US election ad featuring PM to debut in Florida

Republican-linked group to spend $1m. to play ad of Netanyahu discussing Iran threat in cities with large Jewish populations.

September 20, 2012 10:54
2 minute read.

Netanyahu 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON – A new television ad from a conservative group uses Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent comments on Iran to hammer the Obama administration.

The ad, produced by the organization Secure America Now, shows Netanyahu speaking at a recent press conference.

“The fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to a nuclear bomb,” he warns. “The world tells Israel, ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’” The political ad, reportedly being broadcast in Jewish-heavy districts in Florida – a crucial swing state in the election between Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney – finishes with the narrator declaring that “America needs strength. Not apologies.”

It is not the first political ad in this election cycle to feature Netanyahu.

Earlier in the year, a pro-Obama video featured Netanyahu speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, where he said, “I appreciate President Obama’s recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran. And these sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy.”

The eight-minute clip opens with a shot of Obama with his hand on the prime minister’s arm inside the Oval Office.

An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that they were not in any way involved in production of the ads.

“No one consulted us about either video, or asked our permission,” the official said, noting that in both cases the material used was from public feeds. “Maybe it is flattering that both sides want to use the prime minister in their campaign, but neither side has done so with any authorization.”

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Netanyahu, in US television interviews on Sunday, pointedly deflected a number of questions about the election, at one point telling a persistent interviewer on NBC, “You’re trying to get me into the American election, and I’m not going to do that.”

MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) called for Netanyahu to demand that his image be removed from political ads.

“Even if this was done against the prime minister’s will, there is no doubt that the ad harms Israel in the short and long term, and involves us in the American election in a way that is unprecedented,” argued Shai, who wrote his doctoral thesis on public diplomacy.

Herb Keinon and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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