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Social Justice Party, Eretz Chadasha, Poised to Win 2 Knesset Seats

Israelis will be voting tomorrow for a new Knesset.  Editorials in newspapers like Haaretz have urged Israelis to vote.  Friends in Israel who share my politics are urging in their Facebook and Twitter accounts that their followers not give up on the system.  That they not let the bad guys triumph.  I sympathize.  I really do.

But believe me, there’s very little of interest that will happen later today.  The right will get stronger.  Though Likud-Beitenu, the freakish hybrid created by the shotgun-marriage of Bibi’s Likud and Yvet’s Yisrael Beitenu, is polling only 32 seats, Naftali Bennett’s even farther-right HaBayit HaYehudi is polling around 14 seats.  These extreme ultra-nationalists will have no problem cobbling together a governing coalition.  The only question is whether Yvet will take foreign minister or defense (after he clears up a little matter of a pending indictment for corruption).

The center-left will continue its irrelevance.  Kadima will likely disappear or harvest a pair of seats (parties must poll a minimum of 2% of the vote, which entitles them to two seats).  Labor will return to being a somewhat viable opposition from its weak showing under the chairmanship of Ehud Barak.  Meretz will remain virtually the same.  The Palestinian parties may overall gain a seat.   The center-left will be marginally weaker than they were in the previous Knesset, where they were almost unheard.

But what does the average Israeli have to show for any of it?  Which party will change anything in any substantial way?  Yes, a few may nibble around the edges and reform a bit here or there.  But none have any vision for the type of wholesale reform that’s needed to transform Israel into a true democracy and realize a vision of social justice of the sort promulgated by the J14 movement two summers ago.

There is one party, which I’ve written about, that promises to rock the boat in a creative and disruptive way: Eretz Chadasha.  It’s founder, Eldad Yaniv, though almost completely shut out by the Israeli media, has produced a series of ten videos called The Method.  They explain to the average Israeli viewer the corruption endemic to Israeli society.  They name names of some of the most powerful oligarchs who run Israel’s major banks, media outlets and corporations.  Yaniv, who’s no leftist bomb-thrower, having worked as a political consultant for various Likud politicians including Bibi himself, knows whereof he speaks.  He knows where the bodies are buried and is willing to show you.

Until now, Israel’s media and competing parties ignored Yaniv.  This was a sign that he wasn’t polling high enough to endanger them.  But in the past few days, a number of liberal columnists and politicians have begun an attack (Hebrew) against the Party and its founder, warning voters not to waste their mandate on a movement that will never cross the threshold and carry enough votes to enter the Knesset.

A high-level confidential source informs me that Eretz Chadasha is now polling enough to gain two seats in the Knesset.  The poll was conducted not by that party, but by one of its competitors who stand to lose if Yaniv enters parliament.  If your opponent is saying you’re going to win, you know you’ve been successful.  Yaniv can take pride that he’s persuaded Israelis truly looking for an alternative to the banality of conventional politics to support him.

My next prediction is that if Yaniv truly becomes the MK he has vowed to be and rocks the boat at every opportunity in the tradition of hellraising Knesset members of the past like Uri Avnery and Abie Natan, that the government will open an investigation into his affairs.  He’ll be hauled up on charges, raked over the coals.  His popularity will plummet and he’ll be neutered.  The powerful own not just the means of production, but the means of policing and judging.  They will not suffer a newcomer who threatens their wealth or power.

There is of course a chance that Yaniv will squander his mandate to raise hell in Knesset and fail to represent his voters.  Many before him who promised great things have done so.  But my hope is that he will turn into a social justice version of Uri Avnery and embarrass the hell out of ‘em.

My only criticism of Yaniv is that he’s a one-issue candidate.  That issue, corruption and economic inequality, is a huge one in Israel.  But there is an equally important and compelling one: the Occupation.  On this issue, Yaniv has little to say, which may reflect his Likud roots.

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{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Shai January 21, 2013, 3:13 AM

    Not today, tomorrow.

    I recommend you read Eishton’s investigation on Eretz Hadasha: http://eishton.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/eretz2013

    Yaniv also has things to say on the occupation, but unfortunately he has decided to leave them behind. I’m sure you are acquainted with his previous experiment, The National Left.

