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Netanyahu rival hires Lincoln Project for March election

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Jan 20, 2021

The huge information this week is that the chairman of the New Hope Party, Gideon Saar, has employed the providers of the 4 high American marketing campaign strategists behind the Lincoln Project to assist him along with his run for prime minister. The Lincoln Project waged a extremely efficient marketing campaign to take away President Donald Trump from workplace within the November 2020 US election. During the marketing campaign, the 4 former Republican strategists — Steve Schmidt, Stuart Stevens, Reed Galen and Rick Wilson — used refined methods to persuade average Republican voters that Trump doesn’t symbolize them or the values of the Republican Party. Now it appears to be like like Saar is attempting to do the identical factor within the upcoming Israeli election.

It’s definitely not the primary time that American political strategists have featured in Israeli elections. They have huge expertise campaigning within the many elections that happen throughout a county as huge because the United States. One of those consultants was Arthur Finkelstein, who suggested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his 1996 run towards late President Shimon Peres. Much of Netanyahu’s victory was attributed to Finkelstein and the promoting revolution he instigated, which included a inventive destructive TV advert marketing campaign. It was new to Israel and the Peres marketing campaign had no strategy to counter it.

Three years later, in 1999, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak employed the providers of American advisor Stanley Greenberg. Greenberg had expertise countering Finkelstein’s campaigns and helped put Barak within the prime minister’s workplace. Then there was Mark Mellman, the person behind Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid’s profitable run in 2013, through which he received 19 seats. His marketing campaign targeted on one concern: the wants of the center class. 

And but there’s something completely different about Saar and the Lincoln Project. Likud voters who really feel that Netanyahu doesn’t symbolize their occasion’s values anymore want a brand new home, which is what his New Hope occasion gives. As of now, its help within the polls comes primarily from center-left voters who would vote for any candidate who poses a real menace to Netanyahu.

Eldad Yaniv served as Barak’s chief of workers throughout his time period as prime minister and in his 1999 election marketing campaign. He informed Al-Monitor, “Hiring advisers from the Lincoln Project is a very wise and bold move. They can help Saar wage a brutal negative campaign against Netanyahu. The problem with a campaign like that, which worked against Trump, is that Netanyahu really is the beloved and unchallenged leader of the Likud party, while Trump stole the Republican Party out from under them. It will be hard to move ardent Netanyahu supporters from one candidate to another. It was a lot easier to convince Republicans, because they had less of an emotional connection to an outsider like Trump.”

Saar is aware of that he won’t ever be capable to defeat Netanyahu if he doesn’t win the hearts of average right-wing voters, particularly Likud voters, significantly these who’re fed up with Netanyahu’s lengthy rule. On the opposite hand, that Israel has multiparty elections versus the two-party American system could possibly be a bonus. Saar is described as a right-winger who helps annexation of the West Bank and the settlement challenge. They can change allegiance to him with out feeling like they crossed over to the opposite facet. At the identical time, nevertheless, it will likely be actually laborious to persuade Netanyahu’s base to desert him. The final individual to take action was former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who headed Kadima in 2006. He not solely defeated Netanyahu however left him with simply 12 seats.

Can one thing that labored within the United States have the identical impact in Israel? Strategic advisor Eyal Arad, who was behind the wins of three prime ministers (Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Olmert), informed Al-Monitor, “The Lincoln Project certainly can succeed in Israel. I know one of the four consultants personally, and I can say with confidence that he is a wonderful person. As a group, they were behind massive election campaigns in the United States. And they specialize in negative campaigns. Netanyahu has never faced a professional negative campaign like the Americans know how to run. He dominated the negative campaign route until now. This could be the counterbalance that leads to a turn-about. So far, Netanyahu’s negative campaign involved warning voters about the Arabs and the left. But Saar is no left-winger, and the Arab votes that Netanyahu suddenly wants to win over present a certain problem for him. So far, the Likud has failed to establish a clear strategy for this new campaign. That is why I have no doubt that the current election will be fascinating.”

Strategic adviser Musa Hassadya, who turned down a suggestion to work on the Likud marketing campaign for Israel’s Arab society, commented to Al-Monitor, “Israeli political strategists are much more familiar with Israeli politics and culture than their American counterparts. They know the diversity of the different parties, groups and religions and the unique nature of Israeli society, which will change and transform itself every single day up until the election. I assume that Saar plans to reach out to ‘Likud supporters lite’ to convince them to vote for him for ideological reasons. That seems to be why his party picked the American to help with their campaign.”

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