Opinion

Last Days of the Monarchy

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Amir Ohana.
Olivier Fitoussi

The right to privacy is a complex issue requiring a gray, boring discussion, which doesn’t really interest the cult worshippers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The protest that has arisen about the rights of Netanyahu’s spokesmen and public relations people to the privacy of their cell phone information is essentially a struggle by Netanyahu’s people for privilege, and they should be left to wage this struggle alone.

The chutzpah is so unadulterated. What’s the point of even recalling the silence of the right wing when the police arrested a man in Petah Tikva who was protesting corruption, and they took his cell phone? It wasn’t even a topic worthy of discussion, certainly not one that demanded a response from the whining Cossack from Balfour Street. “A terror attack on democracy,” no less.

There’s no point in discussing issues like the right to privacy with them. These are people without values, so values like this don’t interest them. If you were to hang a gold ring on a pig’s nose, at least you’d get a cute pig. What would you be getting here, other than the right to once again watch Netanyahu’s people prattle about rights that for a decade they were prepared to deny any other suspect?

I’m fed up, I admit. I battled against the administrative detentions or torture of right-wing activists. For me it’s part of a universal struggle for human and civil rights, while for the right it’s a struggle for preferential rights. But I’m not prepared to turn into the Netanyahu cult’s useful idiot, which unfortunately is happening to some of my colleagues on the left, who fell into the trap set for them by Netanyahu’s people. Enough is enough.

The ranting about the “right to privacy” is an attempt to distract everyone from the real story: The Netanyahu cult is afraid that the investigators will find out what’s hiding in his campaigners’ cell phones, perhaps because they’ll find that the order to harass state witness Shlomo Filber came from above. We’ve almost forgotten that Filber has already complained about threats, and that the demonstration allegedly staged by Netanyahu’s people, involving a van with a loudspeaker parked in front of Filber’s home, broadcasting accusations against him, suggests how easy it will be for the prime minister to make his life miserable.

For luminaries like Justice Minister Amir Ohana and his predecessor, Ayelet Shaked, these are apparently trifling issues, because they also rose this week to attack the state prosecution and police. They, too, spoke in the name of rights, upon which they spat when the detainees were just some Mohammed or Teka. And the public security minister, who in the past backed the police when they tried to cover up the shooting death of a Bedouin citizen by claiming he was a terrorist, isn’t backing his policemen in the most sensitive investigation they’re conducting.

Since this is the case, it’s useless to consider what these ministers have to say. They have no position on the proper balance between the right to privacy and the public interest in preventing crime. It’s just a shiny distraction from the only question that interests them: Is it useful to Netanyahu, or harmful?

There is no justice or public security minister here; there’s no culture or health minister. These are empty titles that Netanyahu has granted to members of his defense team, whose salaries the public continues to pay. Facing them is an attorney general who allowed them to crush the state because he was too scared to do his job. And this is how the Netanyahu kingdom is spending its last days – by sending out flatterers and cowards to explain to us what democracy is.