  • Oren January 21, 2013, 3:44 AM

    What are the statistics in regard of Ale-Yarok party? Why did you choose to publish only Eretz’s name???
    I expect you to be more fair in your publications..
    Thanks

  • Moshe Maeir January 21, 2013, 3:45 AM

    Rich,
    Yaniv is left wing as they come. His group the “National Left” was the initiators and original producers of the Rothschild demonstrations l2 summers ago. Likud roots… give me a break!

    Moshe

  • Nimrod January 21, 2013, 3:48 AM

    “Eretz hadasha” has a left wing opinions when it comes
    To the palastinien country and rights.

  • Anyn. January 21, 2013, 3:56 AM

    Richard,

    I think this post is very far from your usual standards.
    First, as Shai said – you must read Eishton’s story about Yaniv and his party.

    Second, Eretz Hadasha is not a one-man party – Rani Bleir and Barak Segal are well known activists, and entitled to much respect.
    Third, the comparison to Abie Natan and Uri Avneri is completely unfounded. Natan and Avneri have devoted their lives to promote peace and social equality, whereas Yaniv spent most of his career thwarting such attempts, and even after his “change of heart” he did nothing besides media interviews.

    In short, the only good thing about Eretz Hadasha is that most people see through Yaniv’s power-grabbing ploys and will vote for more serious candidates. Hopefully, the damage to the left wouldn’t be too big.

  • noga January 21, 2013, 4:23 AM

    You will all be surprised. this is what’s up. eretz hadasha. wake up!! It is happening! get used to it, look it to in, make a change.

  • dskfj sjn January 21, 2013, 4:25 AM

    more research is needed before writing things like that. very not mature, ingnoring the truth and facts around you if you even looked at any of the facts… just wait a few days to see what going to happen in the elections…

  • Gonen January 21, 2013, 5:17 AM

    His roots are not with Bibi, but with Barak. He was his political consultant. He is on the left, that’s why other parties in the bloc are polling him – the same voter base. He just speaks less of it but it’s all connected.

  • yankel January 21, 2013, 6:33 AM

    A small correction: As far as I remember, Abie Natan, though a highly noticeable political activist and – at least once – a candidate, has never been elected to parliament.

  • Ofer January 21, 2013, 6:50 AM

    I’m sorry, but Eishton’s investigation is mostly vacuous and speculative. It purports to assess the legitimacy and character of Eldad Yaniv by extrapolating from minutia and interpreting how well he has stuck to his word. Eishton, like other web “debunkers” takes the stand of legitimacy by throwing around citations while basically engaging in an ad hominem attack. There is no real credibility when the entire sentiment is that he doesn’t really believe in Eldad’s reform or his ostensible path to make “balagan” in the Knesset. It’s all opinion one way or another. Not a factual expose.

    In terms of positions across the spectrum of the issues plaguing Israel at present, if you listen to their statements, they are basically left on most positions. My guess is they will vote with things that are “social justice” but will not engage in drafting bills or legislation, lest it tarnish their position of independence from corrupt powers.

    Yaniv himself wasn’t a member of the right or left. He has represented both Barak and Bibi. He was part of what he terms the “Matrix”, the intersection of politics, wealth, crime and the press. As I see it, his knowledge of the inside workings of how these power games are played is extremely useful for what they are saying they want to do.

  • Alon January 21, 2013, 7:18 AM

    Great post. This eshton guy is right in some things and wrong in others, but the main point is that he is anonimus. The fact that he invested so much time and effort to “expose” someone who already confessed all his sins ( as if there is no bigger fish to fry thses days) and the timimg is verry suspicious, to say the least.
    The fact is that the so called left avoda is terrified from Eldad becuase he is exposing their coruption as well.

  • Brian January 21, 2013, 8:51 AM

    Yaniv pretends to fight the correlation between government and the central business figures which is a huge problem in the state of Israel, however the facts are….
    1. Eldad is a good friend of Shimon Sheves.
    2. Sheves is an employee (European Business Manager) of Martin Schlaff.
    3. Eldad’s law’s office Yaniv & Co. employees Ram Sheves, the son of Shimon Sheves
    4. Yaniv & Co. represents some of Martin Schlaff’s affairs in the state of Israel.

    So stating is one thing, doing is another.

    • Alon January 21, 2013, 10:52 AM

      If u see the movies you will Understand how these claims are ridiculous there’s no one that eldad exposed more than Martin shluff in these movies.

    • Richard Silverstein January 21, 2013, 12:36 PM

      Then why did Yaniv devote an entire video to exposing Martin Shlaff’s affairs including accusing him of frequenting prostitutes with Lieberman? Sorry bud, but if what you said were true either Yaniv is biting the hand that feeds or Shlaff hasn’t been paying his legal bills.

      I’d like proof of your claims before finding any credibility in them.

      • Brian January 21, 2013, 2:30 PM

        Please:
        1. Sheves working for Schlaff since 2006 http://www.themarker.com/advertising/1.384068
        2. Ram Sheves, works for Eldad Yaniv – http://www.yanivco.co.il/inner/shirim.html (3rd from the bottom on the second page)
        3. I can’t find at the moment the passage about Eldad’s office representing Schlaff in Israel, i will upload it the min i’ll find it.

        If you’ll consider everything presented by Eldad, there are two ways he would know about Schlaff VIP treatment to Liberman:
        1. He had been there before and received such treatment, and now he’s speculating.
        2. Sheves who works for Schlaff, told him about it.

        Option 2 seems a bit more logical.

        • Richard Silverstein January 21, 2013, 4:46 PM

          Why would the son of someone working for Martin Shlaaff spill the beans on his dad’s employer unless he hates his dad or Shlaff himself? At any rate, all this points to the fact that Yaniv is being honest about reporting on Shlaff. SO what’s your problem? You’re not saying Yaniv is protecting Shlaff or doing him any favors, which he clearly isn’t. So I’m missing the problem unless your motive is to smear Yaniv in a way that is entirely unpersuasive.

          • Brian January 21, 2013, 5:33 PM

            The point is very clear. Yaniv has an ulterior motive.
            Yaniv interviewed Sheves for Globes, a proper disclosure about Sheves current employer was not provided.
            If you’ll watched the videos Yaniv made, there was nothing new in them, a bit of gossip with a pigment of Yaniv’s imagination and few lies for example: in the second video Yaniv claims he met with Biby at the city center Hotel in may 2007 at the eve of big reservist soldier demonstration following the second Lebanon war. This is impossible as the hotel opened in 2008.
            None of the critique, was directed at Schlaff. All of it was directed at Schlaff’s contacts in the state of Israel. It seems as an attempt to get closer on Schlaff ears.
            Another focal point was Yediot, Eldad’s wife works for their biggest competitors – Eliezer Fishman, who used to be a partner with Yediot but no more.
            You don’t fight corruption while maintaining the same type of MO you claim is responsible for the corruption. Yaniv was the ultimate manipulator – by own admission – and probably just like Jack Abrahmoff should spend time in jail.(he said so himself in an interview he gave) As an Israeli, these are not the people i would like to see elected for the knesset.

          • Richard Silverstein January 21, 2013, 9:42 PM

            I’m not sure which Sheves you’re talking about. The elder one?

            As for Martin Shlaff, until you produce evidence that Yaniv represents Shlaff business interests I’ll have to withhold belief on that one.

            As for the videos, I think there was a great deal that was new. I follow Israeli politics pretty closely and there was a ton on information I didn’t know.

            You’re saying that someone who made a mistake by one year in characterizing the year in which a meeting occurred is a liar? Wow, that’s harsh. And not terribly credible or persuasive on your part. I once talked with my wife about the date we were married and was off by a day. Was I a liar? Or did I simply make a mistake or forget?

            The critique wasn’t directed at Shlaff? When Yaniv said Shlaff took Lieberman to a Viennese whorehouse? On what planet are you living?

            Of course you wouldn’t like to see Yaniv elected to Knesset (fortunately, you’re not going to get your wish). You’re either flacking for Likud or one of the centrist parties from whom Yaniv is bleeding voters. What you’re doing is self-evident. You’re either a paid shill or doing volunteer work on behalf of one.

