Focus :Ehud Barak Unmasked (1-3)
In an unusual scandal even for cynical Israeli politics, "Defense" Minister Ehud Barak, together with a four other rather anonymous Knesset members, left the party officially named "Labor under the leadership of Ehud Barak" and turned into a satellite faction, ironically called "Independence," of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud.
In this case, as all along Barak’s public career, analysts tend to overemphasize the personal aspect of Barak’s treacherous conduct: with his leadership threatened within Labor, Barak feared his party might force him to leave the coalition and lose his post as minister of defense I’d like to claim that Barak’s latest move, as so many of his previous ones, can be better interpreted as a political statement motivated by his far-right militaristic, pro-occupation conviction. Ever since he entered politics, I have considered Barak to be one of the most dangerous politicians in the Middle East. His greatest achievement was, in the year 2000, the destruction of the Israeli peace camp, from which the Israeli left has not yet recovered. Traditionally, the Israeli right-wing’s position has been: "We don’t trust the Arabs (or Palestinians, Gentiles, anti-Semites), so we cannot make peace with them," whereas the left-wing was ready to take risks (specifically, withdrawal for occupied land) in order to try the option of peace.
Barak was elected Prime Minister in 1999 by the Israeli peace camp. But the professional warrior and former chief of staff was in fact a far-right Trojan horse within the Israeli left. The fact that he had consistently opposed the Oslo Process was silenced and forgotten, so that his rapid termination of that Process with the bloody Intifada in 2000 could be portrayed as a great surprise, not as a premeditated plan, and blamed on the Palestinians. For home and global consumption, Barak invented the legend that he generously offered the Palestinians to end the occupation, but that they refused. This lie was propagated by the uncritical Israeli media, and conceived as a true story – as if Barak had really offered to end the occupation; And then as a true history – as if Barak had actually ended the occupation. The Israeli left – deranged by the betrayal of its own leader and overwhelmed by the horrors of the Intifada – behaved as if Barak had actually withdrawn from the Palestinian Territories and dismantled the settlements, but the Palestinians in return had denied Israel’s right to exist and reacted with ruthless violence, proving the right-wing’s thesis. Under Barak as leader of the Peace Camp, then, the Israeli Peace Barak having led his own voters to ideological bankruptcy, the victory of the right-wing was all but predictable. Why should anyone vote for the left, when even its leader says the right is right? Barak’s nightmare, however, was not to lose the elections, but to be succeeded by a non-militaristic prime minister like Netanyahu, who might have shown some pragmatism and yielded to outside pressure to return to a peace process, or at least put an end to the bloodshed. (Modified from Ran HaCohen)
By Alfatih Ziada, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, 31/07/2012