Daily Israel Report

Labor Party Head Sets Out Prime Ministerial Ambitions at AIPAC

Opposition Head Isaac Herzog pulls no punches at Washington conference, calls right-wing opponents 'fascists'.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 3/3/2014, 4:12 AM

MK Yitzchak Herzog
MK Yitzchak Herzog
Flash 90

Israeli opposition leader and head of the left-wing Labor Party Isaac Herzog addressed delegates at AIPAC’s annual policy conference Sunday, and took the opportunity to promote his political vision for Israel.

After noting his own personal connection to AIPAC – his uncle and legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eban helped found AIPAC during his tenure as Israel’s ambassador to Washington – Herzog made no secret of his ambitions to “bring Labor to lead the country” at the head of “a major center-left coalition” which would replace the current Likud-led government.

Turning to US-brokered talks with the Palestinian Authority, Herzog reiterated his call to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “to move boldly towards peace”, which would include major territorial concessions to the PA.

If he does take “that herculean step” and sign an agreement with the PA, he assured, Labor would “help him get it done” – a veiled reference to his party’s oft-stated position that it would prop up the coalition government, if the nationalist Jewish Home made good on its promise to leave in response to Israeli concessions.

In another dig at his political opponents, the opposition leader described right-wing MKs as “fascists”.

But on the Iranian threat, Herzog emphasized that the Knesset was united.

“There is no coalition or opposition in Israel – there is unanimity,” he declared.

“This is clearly the most dangerous threat to world stability, Middle Eastern stability and the State of Israel. Therefore we must join forces to ensure the Iranian threat is neutralized.”