Bibi Under New Investigation, Final Nail in Political Coffin?
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, Jul 5 2016
There are serious murmurings in Israeli media that Bibi faces a new, and far more damaging investigation by Israeli police. Raviv Drucker and others have suggested various reasons for them, but no one knows for sure. Of one thing Drucker is certain: this is the big one, the political earthquake many have expected without knowing when it would hit. Bibi and Sara already face several critical criminal probes that involve bribery, corruption, misappropriation of government funds etc. One is the Bibitours case in which he received double reimbursement for official travel which was also paid for by foreign donors. In another case, he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a wealthy French Jew who is now himself under investigation there for bilking hundreds of millions of dollars. There are several theories of what the new brewing scandal involves. Political blogger and lawyer David Levy says it regards stuffing of ballot boxes in the last election which permitted the Likud to pull a last-minute victory out of the fire. He claims a hacker broke into the Israel Elections Commission server and added hundreds of thousands of votes to the Likud column, which added 8 seats to its total. In other words, the election was cooked. Add to this that each of the three major TV channels predicted based on exit polls that the results of the race would be extremely close. That Likud won six more seats than Labor was astonishing and unprecedented. Levy also documents that in the last two hours before polls closed several hundred more votes were cast than in any previous election. While all this is very suggestive, given that no one else is supporting these claims, I take them with a grain of salt. Though I don’t discount them entirely.
Haaretz says it’s regarding yet more allegations of receiving funds from foreign donors after Bibi took the reins of the Likud in 2009. Raviv Drucker calls it “a serious, wide-ranging investigation that will explode shortly.” Another Haaretz reporter has confirmed that the State prosecutor began serious deliberations involving his own staff and the police, on the matter weeks ago. Readers should remember this is nothing new. Israeli politics is deeply corrupt from top to bottom. Ehud Olmert is now in prison for graft. Ariel Sharon before him had sugar daddy Martin Schlaff who bought his Sycamore Ranch and offered him endless buckets of cash. The question is whether Bibi can be felled by the scandal or whether he will continue plodding along as he has been. The Israeli press, which generally hates him (with the exception of Israel ha-Yom), is clamouring for a really big scandal and his downfall. But will it make a difference? Will what follows Bibi be any different than what he’s offered? The answer is clearly no. Look at the candidates who could rise to replace him: Bogie Yaalon, Gideon Saar, Yvet Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, Moshe Kahlon. They offer more of the same. Perhaps a little dirtier or cleaner, a little more hawkish or dovish. But nothing new or different.
Bibi & Sara tour Entebbe control tower (Photo: Uriel Sinai)
Netanyahu is currently conducting something like a rock & roll reunion tour of Africa, in which he’s being feted by the finest dictators the continent has to offer. Among Israel’s closest friends there are genocidaires Paul Kagame and Youssef Museveni. They’ve accepted thousands of African refugees expelled illegally from Israel, which has dumped them in strange countries with a pittance in send-off money, and without contacts or travel papers. His tour is part of a hoary old strategy first devised by David Ben Gurion. He used the Mossad and Israeli foreign aid to buy friends and influence people in Africa. Buying influence also involved shipping Israeli weapons to newly independent nations, who returned the favour, becoming loyal supporters of Israel in international bodies like the UN. Today, Bibi pursues this strategy because Israel has no friends left at all in the world, unless you count the Wahhabis in Toad Hall and the military putchists in Egypt. Oh and let’s not forget Pindostan, with presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton offering a Middle East plank in the Democrat Party platform which rejects Pindo foreign policy over the past four decades in not denouncing Israeli settlements. One of the most hilarious and disturbing statements from Bibi in the past day or so involves a NYT interview in which the prime minister says that when he’s facing a really tough situation he summons the spirit of his dead brother, Yoni, to help him. The dutiful NYT reporters interviewing him let him get away with this crap and treated their subject with the appropriate hagiographic deference:
Whenever he is facing a critical decision, whether for his country’s military or his own personal life, there is one person
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of IsraelBibi says he routinely consults: his dead brother. … Mr Netanyahu said he frequently held “hypothetical” conversations with Yonatan … He said: “Often I have to dispatch people to places where if there’s a failure, they won’t come back. It’s in times like these that I consult with my brother, and they’re a lot more frequent than you might think.
Bibi breaks out this new meme just in time for his speech on the Entebbe runway where Yoni Netanyahu died freeing the Israeli hostages in 1972. It’s like he’s playing the greatest hits of his political career. He is absolutely shameless. Not above exploiting the memory of his dead brother for political gain. Another bit of delicious Afro-Israeli trivia: on his last trip to Africa as foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, known affectionately by his friends as Yvet, decided to look the part of an African potentate. It suits him, don’t you think?