Far-right Israeli campaign ad jokes of ‘fascism’ perfume
The Guardian: Israel’s far-right justice minister has released a campaign video for forthcoming elections in which she poses in a mock advertisement for a perfume called “Fascism”.
The move appears to make light of criticism – including accusations of fascism – of Ayelet Shaked’s attempts to restructure the Israeli judiciary, which is seen as a barrier to her hard-right agenda.
In the black and white video, Shaked saunters around in slow motion, her hair blowing as soft piano music plays in the background. Spritzing herself with a perfume labelled “Fascism”, she whispers her key policies in Hebrew: “Judicial reform … Restraining the supreme court.”
Then, speaking to camera, she seems to suggest the bottle has been mislabelled: “To me, it smells like democracy.”
Online reaction to the spoof has been mixed, with some non-Hebrew speakers taking the video literally. Others suggested the joke was too close to the truth, pointing to Shaked’s promotion of ultranationalist and authoritarian policies.
Shaked, a senior cabinet minister in the coalition government of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is a member of the New Right party, a religious-secular nationalist group. The party has lagged recently in the polls.
Its members have sought to suppress human rights organisations and reduce the ability of Israeli courts to try soldiers accused of abuses. The party’s co-founder Naftali Bennett rejects any notion of a creating an independent Palestinian state and wants to annex most of the occupied West Bank.
Israeli courts, especially the supreme court, have long been regarded by rightwingers as too liberal and a barrier to more hawkish politics.
On Sunday, the country’s leading court disqualified a racist Jewish politician from next month’s national elections while allowing the candidacy of an Arab party. Shaked said the decision was “a crass and misguided interference in the heart of Israeli democracy”.
In 2017, she successfully pushed for the appointment to the supreme court of three new conservative judges, including a settler, to reduce its ability to block political decisions. But the 15-member court remains a critical battleground between Israel’s right and left wing.