Featuring mostly young people in grungy outfits, looking terribly afflicted by Waiting for Change and pictured doing an awful lot of printing, painting and gluing of V15 campaign posters to the sound of a catchy soundtrack, the political campaign video for V15 has about as much depth as a Calvin Klein commercial.
In a seductive tone the male voice over tells us that they (Bibi Netanyahu) are trying to scare us (the voters) but in reality, they are afraid of us. The reason, we are told, that they are afraid of us, is that we are the Change and if we join the V15 campaign and simply turn off Bibi’s “scaremongering” (video cuts to sinister-looking Bibi on TV being turned off by fed-up-looking people with remote controls) we’ll be able to effect the Change.
This vapid, infantile message sounds so familiar, because it comes straight from Obama’s former national field adviser’s lips to your incredulous ears. All that is missing here are the three words repeated ad nauseam during Obama’s presidential campaign: Yes We Can.
As with the original Obama campaign, there is no other message, but the tame message about the message. Change. Because you can. Hope. If you are with us. And so forth. It is unclear what it is exactly that needs to be changed, and what it needs to be exchanged with. What matters is that there will be Change and Hope.
Well, that happened in the US and look where it got the Americans.
On 26 January, Haaretz wrote that, ‘With the help of American money and a former campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, V15 is trying to replace Israel’s government. The money and organization comes from V15’s partnership with OneVoice’.
Abbas’ son is a senior adviser to OneVoice International.
Well, Haaretz should know, since this is their home turf. OneVoice, according to its own website, “is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution”. Abbas’ son is a senior adviser to OneVoice International.
The Likud filed an injunction against V15, but withdrew it last Thursdayciting difficulties in obtaining the necessary evidence at this stage of the proceedings.
The fact that the complex questions of the mysterious and nebulous funding of V15 and their relations with the so-called Zionist camp of Livni-Herzog need more investigation is hardly surprising given the acrobatic back bending of the organization to avoid becoming openly associated with any one particular party in their public campaign.
However, just because the Likud was not able, at this point, to produce a “smoking gun” does not mean in and of itself that there is in fact no such connection. Every Israeli voter with a modicum of political understanding realizes that V15 supports the left. In fact, one V15 activist did indeed slip up and revealed on the London and Kirschenbaum show on Channel 10 that V15 supports any coalition from Kahlon to the left (link to the show - in Hebrew) despite initially claiming that they support “any change that the Israeli public wants”.
Even in the highly unlikely event that this is all pure coincidence and that there is no connection between rich leftist foreign organizations and individuals, Obama, V15 and the Herzog-Livni duo, the debate does not end here.
The V15 campaign, in and of itself, is manipulative and disingenuous, its non-message in itself a very dangerous one, especially at a time, when Israel is facing terrorist entities on an almost unprecedented scale.
Our nation faces an Iran hell-bent on becoming the hegemon of the Middle East and destroying Israel in the process, and the US president is practically throwing himself at the feet of the mullahs, but the V15 campaigners are not concerned. Instead, they are resorting to the well-known radical leftist adage of “calling out the fear mongers” and recommending people to turn off the unpleasant news and “make the change”.
However, the V15 campaign of change and replacement is not just a disingenuous and disturbing manipulation of very real and dangerous geopolitical facts. It is also incredibly stupid.
Israeli voters live in the Middle East, not in North Carolina. Obama campaign tactics of vapid promises of nothing do not float in this region, because voting for indeterminate fluff could mean national suicide. Lowering the price of cottage cheese hardly matters, if you’ve been nuked.
More crucially, to those who have tragically had the wool pulled over their eyes by this campaign, the V15 offers no suggestions for fixing any of the social problems afflicting Israeli society today. They have no answers to lowering food prices, housing or to the economy in general. Their campaign is the most gratuitous of all campaigns, simply freeriding on the back of all and any dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Thankfully, the V15 campaign grossly underestimates the intelligence of Israeli voters, most of whom are fully aware that the answer to the exhortations of V15 is really quite simple: No, we can’t.
Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst. She lives in Israel.