Likud calls to ban renamed V15 from campaigning against them

The V15 Law inspired by the group limits fundraising of non-party political organizations in an election year.

March 14, 2019 18:17
2 minute read.
Darkenu movement

Darkenu movement. (photo credit: DARKENU)


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Likud petitioned the Central Elections Committee on Thursday to issue an injunction against Darkenu, the organization formerly known as V15, to stop campaigning against it, the party said on Thursday.

The party accused Darkenu of not registering as an “active body in the election,” as required by the V15 Law, while launching a social media campaign calling to elect moderates, likely to help Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White Party. Likud said the campaign is worth millions of shekels and that Darkenu manages a database of hundreds of thousands of voters.

V15 campaigned against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015. After the vote, it changed its name to Darkenu and focused on advocating for a two-state solution. During the 2015 election, it was accused of being a form of foreign intervention, in part because one of the organizations backing V15, One Voice, had received support from the US State Department under then-president Barack Obama, and because Obama’s 2012 national field director Jeremy Bird was a consultant for V15. The organization denied any connection to the Obama administration.

The V15 Law inspired by the group limits fundraising by non-party political organizations in an election year. Such groups would have to register as an “active elections body.” Likud MK Yoav Kisch, who proposed the bill, said it is meant to prevent American-style Super-PACs from influencing elections in Israel.

Likud lawyer Michael Dvorin said that they are drafting the petition “after it became clear that Darkenu plans to be a decisive player in the 2019 elections and act with all its strength to bring down the Likud and its leader.

“Darkenu is a reincarnation and direct descendant of organizations that united ahead of 2015 with a declared goal to bring down the Likud and move the government to center-left parties. Darkenu is blatantly breaking the new law and therefore, there must be an urgent injunction against all of its current and future activities in the current election,” Dvorin said.

The group said that it is acting in accordance with the law “to create connections in the divided Israeli society.

“Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have participated in our activities up to this day, including MKs on the Left and Right, among them senior members of Likud, and religious and secular people from the center and the periphery,” the organization said. “In a time of incitement and divisions, many people are joining us from across the political spectrum who connect to a uniting message: Israel does not want extremism and incitement. Israelis want to choose someone who connects us.”

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