Yes, Dismantle It

In our arid political landscape, from which olives and figs and grapevines have been uprooted, Labor is a thorn bush. Fire has shot forth from it and burned down the clubhouse.

We have already accompanied it on its final journey several times, yet at the last moment, from among the shrouds, it moved a finger, blinked an eyelid.

Two weeks ago, Bernard-Henri Levy urged that it be dismantled: "It is losing the last vestige of its soul," he said, "and it must pass from the world." And he added, "rarely have I encountered politicians who invested so much energy in self-destruction. If they were the only ones, it wouldn't be so serious."

For a moment I considered contacting him to find out to which party he was referring, but then it suddenly became clear to me from the text: He was referring to the French Socialist Party.

It, too, is a glorious "historic party," with deep roots and many virtues, whose entire future is behind it; it, too, has produced great leaders - from Jean Juarez, who wanted to prevent war and paid with his life, through Leon Blum, who refused to participate in bourgeois governments and was eventually elected prime minister on behalf of the Popular Front, to Francois Mitterand, who restored the party's former glory.

The French party has also suffered humiliating defeats in the past decade: First, in 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen pushed its presidential candidate out of the race; then, in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy beat Segolene Royal by a wide margin; and this year, he defeated the party again in elections for the European Parliament, while it barely escaped being pushed into third place by Daniel Cohn-Bendit's Greens.

And it, too, is being torn to shreds by internal quarrels.

Does all this sound familiar to us? Of course, ad nauseam.

Thus we hereby join the French philosopher and urge the dismantling of the Israeli Labor Party, "to eliminate this sick body as soon as possible," in Levy's words. Yes, dismantle it.

There is no more use for it; it is a broken vessel. As long as it occupies the left's slot - though it cannot differentiate between its right and its left hand - there will be no resurrection for the labor movement. No entity will be created in its place until it is cleared from the junkyard.

Do we need this Labor in order to privatize state lands and pal around with business moguls? Do we need it to cast lead and strengthen settlements instead of evacuating them? Without it, will there be nobody to lie to America and deceive the world? Will there be nobody to sit together at the same table with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman? And how will they throw Palestinian refugees out of their homes in East Jerusalem - you expelled, you inherited and you remained silent - without Isaac Herzog of the Welfare Ministry and Avishai Braverman of Minority Affairs and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai shutting their eyes for the sake of Zion?

In our arid political landscape, from which olives and figs and grapevines have been uprooted, Labor is a thorn bush. Fire has shot forth from it and burned down the clubhouse.

Sometimes, there is no difference between people's credos, but there is a difference between the people themselves, even if they have stopped believing. But even with a high-powered microscope, you cannot distinguish between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Labor. It is amazing how similar they are in their character and behavior, and for years already, it has been hard to decide which of the two has the more conflicted and contentious nature.

If Netanyahu - a former concerned citizen - is causing us tremendous concern, Barak is destroying our hope as well.