The greatest threat facing Israel isn’t Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah: It’s Netanyahu’s desperation


Benjamin-Netanyahu flip flop flipBy: Chemi Shalev

For Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump is a gift that keeps on giving. The U.S. president has abandoned the Iran nuclear deal, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, pitched in during the recent election campaign and is about to present a Bantustan-style peace deal that could allow Israel to annex large chunks of the West Bank. And if that weren’t enough, Trump is also making Netanyahu’s mission of undermining Israel’s rule of law that much easier.

Trump helps Netanyahu by consuming most of the attention of the world in general, and of the United States in particular, denying Israel the critical scrutiny that has often kept its leaders in check. Contrary to all of his predecessors, Trump turns a blind eye to Netanyahu’s decisions and policies, internally and in relations with the Palestinians, giving the prime minister free rein to do as he pleases. And while both leaders are on a personal vendetta against the rule of law, Trump makes Netanyahu look tame and rational by comparison.

Both men, after all, are suspected of wrongdoing; both have trashed their investigators and prosecutors; and both are waging war on constitutional norms and on the rule of law. Trump is denying the overseeing powers of Congress and Netanyahu is about to deprive the Supreme Court of its authority to review Knesset laws and, potentially, the decisions of the government itself. But while Trump is out front, in your face and foaming at the mouth, Netanyahu works discreetly behind the scenes, through lackeys and toadies, bobbing and weaving his way to a personal salvation that could spark an unprecedented constitutional, political and social crisis.

All of which means Netanyahu’s machinations are not getting the attention they deserve. His motive may be petty self-interest, but the consequences of his assault on the legal system will be felt by all Israelis, for many years to come. It will divide them, inflame public discourse and demolish the basis for the mutual coexistence that has allowed them to live at peace with each other, despite their deep differences.

Seeking to subvert his criminal investigations, Netanyahu has already succeeded in eroding public confidence in the police and state prosecutors. After failing to convince them that he is completely innocent, as he claims, Netanyahu is now hell-bent on securing immunity from what seems like the attorney general’s near-certain indictment. To achieve his goal, Netanyahu has placed a time bomb inside Israel’s constitutional core that could destabilize Israeli democracy and pave the way to authoritarian rule.

Netanyahu’s battle plan includes two distinct arenas: In the first, he will secure Knesset immunity. In the second, his right-wing coalition will deprive the Supreme Court of its power to overrule the Knesset and thus revoke Netanyahu’s new immunity.  In the interim, Netanyahu is playing for time by postponing his pre-indictment hearing, mounting bureaucratic hurdles and even pretending to be in a feud with his lawyers, all the while claiming he is the victim of a “political witch hunt” conducted by his political rivals on the left.

The question of Netanyahu’s parliamentary immunity has captured most of the public and media’s attention, but it is nothing more than camouflage. For months, Netanyahu and his confidants have been floating various proposals for new laws that would grant Netanyahu automatic immunity, ignoring the fact that under current law and with his rubber-stamp majority in the Knesset, such immunity is his for the asking.

The greater challenge facing the prime minister is to ensure that the Supreme Court won’t revoke his immunity, no matter how unreasonable, unconstitutional and politically motivated it is deemed to be.

This is where Netanyahu’s personal interests converge with the ideological goals of the annexationist right and the ultra-Orthodox parties that make up a large part of Netanyahu’s coalition. He is seeking refuge from the law and they are yearning for freedom from the Supreme Court and the shackles of international law, human and civil rights, as well as principles of equality and decency that the court occasionally imposes on government policies and decisions.

In exchange for placing Netanyahu above the law, as if Israel were a tin-pot banana republic, his coalition allies will be able to confiscate land, build new settlements, oppress Palestinians, deny equality, stifle internal dissent and impose religious rule with impunity and to their heart’s content.

Netanyahu and his collaborators base their support for the so-called “override clause,” which would negate or at least severely restrict judicial review, on a series of bogus arguments that his supporters have swallowed hook, line and sinker. They speak of a “judicial dictatorship,” even though the Supreme Court has struck down a grand total of 18 laws in Israel’s 71 years of existence. They swear by the existence of a “leftist junta” that supposedly controls the Supreme Court and persecutes Netanyahu — but have yet to produce a scintilla of proof for their claims. They compare Israel to countries in which the Supreme Court’s oversight authority is also restricted, ignoring the fact that such countries either have a completely different government system or are sliding toward authoritarianism, like Poland, Hungary and, increasingly, Israel itself.

Their most disingenuous claim is that the Supreme Court is an obstacle to good governance and renders the government impotent to implement its policies, when in fact the Israeli government is already substantially more powerful than most of its counterparts in democratic countries.

For years now, Israel’s three branches of government have dwindled to just two: the executive and the judicial. Just as the GOP has turned into Trump’s cheerleading squad and congressional Republicans have abdicated their independence to bend the knee to the White House, so has Likud transformed from a vibrant political party with firm beliefs into a collection of groupies whose only measure is their worship for Netanyahu. And given that Likud takes orders from Netanyahu and the coalition is controlled by Likud, Israel’s legislative branch has become the prime minister’s personal fiefdom.

Israel’s Supreme Court is the only remaining check on Netanyahu, his docile ministers and the kowtowing Knesset. And even though the court today is far more conservative and restrained than it was two decades ago — when the so-called constitutional revolution of the court’s then-President Aharon Barak was at its zenith — Netanyahu and his allies have succeeded in convincing the Israeli right that the court’s interventions are numerous and consequential, obstructing government policies and even imposing restrictions that endanger the lives of Israeli soldiers at the battlefront, as former Education Minister Naftali Bennett often claimed. Some of them are so persuasive, they’ve started to believe their canard themselves.

A debate about the proper scope of the court’s authority to strike down Knesset laws and to revoke government decisions may have been possible and perhaps even desirable if Israel were a normal country and if its politicians were known for their calm and

moderation. But Israel is far from normal for a host of reasons, including its 52-year occupation of undesignated territories and millions of disenfranchised Palestinians, as well as the subjugation of personal and religious life to the diktats of Orthodox Judaism. And far from sounding a voice of benevolence and reason, its government and parliament are increasingly nationalistic, ethnocentric and antidemocratic, not to mention shrill, divisive and, in some cases, downright demented.

Neutering the Supreme Court so that Netanyahu can escape indictment is like throwing out the baby with the bath water or, given Sara Netanyahu’s love for the elixir, the pink champagne with the cork. It would give the government and Knesset unbridled authority to carry out their policies, even if these collide with basic norms of fairness and decency, which they often do.

Even worse, in times of security crises or national emergencies, it would allow right-wing politicians to run wild on their habitual outbursts of incitement and hysteria, which usually include proposals for harsh measures against their perceived enemies — from Palestinian terrorists to anyone, including former army chiefs of staff, who fails to worship the ground Netanyahu walks on.

Such a drastic departure from Israel’s rules of governance and constitutional norms is bound to have a profound effect on its actions, policies and social cohesion. Netanyahu’s critics are rightfully alarmed and up in arms about his designs, though the extent of their wrath will get its first measure in a mass demonstration organized by the Kahol Lavan opposition on Saturday night.

If Netanyahu follows through, Knesset approval of the “override clause” is bound to create civil unrest and to spread turbulence throughout Israel’s civil service and legal system. The crisis could be compounded a hundred times over if the Supreme Court decides to strike down the clause itself, sparking an unprecedented and potentially paralyzing constitutional stalemate.

By their very nature, such heated battles — especially those that are part of overarching “culture wars” — usually polarize politics, radicalize public discourse and potentially deteriorate into violence. Netanyahu and his coalition will be sorely tempted to try out their new, Knesset-authorized, Supreme-Court free “license to kill” in order to stifle dissent and to rebuff the inevitable accusations of the extreme right about the government’s “weakness.” It is a vicious circle that can easily get out hand.

And while one is cognizant of the personality cult that Netanyahu has fostered, which rewards absolute loyalty and punishes any deviation from his line, as well as the deep ideological hostility of the religious right toward the Supreme Court and other manifestations of liberal democracies, it is still dumbfounding to realize that Netanyahu seems assured of success.

Right-wing lawmakers who support the “override clause” must believe they will rule forever, because otherwise their opposition will inherit the same draconian powers once it gains power and turn them against their creators. Under the new rules, of course, and with nothing to stop them anymore, the current coalition could simply decide one day that elections are superfluous and that Netanyahu should remain in power for life.

You might think that such a scenario is alarmist and inconceivable, which is how right-wingers describe the center-left’s warnings about the potential fallout of the “override clause” for Israeli democracy. On the other hand, if someone had said a few years ago that the Knesset would one day carry out what is essentially a constitutional coup d’état just to allow one prime minister to escape justice, you would have consigned them to the nut farm. Which is what Israel will become anyway, once Netanyahu’s time bomb detonates and obliterates what it used to be.




