Thursday, November 24, 2005

Clearly not only the Likud is starting to panic. Tommy Lapid and Shinuy also understand that they will almost certainly lose many voters to Sharon's new party. Since Shinuy did not do anything unforgettably positive during its short stay in the Sharon II government and because it can take no credit whatsoever for the best - or maybe the only really good - thing that this government has done, it knows that it will have to resort to tricks and punches below the belt. Uncharacteristically, Lapid made one serious mistake this evening. He said that Sharon's party bears the same name ( Kadimah in Hebrew ) as that of the party of Mussolini ( Ynet; according to Ha'Aretz the name is the same of a slogan used by the Duce; I checked the Hebrew websites of both newspapers, and the differences are the same ). Wrong! Avanti ( Forward, Kadimah ) was the socialist paper of which Mussolini was the editor before he switched to rightwing extremism, and it was neither a slogan nor the name of the fascist party. Of course, forward is a word often used in socialist and social-democratic contexts ( e.g. the name of Yiddish newspaper in America, or of a gymnastics club in the small city where I grew up ), but to me that hardly seems a reason why Ariel Sharon should have refrained from using its Hebrew equivalent. In fact, the offices of Avanti were burned by Mussolini's fascists in 1926, and the newspaper went underground, basically becoming a part of the anti-fascist resistance. Until the end of WWII it appeared irregularly in Italy, France and Switzerland. Lapid should have checked his history books or the internet before he said about Sharon's campaign managers: "They either don't speak Italian, or know nothing about history".

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