Ha’aretz has been going ga-ga over the impending new left-wing party that will incorporate Meretz, a few old Labor hands, and some literary figures who have long acted as the collective conscience of the Israeli left. The newspaper also devoted several pages of its Friday opinion supplement to the age-old question of whither the Israeli left.
While I admire most of the people involved in the new initiative, I’m skeptical. In fact, it’s counterproductive, both for practical and ideological reasons.
The practical reason has to do with the rules of human political behavior, as borne out by Israeli political history. As in other modern Western democracies, most voters here do not want to see themselves as radicals of either the left or the right. Whatever their positions on the issues, generally want to see themselves as part of a broad consensus. Therefore, they have a natural aversion to voting for parties that place themselves at the far reaches of the left or right.
Conversely, those voters who place a value on the purity of their ideology lose interest . . .
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