Labor Party’s new chairman calls for civil disobedience in Israel

Yair Golan, the new chairman of Israel’s Labor Party, has sparked controversy by calling for “widespread civil disobedience” to exert pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. In a recent recording at the “Choosing Leadership” conference, Golan urged his supporters to engage in acts of civil disobedience, such as refusing to join the reserves until the government changes.

Golan, called for “widespread civil disobedience” in order to put heavy pressure on Netanyahu and his government such as “We shouldn’t join the [IDF] reserves, until the government changes”.

“Remember the letter from the reservists and Squadron 69?” he asked in a recording published on Wednesday by Israel’s Channel 14. He was referring to a widespread letter that was published in the media, in the midst of the demonstrations against the judicial reforms. “The smallest threat of civil disobedience put Netanyahu under crazy pressure. Why don’t we make much more extensive use of it?”  When asked what is he means by civil disobedience, he replied: “Civil disobedience is, for example: ‘We do not join the reserves until this government changes.'”

Public figures react to Golan’s remarks

Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

His statements have drawn strong reactions from the Israeli public and political figures. Golan clarified that he was not explicitly advocating for these actions but suggested them as a means to pressure the government.

Golan’s controversial remarks have prompted responses from various political figures. MK Gideon Sa’ar stated that Golan’s statements are serious and should be retracted publicly. National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called for a criminal investigation into Golan’s remarks, citing them as an incitement to disobedience during a time of war.

The Im Tirtzu Movement has filed a complaint with the police against Golan for sedition following his call for refusals to serve in the reserves and civil disobedience.

Golan’s election as the chairman of the Labor Party, winning 95% of the votes in themaries, has further elevated the significance of his statements, sparking a national conversation about the boundaries of political dissent and civil disobedience in Israel.