Meretz Is All That Remains of the Israeli Left - and Is More Relevant Than Ever

Don't scorn the 'purists,' the 'refined' and the 'not pragmatic,' who are the salt of the earth, and without whom we are left only with the clods.

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Amos Oz speaking at a Meretz rally, February 12, 2015.Credit: Moti Milrod

The nationalist right lives in cognitive dissonance, or maybe cuckoo-nitive dissonance. On the one hand, it has managed in 30 years of rule to eliminate every remnant of the left in Israel. On the other hand, the left still horrifies them, controlling the court system and higher education, the media and the culture – and they’re the ones who are afraid. So there’s no avoiding it: Against those who come to destroy you, to demolish you, all Hotovelyan means must be used.

This is a matter of seeing a shadow of the left and mistaking it for a real left. After all, the heads of the Zionist Union, both Isaac Herzog-Tzipi Livni and Shelly Yacimovich already announced that their party was never leftist, and never will be. So why does the right keep searching for their subversion and betrayal under their every vow of loyalty, instead of just leaving them alone? Because that is the way of anti-Semites: Even a place that is empty of Jews is full of hatred for them.

Without a scapegoat, who will Benjamin Netanyahu blame? Who will serve as the victim for his failures? The Arabs “in their droves” won’t suffice by themselves, so let’s recruit collaborators to help them and help the nation.

I have kept this secret in my heart since Isaac Herzog was elected head of the Labor Party and candidate of our “camp” for prime minister: No, this candidacy will not succeed because it offers no substantial alternative; it has no solid material from which leadership is fashioned. Herzog is liquid, and you can’t sculpt anything from that.

I didn’t reveal my secret at the relevant time because I didn’t want to do damage. Perhaps a miracle would happen, but a miracle didn’t happen. The newspaper editors will certainly reprimand me now for biased writing. Still, how could I behave otherwise? War is war, and maybe this war would be the last one.

If Herzog couldn’t beat Netanyahu at his lowest point, then sometimes one feels the urge to join him. As if to show one’s personal suitability to sit together with all the brothers, to link the destruction of Nice Guy Bougie to the destruction of Tisha B’Av – Gush Katif as the Second Temple. He even volunteered to torture his soul in Washington – to spill out Netanyahu the Incompetent’s fury on the goyim who signed the agreement with Iran. Not the prime minister, but the prime minister’s messenger, and America will no doubt fall at his feet.

This week he finally revealed his alternative diplomatic plan, which the media demoted to the fringes of the margins. Is it possible to measure the importance of a serious plan based on the one, Labor MK Hilik Bar, who submitted it, or on the other, Likud MK Oren Hazan, who replied to it? The Herzog plan versus the Netanyahu plan: Both have the same chances of coming to fruition.

It’s easier to deal with high politics than to take out the garbage. No word about Sussia, which is about to be destroyed a fourth time; no word on behalf of the organizations breaking the omerta; a forked tongue regarding the corruption of the Jewish National Fund and the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division; and abandonment of the African refugees for something called “transparency” – so transparent and so impenetrable. Don’t depose our Bougie, he who was destined for greatness in dealing with trivialities.

When Netanyahu is the deep right, Herzog the shallow right and Yair Lapid won’t be caught without a kippa on his head, a prayer shawl on his back and barf bag around his neck for all that reeks of leftism or secularism – that’s when Meretz is more relevant than ever. It won’t die, but will live. It is neither diluted nor compromised. Without Meretz, there is no left, just a rocky right and a sandy center. Precisely in the desert is where a voice is needed to be heard, and where a path is needed to be cleared.

So don’t scorn the “purists,” the “refined” and the “not pragmatic” who are the salt of the earth, without whom we are left only with the clods. Don’t rush to give up on them, when the Labor Party is the same agrarian hanger-on I fled in loathing over 30 years ago. When Bibi and his partners spread filth, when they violate all that is to be violated, it is no tragedy if only a few are still around to pick up the pieces.

This is my comfort: Even after us, the name of Meretz will go before it and before us.

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