Are American Democrats trying to intervene in Israeli politics? As major protests have continued to rage, some have begun to wonder what America's left political wing may -- or may not -- have to do with the mayhem.
On Saturday night, more than 400,000 activists poured into Israel's streets to rail against the country's high cost of living, its housing crisis and what some call a distorted distribution of wealth. But new reports claim that these protests -- which appear organic in nature -- may actually be strategically orchestrated by Stanley Greenberg, a prominent Democratic strategist here in America.
As protestors continue to come together for rallies, concerts and the like in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, the motivation and the demands behind the movement are unclear. That being said, some claim that this lack of clarity is intentional, as the strategy has purposefully been to decentralize the protests. IsraelNationalNews.com has more:
Greenberg directed the strategists to create a protest that was not led by one specific group, in order to create social ferment. An unnamed left-wing leader would eventually step into this ferment and take the reins, Greenberg predicted.
If true, this would mean that these protests were purposefully spawned in an effort to create unrest, while making it look as though the people were so fed up with the political schema, that they took to the streets out of sheer angst. IsraelNationalNews.com continues:
The protesters are mostly secular people and the participation of nationalists in the summer-long protest wave has gradually lessened, as details emerge of left-wing involvement in their organization.
In a recent article by Kalman Liebskind on Nrg.co.il, some intriguing allegations emerged. According to Liebskind, a meeting was assembled in Tel Aviv back in March during which several dozen left-wing activists met to discuss how a political upheaval could be initiated. At this meeting, Greenberg apparently was invited and he presented his "ten commandments to victory," saying "This is how the right will be defeated if we work hard and right."
Later, some of these activists met a larger group where Greenberg's proposals (referred to as "Stanley's Plan") were presented. The initiative was allegedly an effort to spawn a large protest, then to use the mass of individuals who would rise to decide future elections. Mixed in with this plan was purportedly the notion that a controlled political context would pave the way toward a more viable political agreement with the Palestinians. These, of course, are purported events.
According to sources, Israeli strategists have joined Greenberg in this crusade. These individuals allegedly include Boaz Gaon, Moshe Gaon and Eldad Yaniv. Greenberg has a history of working in Israeli politics; he helped left-wing Ehud Barak win to become Prime Minister back in 1999. Interestingly, Greenberg has been active in recent months in gaining greater perspective on Palestinian opinions regarding the state of affairs in the region.
Considering Greenberg's past experience in Israeli politics, his involvement in the protests, if substantiated, raises some curiosities. To begin, it begs the question: Is the American Democratic Party purposefully intervening in Israel to target Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governmental policies?
After all, Greenberg is embedded in the Democratic Party, having served Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others. And his wife, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, represent's Connecticut's 3rd congressional district. Serving since 1991, she is immensely liberal (she's a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and she and her husband are good friends with former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
The Democratic connections are clear. But the Israeli allegations are still murky. Aside from exploring the potential meeting and the alleged plans Greenberg strategized, one can look deeper into the protestor's platform to, at the least, see that leftist undertones appear to be present (regardless of Greenberg's involvement, this seems to be the case).
To properly examine this, we must first look at Netanyahu's response to the protestors. To address the unrest, the prime minister assembled a panel and promised to act on its recommendations to address housing costs, food prices and the like. In a recent radio address, he said:
“The public debate and the Trajtenberg Committee discussions are an opportunity for real changes. After receiving the committee’s recommendations, I will act quickly to bring about the correct balance between social concern and fiscal responsibility.”
After learning about this panel, the protestors offered up their own leadership commission. This is where the plot seems to thicken, as the group's members and their ideological adherence are sure to raise some eyebrows.
Take, for instance, Professor Joseph Zeira of Hebrew University -- just one of the many individuals who has advocated on behalf of the protestors. He recently joined other economists in issuing an opinion that taxes should be raised to help meet protestor demands (seems similar to some of the economic debates America has been having, with the Democratic Party arguing in support of the same remedy).
Then, there's Dr. Emily Silverman from Technion Israel Institute of Technology (also an activist with the New Israel Fund). Currently, the Fund has a post up encouraging people to protest for "social justice, equality and democracy."
A third example is the public administration team headed by Professor Yitzhak Galnoor, the former civil service commissioner who has openly called for a Palestinian state, agreeing that it's vital to Israel's security and future. Galnoor also apparently signed an appeal to European leaders that they support the Palestinian Declaration of Independence.
The aforementioned individuals only account for a few of the left-of-center individuals the protestors have selected to be on their commission. The fact that many of these people are prominent professors and the like is also curious. While not damning, it does appear to showcase a higher-level structure supporting these individuals.
Last month, before these revelations started to ramp up, Glenn Beck questioned international involvement and left-wing influences on this seemingly grassroots movement. In a radio broadcast he said (note sarcasm), "Why even look, why even look to see if there is any global leftist financing involved in Tel Aviv."
While some may have dismissed the notion that leftist ideals or finances (or a mix of the two) are behind these protests, Greenberg's potential involvement and the Democratic ideals espoused by the aforementioned individuals certainly raise questions, as they seem to indicate a leftist tilt.
This, again, is not to say that the protestors, themselves, are far left. People, as is the case in any legitimate protest, may be reacting to conditions on the ground in Israel. Still, it is entirely possible that the leftist movements within the country are coming together to push a coordinated agenda.
Israel-based journalist Sharona Schwartz contributed to this report.