Labor MK Stav Shaffir Calls on Labor Leader Herzog to Resign

Mitchell Plitnick
May 18, 2016 · 3 min read

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today brought the one right wing party in the opposition, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, into the government. This capped a tumultuous period where Netanyahu appeared to be courting the centrist Zionist Union party, raising a great deal of anger within that party from members, including most of the party leadership, that opposed such a deal.

MK Stav Shaffir, the #3 on the list of Labor Party MKs (Labor is the largest party in Zionist Union) has already been vocal in her opposition to joining the government. Now that the episode appears to have reached its conclusion, she issued a statement, in Hebrew, on her Facebook page calling on Herzog to resign.

I translate that statement here. Any errors in translation are obviously mine.

(Labor Party Chairman Isaac) Herzog must resign.

It is now clear that Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) used Herzog in order to bring (head of Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor) Lieberman into the government. Only yesterday, Herzog was trying to convince us that Bibi had changed and that he would take a “historic opportunity” to reach a political settlement. The same Netanyahu who has, for a decade, been working to try to make the world believe that he is committed to the vision of two states. The same Netanyahu whose natural allies are (head of far-right Jewish Home party Naftali) Bennett, (Jewish Home Knesset Member Betzalel) Smotrich, (Likud Knesset Member Ze’ev) Elkin and (Likud MK Oren) Hazon.

That this Prime Minister cynically uses all of our hopes for peace and a better future is something we all know and recognize. The face that the Chairman of the Labor Party decided to work hand in hand to justify his own hack moves — that is unforgivable. A leader who is incapable of distinguishing between a peace agreement Bibi and a Bibi who gives the Defense portfolio to Lieberman is not worthy of leading the Labor Party.

It does not matter if Herzog manages to crawl into the government or not. The practical result is that he has lost the public trust and the trust of most of his party — and now he must go.

How can Herzog, as leader of the opposition, take the podium and criticize government policy moments after doing everything he could to try to join it? Who will believe that we represent a worldview diametrically opposed to that of Netanyahu when the chairman of our party was willing to abandon our path just to get a job in his extremist government?

We need someone who opposes the terrible ways of Netanyahu not one who joins in the terrible ways of Netanyahu. Someone who comes to work in the Knesset every morning to fight with all their might for a better future — not someone who bankrupts this mission in exchange for a portfolio in a government that is busily undermining Israeli society.

In moments of surrender and crawling, all those who are unwilling to drop to their knees must stand tall. And we have many such good people. In fact, I am certain that most party members — and most of our voters — are opposed to crawling into this government. That’s why they voted for us. We, who are not ready to give up, are the majority.

Recent days have shown that, while there are those who have grown weary and given up, there are also those who have not lost hope and are willing to fight for the character of the State of Israel — because we have no other country.

Those who have participated in the awkward crawl into the worst government in the history of our country must put the keys on the table and go home.

Mitchell Plitnick

Written by

Pres. ReThinking Foreign Policy, columnist, speaker, former VP Fdn for Middle East Peace, Director B'Tselem USA, and Co-director Jewish Voice for Peace.

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