Monday, March 27, 2023

Beware Netanyahu

The United States is not the only democracy where the rule of law is under attack. Michael Harris writes:

In Israel, the government is run by a prime minister under indictment for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, offences that could carry a sentence of more than a decade in prison if they are proven.  

Benjamin Netanyahu became the first PM in Israeli history to be indicted while in office. But it is not his alleged crimes that have recently put him on the front pages of newspapers around the world. After all, he has pled not guilty to all the charges brought against him in 2019, and remains cloaked in the presumption of innocence unless a court finds otherwise.

And Israelis have taken to the streets:

Why have hundreds of thousands of Israelis taken to the streets for weeks to protest against their prime minister and his extreme, right-wing coalition government? Why have some women shown up at these rallies dressed in long, red gowns, like handmaidens from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel?  Why have Israeli opposition members draped themselves in Israel flags during debates in the Knesset?  

It is because their worst fear of what might happen if an indicted person became prime minister has been realized. Netanyahu, himself before the courts, has introduced legislation that would destroy the balance of power between the legislative and judicial branches of government. If Netanyahu gets his way, politicians may soon hold the whip hand over judges in Israel, as they do in autocracies.

That’s because under Netanyahu’s judicial reforms, a simple majority vote in the Knesset would be all that is needed to overturn rulings by Israel’s Supreme Court; so much for the independence of the judiciary. It’s not a bad card to hold if you happen to be under indictment. Perhaps that’s why former Israeli prime minister and current opposition leader Yair Lapid has called Netanyahu’s proposed legislation a “corrupt, personalized law,” in which the current PM is “looking out for himself.”
American Republicans have their eyes on Netanyahu:

While Netanyahu has triggered mass civil disobedience in the streets of Jerusalem, with his frontal assault on the independence of the judiciary, the GOP in the United States is veering toward the same outcome. The implications of what Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans are doing is every bit as drastic, extreme, and wildly undemocratic as what the Likud party is doing in Israel.

Consider the stunning developments in U.S. politics in reaction to the multiple criminal investigations into former president—and now presidential candidate—Donald Trump. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is as hopelessly captive to Team Crazy within his own caucus as Netanyahu is to the raging right-wing extremists who made him PM. They want to “investigate” the investigators looking into the Stormy Daniels Affair. Sorry, alleged affair.

Think about that. What McCarthy has ordered, and what has been supported by three GOP committee chairpeople, is dragging the district attorney of the southern district of Manhattan before Congress to answer questions about an ongoing criminal investigation! Think of it as a kind of official obstruction of justice. 

Netanyahu lived and was educated in the United States. You have to wonder if there's something in the water there.

Image: The Hill Times


Northern PoV said...


Does it really matter which group of apartheid=Israelis will destroy Palestine?

Owen Gray said...

Certainly, Netanyahu won't rest until his Palestinian neighbours have been vanquished, PoV.

Trailblazer said...

There is an article on Greg Palasts site that suggests that Russia is becoming a theocracy as much of Putins support comes from the Russian Orthodox church.
Much of Trumps support comes from the evangelicals and Netanyahu's from the ultra orthodox Jews.

Looks like a religious battle to me!


Owen Gray said...

We're headed back to the Dark Ages, TB, when the battles were all about religion.

zoombats said...

"Report: Prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz, who also was one of the impeachment lawyers on behalf of Donald Trump, said on Sunday the former President can still run in 2024 and also win and serve as President even if locked up. He still would be able to run the country "from prison", if convicted". sited from The article goes on to state that felons can run for office, yet they can't vote. What an insane nation in an equally insane world run by gangsters.

Owen Gray said...

It is completely insane, zoombats. And Dershowitz has jumped off into the deep end.

hels said...

"Triggered mass civil disobedience in the streets of Jerusalem"? I don't think so. How can ordinary citizens express their unhappiness about a prime minister except by parading in the streets, flying national flags, singing, making speeches etc? As long as it is peaceful.

b_nichol said...

I can't say anything that Michael Harris has written has changed my mind about Bibi: I've been telling people for 20 years that I hold Netanyahu in the same low regard as P.W. Botha.

B Nichol

Owen Gray said...

In the end, hels, sometimes you have to take to the streets -- nonviolently.

Owen Gray said...

There was a time Netanyahu was touted as an intelligent leader, B. That admiration was obviously misplaced.

mem said...

Yes its all very worrying , we seem to be living n a time of things we took for granted as unravelling . I think a lot of autocrats read from the same handbook , Lie as much as you want , truth is optional, repeat them as much as possible and push all the buttons possible to instill fear and loathing of the "other" as a scape goat where possible . The Nazis did it , and the Americans have done it intermittently for Years as is very well illustrated and documented in Rachel Maddoe's podcast series which is riveting listening . I think that I always assumed that progress was a forward movement but we can see here that it is circular with all of us having to use energy and determination to fight off these ever recurring creatures who would manipulate for their own ends .

Owen Gray said...

When we refuse to learn the lessons of history, mem, we travel over the same territory -- again and again.