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Leading Netanyahu Opponent Hires Advisers From Lincoln Project For Upcoming Israeli Election

Leading Netanyahu Opponent Hires Advisers From Lincoln Project For Upcoming Israeli Election

Roping in anti-Trump operatives could backfire for Netanyahu’s rival as U.S. president remains overwhelmingly popular among Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, Gideon Sa’ar, has hired several advisors from the Lincoln Project, the U.S.-based anti-Trump group, as Israel heads for an early election in two months.

Gideon Sa’ar, who left Israel’s ruling Likud to form his own New Hope party, has roped in Lincoln Project founders Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Stuart Stevens, and Reed Galen to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu.

There is little evidence to suggest that Lincoln Project’s multi-million dollar advertising and other campaigns managed to draw the Republican base away from President Trump in the November election. However, the failures do not stop the key operative of the notorious anti-Trump group from re-applying their failed strategy in the hopes of ousting Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and a key U.S. ally in the region.

Given their history, the former Lincoln Project operatives are expected to run a smear campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu, focusing on President Trump’s ties.

The Times of Israel, on Sunday, reported the hiring of the top Lincoln Project operatives:

Gideon Sa’ar, a right-wing Netanyahu rival who recently quit the ruling Likud party to run for prime minister as the head of the New Hope party, has hired several campaign advisers from Project Lincoln, who, in recent months, ran a campaign against outgoing US President Donald Trump, in an attempt to thwart his reelection bid, Channel 12 reports.

Lincoln Project founders Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Stuart Stevens, and Reed Galen, who worked to persuade Republicans that Trump no longer represented them, will face a similar task in convincing the Israeli right that Sa’ar, not Netanyahu, is their true leader now.

A source close to the campaign confirms the report to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, and adds that they are likely to visit Israel as soon as possible.

Sa’ar’s New Hope could emerge as the main rival to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party in the upcoming election.

“Opinion polls project New Hope will become the second-largest party in parliament, smaller than Likud but with enough seats to prevent Netanyahu from assembling a majority,” The Associated Press reported January 15.

Sa’ar is projecting himself as better placed to deal with the incoming Joe Biden administration.

“I think I am in a better position than the prime minister to have an effective and true dialogue with President-elect Biden and his administration,” he said last week.

The Lincoln Project’s efforts are not the first time the U.S. Democratic or anti-Republican campaigners have ganged up to oust Netanyahu. In the 2015 Israeli elections, President Obama’s former national field director, Jeremy Bird, and Democratic strategist, Mark Mellman also advised Netanyahu’s rivals — but failed miserably.

Any attempt by the former Lincoln Project operatives to tie Netanyahu to Trump could backfire badly among Israeli voters who overwhelmingly support the U.S president.

In January 2020, a Pew poll showed that 71 percent of Israeli supported Trump. The survey found that Israel was “one of the few countries widely supportive of the president.” In fact, “the share of net approvers is 18 percentage points higher in Israel than it is in the U.S., the second-most-approving country included in the survey,” the poll concluded. Germany, Sweden, and France showed the least favorable ratings for the U.S. president, with 13, 18, and 20 percent, respectively.

Ahead of the U.S. presidential election, a poll conducted by the Israeli TV channel i24News showed overwhelming support for Trump. More than 63 percent of the Israeli polled in October 2020 said that the Trump presidency was “better for Israel,” compared to just over 18 percent who wanted Biden to win.

“Almost half of correspondents think US Jews are ‘mistaken’ to support Democratic Party,” the pre-election poll showed.

“Pro-Trump activists in Israel have mounted perhaps the most visible Trump reelection campaign outside the United States,” NRP confirmed in November. “Trump posters in Hebrew were plastered on minibuses in Tel Aviv, the heart of liberal Israel. This week, Israeli settlers recited prayers for a Trump victory at the biblical tomb of Abraham, a shrine uneasily shared between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank,” the public broadcaster reported.

