Israel is known for its off-the-wall and often perplexing political campaign ads. This election’s crop has been no exception. But Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked might just have taken the top spot for the most bizarre ad with a spoof perfume commercial.
The right-wing justice minister flicks her hair and puts on earrings as a sultry voice whispers her policies: judicial reform, separation of powers, restricting activism and reining in the Supreme Court.
The black-and-white slow motion ad, accompanied by moody piano music, cuts to her running her hand down a banister as she walks down the stairs and picks up a bottle of “Fascism.”
“To me it smells like democracy,” she says to the camera. As justice minister, Shaked has attempted to shake up the country’s judiciary, which she sees as unfairly biased toward the left wing.
“The perfume the leftists will not like,” Shaked tweeted.
Though intended to be a dig at the left, the ad has caused a wide stir online, and her campaign has been criticized for not thinking through how it may appear to international audiences for one of the country’s most right-wing ministers to be portrayed as selling fascism.
All our international followers see is a picture of Ayelet Shaked and the word “FASCISM,” tweeted Eylon Levy, an Israeli journalist.
But it may have served its purpose, Shaked’s party, the “New Right,” has been struggling to make headlines since she and Education Minister Naftali Bennett split from the right-wing Jewish Home party in December.
“New Right is plummeting in the polls and what’s left is to do what other Western far-right parties have been doing to attract voters, employ gaslighting humor to troll the leftists and try and reestablish some street cred for Naftali and Ayelet,” Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer wrote in a tweet. “By the reactions, it’s working."