Observation: President Peres Cannot have It Both Ways
Dr. Aaron Lerner
When representatives of the Likud Party responded today to public remarks made by President Shimon Peres that criticized Netanyahu for not finding a partner for peace in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Labor
chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich responded by saying that "The Likud's lashing out at the president of the country, one of the symbols of the state of Israel, is aggressive and contemptible."
But Mr. Peres cannot have it both ways.
If he wants to enjoy the immunity from criticism of a president of Israel, he has to limit himself to his apolitical presidential functions.
But if Mr. Peres wants to participate in the rough and tumble of the policy debate – in particular in weeks before the national elections, then it is an affront to the very lifeblood of the democratic process for those who
disagree with his views to be forced into silence.
Because the moment that we enter the policy debate, then to be frank about it, Mr. Peres is painfully short on depth.
Mr. Peres is candid on this, arguing that there is absolutely no significance to the past – be it what happened decades ago or days ago.
And once you take the position that the policy debate cannot be argued by bringing evidence from the past the analysis is more a matter of the ability to turn a phrase than anything else.
And that suits Mr. Peres just fine.
Because Shimon Peres has been on the wrong side of history in policy making for decades.
What can Mr. Peres do now?
He can welcome the criticism of the Likud and argue back on a substantive basis.