Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Daily Beast: 'Irrelevant' Livni Only Strengthens Netanyahu

Last night, Chemi Shalev argued that the results of the Likud primary, which turned the party further to the right, "presents an opportunity for Livni because it might open up space for centrist parties to coalesce to challenge Benjamin Netanyahu." 

Turns out his smart take was met by any icy response from voters, the media and in particular the left.

"What’s more likely is that she’s just created the vehicle for her own impotence. On every issue and in every practical way, Livni is boxed in by existing parties and their platforms. This, in turn, only strengthens Netanyahu.
"She’s really helped Netanyahu in two ways. First, she split the center and center-left vote, drawing support from Yesh Atid and Labor. A Channel 10 poll gives her nine seats, leaving Yesh Atid with five. More bigger parties on this end of the spectrum make it difficult for them to cooperate. Netanyahu knows this, and will have less to fear from them during the bargaining over a coalition government after January 22.

Second, Livni could well join a Likud Beiteinu government. Netanyahu could see her as an opportunity to play the opposition off one another, and bring her into the coalition. She’s negotiated with Mahmoud Abbas but she’s no dove (and the new Likud would constrain her if she was), and she’s no socialist on domestic social and economic issues. She’ll also have former Kadima members with her, some of whom originally came from Likud....Unless Netanyahu puts her in an existing extraneous ministry, like Strategic Affairs, it’s hard to see where she would fit—more, where she would matter.

What all of this demonstrates is that Livni brings nothing new to the political game. Her party is appealing right now while the public is still unhappy with the inconclusive end to the Gaza operation. She’s a known quantity, and remains popular despite having no credible achievements to her name and having been associated with major government failures (under Ehud Olmert).
There’s nothing she’ll accomplish with The Movement that she couldn’t have with an existing party. Centrist parties don’t last long in Israeli politics anyway. Her accomplishment, instead, will have been to help keep the right in power. As one operative on the right tweeted, “On behalf of the right in Israel I have two words for Tzippi Livni: Thank You.”