Netanyahu's Likud moves ahead in Israeli election polling as party seeks ban on Obama-affiliated organizations campaigning in Israel

Despite claims by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson that Speaker Boehner’s invitation to PM Netanyahu has “backfire[d] on them both,” in the real world Netanyahu’s Likud Party has just moved ahead in the latest poll of the Israeliu electorate. The Jerusalem Post:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party reached the top spot in a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister newspaper, Ma’ariv Sof Hashavua, on Thursday for the first time since Labor and Hatnua joined forces on December 10 to create the Zionist Union.

The Likud Party is firing back against the efforts of Obama-affiliated and State Department-funded US groups to intervene in the Israeli election. Haaretz reports (via Scoopnest):

Likud petitioned the Central Elections Committee on Wednesday for an order barring campaigning by the V15 organization, after Haaretz earlier this week reported on the organization’s efforts to replace the Likud-led government.

V15, which stands for Victory 2015, is partnering with the pro-peace organization OneVoice. Its goal is to recruit thousands of volunteers who will go door to door before the election to persuade as many as one million people to vote to change the government.

To this end, it hired Jeremy Bird, the national field director of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, to organize its efforts.

The Likud petition argued that V15 - which it termed an “extreme left-wing organization” - was indirectly campaigning on behalf of Likud’s rivals, Zionist Camp and Meretz, thereby circumventing campaign-finance restrictions imposed by law.

Specifically, the petition said, the organization “is making criminal use of anonymous foreign funding in extremely large amounts.” The petition also demanded that V15 reveal its funding sources.

There may be further backfire, precisely the opposite of what Mr. Robinson predicts. Barack Obama and company are not exactly popular in Israel.

Meanwhile, as for the “backlash” against the Netanyahu invitation, the claim that Obama was not consulted has been proven false, but the controversy is certain to draw a lot of attention to Netanyahu’s address. The Prime Minister is a very eloquent advocate (and he doesn’t need a teleprompter).  His address may actually help mobilize American public opinion.

We may be seeing the backlash to the backlash.

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

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