Opinion

Conspiracy Theorists Conspiring?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, November 3, 2019.
Oded Balilty,AP

Conspiracy theories flourish in a place where the plain truth and the facts don’t provide a sufficient answer. The desire for everything that happens in our lives to be clear in all its details is natural in all aspects of life, and this desire is what gives rise to alternative suggestions for unsatisfactory answers. It is common to see them as a reflection of a lack of confidence in the establishment, to alienation from the governing bodies and to a feeling that “The truth out there,” according to the tagline of the 1990s conspiracy TV series “The X-Files.”

The common basis for all these suggestions is the assumption that behind the façade of the democratically elected government are powerful forces, and they are the ones who are actually in charge of the political game – the same “deep state” that has permeated our lives since the beginning of the investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal cases. That’s how we arrived at a situation in which Netanyahu is Dreyfus and every Erel Segal or Gadi Taub has suddenly turned into Emile Zola, returned from the dead and is walking around among us.

I don’t take these claims lightly; these theories have been fueled by affairs that have been concealed from the public eye by a tight conspiracy of silence. The desire to reveal the hidden truth behind the overt truth is praiseworthy, but it also leads to confusion. This has given expression to the wisdom of all the self-styled Emile Zolas who have cropped up here. They have turned the narrative upside down.

The significance of presenting Netanyahu as the one who is powerless and a victim of a blood libel by the left-wing legal clique that dominates the country, like the significance the description of the relationship between the prime minister and the law-enforcement systems as a war, is that it provides a broad basis for conspiracy theories that will give us no rest.

And that’s how I found myself – in light of the investigation of the prime minister’s advisers – inventing such a theory on my own, and almost against my will: From the first moment, everything has been working out so well for Netanyahu’s associates, I said to myself, and also for hm. Behind the somewhat weak claim about harassing a state witness with a Chabad van and a megaphone, hides the real bonanza: the exposure to the public of the nefarious practices of the State Prosecutor’s Office and the police, which are trampling civil rights on their way to convicting Netanyahu and bringing about a putsch.

I found myself thinking: If those people, headed by Jonatan Urich and Ofer Golan, are infiltrating the investigation rooms of the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 as subjects of an investigation, trust them to find embarrassing flaws in the process. If they attend court proceedings they will know how to depict themselves, through their lawyers, as victims of an overzealous desire to imprison their lord and master.

The story was forced on the State Prosecutor’s Office at precisely this sensitive point, when on the one hand there are demonstrations by the right in front of the home of the attorney general, and on the other there is a race on to form a government.

I’m not proud of myself, but at this point I heard a voice in my head saying: This spin was cooked up in the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street, and its details were decided by remote control between the subjects of the investigation and the prime minister. When this story ends with a punishment of one day of community service, at worst, there won’t be a single person left who will believe the legal system. Really, forcing the police to admit that there were flaws that violated the rights of those investigated in Netanyahu’s cases is their wet dream. The exposure of the Telegram group called “Final Touches on Case 4000” is already a cosmic orgasm.

In other words, I scolded myself: You’re actually saying that during the election campaign Netanyahu and his advisers thought up – in the event that he couldn’t form a government – the brilliant plan to trap the police and the state prosecutor in this “Filbergate” (the state witness in question being Shlomo Filber), and then to organize a press conference in which the justice minister talks about a prosecutor’s office within the prosecutor’s office and tries to create chaos that will bring people into the streets and subject Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit to intolerable pressure.

Yes, I replied to myself with the confidence of a Bar Ilan professor, in war as in war, And for the first time there was quiet in my head. All the pieces fell into place. The conspiracy theory will reply to the contra-conspiracy theory, I said to myself in summation.