‘Israeli Politics is Being Dragged into the Grubby Realm of Reality TV, As Benjamin Netanyahu demands a televised showdown with his corruption accusers and Roseanne Barr prepares to address the Knesset, the poverty of public discourse has never been more apparent’, Jonathan Cook , January 13th, 2019, dissidentvoice.org
The mild-mannered prize-winning journalist J. Cook is based in Nazareth, and he seems a tad exercised over these recent moves of Bibi’s; small wonder.
He writes that last week Bibi’d commandeered the airwaves to explain to the nation the reasons for his recent decision to move the election forward to April, which was ‘widely seen’ as acting as a referendum on his government ahead of the corruption investigations that are closing in on him. You’ve seen the headlines, I’m sure, and may have, like I…yawned at the improbability of an indictment/trial.
“The police have recommended that he be charged over three separate allegations of bribery. By calling the election, Netanyahu has forced the attorney-general, Avichai Mendelblit, onto unfamiliar – and constitutionally tricky – terrain.
Mendelblit, an appointee of Netanyahu’s, has indicated that he will make a decision on whether to issue an indictment before the ballot, so that voters have the facts to make an informed choice.
But Netanyahu has said he won’t drop out or resign, even if indicted, and there is no decisive precedent to suggest he must.
Instead, he would prefer to bully the attorney-general into delaying a decision until after voters have spoken. That was the purpose of his unexpected live national TV address.
His supporters have already set the stage, claiming that an indictment mid-campaign would influence the outcome and usurp the will of the people.”
Heads he wins, tails (Mandelblit indicts him) he also wins, as in:
“The investigators, led by a far-right police commander he personally approved, had supposedly joined a leftist plot to oust him. The proof was that they had denied him a chance to confront in person his accusers – former aides turned state witness – and challenge their testimony.
Claiming that he had been stripped of his legal rights, Netanyahu demanded a showdown be broadcast live – effectively trailblazing a new type of reality TV show for suspects in high-profile criminal cases.”
Cook writes that of course Bibi knows that confronting witnesses are only decided by the police, and only then if evidence needs to be tested. He adds that the police already have the evidence they need, and look to a court of law for testing.
“Two of the three bribery cases he faces relate directly to allegations that he offered favours – in one case captured on tape – to Israeli media moguls in return for better coverage in their publications.
Netanyahu has long demonstrated an obsession with controlling his image, and has proved an arch-manipulator of passions to mobilise support for his hawkish agenda.
It was at the last general election, in 2015, that he turned the tables on his right-wing rivals at the last moment. He rallied voters by claiming that Israel’s Palestinian citizens – a fifth of the population – were turning out in “droves” at polling booths. Only a vote for Netanyahu, he suggested, would save the Jewish state.
Not only did he imply that voting by Palestinian citizens was illegitimate, he claimed that the Israeli left was “bussing” them to the polls, citing this falsehood as proof of the left’s treachery.”
At the same time, Cook notes, Palestinians under occupation have been disappeared from the campaign, and not one o the Jewish parties is highlighting Palestinian rights or has the occupation at the center of its platforms. Ergo:
“The vast majority of Israeli politicians want to entrench the occupation, not end it.
Israeli commentators noted that Mr Netanyahu had another pressing reason – apart from legal threats – to bring forward the election. He feared that otherwise Trump might unveil his long-promised peace plan.
However bad that plan will be for Palestinians, Netanyahu does not want his unwillingness to make concessions exposed.
But Netanyahu is far from the gravest threat to Israel’s “democracy”. The most dangerous thing of all is the widespread refusal in Israel to recognise that the Palestinians are human beings too – and that they should be able to determine their own fate, just like Israelis.”
More on the leaked Trump Peace Plan in a minute, but back to Roseanne:
“Underscoring the way TV has increasingly become a tool in Israel not for clarifying issues but for inflaming emotions, the US TV comedian Roseanne Barr has been invited to address the Israeli parliament at the end of the month.
She will use the opportunity to denounce as Jew haters activists in the international boycott movement who stand in solidarity with Palestinians. Only in Israel’s current degraded public discourse would Barr, who has a history of making offensive comments variously about Jews, Muslims and black people, be taken seriously as an arbiter of racism.”
amen and om mani padme om.
‘Roseanne Barr, queen of Israel’, Jonathan Ofir, January 17, 2019, mondoweiss.net
“American fallen-from-grace celebrity Roseanne Barr is going to Israel. And not just on any trip. She has been invited by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to speak against the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel – she is due to speak on the 30th of January. The invitation is reportedly an initiative not of a government right-winger, but of none other than a leftist, Zionist Union member – Knesset Deputy Speaker Yehiel (‘Hilik’) Bar.”
The rest is almost too much to bear, including her topsy-turvy switcheroos, but he does make his case for ‘queen of Israel’ at the end given her more er…recent hyperbolic comments.
‘Trump peace plan: Divide Jerusalem, Palestinian state on 85-90% of W.Bank; The report, based on a source who took part in a briefing in Washington on the plan, said it calls for the annexation of the large settlements and the evacuation of some settlement outposts’, Herb Keinon, January 16, 2019, jpost.com
“US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” expected to be rolled out after the elections on April 9, will include a Palestinian state on 85-90% of the West Bank and the division of Jerusalem, according to a Channel 13 News report.
The report, based on a source who took part in a briefing in Washington on the plan by a senior American official, said it calls for the annexation of the large settlements and the evacuation of settlement outposts deemed illegal under Israeli law.”
Again, you can read the rest here, fwiw.
The ‘deal of the century’ in bold if it doesn’t come through was a link to: ‘U.S. ambassador to Israel: Trump’s peace plan to be presented in months; The comments came during National Security Advisor John Bolton’s visit to Israel this week’, jan 6, jpost.com one excerpt:
“On one hand, Trump’s peace team says it cannot be responsible for embarrassing the country, the president or the administration by publishing a plan that falls flat on its face out of the gate. Yet it also refuses to give up, insisting that circumstances will serendipitously change just enough for the world to take the plan seriously.
Trump’s team – led by Jared Kushner, his son-in-law; Jason Greenblatt, his special assistant and envoy to the process; and David Friedman, his ambassador to Israel – have floated trial balloons on some of their proposals. Some have flown and some have not. But no one knows precisely what their initiative entails – many in Washington doubt a full draft actually exists – and so it is fair to say that its contents might still surprise the region and reframe discussion around the peace process in more productive terms.”
The authors quote Nikki Haley as agreeing, as she is one of the few who has glimpsed the details of the plan…
A not-great-bonus extra: ‘Israel’s plan to ‘worsen conditions’ for Palestinian prisoners is an opportunity for unity’, January 4, 2019, middleeastmonitor.com
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)