Israeli Left-wing Party Meretz Fumes as It’s Left Off Initial List of Rabin Rally Speakers

'Memory can’t be bought with money. Neither can peace,' the party said in a statement

FILE Photo: Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi of the Likud.
Mark Israel Salem

An initial, partial list of speakers who will address next week’s Tel Aviv rally in memory of Yitzhak Rabin includes Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay, opposition chairman Tzipi Livni, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi of Likud, rally organizers with the Darkenu movement said Wednesday.

Although the list is not complete, Meretz members were infuriated that they hadn’t been included. “Those who sang ‘The Song of Peace’ at Rabin’s side have been distanced from the rally while those who stood on the balcony and incited will be there. Memory can’t be bought with money. Neither can peace,” the party said in a statement. “Since the emcee of the evening hasn’t yet been announced, we hope it won’t be Itamar Ben-Gvir,” referring to the Kahanist activist and lawyer who was prominent in the malevolent anti-Oslo demonstrations before Rabin’s murder.

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Darkenu CEO Polly Bronstein said the list was not complete and that Meretz was not being excluded from the rally, which marks the 23rd anniversary of Rabin’s assassination.

On Monday, Meretz chairman MK Tamar Zandberg discussed Meretz’s exclusion, as she put it, at the start of the Knesset faction’s meeting. “It should be clear, the exclusion of Meretz from Rabin Square is a victory for incitement and silencing. It’s a red line for the peace camp. Dialogue – yes. Democracy – of course. Broadening the ranks – we’re in favor. But not at the expense of excluding the main partners to Rabin’s path.”

She continued, “To smoothen Meretz’s participation, I was offered a deal during the past few days: Meretz will participate only if Ayelet Shaked or another senior figure from the settler right also speaks. As if to say, only if loyalty laws, censorship, clipping the wings of the courts, settlement and restricting democracy get a platform – only then can we also hear the message of peace.”

The Darkenu movement stated, “The rally will be held this year to protest the division and incitement in Israel and to call for clean public political debate, especially since we are going into an election year.” Bronstein said, “Meretz’s wild response is unjustified because they haven’t yet received an answer. What Tamar did was run to the media and shout ‘exclusion’ although she hadn’t gotten an answer to her question.”