Saturday, February 07, 2009

Why I'll Vote For Meretz

I have finally come to a decision who to vote for in Tuesday's Knesset elections. After careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion that for dovish Zionists, even the most moderate of them, there is no real choice. Meretz is our only option.

First of all, I'll explain why all the other parties are not worth a vote. Obviously, Likud and parties to the right of it are not an option for anyone who believes in the land for peace, two-state solution.

Between Benjamin Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, I'd rather see Tzipi Livni as prime minister. The two others are members of the "four worst Israeli prime ministers club", along with Ehud Olmert and Golda Meir, and both seem to be more hawkish than Livni. However, I will not vote for Kadima. Even if it becomes the largest party, the right wing will still be the largest parliamentary bloc, and Livni will not be able to form a government, unless Avigdor Lieberman decides to join her instead of a Likud government. Lieberman is Israel's Jorg Haider. His presence in the Israeli government will not only bring down chances of peace to zero, it will also endanger our democracy.

I will not vote for Labor, either. I am a member of the party and voted for it in 2006, despite my disdain for Amir Peretz, who was then head of the party. Back then, I knew Peretz would not become prime minister, so I voted for them at least so they'll be as large as possible. I'm not going to do that now. They have some excellent candidates, who I'd normally vote for happily (like I did in the primaries), but Barak is almost as hawkish as Netanyahu, and he has said he would not object to sitting in the same government as Lieberman. So a vote for Labor is a vote for Yisrael Beitenu.

Another option is the small list The Green Movement-Meimad. This is a joint list of two moderate left parties. One of them, Meimad, ran with Labor during the last couple of elections. The head of the joint list, Meimad chairman Michael Malchior, is one of the finest Knesset members we've had in recent years. Unlike the other environmental parties running this year, it isn't a one-issue party. It also tackles social and national security issues from a moderate point of view. The problem is that they may not cross the 2% threshold, so a vote for them may be a vote wasted.

Chadash is a communist and anti-Zionist party. Both are big no-noes for me. The other Arab parties are even further from my views.

That leaves me with Meretz, a party which is too naive regarding the Palestinians but seems to be the only Zionist party not naive at all regarding the danger posed by Avigdor Lieberman. They have pledged not to join a government where Yisrael Beitenu is also at the table. They are to the left of me on both national security/peace and socio-economic issues, but when all the rest are radically to the right of me, it will be good to hear at least a few voices for peace and justice in the Knesset. The issue where Meretz and I are in almost perfect agreement is secularism. Unfortunately, the party has neglected this issue lately, but hopefully will pick it up again in the 18th Knesset.

Meretz will probably remain in the opposition. That's fine with me. With Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, or with any government that includes Lieberman, a strong, sane opposition is important.

1 comment:

  1. I totally respect your deliberation and I come from a similar political background (years of floating between Meretz and Labor, with occassional fits of "maybe Chadash...noooo."). For me, the combination of Green Movement and Meimad was to good to be true (I am at once an environmentalist and I joined Labor back in 1996 just because of Meimad). But. We (Green Movement-Meimad) will pass the threshold if you help us! And as Alon Tal likes to say - is voting for the same parties that fail to deliver on what you're voting for considered "passing the threshold?" Anyway, in case I can get you to reconsider one last time... Enjoy election day.