Labor Party Stands Up For NIF

15 November 2018
Israel Elections Ballot Box - Photo by the Heinrich Böll Foundation Israel

Israel’s Labor Party has removed its endorsement of a candidate in local elections, after she ran a negative campaign against her rival for being a ‘leftist.’

Yifat Kariv – formerly a Member of Knesset for Yesh Atid – was running to be mayor of Hod HaSharon, a town in central Israel, and had initially been endorsed by the Labor Party. During the campaign, she attacked her rival, Amir Kochavi, for being a ‘leftist,’ echoing right-wing groups that slandered him for having the support of the New Israel Fund.

The claim was baseless. NIF does not endorse candidates for political office.

As a result of her statements, the secretary general of the Labor Party wrote her a letter in which he informed her of their decision to withdraw the endorsement.

The letter notes, “A smear campaign of incitement and stigmatization against Kochavi was distributed by the Public Forum accusing the New Israel Fund of supporting his election. This campaign follows the constant attempts of various right-wing parties to tarnish the leftist camp and turn its representatives into illegitimate ones. The Labor Party cannot be even indirectly involved in the improper ideological message that emerges from this campaign.”

Ultimately, Kariv was only able to muster 30% of the vote. She lost to Kochavi who garnered 69% support.

The failure of this type of right-wing smear campaign was foreshadowed in the first round of voting where politically-motivated attacks – like the one in Tel Aviv that incited against refugees – resulted in electoral losses.

Photo by the Heinrich Böll Foundation Israel via Flickr