In an apparent attempt at damage control, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival has distanced his campaign from advisors linked to the scandal-ridden Lincoln Project.

Gideon Sa’ar, who left Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud political party to form his center-right New Hope party, recently hired the Lincoln Project co-founders Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Stuart Stevens, and Reed Galen as campaign advisors ahead of the March 23 general election.

Sa’ar will “no longer work with his American advisers who are being accused of covering up a sexual harassment scandal involving the Lincoln Project’s co-founder and pocketing millions raised by their political action committee,” the Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

Given President Trump’s overwhelming support among the Israeli voters, hiring the anti-Trump spin doctors was hurting the New Hope party’s campaign.

“Sa’ar has been falling in the polls consistently since he hired,” the Lincoln Project advisors, the Jerusalem Post reported citing a rival campaign official, probably from the Netanyahu camp.

The Jerusalem Post reported the ouster of the anti-Trump campaigners from the Israeli election campaign:

Prime ministerial hopeful Gideon Sa’ar will no longer work with his American advisers who are being accused of covering up a sexual harassment scandal involving the Lincoln Project’s co-founder and pocketing millions raised by their political action committee, a Sa’ar spokesman told The Jerusalem Post exclusively on Tuesday morning.

Last month, Sa’ar hired Steve Schmidt, Stuart Stevens, Rick Wilson and Reed Galen of the Lincoln Project, which was formed in late 2019 by Republicans and former Republicans who aimed to prevent US President Donald Trump’s reelection and to defeat all pro-Trump Republicans in close races running for reelection in the Senate.

There had been speculation at the time that the Lincoln Project’s advisers would help Sa’ar defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with negative ads as they did with Trump. But the spokesman downplayed what the advisers had done for Sa’ar’s campaign.

“We have never worked with the Lincoln Project. The party engaged four senior consultants who were connected with the project. The individual in question is not known to us, we have never had any contact with him and certainly have not worked with him.

The Lincoln Project advisors were expected to mount a cynical campaign to turn the right-wing base away from Netanyahu — a tactic which failed miserably in swaying the Republican base in the U.S. presidential election, the Times of Israel reported last month.

The Israeli announcement comes as more than a dozen young men, including minors, accused Lincoln Project’s co-founder John Weaver of sexually harassing them. The organization’s top management is also under fire for what Fox News described as a “suspected cover-up of Weaver’s predatory behavior” towards young men. The anti-Trump group is imploding following these damning revelations, with several prominent members fleeing the sinking ship.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s re-election campaign did not comment on the anti-Trump campaigners’ ouster. Still, some of his supporters have been vocal about their involvement in the Israeli election campaign. This month, the noted Israeli commentator and former Netanyahu policy advisor, Caroline Glick, blasted the Israeli media for not scrutinizing the Lincoln Project over their dubious track record.

 

 
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