This support comes from the pro-Israel policies adopted by the current White House and a series of successful Arab- Israeli peace deals brokered by Trump.

In December 2017, Trump fulfilled a long-standing U.S. promise by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The following year, he moved the U.S. embassy to the Holy City, despite violent protests across the Muslim world and diplomatic rebukes from the United Nations, the European Union, and many Western leaders.

In 2018, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement, a deal widely unpopular in Israel and the Middle East.

Strengthening peace in the Middle East is undoubtedly one of the most significant achievements of Trump’s presidency. He concluded his first term with a series of historic peace agreements between Israel and several Arab states. The United Arab Emirates become the first Arab country to establish peace with Israel based on President Trump-brokered Abraham Accords. Subsequently, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco also normalized trade and diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. Before Trump’s framework for peace, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab countries to sign a peace deal with Jerusalem.

‘Pro Trump rally in Israel on eve of U.S. presidential election’


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The leaches no longer have a party in the US.

I’d assume that pro-Trump Israelis are already pro-Netanyahu…

That said, the next Israeli government would probably do well to hire Hunter Biden as a very, very well paid consultant.

I wonder if Gideon is paying the Lincoln Project folks in adolescent, or pre-adolescent boys?

Given the “Lincoln” Project’s effectiveness and standing on both sides of the aisle, I’m wondering, did Netanyahu somehow slip a mole into Sa’ar’s campaign headquarters or something?

So they are enemies of other states too?

Anacleto Mitraglia | January 18, 2021 at 12:22 pm

It won’t work, unless they hire Dominion machines too.

I’ve been a fan of Sa’ar for years, but this decision makes me question his judgment. Those people just got through spending millions of dollars to promote Democrats to Hispanic voters, and it was a massive failure. So massive that one had to wonder whether they were playing a double game, and were really playing Democrat donors for suckers. Whoever convinced Sa’ar’s people to hire these losers must be a master of BS.

Given their history, the former Lincoln Project operatives are expected to run a smear campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu, focusing on President Trump’s ties.

That’s a sure loser in Israel. Israeli voters, especially the ones Sa’ar is hoping to lure from Netanyahu, like Trump. As does Sa’ar himself, last I heard. Remember, Sa’ar is at least as right wing as Netanyahu, and probably less of a squish. He is not likely to be attacking Netanyahu from the left.

    Danny in reply to Milhouse. | January 18, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Would the point perhaps be to signal to Biden that “I’m your man” at the cost of a measly campaign salary for a no show job?

    I have no idea if Netanyahu is guilty, if I was Israeli I would probably vote for him but if you had a chance of becoming Prime Minister than this would be an extremely cheap way to do it, just pay Biden’s guys for advice to show how loyal you are to him then run your campaign without their input.

Don’t get the idea that Sa’ar is some kind of left-winger. His issue with Netanyahu is in fact that Netanyahu has betrayed all the principles the Likud stands for, and turned it into the Keep-Bibi-Out-Of-Prison-At-All-Costs Party, even if it means giving leftists like Gantz, Nissenkern, and Peretz everything they want. The charges against Netanyahu are of course bogus, but they’re a real threat to him and he’s focused on fighting them at the country’s expense.

It’s just amazing how cancel culture never seems to stick to socialists. Somebody ought to do something about that.

Are they using Dominion too?

    Milhouse in reply to snowshooze. | January 19, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Not possible. Certainly not to vote, but I don’t think Dominion’s system could be used to count the vote either.

    Voting in Israel is done simply: You are given an envelope and you enter the booth; inside there is a rack with pieces of paper bearing the symbol of each party. You choose one, put it in the envelope, leave the booth, and insert the envelope in the ballot box, in front of a witness from each party that cared to send one to that location. That is considered a vote for your chosen party’s entire slate, and is transferable to one other party of your chosen party’s choice. Counting consists simply of opening the envelopes and sorting the ballots by party, and then counting them.