“Us” or Islamic State: Likud’s predictable campaign video

Election campaigns in Israel are typically dirty affairs – scandals are exposed and only the naive fail to employ smear tactics against their opponents.

It was only a matter of time before a few cheap jabs were tossed.

I am going to write a much more thorough review of the latest slate of videos in the coming days, but when I stumbled across the Likud Party’s latest clip I couldn’t miss the opportunity.

Here we go:

There are few words spoken, and for Israelis few words are necessary. A truck carrying ISIS (Islamic State) jihadis crosses the desert blasting the Torabyeh song, “Ghorbah” – apparently without the artists’ permission.

Here is the original music video:


The jihadis pull up alongside another vehicle and the bearded terrorist asks, “How do we get to Jerusalem, brother?”

The guy in the vehicle replies, “Take a left!”

The scene switches to bullet-ridden message: THE LEFT WILL SURRENDER TO TERROR before quickly going back to the ISIS fighters driving off towards Jerusalem in jubilation. A bumpersticker on the rear of the truck reads: “Anyone but Bibi”, one of this campaign’s popular anti-Netanyahu slogans. End scene.

On the one hand, this is a brilliant ad. It is simple and to the point. It tells voters that victory for the Zionist Union (Isaac Herzog’s Labor Party + Tzipi Livni’s HaTnua Party) would be a victory for the nastiest terror organization this side of the Euphrates.  However, this is also unoriginal material. Likud politicians have been painting the Labor Party in this kind of light for decades.

The Zionist Union responded to the clip saying that “Netanyahu lives in a fantasy if he thinks we’ve forgotten his colossal failure in the area of security. He released more than 1,000 prisoners with blood on their hands, strengthened Hamas, Iran became a nuclear threshold state on his watch and the personal security of Israelis is compromised daily. There are films in which there is no reason to make a sequel, Netanyahu’s term is a good example of this.”

And former Shin Bet chief and vocal Netanyahu critic Yuval Diskin penned this response to the video on his Facebook page (also taken from the earlier Ha’aretz article): “The left will bring ISIS into Israel, Netanyahu said. The man who released Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in 1997 and rebuilt Hamas. The man who released over 1,000 terrorists some of whom have already gone back to terror attacks, during his terms as prime minister. The man who released terrorists so as not to freeze settlements in a deal with Habayit Hayehudi, the man who was dragged into the longest war since the War of Independence against a terror organization, the man who threatened Iran and cannot subdue a terror organization in Gaza. He has lost shame, that’s for sure.”

Lots of mud over one video, right? It would have behooved Herzog to respond to the video by explaining how Israel’s policy on ISIS is not a partisan issue. Ensuring the destruction of ISIS is not a “should we negotiate with the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas or not” type of equation. Israel’s defense establishment is (assuredly) playing a critical behind-the-scenes role in the campaign against ISIS and will continue to do so regardless of who is elected into office next month.

But with four weeks to go before election day, this video – and the responses to it – is a perfect example of what to expect as the pressure builds.

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel