Labor campaign: Barak is no 'Mr. Nice Guy'

Party launches "negative" campaign for Barak, portraying him as leader who doesn't waste time being nice.

barak lo simpati ad 248.88 (photo credit: )
barak lo simpati ad 248.88
(photo credit: )
Only days after putting together its list of candidates for the 18th Knesset, the Labor Party launched a "negative" election campaign for party chairman Ehud Barak on Sunday, portraying him as a leader who doesn't waste time on being nice. The party hired publicist Mordi Amar to create its campaign, the first part of which has already been publicized with billboard ads that claim Barak is not trendy, is not a friend and is not a chum. The second part of the campaign, unveiled on Sunday evening, involved the addition of the word "leader" to each of these ads - a strategy meant to emphasize Barak's abilities as a leader over his less successful side as a politician. "We are done marketing the wrapping, and we are moving to the content. Now we're talking about the essence and the nature of the leader, his qualities and the things that will determine the elections," Amar said. Shalom Keital, the former director-general of Channel 2 News and one of the managers of Barak's campaign, said there has recently been a feeling of a change in the public's attitude toward Labor in general and Barak specifically. "This is where the change begins. Labor will get more Knesset seats than the polls predict," Keital said, referring to polls speculating that Labor would collapse from 19 seats to fewer than 10. But while Labor's management was busy unveiling the campaign, Kadima's reaction was sharply critical in light of the ongoing Kassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip over the weekend and on Sunday. "Barak is not only not friendly, not nice and not trendy, [but] especially in recent months, he has not been the defense minister when it comes to Gaza," Kadima's comment read. "Barak is weak. He's eyeing the extreme Left, and this is why he didn't act to stop the Kassam rockets on Sderot and the Gaza-belt towns and hasn't prevented Ashkelon's shame. Security is not achieved by restraint, the time for which is past, but by actions," the response continued. Keital commented on Kadima's opening a new front against Labor and Barak, and said Barak could slander and attack, too. "Kadima's attack, headed by [Foreign Minister] Tzipi Livni, regarding the truce in Gaza is inappropriate. Barak's approach is that in security matters, decisions must be made in a responsible and calm way, and he will not be dragged into populist declarations," Keital asserted. "He will continue to act, as opposed to Kadima, which keeps talking but does nothing."