Opinion |

Spying on Us Proves anti-Netanyahu Forces Were Right

Ishay Hadas
Ishay Hadas
An anti-Netanyahu protest in front of the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.
An anti-Netanyahu protest in front of the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, April 24, 2021.Credit: Emil Salman
Ishay Hadas
Ishay Hadas

Pursuant to the article about spyware published by the business daily Calcalist on Tuesday and as a leader in the anti-Netanyahu protest movement who may or may not have been under surveillance by the NSO spyware company, I’m sorry to disappoint: There’s nothing to find on our phones.

I share the sorrow and frustration of any criminal-governmental entity that allegedly tried to hack into our devices. You could have saved yourself a lot of time and money by following the public web page of “Crime Minister,” which is open to everyone. All our activities were always listed there, since we aren’t a subversive or illegal movement.

At Crime Minister, since we realized from the get-go that we were fighting a shady regime, we were meticulous about maintaining absolute transparency. We never tried to conceal anything, nor did we ever have anything to conceal; we always made sure not to do anything illegal in the context of our democratic struggle, and in general. The attempt to present us as scofflaws because we fought for democracy, and by doing so to justify the patently illegal surveillance, is foolish and false.

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The anti-Netanyahu “Balfour protest” and its partners fought against precisely what the investigation revealed: against an administration that cavils at no means in order to entrench and preserve its power; which perceives entire parts of the nation as enemies and criminals; which incited and fomented conflict, and did harm to the State of Israel and to Israeli society. The latest revelation, to the effect that at least some of us were under surveillance by a company whose fraudulent methods and the shady regimes it serves are now public knowledge, only goes to reinforce what we knew all the time, and against which we fought.

If it really turns out that we were under surveillance, then it will be clear to all that we knew what we were fighting about. Does anyone doubt that an administration that doesn’t shrink from spying on law-abiding citizens, with partial legal approval if that much, would hesitate before trading in state security for the personal gain of its people and their associates? That it won’t contort any law or regulation for the greater good of its benefactors?

It must be clearly stated: If it becomes clear that there really was patently illegal use of spyware against activists involved in the democratic protest – this is a practice of the worst dark regimes. The technology belongs to the 21st century, the methods and objectives belong to the 1930s. No less. We will demand, immediately and resolutely, that the responsible groups investigate and give a full accounting, and based on the information that ensues, we will also demand that the criminals be prosecuted and punished.

And in the spirit of these times, as a plea bargain with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes shape, we should ask Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, and the mediator of the plea bargain, former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, whether it is even justified to negotiate with the very people who allegedly were behind those wire-tappings, even before any official investigation of the issue.

Does Netanyahu, who allegedly used dubious methods against people who were protesting against him in a legal and democratic manner, deserve a reward in the guise of a lenient agreement, completely irrespective of the gravity of the charges against him?

The writer is one of the leaders of the Crime Minister movement and the protest in front of then-Prime Minister Netanyahu's official residence.

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