Israel and also the voice of peace.
His programmatic speech was transmitted today almost fully over the Israeli radio Reshet Beth.
What is Peretz political message to the Palestinians?
He asserted in very aggressive tone:
1) No to the Right of Return (RoR)
2) No to dividing of Jerusalem
3) No to Geneva Initiative
4) A consequent fight against Palestinian terrorism
On this background his declaration that he wants to achieve peace, that there is a Palestinian partner for peace negotiations and that he believe that a Palestinian state is in the interest of Israel [what kind of?] sound rather hollow. There is no new vision here and Sharon could have said the same things.
Peretz attacked Azmi Bishara and other Palestinian leaders inside Israel who don’t want to cooperate with him on this basis. In a very demagogic ton, like the rest of his speech, he accused these Arab leaders that the RoR is more important for them than the welfare of the older people in their own society.
Obviously Peretz got also a lesson in game theory from Professor Robert Aumann the new Nobel Prize Laureate. He believes that the situation of the Palestinians is so bad that they’ll agree to make more concessions than they have already made.
But is to be held of his social message?
Here what a real authentic Mizrahi voice, Itzhak Jackie Edri, a leader of the unorganized contractors workers from Dimona wrote about Peretz in 14.1.2005: “Amir Peretz stands in the same line as the workers’ exploiters: Manpower companies, sub-contractors, cleaning and security companies, the government that back them and the big companies that use their services in order not to fulfil their obligations.” (www.tapuz.co.il/tapuzforum/main/Viewmsg.asp?forum=865&msgid=45797140)
Edri critisized Peretz that he did not want to help the struggle of this group of weak workers; those who work for contractors as cleaners, security guards, maintenance personnel and in other low-paying jobs. They are never included in the contracts signed by the Histadrut, the roof organization of the trade unions. Peretz, according to Edri and not only to him, represents only the interests of the strongest trade unions.
In an article in Ha’aretz from today it is reported that Peretz did not support a legislative initiative aimed at improving the economic situation of the poorest Israeli workers.
“ Among those opposing the bill were Shas, which makes pretensions about representing the weak, and the Labor Party headed by Peretz. (Labor MK Yuli Tamir was the exception in supporting the bill.) Peretz himself left the Knesset floor before the vote. His spokesmen explained that as long as Labor is part of the government, it is obligated by coalition discipline. They just forgot that Peretz already refused several months ago to cosponsor the bill when [Shinui MP Yigal] Yasinov came to ask for his support.”
Even an shkenazi calling to vote for Peretz, Uri Heitner, sees in him only the lesser evil.
“I’m very far from being a supporter of Amir Peretz. On the political questions he is insignificant, because there is not much difference between his views and the views of his rivals…
I negate his way as the Histadrut head. Peretz is the patron of the strong and large unions and supported the unjust struggles that they led. Struggles that did not expresse a way of social solidarity but of the capitalistic jungle ˆ the one that has power will use it and will reach achievements. As the Histadrut head his hand was very easy, too easy, on the trigger of the weapon of general strike on the back of the Israeli citizens especially of the weakest. On the other hand as the really weak workers, the employees of the local municipalities did not get salaries for many months almost two years past till the first hair in his moustache moved and he led to a justified general (partial) strike. For sure I detest the improper ways how he mobilized members for his [internal] election campaign.
In a week that the Israeli citizens could inflate their ego ˆ we won again the world championship. This time it came out that we are leading the Western world in the percentage of older people living under the poverty line. This achievement is added to the other achievements like the Western world championship in the number of children living under the poverty line, in the salaries gap, in trade with women and corruption. All these are the smelly fruits of the anti social economical policy of the last years. It is time that a socialdemocrat party will be established in Israel. An even if to forward this goal we have to make a compromise on such bad candidate like Amir Peretz ˆ the choice in the lesser evil is better.”
A radical leftist who identifies himself by the name Ziv formulates very concisely the critique against Peretz:
“Just like Rabin [goal] was no peace but the continuation of oppression through sub contractors … Peretz [goal] is no socialism and welfare. He [Peretz] is no more than a loud talkative collaborator [with the big business].
Over many years there is a cruel exploitation of work immigrants in Israel and Peretz keeps quiet.
In the last years [this exploitation] developed into manhunt and Peretz doesn’t say a word.
Workers living in conditions worse than animals are thrown into pens by the state. Peretz is silent.
Even his latest “achievement”, the payment of salaries to the employees of the local municipalities was achieved more than a year too late.
One cannot talk at all about protecting Arab workers. This is a trade union for Jews.
… This racist collaborator should be thrown together with his despicable party to the garbage can of history. They made enough damage.”
The Ha’aretz journalist Tom Segev quotes Uzi Bara’am, the former secretary of the Labor party as saying that Amir Peretz is his “creation”. Bara’am realized that the Ashenazi dominated Labor party needed urgently some Mizrahim and he pushed Peretz. Bara’am defines himself as Peretz’ patron. Another such patron is the big industrialist Benni Gaon who in 1991 sent Rottweiler dogs against striking workers.
Peretz is a very part of the old dirty Labor party. He knows all the tricks and he is part of them Shimon Peres got him back to the party in order to neutralize then Ehud Barak. After Barak left, Peretz stayed there and last week he had to fight against a coalition between Peres and Barak. Times and coalitions change…