Man behind Im Tirtzu ad ran anti-disengagement effort

Former Likud campaign manager who targeted NIF was involved in 2004 gov't referendum.

February 10, 2010 05:12
3 minute read.
'If you want a fascist movement - you've got it.'

im tirzu rebuttal 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The man behind the Im Tirtzu ad campaign against Naomi Chazan and the New Israel Fund managed Likud campaigns in the past, including the party’s 2006 election run.
The head of the campaign, Ethan Dor-Shav, an independent communications strategist who has both commercial and political clients, said this week that he had been a consultant on other Likud campaigns going back to 1988 and directed the successful campaign against the Gaza disengagement before the 2004 Likud Party referendum on the issue.

Dor-Shav also managed Effie Eitam and the National Religious Party’s 2003 election campaign.

The advertisement, which appeared on billboards, on the Web sites of Yediot Aharonot and Ma’ariv, and in The Jerusalem Post, cited an Im Tirtzu report that stated that groups funded by the NIF, of which Chazan is president, were responsible for 90% of the allegations made by non-official Israeli sources against the IDF found in the Goldstone Report.

It included a caricature of Chazan with a horn tied to her forehead that read “NIF” above the words “Naomi Goldstone Hazan.” The NIF has threatened legal action against all three publications over the ad.

Last Wednesday, the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee set up a special subcommittee to probe foreign contributions to Israeli nongovernmental organizations, following Im Tirtzu’s presentation of its findings on the Goldstone Report.

A native New Yorker now living in Tel Aviv, Dor-Shav, 44, said that in 2004 and 2005, he was an associate fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem think-tank, researching biblical philosophy. He is also a political analyst who has been quoted widely in the media, including by CNN and the Christian Science Monitor.

He said the Likud and the Shalem Center had absolutely no connection to his role in the Im Tirtzu campaign, just as his former clients “at Cellcom, Bezeq, Yediot Aharonot and many other companies” were not involved either.

Asked how he had hooked up with the student organization Im Tirtzu, Dor-Shav said, “How clients reach me, how connections are formed, is irrelevant. Someone made an introduction a long, long time ago, I’ve met [Im Tirtzu cofounder and one-time anti-disengagement activist] Ronen Shoval many times over the years.”

Dor-Shav said that before joining the Im Tirtzu ad campaign, he was indirectly “involved for more than half a year” in the research that went into the group’s report on the information in the Goldstone Report that had previously been published by NIF-funded organizations.

The decision-making team behind the campaign included (among other Im Tirtzu activists) Dor-Shav, Im Tirtzu spokesman and cofounder Erez Tadmor, and the two partners in EDK Media, an Israeli PR company run by Moshe Klughaf and Shmulik Villian.

EDK Media was heavily involved in the reservists’ campaign against former prime minister Ehud Olmert after the Second Lebanon War, among other commercial and political campaigns with various parties.

Tadmor rejected charges that putting a horn on Chazan’s forehead recalled classic anti-Semitic dehumanization of Jews.

“What are the associations? She’s the head of the ‘keren’, and we showed the keren on her head. It’s very simple,” he said. (“Keren” means both “horn” and “fund” in Hebrew.)

Dor-Shav said such charges were “ignorant” and “evil,” saying the ad was “political satire” no different than caricatures depicting president George W. Bush as a monkey, presidential candidate John McCain as a moose and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a bear.

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