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Clinton Guru Helping Labor Unseat Netanyahu

Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, reportedly behind "social protests," hired for Labor campaign.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/22/2012, 3:18 PM

Bill Clinton and Netanyahu in 2009
Bill Clinton and Netanyahu in 2009
Flash 90

The Labor party has hired Stanley Greenberg, a leading Democratic political strategist, to direct its campaign in the upcoming elections for Knesset. The move may be part of a Democratic plan to topple Binyamin Netanyahu's government and replace it with a leftist one, although there is no proof that Democratic politicians are involved.

Greenberg, along with partners James Carville and Robert Shrum, helped Labor under Ehud Barak defeat Netanyahu in the 1999 elections. Previously, then-President Bill Clinton was reportedly active in creating rifts within Netanyahu's coalition, hastening its downfall.

The pattern of action may be repeating itself, as Greenberg appears to have played a key role in destabilizing Netanyahu's present government as well. According to an investigative report by Maariv's Kalman Libeskind, it was Greenberg who gave directions to an Israeli strategy forum in 2011, on how to engineer the "social protests" that brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis to the streets that summer.

The protests – which received free wall-to-wall promotion and coverage from liberal media, and drew crowds by offering free music from top artists – forced the Netanyahu government to abandon its economic principles in favor of "social" legislation, like subsidized preschool education. These economic measures, in turn, slowed down the Israeli economy and forced the government into crafting an austerity budget for 2013. The fact that no party wants to approve such a budget in an election year is what recently convinced Netanyahu he had no choice but to call early elections.

Now that a date for elections has been set, Greenberg is involved in helping Labor, under Shelly Yechimovich, defeat Netanyahu and take his place. There is no way to tell if this is all part of a larger Democratic plan, or just the result of synergy between Greenberg, who has a reputation as one of the world's best election strategists, and the Israeli left wing.

Some of the new names running for seats in Labor's list are also associated with the "social protests," which were framed as apolitical grassroots demonstrations at the time. These include Itzik Shmuli and Stav Shafir, two of the most prominent leaders of that protest.