INTO THE FRAY: The police, the press and a politicized “Putsch”?

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

The police, the press and a politicized “Putsch”?

(Kindly consider “liking”, sharing, tweeting – please use hash-tag ‪#‎IntoFray)

The unrelenting drive to bring an indictment—any indictment—against Netanyahu has long exceeded the bounds of reasonable law enforcement

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):


Several short excerpts:

Ever since he [Benjamin Netanyahu] was elected to lead the Likud and especially after he became prime minister, the mainstream media has ceaselessly sought to besmirch him and his family. No other democratic leader has been continuously vilified to such an extent. The liberal Israeli media has had more front-page coverage of Netanyahu’s alleged personal failings and vague accusations of corruption than coverage of the turbulent and bloody events in the region that threaten our very survival.- Isi Leibler, Dysfunctional Politics and Disgraceful Behavior , February 20, 2018.

The past week was just another normal week in Israel—with new and sensational allegations and suspicions of evermore grave violations of the law by the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, being supposedly uncovered by the police—and dramatically covered by a frenetic press.

Impudent upstart usurper

Ever since his unexpected, razor-thin 1996 victory over Shimon Peres—the left-leaning liberal establishment candidate for the premiership—Netanyahu has been hounded and harassed by his political rivals within Israel’s entrenched civil society elites, and subjected to a maelstrom of allegations that range from the petty to the preposterous.

Despairing of democracy

Netanyahu’s unexpected success in 2015 election
Netanyahu’s unexpected success in 2015 election

With the onset of the March 2015 elections, most pundits confidently predicted the end of the Netanyahu era. Buoyed by optimistic polls and bolstered by ample foreign financing, provided by an undisguisedly anti-Bibi Obama administration, Netanyahu’s left-of-center rivals felt assured of victory…Stunned by his strong showing and devoid of any alternative contender of adequate stature, they apparently despaired of defeating him at the ballot box—and fell back on other less democratic measures.

No less perplexing—and perturbing?

The tale of two dailes
The tale of two dailes

…No less perplexing—and perturbing—were the developments of the past few days..In the wake of intensive investigations, a number of senior managers and major shareholders of a large tele-communication corporation were arrested together with the director-general of the Ministry of Communications and Netanyahu’s former media advisor…

Bibi-phobia and the law of unintended consequences

Judge Hila Gerstl and Supreme Court President Hayut: Caught in the Scandal
Judge Hila Gerstl and Supreme Court President Hayut: Caught in the Scandal

The other suspected transgression involves an approach, allegedly made by Netanyahu’s former media advisor to a retired judge regarding her possible appointment to the position of attorney-general—if she would act to drop criminal probes against Sara Netanyahu…Significantly, neither the judge nor the current Head of the Supreme Court, whom she informed of the approach, considered it a matter of any serious substance


However, it seems that Bibi-phobia is so intense it can generate some surprising unintended consequences. For the reticence of the two judges appears to have ignited the ire of those who normally consider the judiciary to be the “holiest of holies” in Israeli society—and the ultimate weapon with which to dispatch Netanyahu from power.

A layman’s perspective: Criminalizing inferred intent?

I do not know whether or not there is some contorted, esoteric legalistic interpretation of the law by which Netanyahu’s conduct could be deemed grave criminal transgression…

But, I have little doubt that even if such an interpretation does exist, it would leave the overwhelming majority of impartial laymen unpersuaded.

Food for thought: Bibi, Barghouti & double standards

I could not help wondering: How many of the same champions of the rule of law, clamoring to convict and punish Netanyahu  to the full extent of the law, for accepting cigars and champagne, are also calling for the release Marwan Barghouti, serving five life sentences for murdering Israelis—to allow him contend for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, so that he can engage in the ultimate act of extorted quid-pro-quo—extorting land for a precarious pledge of peace.

Clearly, none of this is intended to convey the impression that Netanyahu is irreplaceable. What, however, is being contended is that, in the absence of some incontrovertible—and incontrovertibly grave—infraction, the composition of the government—or any change therein—should be decided by the polls, not by the police or a politicized press.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *