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Arthur Finkelstein Photo: Michael Kremer
Arthur Finkelstein Photo: Michael Kremer
 
Stanley Greenberg Photo: Shaul Golan
Stanley Greenberg Photo: Shaul Golan
 
 

 

Likud, Labor let down by US strategists

Following disappointing elections results, Likud and Labor officials lash out at US consultants for campaign choices, says Christian Science Monitor

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 01.24.13, 14:39 / Israel News

American political strategists are blamed for the Likud-Beiteinu and Labor parties' dismal results in Tuesday's general elections, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

 

In its article, the magazine said the previously sought after consultants have become "lightning rods" for criticism.

 

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Political strategist Arthur Finkelstein, veteran of conservative election campaigns around the world, has masterminded Likud campaigns since engineering Benjamin Netanyahu's surprise victory in the 1996 elections.

 

But now he is being accused in Likud circles for the failed joint-venture with Yisrael Beiteinu, the article stated.

 

"It was a total failure. The combination with Lieberman deterred voters mentally and emotionally," the article quotes Shlomo Madmon, a Likud Central Committee member. "Bibi (Netanyahu) decided to bring him here. I don’t know why."

 

In his defense, fellow strategist and colleague George Birnbaum told the paper in that internal polls showed better results before the elections and that no one foretold of Yair Lapid's meteoric rise to the second place in parliament.

 


נתניהו וליברמן. רעיון האיחוד לא הוכיח את עצמו            (צילום: EPA)

Netanyahu and Lieberman. Joint venture failed (Photo: EPA)

 

The opposing side of the political map as well does not shirk from playing the blame game, as Labor party members blamed Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich's lackluster campaign for the disappointing outcome.

 

Strategist Stanley Greenberg, who helped Ehud Barak win the 1999 elections against Netanyahu and consulted Yachimovich on the 2013 campaign, has reportedly drawn fire from analysts and party members for ignoring foreign affairs and not generating excitement in the Labor voter base.

 

But one US strategist can rest on his laurels: Mark Mellman, advisor to surprise winner Lapid, who, says the paper, foretold as early as December that polls are underestimating the public's support of his client.

 


יש עתיד. זינוק מטאורי           (צילום: AP)

Yair Lapid. Meteoric rise (Photo: AP)

 

A pollster quoted on the article assessed that after two decades of pitched campaign battles Israeli strategists have become masters of their craft, and are becoming the equals of their US counterparts.

 

Dahlia Scheindlin, pollster and strategist who worked with Greenberg on the Barak campaign in 1999, told the paper that as US strategists can only be afforded by big parties uncherished by the Israeli public they shouldn't be blamed for their downfall.

 

"I can’t tell you they did anything wrong in strategy or tactics, but they are working for parties that are not positioned to win new votes. They are positioned to lose votes, because the Israeli people are fed up with them, both on the left and right side," Scheindlin said.

 

 

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