Israeli Conservatives Copy Obama Web TacticsNovember 21st, 2008 — Bruce Etling
Campaign managers of the world unite!
While Obama online organizers are busy trying to figure out how to adopt their online tactics to help them actually govern, Benjamin Netanyahu of the conservative Israeli Likud party has already adopted the look and feel of Barack Obama’s Web site. It’s not surprising that an overseas campaign adopted successful strategies from the US, but Netanyahu in particular may be more familiar with the US political scene, having studied business and political science at MIT.
The resemblance to the Obama campaign site is striking; the policy positions not so much. For example, the Russian version of his sight today shows missiles and the text “The Iranian threat” and a button to click for more information. It also allows you to join the party and ways to get involved.
While the campaign has adopted some tactics from Obama, the justification for adopting a broader Net strategy are closer to what we heard from Palin and other conservatives in the US–they have to go online to get past a perceived media bias against them. According to Netanyahu’s Internet campaign manager Sani Sanilevich, “The main advantage of the Internet is the ability to communicate with citizens and people directly,” he said. “You can actually hear them and get them involved in this campaign. The whole idea is, together we can succeed.” And as the Times article continues, “Netanyahu aides say direct communication with voters is important for many reasons; one of them is their belief that Israel’s mainstream news outlets are not sympathetic to the candidate, and he needs to go around them.”