Sunday, February 25, 2018

Three cartoons to explain where anti-Netanyahu accusations will lead

If you like political cartoons, today could be your lucky day. You won't just see one cartoon here. You'll see three.  

These cartoons won't simply give you a political opinion. They might also give you an informed idea about where Israel could be headed after more than two years of headlines charging Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with corruption and bribe-taking. 

These cartoons all come from one cartoonist--Shlomo Cohen. They come from one source--israelhayom

You'll see the cartoons as they appeared between February 15, 2018-February 22, 2018, inclusive. They represent every cartoon Cohen posted on israelhayom during this eight-day period.

Here are the cartoons:

1. Dated February  15, 2018:


The image above shows Israel's bearded Attorney General (AG), Avichai Mandelblit, sticking his head out of his office to look at a 'heap' of police 'recommendations' against PM Netanyahu. As depicted in this cartoon, Israel's top cop, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, actually needs a min-bobcat to deliver his recommendations--there are that many to deliver.

In Israel, it is the police who investigate accusations of criminal activity by elected officials. It is they (the police) who decide if accusations have merit. 

If the police conclude that accusations have no merit, the case opened against the accused politician is dropped. But if the police believe their investigations have revealed credible evidence of a crime (bribery, graft, corruption, breach of trust, theft, etc), they publish a 'recommendation to indict' against the accused politician.

This recommendation goes to Israel's Attorney General. That (the delivery) is what you see in the cartoon above. Once the AG accepts the recommendation(s), he and his staff must then complete their own inquiry into the case, independent of what the police have done. Ultimately, it is the AG's responsibility to determine whether or not evidence collected by the police is prosecutable.

If the AG deems the evidence is strong enough to take to court, the accused politician will be scheduled to go on trial. If the AG determines the evidence in his possession to be unconvincing, the accused politician is free to get on with life.

The first cartoon (above) shows police 'recommendations-to-indict' being delivered to the AG. The cartoon also shows the Israeli public. It sits at home watching all this unfold on the evening news. The public wonders if these 'recommendations' (to indict the Prime Minster) are actually true--in which case they are serious (the 'mountain ')--or, if they are just more anti-Netanyahu political attacks, in which case they are just noise--a 'molehill'.

Right now, the cartoon suggests, no one knows. But everyone is watching.

2. Dated February 21, 2018: 

Background: As each of the multiple investigations against Netanyahu and his family have unfolded, supposed "details" of what the police have discovered about Netanyahu's alleged corruption have been leaked to the press. Not to be too unkind, it's probably accurate to describe these leaks as 'like a sieve'.

It works like this: Police start an investigation. Headlines proclaim Netanyahu is being investigated for corruption. 

Then the wickedness begins: first, we hear that nothing will be revealed because the investigation is confidential--then, we hear, Look! dramatic evidence revealed!--Netanyahu is going down!--oh, look: the dramatic 'evidence' turns out to be nothing--no, wait!--Look at this!--Netanyahu is corrupt--more explosive evidence!--he's going down! etc, etc.

Netanyahu hasn't been sitting quietly as all of this drama trashing him gets played out on the evening news. He's been fighting back. He and his supposedly shrinking number of friends are calling these  attacks a 'witch hunt'--an attempted coup--a media hijack--a 'Putsch' attempt--trying to do in the media what the Left has failed to do at the ballot box--etc, etc.

One final note about this second cartoon: some of the cases against Netanyahu have been classified by number, not by a name. This second cartoon refers to four of the cases by their number: case 1000, case 2000, case 3000, case 4000.

The cartoonist here suggests that the Police Commissioner (shown in the cartoon) may not be objective. He is shown here busily manufacturing "cases" against Netanyahu.

Here's the cartoon. It appeared February 21, 2018:

This cartoon has a definite political slant. The police, the cartoon suggests, are out to get the Prime Minister.

At this point, no one knows if that's true. 

3. Dated February 22, 2018:

The final of the three cartoons sums up what the consequences of these attacks and the subsequent 'recommendations' against Netanyahu might be. The consequence you'll see in the cartoon below has just last week received an  extraordinary twist, one that could favor Netanyahu: last week, new revelations appeared of yet another bribery attempt by a Netanyahu confidant. 

But this last accusation has more than one story-line. It suggests a potential that crimes have been committed by those who may not exactly support Netanyahu. 

The accusation of this new story appears so riveting that even the most news-weary will sit up. As one writer put it, the accusation this time was difficult to classify. Was it about corruption--or stupidity? (Chen Ma'anit, "Nir Hefetz could be the final nail in Netanyahu's coffin", globes, February 20, 2018). That's how weird this latest accusation seems.

In this incident, we are expected to believe that one Nir Hefetz, a Netanyahu confidant, went to a judge known for her honesty with an offer that sounds like "it came from the mafia" (ibid). The bribe offer was allegedly this: if that judge dropped a criminal probe for mismanagement of funds against the PM's wife (one of criminal cases against the Netanyahu family), she (the judge) would become Israel's next Attorney General. 

Did that really happen? 

The potentially complicating factor here is that, at the time the offer was made (two years ago), the intended recipient--the honest judge--did nothing about the bribe (if it was, as alleged, made). It's also possible that not telling the police about a bribe offer like this could itself be a crime.

Well, this depiction is not entirely true (Here comes the story's 'twist'). This judge actually did do something about the supposed offer. She told a friend about it.

But that friend wasn't just any friend. That friend was a sitting judge on Israel's High Court (that is, Israel's Supreme Court). 

If you are a lawyer, you may already be sitting up. Such behavior by a judge (not reporting a bribe offer to the police) is not exactly 'appropriate'.

The honest judge (the target of the supposed bribe offer) told her Supreme Court friend about the offer. That Supreme Court friend then...did nothing.

According to Caroline Glick, that's a crime ( Caroline Glick, "Column One: Defending the rule of law", jerusalempost, February 22, 2018). Interestingly, no one working overtime to drum Netanyahu out of office for corrupting the 'rule of law' has seen fit to comment about these two breaches of judicial ethics by two important judges. Apparently, such a story doesn't fit the narrative that 'Netanyahu-is-corrupt-and-must-therofore-go'. 

The Israeli public doesn't know what the truth is. No one seems to know if a bribe offer this stupid was made. No one knows if that Supreme Court judge--now the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court--committed any crime by refusing to go to the police until now, when half of Israel plays a game of 'political pile-on' against Netanyahu. 

Therefore, this third-and-last cartoon suggests, the real consequence of all of this noise might turn out to be pretty simple. This cartoon came out February 22, 2018:

This cartoon shows four doors, each marked with a  criminal case number. Each criminal case, the cartoonist suggests, leads to the next,  higher-number case. The ultimate end could be a new national election for Israel, where the voters will have to determine Netanyahu's fate, not a potentially corrupt Court.     

This is an interesting suggestion because, as more and more accusations have appeared against Netanyahu, the more positive have become poll results for his Likud Party. 

These polls appear to suggest that if elections were held today, Netanyahu could be re-elected. He could even end up  with a stronger ruling (that is, pro-Netanyahu) coalition than he currently has. 

This is an important point. It suggests that the Israeli public is beginning to smell a very nasty rat: Leftists who would rather take over Israel through lies and personal attacks in a compliant-and-Leftist-press than take their chances at the ballot box (Glick, ibid). 

I've already speculated (almost seven months ago) that these accusations against the PM, if untrue or exaggerated, might make Netanyahu more powerful than ever, not less powerful ("Will Netanyahu go to jail?", tuviabrodieblog, August 4, 2018). If that happens, Netanyahu's enemies could find themselves not just defeated but--potentially-disgraced and driven from politics for having dragged us through the gutter for so many months with so many untrue, horrific stories about our nation's leader. 

Is this where we're headed? Or, will Netanyahu be the one disgraced, defeated and driven from office?

Stay tuned. These cartoons show us that this political thriller has just begun.

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