For your perusal, a recent INTO THE FRAY column
“Will the “Deep-State” destroy democracy
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):
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/23539
JERUSALEM HERALD: https://www.jerusalem-herald.com/single-post/2019/03/06/The-Netanyahu-Indictment-Bibiphobia-Run-Amok
JEWISH PRESS: https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-will-the-deep-state-destroy-democracy/2019/03/10/
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2019/03/05/into-the-fray-will-the-deep-state-destroy-democracy/
Several short excerpts
The issue at the center of these investigations seems trivial against the background of the existential crises Israel is facing…The first probe, also known as case 1000, involves gifts of cigars and champagne Netanyahu received from close friends…I strongly believe that the appropriate criteria for criminal prosecution have not been met in the cigar and champagne case against Netanyahu… The other investigations (dubbed 2000 and 4000) pose even greater dangers to democratic governance and civil liberties… In both cases, the prime minister is essentially being investigated for allegedly trying to push the media – with long histories of attacking him and his family – to be fairer…—Prof. Alan Deshowitz, Voters, Not the Police or the Courts, Should Decide Netanyahu’s Future
…what we are left with is an exploration of motives… [which] are not the kinds of questions that prosecutors and police should be empowered to ask elected officials and media moguls as a part of a criminal investigation…The relationship between politics and the media – and between politicians and publishers – is too nuanced, subtle and complex to be subject to the heavy hand of criminal law…police and prosecutors should not intrude on this complex, messy and nuanced relationship between politics and the media, except in cases of clear and unambiguous financial corruption well beyond what is alleged in the current cases… to criminalize these political differences is to endanger democracy and freedom of the press—Prof. Alan Deshowitz, Voters, Not the Police or the Courts, Should Decide Netanyahu’s Future
I disagree with Alan Dershowitz on much regarding Israel. But I found myself identifying almost completely with his analysis of the indictments (subject to a hearing) filed against Prime Minister Netanyahu by the attorney-general, Avihai Mandelblit.
A product of politically partisan peer pressure
Of course, I am sure it is possible to devise some contorted and contrived legalistic interpretation of the acts allegedly perpetrated by Netanyahu that will impart them a stain of nefarious criminality. However, I am equally sure that such an interpretation would fly in the face of fairness and common sense—and would only serve to undermine, even more, the credibility of the Israeli legal system in the eyes of the average man-in-the-street….
Not an uncritical apologist
… I have never been an uncritical, pro-Bibi apologist…On the contrary, I have excoriated a number of his policy decisions, regularly and severely, and have even called for his resignation…on matters of policy…Thus, for example, I strongly condemned his 2009 Bar Ilan speech, in which he accepted the idea of Palestinian statehood – see here and here. Likewise, I was severely critical of his decision to release over 1000 convicted terrorists (2011) to secure the release of captured IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit…
Netanyahu: A transformative leader
But for all my sharp disagreements with Netanyahu, my criticism was always focused exclusively on matters of substantive policy, never on matters ad hominem…Moreover, despite that criticism, it is undeniable that in many ways, he has been a truly transformative leader.
Despite success–unceasing assault
Yet, despite his remarkable success, Netanyahu has been ceaselessly assailed by his political adversaries, ever since he was first elected in 1996. Indeed, it is perhaps his very success that has generated such raw rancor against him…After all, almost immediately following his unexpected, razor-thin 1996 victory over Shimon Peres…Netanyahu has been … subjected to a maelstrom of allegations that range from the petty to the preposterous.
The “Bibi-phobia” worked towards a crescendo with the onset of the 2015 elections…
Back then, I described the mounting anti-Bibi hysteria across the main-stream media, fueled, among other things, by funding from the Obama-administration, in the following terms:“What we are witnessing is, in effect, little less than an attempt at a bloodless coup d’état – conducted, not by the military, but by the messianic, indeed manic, mainstream media, buttressed by affiliated like-minded civil society elites, in a frenzied effort to impose their minority worldview on the nation…”
The real danger to democracy
Accordingly, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that real danger to Israel’s democracy is not in the alleged malfeasance by Netanyahu. … [R]ather than the beleaguered Prime Minister comprising a dire threat to Israeli democracy, it is his implacable political adversaries…elites that do so—driven by their inability to reconcile themselves to the verdict of vox populi—as expressed, freely and fairly, at the ballot box. It is their incessant endeavor to remove and replace an elected leader by the abuse of their unelected positions of power that erodes the very foundations of democratic governance.
Letting the cat out of the bag:
The unrelenting drive to bring an indictment—any indictment—against Netanyahu has long exceeded the bounds of reasonable law enforcement. Indeed, it increasingly seems that the levers of the justice system are being used for nothing more than to eject Netanyahu from power.
Strong corroboration of this was provided by the editor of the Jerusalem Post last week, who revealed that “…the [Attorney-General Mandelblit was prepared to close the cases against Netanyahu if the prime minister agreed to resign from political life.”
So there you have it. All Netanyahu’s allegedly grave crimes would be … forgiven and forgotten, and go unpunished if he would only vacate his elected office! Doesn’t get much clearer—or damning—than that!
And that, dear readers, is the bald and disturbing truth—from beginning to end.
As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Tags: #IntoFray #Netanyahu #Mandelblit #Elections #Indictments