Smells like fascism or democracy? Shaked's perfume parody courts controversy

The video featured Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at her most glamorous, acting like a model in a commercial for expensive perfume, but in this case, the perfume is named “fascism.”

March 20, 2019 04:57
3 minute read.

Ayelet Shaked in new campaign video, March 19, 2019 (Courtesy)

Ayelet Shaked in new campaign video, March 19, 2019 (Courtesy)


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Two days before Purim, the New Right Party released a parody perfume ad that elicited strong responses online from those who thought it smelled sweet and those who said it stunk.

The video features Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at her most glamorous, acting like a model in a commercial for expensive perfume – but in this case, the perfume is named “fascism.”

While a piano tinkles in the background, Shaked flips her hair, puts on an earring and slowly descends a staircase, while a narrator listed her goals and achievements as justice minister: “Judicial revolution. Reducing [judicial] activism. Appointing judges. Governance. Separation of Powers. Restraining the High Court of Justice.”
Shaked then sprays herself with the “fascism” perfume, raised her eyebrows, and says: “It smells like democracy to me.”

The ad immediately made waves on social media after it was released Monday night. Some expressed concern or outrage that it looked like Shaked was supporting fascism, especially to a foreign audience, because the only word in the video that was not in Hebrew was “fascism,” written in English on the perfume bottle. Others thought it was a hilarious send-up of left-wing critics.

Meretz MK Mossi Raz responded: “Attacking the courts, violent occupation, incitement against Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel – that is what Shaked calls democracy. I wonder what she thinks is fascism.”

MK Pnina Tamano-Shata, who is running in the Blue and White Party list, had a different concern – that the ad objectifies Shaked.

“As a partner to a campaign like this, you are helping chauvinist men who chose to see women as an object of beauty and nothing else,” she said.

Several other female MKs echoed her statements.

A New Right spokesman said the ad is supposed to send a message that Shaked is a “strong woman” and the changes she wants to make in the judiciary are “democracy and not fascism, as people on the Left are complaining.

“We’re proud of it,” the spokesman said. “People understand that this election is a referendum on the Shaked Revolution and returning power from the High Court to the public.”

Shaked did not need convincing to go along with the idea, he added.

The video is similar in its tone and aesthetic to a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2017 about US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, a parody ad for a perfume called “Complicit.”

“The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t,” is the tagline.

However, the New Right spokesman said that the video was not inspired by the SNL sketch.

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