Zandberg apologizes for working with right-wing PR whiz

New Meretz head apologizes for working with right-wing spin doctor but slams critics for 'exaggerating incident beyond its proportions'.

Tzvi Lev ,

MK Tamar Zandberg (file)
MK Tamar Zandberg (file)
Miriam Alster/Flash90

The Meretz party's newly-elected chairwoman, Tamar Zandberg, apologized on Sunday for working with right-wing PR guru Moshe Klughaft during her primary bid, and subsequent efforts to cover it up but slammed her critics for turning the collaboration into "an unrestrained attack on Meretz and the left".

On Saturday night, Klughaft revealed that he had informally advised Zandberg during the recently concluded primaries for Meretz leader. The revelation that Zandberg had retained Klughaft, who is known for right-wing campaigns he ran for Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett and the Im Tirtzu NGO, earned her virulent criticism from the left.

In a long Facebook post, Zandberg said that it "pained" her that "so many of you became disappointed in me so rapidly". Zandberg added that she apologized for utilizing Klughaft and said that "she has never run away from who I am."

Zandberg then slammed her critics for turning the issue into "an attack on Meretz and the Left. The subject of consulting with Moshe Klughaft was exaggerated beyond reason and reasonable proportions."

Zandberg added that she had met Klughaft after she appeared on a set of a television show he directs and said that she only met him four times. "However, there is a limit to what can be said. This hypocritical and opportunistic attacks on me have gone too far," she alleged.

Zandberg saved special venom for Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay, who had said that it would it would be better for Meretz not to pass the electoral threshold than to use Klughaft as an advisor. "Tell me, Avi Gabbay, do you have any shame? Are you the one who is losing votes after saying that the Left forgot how to be Jews?" asked Zandberg.

The Zionist Union had slammed Zandberg unceasingly after the news broke that she was in contact with Klughaft."I am very fond of Tamar, I was happy that she was elected, but I think there are limits," fumed former Zionist Union head Shelly Yachimovich, "Klughaft is one of the leaders in the discourse of incitement and racism."

Zandberg was elected as Meretz chairwoman after winning 71.12% of the vote in the party primaries last week. Zandberg, who has served as a member of the Knesset since 2013, will replace outgoing party leader Zehava Galon.