          • Brian January 21, 2013, 10:24 PM

            1. Obviously you are not versed in Israeli politics as you pretend to be, ask any Israeli – nothing new in those videos.
            2. With respect to the video and the date of the said meeting, you wither didn’t watch the video or didn’t understood what Yaniv’s claim was. Yaniv said he saw Bibi funding with cash the reservist demonstration that took place in may 2007, he claims it was in a hotel Bibi had his chambers in prior to the 2009 elections.
            A. Either the said meeting never happened.
            B. Either it didn’t took place on the date
            C. either it didn’t took place at the said place
            D.Yaniv concocted this story. for political gains.
            Since we know Yaniv is an ultra manipulator by own admission i choose option D, and you can choose any other.

            As for me being a shill…you never wrote a word about Eretz Chadasha in the last 2 weeks, and i suspect you never wrote a word about it before, you had no idea who Eldad Yaniv was hence you didn’t recognize his biggest venture so far – the national left. suddenly in the last days you wrote 3 posts showing Eretz Chadasha will pass the Election threshold. I’ll let the readers to the math.

          • Richard Silverstein January 21, 2013, 11:21 PM

            @Brian: I resent the hell out of that stupid remark. Once again, I know just about as much about Israeli poltics as any decently informed Israeli and you are dead-wrong. Not just that, but I don’t trust you or your word about anything. You still haven’t offered any proof that Yaniv represents Martin Shlaff as you claimed.

            I’m getting tired of your unproven non sequiturs. You’ll either prove every single one of your claims about Eldad Yaniv or you won’t be commenting here in future. Eldad Yaniv is a political consultant. By definition, such consultants attempt to make an impact on public opinion. There is nothing manipulative about that unless they lie or cheat. It’s possible Yaniv has admitted on behalf of his clients he did things of which he’s not proud in the past. Instead of commending him for confessing his previous bad behavior, you attempt to argue that he admitted previous bad behavior and continues such misbehavior today. That’s arguing in bad faith because you still haven’t proven Yaniv has done anything during this campaign in bad faith.

            Regarding the date and place of the meeting, if you were a political consultant who’d attended hundreds of meetings in scores of hotels you might mistake one hotel for another, as you might by a year in recalling the date of a meeting. Again, this is much ado about nothing. When you’ve got something really substantive let us know.

            Oh and by the way, you’re a manipulator too whether by your own admission or not.

            As for what I wrote about Eretz Chadasha. I wrote a post about the group about 7-10 days ago. You missed that because…well, you’re sloppy. I wrote 3 posts in the past 24 hours because an election is happening tomorrow in case you forgot.

            Btw, you deliberately neglected to address my claim that you’re shilling for a Party or someone connected to one in these personal attacks on Yaniv. Instead you tried a vain attempt to claim my interest in the party started yesterday (which was a false claim). So who are you connected with or working for? Likud? Or someone else?

            I’ll let the readers to the math.

            Math? What math? You must be using the New Math. The kind where 2+2=5.

  • Anders January 21, 2013, 9:10 AM

    Why does a source giving polling information needs to be confidential? Isn’t the whole point of polling to be both transparent and public?

    • Richard Silverstein January 21, 2013, 12:34 PM

      It is not legal to reveal poll results within 5 days of an Israeli election. Besides, when a source asks for anonymity and their information is important I honor the request. If you knew the previous scoops this source had offered & why the information I published was extremely sensitive to Israeli national security officials you wouldn’t ask your question.

  • Brian January 21, 2013, 11:32 PM

    “Richard Silverstein January 21, 2013 at 3:27 AM
    Thanks. No I’d never heard of the National Left. Let me know where I can learn more about it.”

    And you claim what exactly ? That you “know just about as much about Israeli politics as any decently informed Israeli and you are dead-wrong.” is that your attempt @ stand-up comedy ?

    As for who i am connected to – no one. Just have a different opinion then you.

    • Richard Silverstein January 22, 2013, 2:41 AM

      It’s unbelievable that you actually believe a valid indicator of knowledge of Israeli politics is whether you’ve heard of this party or not.

      As for your not being connected to anyone, I don’t believe it or you. You’re connected all right. You just won’t admit to whom.

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