27 responses to “The greatest threat facing Israel isn’t Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah: It’s Netanyahu’s desperation”

  1. Kris Welter Avatar
    Kris Welter

    This entire political scenario involving Netanyahu parallels Hitlers rise to authoritarian power in 1930’s Germany. The same basic tactics, the same desire for total immunity for any wrong doing, the same majority of ultra-rigid party line thinkers to back him and guard his actions from scrutiny, and the same Nationalistic and Socialistic ideology that Hitlers acholytes followed when he came to power. This is the last series of steps in the rise of National-Socialist Zionism, or ‘Zionazism’ before the Zionist agenda of total domination of the Middle East, along with the destruction of the ‘Goyim’ races that populate the area, takes place. Netanyahu is trying to beat the clock, the judiciary, World opinion, and his political opposition all at the same time, and he is close to achieving his goals,

    And after the Middle East is finally neutralized, the tendrils of power which the Zionists have insinuated throughout the Western World will ensure it cannot be undone, and the Zionist dream of total World domination will come to fruition. There will be no Great War to destroy these Tyrants, because they have already interwoven their influence within the financial, legislative, and judicial entities of over half the Western Democracies, especially the most powerful…America, Britain, and France. The compliant Media will report what THEY want it to…Finances will flow for THEM to the expense of all others…and Political entities will fall in line, or risk the branding of ‘anti-semitism’ that is the achilles heel of any modern Politician.

    This has been coming for a very long time. As long as Zionism and it’s national identity exist, it will continue to rear its ugly head. And, in the end, who will undo it? Not you….not me…not even the great Nations of the World.

    For all you fans of the idea that the Jews are the ‘Chosen People’…..I hope you like what you get out of this. Giving up your freedom to become pampered slaves and compliant masses isn’t as good a fate as you seem to believe. You are all ‘Goyim’…and that’s all you’ll ever be to your slave masters, your owners, your tyrannical Emperors…’The Chosen People’…the “Master Race”. Hitler failed…. Netanyahu and his cronies, will not.

    1. MaryTPresumptuous Avatar

      You might see someone for that inferiority complex you suffer from.

      1. If this logorrheic Ahmadinejad is “Kris Welter”, I am the Pope’s butler.

        1. Hind Abyad Avatar
          Hind Abyad

          You are Pope Francis butler.

      2. Hind Abyad Avatar
        Hind Abyad
        1. MaImequer0 Avatar

          Say what sweetie? ☻☻☻

          1. Hi, MaImequer0! Glad to see You!

  2. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    Y K Zionist Watchdog (in aktion)

  3. Hind Abyad can not forgive
    Jewish terrible invader
    did not rape her in the forest
    didn’t rape her on the beach
    (vs her called infobitch)

    did not rape her in the city
    did not rape her in the village
    did not rape rape her on land
    and we also all can see
    did not rape her on the sea

    So she avenges the Jews
    drinking ugly AS* juice


  4. Who earned the most from the civil war in Syria?

    Syrian civil war is not a disaster for everyone. Some succeed and even
    become millionaires as a result of ongoing conflict. One such nouveau
    riche war is Rami Makhluf, a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad.
    Despite the personal sanctions imposed on him by the United States and
    some European countries, he is still developing his business. Recently,
    he even created a new company and named it after himself, having
    invested $ 5 million in the project.

    Makhluf, who is considered
    the richest man in Syria, manages the business of the Assad family and,
    therefore, controls all the economic decisions made by the regime to a
    much greater degree than the current ministers. He makes money by
    creating franchises, imports, newspapers and other media. He owns
    Syriatel, a mobile phone provider in Syria. In recent years, he has also
    represented Iranian companies, both public and private, that have
    received permission from the Syrian government to invest in Syria, a
    kind of gratitude from Assad to the Iranians for military and economic

    However, Makhluf has a strong competitor: Samer Foz,
    who is also a citizen of Turkey and maintains very close ties with the
    Syrian intelligence services. Foz also under personal sanctions. Before
    their introduction, he earned money by buying shares in Islamic banks
    operating in Syria. With their help, he managed an efficient funding
    network that helped Syria bypass the international sanctions imposed on

    Foz is a Sunni Muslim, he founded many sham companies outside
    Syria who moved money and gave loans to the Assad regime for investment.
    Usually other sources of credit mode simply did not exist.

    with these two tycoons, there are still a number of businessmen who
    ensure the economic security of the regime, and mainly the Assad
    families. Among them is Mohammed Hamsho, a friend of Maher Asad, the
    brother of the president. Hamsho was responsible for laundering the
    money of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq two decades ago. He also
    stood behind the oil agreements between Iraq and Syria before the Gulf
    War, when Iraq was subject to international sanctions.

    al-Katerdzhi – another businessman in the service of the regime. He
    works in northern Syria and in Kurdish areas, where he built a system to
    smuggle oil from the Islamic state, which then controlled the oil
    fields of Syria. Al-Katerdzhi created a paradoxical situation in which
    the Assad regime bought its own oil from the IG at a price well below
    the market price, thereby helping to finance the Islamic State.

    are just a few of those who finance the Assad family, and they can
    greatly benefit from the reconstruction of Syria. Meanwhile, the war
    continues, and there are still many opportunities to make money. For
    example, many Syrians rushed to the more secure northern areas of the
    country. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants arrived in Idlib and the
    Kurdish enclaves.

