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Knesset, ODA, elections

elections 2009

Platform of the Organization for Democratic Action

Toward elections to the 18th Knesset

ODA (DA’AM in Arabic), a party uniting Jews and Arabs, seeks to move society toward socialism. To this end we maintain connections with workers’ movements and labor unions throughout the world. We present an alternative both to predatory capitalism and to religious fundamentalism.

1. The Palestinian question

ODA seeks real peace, to be based on Israeli withdrawal from all the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem. We believe that the political conflict cannot be solved without the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state. The current preoccupation with "shelf agreements," which include Israel's annexation of settlement blocs, foils any chance of reaching a sustainable peace. Israeli policy has escalated the situation, weakening the Palestinian Authority. That policy has created the current division between Gaza and the West Bank. It has perpetuated the suffering of those living in the Territories. There is a danger that it may lead to a renewal of direct occupation and continuing bloodshed. The responsibility for presenting a fair peace plan rests squarely, therefore, on the shoulders of Israel, which must decide whether it is willing to pay the price that will resolve the conflict. The ongoing occupation regime undermines Israeli democracy and prepares the ground for apartheid.

2. Equal rights for the Arab population in Israel

ODA struggles for fully equal rights for the Arabs in Israel. The persistent discrimination against them, and their absence from the decision-making centers, constitute a sure recipe for decline in relations between Jews and Arabs. This process came to expression in the events of October 2000, while the more recent turmoil in Acco has served to remind us of what lies ahead. The shunting of the Arabs to the margins of Israeli society is evident in all walks of life: legislation, employment, education, housing, infrastructure, urban planning, municipal services and land distribution. ODA works among the Arab population to advance such issues as social involvement, employment, labor-union protection, women's empowerment, youth guidance, education and culture.

3. Struggle for worker's rights

ODA contributes to the building of a democratic labor union, Arab and Jewish, that will organize the unorganized, granting them effective defense on the basis of class solidarity. ODA supports a labor-union effort that lays the social foundation for real cooperation between Jews and Arabs. It combats the exploitation of workers and seeks a new social order, based on full equality among all citizens without regard to religion, race, nationality or gender.

4. The failure of the free-market economy

The economic crisis in Israel is the result of a deliberate policy that implements the doctrine of the "market economy." This doctrine prefers the speculative economy over the real one. Through privatization, it releases the state from responsibility for its citizens. The reins of the economy have been put in the hands of financial tycoons, who invest in global speculation instead of creating jobs, contributing to ever widening circles of poverty.

5. The fight against joblessness and for organized employment

ODA sees the fight against joblessness and for organized employment as a top priority. We call on the state to supervise and implement existing labor laws. We seek to change economic policy so that the government's resources will be turned toward creating jobs, not toward enriching local moguls. ODA carries on a stubborn fight for organized employment under fair conditions and against the importation of migrants, who are held in conditions of slavery. The current situation not only violates the basic rights of these migrants, but it also perpetuates local unemployment while eroding the wages and benefits of those local people who do find work.

6. Stopping harmful forms of employment

ODA calls for an end to all the forms of harmful employment that have taken root in Israel's labor market, such as heavy reliance on temporaries, subcontracted workers and freelancers. These forms are accepted today in all fields, including government offices and academe. ODA acts for direct employment that respects the employed.

7. A suitable pension for all

ODA acts to secure the future of the working public by means of pension insurance that will enable the worker to live with dignity after retirement. The pension law, as signed by the Histadrut, is faulty and harmful to the workers, because it does not ensure the minimal provision needed to live in dignity. We oppose the reform made by Binyamin Netanyahu during his term as Finance Minister, which subjected pension savings to the vagaries of the stock market, turning millions of workers into gamblers willy-nilly. We shall fight to return these savings to their former status, and we shall demand that the government ensure a minimal return that will preserve their value.

8. Equal rights for women and men

ODA seeks full equality between women and men. It encourages cooperation between Jewish and Arab women. The struggle against the oppression and exploitation of the Arab woman constitutes a major axis of ODA activities. We believe that, in the case of the Arab woman, employment and empowerment together make up a precondition for her liberation. ODA works with women's organizations in Israel against every form of sexual harassment and for the liberation of both Arab and Jewish women from oppression, violence and discrimination.

9. Education for solidarity

ODA sees youth as the basis for social advancement. The privatization of education and the erosion of teachers' salaries have severely harmed the educational system and the future of our youth. ODA has informal frameworks by which it acts toward organizing and educating Arab youth. In these frameworks we offer young Arab men and women values such as sexual equality, solidarity and involvement, along with knowledge of their rights as workers. Youth with social and political consciousness are the guarantee of a dynamic and healthy society.

10. A culture of social commitment

ODA acts for culture with commitment. Such culture helps build a society that is self-critical, enlightened and tolerant. We see the commercialization of art as a blight that alienates the artist from society and subjects him or her to the needs of the rich. It is no secret that Israel's theaters and museums have become economic ventures instead of educational and cultural centers. We believe that the artist, as a creator, has a more worthy calling, with responsibility for the direction that society takes.

The trademark of ODA is its grass-roots work. On Election Day we stand before the voter with a record of widely branching social activities: the building of a democratic trade union, the advancement of a full pension plan for all, the empowerment of women and youth, and multi-pronged activities toward fair labor in Israel. The public is acquainted with the variety of activities and events that ODA has sponsored: the marches on International Women's Day, the First of May marches in Tel Aviv, our documentary films, and our exhibitions for advancing committed art.

We call upon you, on Election Day, to give your vote for the principles and actions that ODA represents.

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