International Socialist Coalition Blasts Israeli Labor for Joining Netanyahu's Pro-annexation Government

Socialist International says it regrets that the party 'has chosen to take a path that contradicts its fundamental values and positions, damaging the prospects of peace in the Middle East'

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Labor's Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuli at a press conference in Tel Aviv, March 12, 2020.
Labor's Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuli at a press conference in Tel Aviv, March 12, 2020.Credit: Daniel Bar-On
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

The Socialist International organization of global socialist-aligned parties criticized the Israeli Labor Party Friday for joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, who said it would expand settlement construction and annex parts of the West Bank.

In a statement, the organization reiterated that it has called on the international community to end the occupation of Palestinian territory and to remove obstacles to Palestinian self-determination. Netanyahu, it says, is pursuing annexation and settlement construction "in an attempt to permanently end the prospect of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. This policy at the same time undermines the standing of the State of Israel and the outlook for a future of peace and stability for its citizens."

Labor's decision to join that government runs counter to the organization's principles, "which require its members to support international action in favor of peace, tolerance, dialogue, understanding and cooperation among peoples," the statement said. "The SI deeply regrets that a party with a long and rich history in the global family of socialist, social democratic and labor parties has chosen to take a path that contradicts its fundamental values and positions, damaging the prospects of peace in the Middle East."

Labor MK Merav Michaeli, who opposes the decision to join Netanyahu's coalition, said Saturday that the organization is "putting a painful mirror in front of Israeli Labor party, reminding it of the values we are supposed to represent and fight for, not to give in to the complete opposite." She added, "As a member of Labor, I will vote against this dangerous government and will continue to insist on getting Labor back on track, so it can rebuild itself and the Israeli Zionist Left."

The Israeli Labor Party was a member of the Socialist International until 2018, when the organization officially embraced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and called for an end to all Israeli construction in settlements, including in Jerusalem. Israel's Meretz party, with which Labor ran on a joint slate in the previous election, still maintains its membership in the group. Socialist International currently counts over 140 international political parties and organizations from over 100 countries, including the British Labour Party.  

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