Netanyahu Chose His Target for Next Election Campaign: Protesters and the Media

Netanyahu's anger at the explosion of protests against him have turned the prime minister into a hostage of his son Yair's hostile tirades against the press

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Protesters against Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Protesters against Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Saturday, August 1, 2020.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The man who entered the cabinet room on Sunday and sat on the prime minister’s chair looked like Benjamin Netanyahu. But the words coming out of his mouth were those of Yair Netanyahu. The boundaries between the two have blurred of late to the point of being erased entirely. The son’s violent style, the lies, the sick situation assessment and the conflicted personality reflected by the tweets have taken control of the father. The prime minister is becoming a hostage.

The excuse, this time, is the intensification of the demonstrations against him. The family from Balfour is focusing on the three TV channels. They, and Netanyahu, are simply incapable of accepting the fact that they are covering the protests against him - to the proper and necessary extent - given these events are taking place across the entire country, north and south, bridges and city squares, Tel Aviv, Caesarea and Balfour Street. In their eyes, it’s an illegitimate phenomenon, an injustice, coverage = support = an attempt to oust the tyrant and his family.

Coronovirus incubators,” he dubbed the demonstrators, in order to encourage his black-shirted cohorts to continue attacking them. He described the lynching of peaceful demonstrators in Tel Aviv by his fans as a “scuffle between soccer team fans.” And there were other such comments from the man for whom truth is not an option and lying is an obsession.

The long text barked by Netanyahu should be judged by psychological rather than political tools. The attacks began on Saturday night, when “Likud” publicized a totally psychotic message, which included a wild defamation of the TV networks, and a fistful of lies and incitement, accompanied by an antisemitic illustration, in the style of Cairo newspapers before the peace treaty was signed.

Netanyahu, as we know, must have an available enemy, whom he can attack and portray as demonic and inhuman. On the eve of a possible election campaign into which he is dragging a country which has become his hostage, he is beginning to design the target for the campaign: the media and the demonstrations.

“Journalists aren’t reporting on the demonstrations, they’re taking an active part in them,” he says. A total lie, of course. His media megaphones are propagating this venom, clicking their tongues and mourning the death of democracy. Some of them participated in a propaganda film shot in his home, and started dancing to the strains of the Likud jingle outside a court while it was in session about his case.

In the summer of 2011, at the beginning of the social protests, when any thinking person realized that it was an authentic event, the Prime Minister’s Office worked overtime to convince the media that the protest was the product of a shady political deal, timed and financed by external factors, in order to “bring down the government.” Most of the reporters heard and ignored the messages. A few individuals, who were the exceptions, disseminated the despicable spin in thousands of words.

Anti-Netanyahu protesters near the prime minister's residence, July 30, 2020.
Anti-Netanyahu protesters near the prime minister's residence, July 30, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

On Saturday, exactly nine years later, Netanyahu cited one of them, who attacked the media “which embraces and identifies with and volunteers to help the demonstrators.” This is the food chain: The PMO briefs, whoever buys its spin is blessed, and the prime minister festively cites the merchandise he is selling as a reference- as though it were the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

In Netanyahu’s distorted world, democracy is the media and journalists – some of whom really aren’t members of the profession – who dance to his tune and demean their colleagues. Those covering a popular, authentic awakening, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in nine years, are worse than the Soviet media. “It’s already like North Korea, with the media in favor of demonstrations,” he complained.

How foolish: the only demonstrations covered by the North Korean media are demonstrations of admiration, suffused with artificial tears, for the great and beloved leader. That’s where he wanted to go when he tried to control the country’s central media outlets, by means of friendly tycoons. When they all become [the pro-Netanyahu] Israel Hayom newspaper and TV’s Channel 20,when all the broadcasters lick his boots and scorn his rivals, like Yaakov Berdugo, who besmirches what’s left of Army Radio’s good name every day, only then will he be happy, and so will Sara [Netanyahu] and Yair (a certified inciter, who on Sunday got what he deserved from the court).

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