Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bye-Bye Bibi?


In its report on Netanyahu's developing indictment story this morning, CBS News noted that "if indicted it would make the first time in Israel's history that a sitting prime minister is charged with a crime." Netanyahu was in Moscow meeting with another right-wing crook, Vladamir Putin, when the stories started breaking in Israel and around the world early yesterday. I might add that if Trump is indicted it would make the first time in U.S. history that a sitting president is charged with a crime." That sounds like a move in the right direction-- both for Israel and the U.S.

Once the high court turned down a request from Likud to block the announcement of an indictment, The timing on this-- it's been in the works for 3 years-- is far more crucial than a non-Israeli might guess because... the national elections are a month away. Haaretz noted this morning that the indictment changes everything. When Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced today that he had finally decided to "indict him for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases, pending a hearing," make it more difficult for Netanyahu to just shrug the whole thing off as a left-wing "witch hunt," as he's been doing for a couple of years now.
One of the largest teams of investigators ever – from the police and Securities Authority, and attorneys at all levels of the Justice Ministry-- have worked on this case for three years. There was even a "devil’s advocate" team of lawyers tasked with presenting the defendants’ case.

...[I]n the 24 hours before Mendelblit’s announcement, you could already hear an evolution in their messaging. There’s a new tone. It is saying that no matter what Netanyahu is accused of and what he may have done, Israel needs him. If he is forced to leave, Israel’s security will be in jeopardy, so stop making such a fuss about a few cigars and some friendly articles on a website.

Just a day before Mendelblit’s announcement on Thursday evening, Netanyahu was still in Moscow, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was the perfect setting for the new message-- Israel needs Netanyahu because only he can speak to Putin. The main quote the Prime Minister’s Office released from the meeting encapsulated that: Netanyahu had apparently told Putin “the direct link between us is a vital component in preventing risks and friction between our militaries and contributes to security and stability in the region."

The Russian-speaking Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin sat in on the Putin-Netanyahu meeting. He was on Israeli radio immediately after returning to extol Netanyahu’s personal rapport with his Russian counterpart and to paint a farcical picture of Kahol Lavan co-leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid arriving to meet Putin, arguing between them over who would go in first.

Netanyahu’s inner circle understands that it has to accept that some voters will believe Mendelblit, and they need to convince them that if even the indictments are true, it doesn’t mean Netanyahu must leave.

They are exposed not only to the recently published polls, which are showing a slow but noticeable shift of right-wing voters from the governing coalition parties-- particularly Kulanu, but also Likud-- toward Gantz and Lapid’s [Blue and White] alliance. They are also reading the internal polling that is showing, in the words of one right-wing pollster working for a coalition party, that “the Likud vote is brittle-- holding for now, but Mendelblit’s announcement could break off a significant proportion.”

Netanyahu will shrug off all the allegations and pretend everything can continue as normal. He is still prime minister, defense minister and leader of Likud. But he knows that from today, he is a prime minister on notice. Israel has never been in this situation; these are uncharted waters.

What’s more, everyone around Netanyahu will know he is on notice. Next month, in the White House, President Donald Trump will know it. The audience at the AIPAC Policy Conference will know it. It will be at the front of the minds of everyone engaging with him-- including Putin when they next talk on the phone.

When Israelis go to vote on April 9, for the first time they will be asked to vote for a prime minister on notice. Should Netanyahu still succeed in winning enough votes to enter coalition negotiations, the other party leaders, his potential partners, will be able to demand the kind of prices a premier under notice must pay.

Mendelblit’s decision is not yet the final indictment. But it is a new millstone hung around Netanyahu’s neck, a weight no previous Israeli prime minister has ever experienced. He will now have to carry it around wherever he goes, and it will drag him down.
If Israel can save itself from a corrupt leader, why can't the U.S.? And, as serious as Netanyahu's crimes are, they appear almost insignificant compared to Trump's. If you've gotten this far in the story, I'm going to give you a treat than no one else knows and that I'm not going to go on Twitter and carry on about. On Sunday's talking heads shows-- one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. Tim Hardin knows nothing about impeaching Trump but... tune in on Sunday.

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At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe it will take AIPAC demanding that trump be impeached for congress to act.

maybe that's the only way Pelosi will do her job... put a half billion into her superpac in exchange for it.

how does Israel feel about a Christian caliphate with pence as high priestess?

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At 2:46 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Oh please i hope they nail his ass & Likud loses their majority in the spring election.

At 3:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe NOW the Israeli Government will stop displaying everything they learned from the real Nazis?


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