Analysis: The lesson of Trump and Netanyahu - Fighting against the media works

The more modern political strategy – that enemies must be created to strengthen a candidate, and alliances must be avoided because they weaken a candidate – is much more correct.

November 10, 2016 06:30
2 minute read.

Donald Trump victory speech

Donald Trump victory speech


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The ancient proverb “the enemy of your enemy is your friend” has been proven wrong countless times throughout history, and remains painfully wrong in today’s Middle East.

The more modern political strategy – that enemies must be created to strengthen a candidate, and alliances must be avoided because they weaken a candidate – is much more correct.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

US president-elect Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are the best but not the only examples.

In the election Trump won on Tuesday, and in Netanyahu’s last race in March 2015, they both sought to run against the most hated possible rival.

No, not Hillary Clinton or Isaac Herzog.

There were too many people sympathetic to the notion of the first woman president, and Herzog is too friendly to despise.

Trump and Netanyahu chose to run instead against the ultimate rival: the media. Polls in Israel and the US have found that no occupation is loathed more than journalists.

In political rallies across the US, Trump would insult the press. The list of media outlets he blacklisted by the end of the campaign included The New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Univision and Politico.

It is no wonder that at his victory party in New York, Trump supporters stuck out their middle finger at the press box and told the reporters covering the event that they lost.

Netanyahu ran commercials blasting the top-rated Hebrew news website Ynet as Lie-Net and comparing Israel Broadcasting Authority workers to Hamas.

The prime minister’s battle against the media has not ended. It continues with his efforts to close the Israel Broadcasting Corporation and his lengthy letter this week full of personal insults to Channel 2 newsmagazine host Ilana Dayan.

Trump learned from Netanyahu and vice versa, and they are not alone. French National Front Party leader Marine Le Pen is also running a presidential campaign by running against the media, as is Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.

Avoiding alliances was also helpful to Netanyahu and Trump. Netanyahu raided his satellite parties for votes. While Clinton had celebrities endorse her, Trump acted as a lone wolf, with no one but himself to bring him down.

Trump, like Netanyahu, ended his campaign as a big winner. The losers are the folks writing for newspapers and broadcasting your news on TV.

And the enemies of the enemies of Netanyahu and Trump are not their friends. Their victories have proven that if you have the right enemies, you don’t need friends.

Related Content

April 3, 2018
Cynthia Nixon’s bid for NY governor sets up a clash over Israel