Netanyahu's Quiet Campaign Manager

After the Left's mudslinging paved Netanyahu's way to victory, it's time to address his secret campaign manager: Barack Obama.

Uzi Baruch,

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

A good many pens ran dry analyzing Prime Minister Netanyahu's stunning victory this past week, but it seems that we have not yet heard the last word on the subject.

Five days after the election, it's time to talk about Netanyahu's quiet campaigner, one of the people that led to the landslide victory of the right wing in Israel: US President Barack Obama.

It began in hushed tones. Three months before the election, Obama's campaign manager, Jeremy Bird, arrived in Israel with a team of four consultants to oversee and advise the V15 campaign against Netanyahu via social networks and on the ground. Bird did not hide his intervention in Israeli politics. In an interview with Haaretz, Bird said that the campaign system V15 was implementing worked in the US to persuade undecided and indifferent voters to go out and vote for the candidate recommended by its activists.

But it does not stop there. When Netanyahu announced that he would address Congress, Obama fought him directly. He refused to meet [Netanyahu], attempted to humiliate Israel in interviews published on the evening of the crucial speech, and made no secret of his hostility to Netanyahu. It was exactly what Netanyahu's advisors had hoped for.

It is unclear where the political consultants for the president of the world's greatest superpower disappeared to at those critical moments, how they were blinded, how they failed to perceive that Netanyahu's men had set a trap for the American president, while they let the whole plan fly under their radar. Netanyahu's men waited with baited breath for the President to get caught in their net - and he did, almost immediately. The mythical American politician talked himself into oblivion. His men mocked Netanyahu. Democratic leaders attacked him. And so the Israeli right wing rallied around the Prime Minister. 

Looking back, it is clear that like the Israeli Left, Obama, too, made a significant contribution to the election of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a fourth term. The Left can take comfort that it is in good company: they are not the only ones who fell victim to Netanyahu's quiet and subtle campaign.

They're calling Netanyahu a "magician." I am not well versed in sorcery, but the facts speak for themselves: Netanyahu went out on his own campaign against the country's largest media organizations - and triumphed over them. He went to war on television and did everything possible to reduce the Left's political power - and overcame it.

What is surprising is that Netanyahu did not forget to mention "He who grants energy to the weary" (a quotation from the morning prayer service - ed.) despite the difficult time he faced. In many of his speeches, he made sure to use phrases like 'with the help of God' and 'Bless God,' and in his interviews to Arutz Sheva he reiterated the connection between the Land of Israel and the People of Israel, and stressed the great miracle that Israel has settled its land, "sitting under its vine and under its fig tree in quiet and security" (a quote from Kings I, ed.) and that only with the vision of Greater Israel could this come to pass..

Many a cynic would say: it is clear that Netanyahu is speaking to the hearts of his voters. He plucks their heartstrings. He needs to hold onto them so that they will hold onto him. Maybe. It's possible. Everything is possible in politics. But the thing is that the Left, the alternative, did not try to play this game at all. And if this insight alone was enough to elect Netanyahu - that is good enough for us. 




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