Netanyahu Transforms Trump White House Video Into Election Campaign Ad

The difference between the video tweeted by Trump and Netanyahu campaign ad is a slogan in place of the White House logo, and a voice-over of the prime minister taking pride in the U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan

President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 25, 2019.
Susan Walsh,AP

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political synergy hit a new level when a video posted to the president’s Twitter account was, within two hours of being posted, transformed into a campaign ad for Netanyahu’s Likud party for the upcoming April 9 national election.

From the moment Trump entered the White House, he and Netanyahu have enjoyed an exceptionally symbiotic relationship.

Their close friendship serves key political goals on both sides. Netanyahu is a favorite of the evangelical Christian community that comprises Trump’s political base. Trump’s unprecedented level of support of Israel and open affection for its prime minister has served Netanyahu well in buffing his image as a skilled diplomat and powerful world leader, who has been able to influence the U.S. on the Iran deal, moving the U.S. embassy and its policies toward the Palestinians.

The video was posted Monday evening after Trump met Netanyahu at the White House Monday and the two leaders ceremoniously signed a presidential proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

>> Trump handed Netanyahu the Golan with a bow on top. It's a first step toward full annexation ■ Donald Trump has just legitimized Israel's illegal conquest of occupied territory | Opinion ■ FULL TEXT: Trump's proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

It was a wordless visual montage, with Yanni-esque New Age electronic music in the background. Netanyahu’s motorcade approaches the White House. The two men, sporting matching red ties, embrace warmly. Trump is then shown signing the proclamation and displaying it proudly. The two leaders give their joint statement, U.S. and Israeli flags in the background. They are then shown strolling and chatting in front of the White House, then sitting in armchairs together in the Oval Office shaking hands. The video concludes with the White House logo. 

The concise video took maximum advantage of the relatively short amount of time Netanyahu was able to spend in Washington due to the fact that his visit was cut short and he returned home early to manage the volatile security situation. Netanyahu was thus deprived of additional time with Trump that had been scheduled for Tuesday night, when the prime minister and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, had been set to dine with Trump and first lady Melania Trump after Netanyahu's address to AIPAC.

Shortly afterward, an identical video appeared on Netanyahu’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

The images and the music were exactly the same. There were two differences: first, the Netanyahu videos featured narration by the prime minister with subtitles, celebrating the achievement.

“The recognition by President Trump of our sovereignty over the Golan Heights will be remembered for generations. It took us a decade to achieve. We have returned to the Golan, the Golan is ours by historic right, and it is ours because of our right to self-defense. And President Trump recognizes this.”

The second, key difference: Instead of closing with the White House symbol, the final image is the Likud campaign slogan: “Netanyahu. Right wing. Strong” and then the Likud banner with a picture of a ballot for the party.

This wasn’t the first time in the campaign Trump has actively lent a hand in burnishing Netanyahu’s image.

Two months ago, Netanyahu had posted a photo his Instagram account showing off a massive campaign billboard in which he is seen smiling and shaking hands with Trump with the slogan, "Netanyahu. In Another League " sending the message that the prime minister’s close ties with the U.S. president can't be matched by any rival candidate.

Trump, in a show of support for Netanyahu and to demonstrate his popularity in Israel, reposted Netanyahu’s photo to his own social media accounts.