Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meretz: Wrong for the Wrong Reasons

In last year's elections Meretz, Israel's farthest-Left Zionist party, barely squeaked into the Knesset with three MKs. Being a party of upright burghers, they set up a commission of inquiry to honestly look into the causes of their near demise, and to suggest how to avert full demise next time. Unsurprisingly, the commission was headed by a professor: probably part of the problem.

The commission made lots of scatter-shot recommendations, from disbanding into some other party (three were suggested), to figuring out what it stands for, to sending up younger representatives (as if age poses a problem in other parties).

Here's a quick thesis: the problem with Meretz isn't its positions, many of which are applied sooner or later by the parties in government, but it's tone. The folks at Meretz are profoundly convinced they're better than the rest of us, the rest of us are ghastly, and they have very little acquaintance with or empathy for the cognitive, cultural or emotional moorings the rest of us share. This is not a good way to win elections.


peterthehungarian said...

The problem with Meretz that they became an "single issue" party.
Since Ran Cohen left politics they lost every connection with the ordinary people, abandoned the fight for their original social democratic values. Having halfwits as MKs - like Ms. Zahava Gal-On who demanded from the government to publish the details of the bombing of the Syrian reactor doesn't help either.

AKUS said...

The problem that Meretz faces, rather than the problem with Meretz, is that Palestinian intransigence has discredited their attempts to reach their goals.

You can't tango by yourself and expect to win "Israeli Idol"

Dr. Evil said...

For years Meretz put all their political eggs on one basket. Namely, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. That was deemed more important than any other social problem.

Like many Israelis, I thought that this was a good idea at the time. But, when the peace process failed, Meretz leaders could not face the fact that a lot of the responsibility was on the Palestinian side. (It is granted that we have made mistakes of our own.) They would say, it was mostly our fault. If we only did a bit more it would be different.

However, it was clear to most of their voters that it would not have been different if we just offered a bit more. It was clear that the party could have not face reality - and that in the issue closest to their heart. It is not surprising that most of their voters, myself included, have deserted them.

To gain my vote back, they would first have to realise what went wrong. So far, they have not given me any indication that they are capable of doing so.

Dr. Evil said...

In an interesting coincidence, Ari Shavit have just published an article echoing the same sentiment as in my previous comment. The Hebrew version is here:

NormanF said...

Socialism doesn't work anywhere in the world its been applied. Its an oxymoron even in Europe.

Its been tried in Israel to no good success. Meretz tries to be both socialist and Zionist. That has led to it being hated by the international Left which has found it to be insufficiently socialist and hated by the Jews in Israel who find it to be insufficiently Zionist.

For those reasons, Meretz has failed and is unlikely to bridge the divide between the opposing poles of its ideology. No one wants it.