Peace Now and Meretz both supported the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip. Several readers of the Alternative Information Center’s website have asked why, during the Israeli massacre in Gaza last month, I did not limit my attacks to the government and the parties that are in this government, bur added Peace Now and Meretz to the list of those who have to be criticized and blamed. The answer is, unfortunately, very simple: because they have openly and unconditionally supported the aggression, and defended the government’s rationale behind it.
According to Peace Now and Meretz, the aggression against the people of Gaza was justified, indeed necessary. Repeating like parrots the arguments of the government, “Gaza” was a threat to Israel security, and a preemptive strike was the only way to protect the very existence of Israel. Like the right-wing, the Zionist left didn’t make any distinction between Gaza population, Hamas government and the marginal groups that were firing pathetic rockets on Sderot. “Gaza” is a terrorist entity and should be eradicated or at least severely punished. “Gaza delenda est.”
Only on 15 January, Peace Now general secretary, Yariv Openheimer, published a statement calling on the government “to stop at once the attack on the center of Gaza. […] The conditions are now matured for a ceasefire, and every additional day of fighting is morally illegitimate.” Three days later, after the ceasefire, Peace Now published a new statement: “We need to use the blow suffered by Hamas and to make this movement irrelevant through an agreement with Abu Mazen.” The same week Peace Now published a paid advertisement in Haaretz with the title: “Now it is time to speak.” In other words: the Gaza massacre was fully justified, but it shall now be followed by negotiations with Mahmud Abbas.
In an article published in Meretz website, Daniel Caletti, a former Peace Now/Meretz activist wrote: “The worst was, of course, the final betrayal of Meretz […] with its support for the last war in Gaza, the ‘children’s massacre war.’ MK Haim Oron even forbid [!!!] his colleagues in the Knesset from demonstrating against this bloody war.” While explaining the collapse of Meretz in the last elections, Caletti comments: “The true leftist voters left Meretz and voted instead for Hadash, while the rightists-disguised-into-confused-leftists deserted to Kadima, in order ‘to strengthen Tsipi’.”
One must add that this new betrayal of the Zionist Left was not supported by all the leadership of Meretz, and leaders like Mossi Raz and Galia Golan took part in the demonstrations against the Gaza massacre and didn’t hide how ashamed they were of the position of their movement.
The electoral fiasco of Meretz confirms that Left-Zionism has reached a dead-end. The non-Zionist Left now has the historical responsibility to build a new political home for the many thousands of orphans of Meretz/Peace Now who didn’t choose to join Kadima as a supposedly lesser evil. And we must do it without compromising on principles, but also without irresponsible sectarianism.