Tel Aviv housing tent protesters 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
America’s top Democratic political strategist Stanley Greenberg denied published
reports that he played a key role in this summer’s socioeconomic demonstrations
in Israel in an e-mail he sent to The Jerusalem Post.
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Greenberg served as
a political consultant and strategist for Ehud Barak’s successful 1999 campaign
for prime minister.
Ahead of that election, left-wing activists formed
several non-profit organizations focusing on different socioeconomic issues that
helped build support for Barak’s candidacy.
The organizations claimed at
the time to be apolitical. But their connection to Barak’s associates later
became clear, leading to investigations by the state comptroller and the police,
for which Barak was questioned about whether the NPOs illegally funded his
This summer’s socioeconomic protests also were reported to be
apolitical, but the first tents on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard were provided
by attorney Eldad Yaniv, the founder of the National Left party, as well as
Barak’s bureau chief in 1999.
Yaniv, who is a fierce critic of Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is expected to run for the next
investigative reporter Kalman Liebskind, who broke the
Barak NPO scandal after the 1999 race, reported on September 2 that plans for
this summer’s protests were hatched at a March 22 meeting with Greenberg in Tel
Aviv attended by Yaniv, former Barak strategist Moshe Gaon, and other key
The report said that Greenberg advised the activists
that the best way to bring votes from the Right to the Left was not to highlight
diplomatic issues, but rather to refocus public discourse on a socioeconomic
agenda via grassroots protests that could attract the support of a majority of
The article compared the 1999 NPOs and 2011 protests that
were both headed by previously unknown grassroots figures and quoted Gaon as
telling left-wing activists that Greenberg had advised him to “take action,
constantly, on the way to victory.”
In the immediate aftermath of that
article, Greenberg declined to comment. But asked by the Post
whether he helped initiate this summer’s protests in Israel, Greenberg responded
“No. Not true.”
Liebskind responded that he presented a series of facts
in his article about Greenberg’s speech in Tel Aviv and its impact on the
summer’s protest and “facts cannot be refuted.”