Israeli Opposition Hires Obama, Clinton Strategist Joel Benenson to Fight Netanyahu

Joel Benenson (Paul Morigi / Getty)

Israel’s leading opposition party, Blue and White, has hired American political strategist Joel Benenson, who has previously worked  for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, in its effort to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, Netanyahu’s Likud Party won Israel’s elections in April. However, in May, Avigdor Liberman, who leads the small Israel Beiteinu party, refused to agree to a coalition agreement with Likud.

The Likud then led a Knesset vote to hold new elections in September, rather than risk the possibility that Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, might invite the left-wing parties to attempt to form a government.

Blue and White, which was widely expected by pollsters and pundits to win in April but fell short, has hired Benenson in the hope of succeeding in a second effort.

The Times of Israel reported Tuesday:

The New York-based Benenson, who is Jewish, is the CEO of Benenson Strategy Group and has been a strategist for many US senators, governors and mayors — mainly Democrats. He also advises business companies, and has recently been hired by Facebook.

While he achieved successes as the strategist for former US president Obama, his most recent effort as chief strategist for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections ended in failure.

The Times of Israel suggests that Benenson’s contribution will be to help Blue and White identify a consistent, appealing message, which it lacked in the last election.

Breitbart Jerusalem editor Aaron Klein noted last week that the outcome of the September elections could be favorable for Netanyahu, though the situation is volatile and impossible to predict.

Benenson remains an outspoken critic of U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2017, he slammed Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. He has also indulged conspiracy theories about Russian influence over President Trump.

Update: The Jerusalem Post notes that John McLaughlin, a political adviser to the Trump campaign, is helping Netanyahu.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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