New Head of Israeli Left-wing Party Advised by Anti-left Spin Doctor – and Lied About It

When Haaretz asked Tamar Zandberg whether she consulted with Moshe Klughaft, who created aggressive campaigns against Israeli human rights groups and left-wing activists, she denied

MK Tamar Zandberg and Moshe Klughaft.
Moti Milrod, Tomer Appelbaum

The newly elected chairwoman of Meretz, MK Tamar Zandberg, was advised during her party primary campaign by a strategist who consulted on several Israeli political campaigns that employed anti-left incitement — and she lied when asked about it.

To really understand Israeli politics - subscribe to Haaretz

Moshe Klughaft, a former campaign consultant to Habayit Hayehudi Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, reportedly volunteered his services to the Zandberg campaign, and was not paid.

Klughaft created aggressive campaigns against Israeli human rights groups and left-wing activists. His work includes a video published by Im Tirtzu that accused activists from the New Israel Fund and other left-wing groups of acting as agents for foreign governments.

Im Tirtzu

At the height of the Im Titrzu campaign, posters were disseminated that depicted New Israel Fund Chairwoman and former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan with a horn on her forehead.

When Haaretz asked Zandberg specifically last week whether she consulted with Klughaft, either as a paid or unpaid adviser, she said she had not.

>> Tamar Zandberg faces a daunting challenge | Analysis >>

On Saturday night, Klughaft told Amit Segal in an interview on Israel Television News Company news that he had worked with Zandberg on the Meretz primary.

A person involved in the campaign also told Haaretz: “They were in continuous contact throughout the campaign. They were not friends, it was a professional relationship.”

Zandberg told Haaretz Saturday night that Klughaft was not employed on the campaign, but that they had been in touch and that he gave her insights in messages he sent.

Zandberg denied on Sunday morning that her campaign used Klughaft's services, and said that he only advised her ad-hoc. "This campaign had managers who led it. It's true that I was in touch with him, but he didn't lead the campaign," she said. "I'm not lying to anyone. It may have been a mistake to even talk to him."

In addition to the “foreign agents” campaign, Klughaft was also Habayit Hayehudi’s 2015 election campaign in which MK Yossi Yonah (Zionist Union) was compared to Hamas. Bennett subsequently apologized for the comparison.

Klughaft also advised former MK Erel Margalit in his unsuccessful bid for the Labor Party leadership last year, part of which was a video clip in which Margalit used obscenities.