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Permission to Attack: The Likud-Beitenu’s Ad Last Night

It cannot be claimed that it is fair for one party to attack another, but not for the other to attack back...

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Screen capture from Likud-Beitenu's negative advertisement against the Jewish Home party.

Screen capture from Likud-Beitenu's negative advertisement against the Jewish Home party.



“Harav Dov Lior, the spiritual guide, who said Baruch Goldstein is holy like the holy ones (victims) of the Holocaust.” If this is out of context then it is extremely prejudicial. But it’s pretty hard to imagine what other context there could be to this. Even if there was, for a public leader to say something like this and not realize what it could be taken to mean also indicates that perhaps that he may not deserve a platform in the Knesset, so this is fair to bring up to the public.

“Harav Zalman Melamed who called on soldiers to refuse an order.” This revisits the refusal of orders issue. I disagreed with those attacks on Bennett for a variety of reasons, which I look forward to writing about in a non-election period. Recalling Melamed’s statement here is nowhere near as negative as those attacks on Bennett. In fact, as Bennett recanted his statements about refusing an order, and denied that he had endorsed mass refusal (though if a public leader says he will not follow an order that has the effect of calling for others to refuse, regardless of what qualifiers he puts on it), Bennett himself might agree with the attack and wish Melamed was not on his list. My problem with the ad is because of the negative overtone it paints on any case of refusal as wrong when in fact no reasonable person would agree to that.

So some of the attacks in the ad crossed the line, but only somewhat. Even if some of the language was taken out of context, it does enhance public knowledge of these people and may in fact lead more people to vote for the Jewish Home.

But the main point about negative campaigning is that it cannot be claimed that it is unfair for one party to attack another, but not for the other to attack back, or that it is inherently unjust for political parties who compete for the same voting base to attack each other.

Whether it is an effective strategy or not is a different question. With many of the attacks – the unfair and the fair – the Likud is pandering to the holy grail of the center, which I am still not convinced actually exists, or at least to the extent and in the way the media would characterize it. That doesn’t indicate anything about the Likud’s future territorial policies, but it is sure to cost it more votes among the public whose votes it desires and that is just bad campaign strategy.

Daniel Tauber

About the Author: Daniel Tauber is the Executive Director of Likud Anglos, and a former Opinions Editor at JewishPress.com. Daniel is also an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. You can follow him on facebook and twitter.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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