Monday, January 08, 2007
Ehud Barak's bid to unseat Amir Peretz as head of the Labor Party has gotten a lot of support from the party establishment. Part of this, I suspect, is the fact they know what they're getting, but by focusing strictly on the position of Defense Minister as the leadership prize, he's also leaving open the question of who will lead the party into the next elections, something his more ambitious colleagues probably appreciate. The third candidate, Ami Ayalon, is furthest left, but still able to criticize Barak over the 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon. I don't really have a horse in this race, but do think Peretz needs to go. The initial excitement about his being the first Arab Jew to lead a major party has waned in the face of the self-serving attitude Imshin long ago warned of. His attempts to form a domestic-oriented coalition with Likud when he voters were clearly interested in Labor's left-wing foreign policy is one example of this, and he's also had a difficult learning curve as Minister of Defense. The latter also is what allowed Avigdor Lieberman to sneak into the government as "Minister for Strategic Threats," which some see as Olmert showing a lack of confidence in Peretz.