Yet Another Netanyahu Case Is Born Before Our Eyes

B. Michael
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Netanyahu speaks at an event in Jerusalem, June 13, 2019.
B. Michael

What’s it like? It’s like someone accused of stealing from a grocery store providing a video showing him stealing from the supermarket to prove his innocence. Or someone accused of urinating in a swimming pool trying to prove his innocence by urinating from the diving board. (For the latest election polls – click here)

This is exactly what Benjamin Netanyahu is doing in his jittery Facebook postings. He seems frightened, angered, wild, somewhat inarticulate, almost pitiable when pouncing on the owners and journalists of Keshet’s Channel 12. Thus, with amazing carelessness, he emphasized and confirmed everything attributed to him in Case 4000.

Haaretz Weekly Episode 38

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What do the allegations in that case claim? That Netanyahu and Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch agreed that Elovitch would enforce obedience on journalists working at his Walla website, providing Bibi and the other residents of his cuckoo nest with coverage to their hearts’ content, while Bibi gives Elovitch financial and regulatory benefits that would prevent any harm from befalling his assets, all the while stuffing the media mogul’s pockets a little.

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So what does Netanyahu do in his frothing performance? First he vents his frustrations, giving rise to several potential libel suits against himself (reporter “Guy Peleg is a marionette,” Keshet owner “Avi Weiss guides the Abramovitches,” referring to outspoken Channel 12 journalist Avram Abramovitch, “Channel 12 news is mobilized in a terror attack on democracy”). At the end of the invective and the snorting comes the main course. He simply pulled an “Elovitch” on them. He hinted, threatened, called for a boycott, and let the owners of Keshet know that their bottom line is in danger.

From the negatives one can infer the positives, namely, that if Guy Peleg is restrained and his accurate reports buried, everything will return to normal. If the bothersome broadcasts that trouble the spirits of the Balfour gang cease, the proposed boycott of Channel 12 can also be forgotten. In other words, if you behave, so will we. Money in exchange for some peace and quiet. Journalistic ego-stroking in exchange for state-sanctioned stroking. Palm greasing palm. In Keshet as in Bezeq: Either you keep quiet, or harm will come your way.

And thus, in front of our amused eyes, the basis for Case 5000 is being laid, a fresh, younger brother to Case 4000. The role of Elovitch is now played by Keshet owner Drorit Wertheim and its major shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva. In the role of Bibi – Bibi. But the principle remains the same: the comfort of the rulers in exchange for media obedience.

One obviously must hope that Case 5000 does not come to fruition, and that Keshet and its owners don’t fold, and that its professional reportage continues. And yet, the virtual Case 5000 already has some evidentiary significance. In the jargon of criminologists it’s called recidivism, meaning criminal behavior that’s repeated even though the perpetrator has been caught and punished for it before, or he knows that law enforcement is on to him. After all, Netanyahu is suspected of these very crimes, and here he is trying (allegedly, of course) to manipulate the media using his power of office. His emotions again overpower his brain. Recidivism.

More important, again using the criminologist’s terminology, is Netanyahu’s modus operandi. He again displayed everything that has brought him to where he stands now: an obsession with the media. Again, he demonstrated his willingness to use financial means, or a threat to use these, to further personal interests. Again, he displayed fury and fear that led him to lose any judgment or restraint – the same pattern as before.

One may assume that state prosecutors are taking note, and that this repeated assault on a media organization will be taken into account when confirming a decision to indict, when choosing the charges laid and also (supposedly, supposedly) in future considerations regarding the severity of any penalty.

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