    These refugees find it difficult to find
    accommodation. Homeowners have raised rental prices by dozens, if not
    hundreds of percent. The government itself and construction companies
    belonging to Asad’s confidants also make profits. The most recent
    project involves the construction of thousands of apartments near the
    Turkish border. Accommodation should be inexpensive: a two-room
    apartment will cost about $ 5,000, of which $ 1,000 will be paid in
    advance, and the rest will be paid in installments at $ 150 per month,
    which is approximately equal to the rent level in these parts.

    prices may seem ridiculously low for Israeli ears, but if you earn $
    150 or $ 200 a month, then you can’t afford it either. As a result, only
    relatively wealthy people can buy these apartments, and then rent them
    out to those who have left their homes and cannot afford to buy a house
    on their own. And thus, new “elites” are created, people who have little
    more than their neighbors, and new homeowners and their tenants will
    depend on construction companies that finance projects. They, in turn,
    owe their income to the Syrian regime.

    So it was in Syria and
    before the war. Only customers have changed. The circle of winners in
    this war includes not only Syrian businessmen, but also Iranian and
    Russian, as well as from those countries that are allies of Damascus.
    Turkey, on the other hand, is considered an occupier, and the Syrian
    regime demands the withdrawal of all Turkish forces. Turkey Damascus, of
    course, is not going to give any projects. But Turkey, however, has
    economic leverage.

    They captured the city of Afrin in northern
    Syria and controls some areas in the central part of northern Syria –
    along the border. Tens of thousands of displaced persons in Syria fled
    to Afrin with the support of Turkey. Ankara considers this an excellent
    opportunity to dilute the Kurdish population in these areas, which is
    characterized by traditional hostility towards the Turks. New migrants enjoy
    not only relative security, but also economic support from Turkey. It
    seems that Turkish companies will soon build houses for these migrants
    to encourage them to settle here forever.

    Such economic niches –
    the use of the problems of displaced persons and refugees, the seizure
    of property left by people who fled from the war, the seizure of
    infrastructure objects by various mafia groups – all this turned Syria
    into a country of opportunities. And this is instead of an orderly
    restoration plan, necessary for the normalization of life in the

    Zvi Barel, “HaArets”

    1. Niemals Avatar

      Sorry can’t read your post, it’s in a language that I don’t master…

      Now something interesting for you;

      How do you explain the hate of this eternal Jew hating Arab [Hind Abyad] towards the Jews outside the state of Israel?

      1. Niemals, you are pulling my leg. Suddenly you can not understand English?

          1. Are you not capable to listen-understand plain English in video???


          2. Niemals Avatar

            Is it to hard for a Zionist Jew to understand?
            “I don’t have Facebook account I can’t access the contents.”

          3. so stay in darkness

          4. Niemals Avatar

            Is it to hard for a Zionist to understand that I’m not interested in your propaganda?

            Try it with Dumbyad, perhaps you will have more luck.

          5. It is hard to liberal fundamentalist understand: this is East Bank Jordanian opposition truth not propaganda. Please stop to be primitive or idi*t or Abyad 2

      2. Hind Abyad Avatar
        Hind Abyad

        So what? It’s irrelevant to Israel’s self proclaimed frontiers effective
        at 00:01 May 15th 148 (ME time) and Israel’s illegal activities outside
        of its self proclaimed frontiers of 00:01 May 15th 1948. NOTHING
        outside of those borders has ever been legally annexed to Israel by
        agreement with the Palestinians

        1. Hind Abyad Avatar
          Hind Abyad

          Apart from your post being irrelevant Zionist bullsh*te, the Israeli
          Government proclaimed its borders per UNGA res 181 in their plea for

          Nail this to your forehead and read it

          May 15, 1948

          Letter From the Agent of the Provisional Government of Israel to the President of the United States, “MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to notify you that the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947
          , and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the
          rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the
          boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external
          aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law.
          The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six
          o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time.”

          11 minutes later, that’s how it was recognized and that’s how it was
          accepted into the UN. No state has ever recognized any further
          territories as belonging to Israel

  5. Niemals Avatar

    The Eternal Jew Hating Arab [Hind Abyad] is once again involved with the Jews, this time with the question “How many non-Jews live in Israel”…
    Who is this Eternal Jew Hating Arab that can decide that Jews don’t need this radical Islamist that turned Zionist. “Good for you, Jews dont need you, Zionist do”

    The Eternal Jew Hating Arab claimed that Jews were expelled from Islamic countries not because of their religion…. Yes we know it, they was WHITE Khazars.

    1. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

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  6. Niemals Avatar

    Dumbyad is glorifying again David Duke the American white supremacist, white nationalist politician, white separatist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. This Eternal Jew Hater [Rosette Rohana Boisvert] retweeted this white supremacist tweet! ????

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