Analysis: In politics, eponymous beats anonymous

Strategists choose name The Tzipi Livni Party to highlight Livni and because word “party” has no negative connotations in English.

Tzipi Livni announces formation of 'Movement' party 370 (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)
Tzipi Livni announces formation of 'Movement' party 370
(photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)
The Hebrew name for former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s new party was the result of strategic research.
Hatnua Birshut Tzipi Livni, literally The Movement Headed by Tzipi Livni, was chosen because: A) It is hard for the public to digest the name of yet another new party so close to the January 22 election; B) the brand name Tzipi Livni is known and relatively respected; and C) the word “party” has negative connotations in Hebrew that the word “movement” lacks.
The strategists overlooked Hebrew slang in which “the movement” refers to giving someone a middle finger. The people naming the former foreign minister’s party also did not consider what it should be called in English.
At first, The Jerusalem Post website and wire services simply translated Livni’s list’s name and called it “The Movement.”
This resulted in unbecoming, scatological jokes on Facebook and Twitter about bowel movements.
When Livni’s strategists were informed of this, they suggested that it be called “Hatnua” in English, which would have tongue-tied foreign observers of the party. But they ultimately agreed on The Tzipi Livni Party, and the Post website was updated accordingly.
The strategists decided on the name because the word “party” has no negative connotations in English, and their goal was to highlight Livni. After all, in politics, an eponymous name beats an anonymous one.
They pointed out that former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s name had been added to the name of the Labor Party in the 1992 election in which the party came to power.
But some English-speakers had a hard time accepting the name “The Tzipi Livni Party.”
One foreign media outlet called Livni’s associates in disbelief because they thought it belonged to a dictatorship like in North Korea.
In Judaism, names of individuals are said to reflect their character and essence. This is also sometimes true of parties, especially Kadima, which literally means forward, but has deeper connotations of impatience.
If The Tzipi Livni Party becomes a one-woman show, chances are it won’t last long.
Livni’s failure to get Center- Left parties to merge and her failure to attract senior socioeconomic and security figures are bad omens.
Her party could have gotten a big boost from Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who chaired the committee formed to respond to the 2011 summer protests, or former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Yanai, who built up Teva’s annual earnings from $8.4 billion to $22b. in five years.
But both rejected her invitations to run with her.
Of course, there is still time for Livni to attract big names and prove that she can work with them better than she did with her former colleagues.
Party lists do not have to be submitted to the central election committee until next Thursday night, and a week is an eternity in Israeli politics.
Only if Livni succeeds at that challenge will she be able to move in the right direction on the long road toward the sought-after title of Gvirti Rosh Hamemshala – Mrs. Prime Minister.