The indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that was announced today did not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Israeli politics have become less workable and less democratic over time. What we are seeing here is an attempted coup by the Israeli version of the Deep State.
I wrote about Caroline Glick’s presentation on the pending charges against Netanyahu at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend here. Caroline wrote last month at Mosaic Magazine: “The Real Threat to Israel’s Democracy Comes from the Office of Its Attorney General.”
The key question—indeed, just about the only question—that has been endlessly discussed is whether Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will end Netanyahu’s political career by indicting him on corruption charges. The importance of this question is self-evident. On the one hand we have a democratically elected leader. On the other hand, we have unelected state prosecutors who wish to oust him from power by indicting him.
In Israel, and throughout the free world, all politicians and all media organs maintain ties with one another as a matter of course. If Mandelblit accepts the state prosecutor’s position and indicts Netanyahu, practically speaking, he will render all politicians and media outlets in Israel hostage to state prosecutors. At their pleasure, the prosecutors can criminalize the routine practice of politics and journalism. They can investigate anyone, at any time. They can destroy reputations, squeeze politicians and media outlets financially by saddling them with legal fees, and even send them to prison. And at their pleasure, prosecutors can decide not to investigate politicians and media outlets, and so leave them free to attack their less fortunate colleagues as “criminal suspects,” and “alleged felons.”
At the core of the state prosecutors’ desire to arrogate the power to criminalize politics stands a rejection of the democratic principle that the public is the sovereign and the source of political power, and an ambition to replace the public as the sovereign. . . .
Prosecutors and police investigators have provided anti-Netanyahu reporters with a steady flow of prejudicial leaks from interrogation rooms and from the prosecutions’ internal deliberations. [But] the public has also been subjected to case after case in which other politicians have made deals with media owners that are substantively identical, and in some cases for more problematic than those Netanyahu is accused of having negotiated. In all of these instances, police investigators and state prosecutors have stubbornly refused to open investigations.
The Israeli establishment has long sought to destroy Netanyahu, the only political leader in Israeli history who was never a member of their club and never sought their approval. They haven’t been able to defeat him at the ballot box and now they have placed their hopes in the politicized state prosecution. If Mandelblit chooses to make their dream a reality, he will not merely get rid of Netanyahu. He will criminalize routine politics and so end Israeli democracy while replacing our political leaders with unelected prosecutors who have richly demonstrated their lack of objectivity and contempt for the public.
There are obvious parallels between what the unelected Israeli bureaucracy is doing to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and what America’s unelected bureaucracy is doing to President Trump. I am pretty sure Trump will weather the storm, but at the moment, it seems likely that Israel’s left will finally succeed in driving Netanyahu from office by undemocratic means. Naturally, he won’t go without a fight. His comment on today’s announcement:
“I deeply respect the justice system in Israel. But you have to be blind not to see that something bad is happening to police investigators and the prosecution. We’re seeing an attempted coup by the police with false accusations” against him, he accused.
Netanyahu listed a litany of complaints about the conduct of the investigation, charging: “These facts emphasize how much this process is tainted. It’s meant to topple a right-wing prime minister, me. I, who unlike the left and the slanted media, want to institute a free market, not only in the economy but also a free market of ideas, who wants to see a strong country, not a weak, shrunken, bowed country.”
The “tainted investigation process, including inventing new crimes, has reached its apex today. It horrifies not only me, but masses of citizens in Israel, and not only on the right… This tainted process raises questions among the public about the police’s investigations and the prosecution. The public has lost trust in these institutions. It’s a process that’s taken place over many years. This is selective enforcement on steroids. It’s enforcement just for me.”
He called to establish an independent commission to investigate the conduct of investigators in his cases.