Trump collateral damage reaches Israel

The story of the Trump run for President is still unfolding and its impact and historical importance will take time to evaluate, but beside the clear damage it has done in US politics it is already impacting political campaigns in other countries.

In Israel a center-left politician named Erel Margalit seems to be trying to implement the Trump “Playbook” as he tries to win an upcoming primary in the labour party.

Below is the video he is used to launch his campaign. Make sure you have CC turned on so you can appreciate the vulgarity..

Let me try to translate what I think he is actually saying in his rehearsed, scripted “rant”:

  • “Give us our country back, Godammit!” — this is the equivalent of “Make America Great Again”, but less subtle. Marglit will claim he is referring to getting the country back from the right-wing nuts, but in the mostly Ashkenazi electorate of the labor primary it will translate into taking the country back from Sephardi “Arsim” (hooligans) who “destroyed” every thing the white Ashkenazis built.
  • “I can scream louder” — Margalit and many on the Israeli left believe that they are losing elections because they can’t connect with the common people. Many of them believe that this is because the left is too soft, the leaders are wimps who talk in big words and only speak to the elitists. His message to the party is “look at me I can shout, I can curse” that’s the only way these dumb voters on the right will listen, and I can do it.
  • A real Man! — Several times he refers to the lack of manhood of some of the people on the right. He mocks the politicians from the right saying they only “talked, moaned and screamed”. In the background it shows the picture of the Likud’s Miri Regev (Sephardic, “uncultured”, symbol of all that is wrong with the Likud in the eyes of the labor voters).

Like Trump he seems to ignore the existence of women voters. He mocks an anti-gay group as only doing it because “no woman wants to be with them”, says he is a real man because he ate shit in the army. I don’t think many women will find his vulgar, more-man-than-you message appealing.

Implementing the Trump playbook:

  • Be vulgar, extreme and mock your opponents. The press loves it and social media will amplify it.
  • Appeal to peoples’ bigotry, fear and hate.
  • Don’t worry about alienating huge parts of the general public. Focus on the electorate you need to win in the primaries, you can always correct course later.

In follow up interviews (like he wanted he got lots of media attention for this video) he was unapologetic (Trump), called the current labor leadership a used rag (Trump), said he is used to winning in business and now he want to win for the party (Trump), claimed he didn’t go to politics for the money, he made enough money (Trump).

He is working with a questionable political advisor (Moshe Klughaft) that helped run the campaign of a right-wing party and responsible for hateful videos and ads targeted at the left. I don’t know it for a fact, but it seems obvious that they studied the Trump campaign and are now creating an Israeli version of it.

It is sad and unfortunate. I don’t know Erel Margalit too well, but I hope thats not really who he is and what he stands for. He should be better than that.

The thought of him rehearsing his lines in front of the camera saying things like “they are sticking flags up their asses” and the director correcting him, telling him “lets try it again, this time look at the camera, shout louder” is just sickening. At least Trump is authentic.

I hope this strategy will backfire and that he will not get elected to lead the labor party. I don’t know who else will run, but I hope that whomever they are that they will not be dragged down to this type of rhetoric.

This is probably only the beginning. I expect that over the next few years we will see many politicians around the world trying to implement the Trump playbook. Hopefully they (as well as the original) will all lose.

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