August 9, 2017: Taking a PM down

A half-truth plus another half-truth does not equal a whole truth.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Taking a PM down
A half-truth plus another half-truth does not equal a whole truth.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump were legally elected. Half-baked fishing expeditions, unproven innuendo and constant harassment to cripple duly elected leaders empower a handful to uproot the effect of lawful elections.
In “Alan Dershowitz and the Netanyahu investigations” (Think About It, August 7), Susan Hattis Rolef posits several arguments against Dershowitz’s remarks about the prime minister.
While she agrees with Dershowitz, as do I, that it is anti-democratic to take down an elected leader by police action for anything less than a “heinous crime,” she apparently submits innuendo and supposition to do just that.
She says that Netanyahu uses “backhanded means” to hold back contenders for the Likud leadership. What does this even mean? Is it a heinous crime? She states without qualification that the Netanyahus did not sit down with their lawyers to list what are legally covered expenses. How could she possibly know that? Her argument about receiving gifts boils down to an opinion as to how many are reasonable. Above that, it must be a heinous crime! None of this rises to a level of criminality that justifies a denial of the electorate’s choice. The better and more democratic course of action for the opposition, I believe, is to address important issues through the Knesset, hone a successful record and constructive message for voters, and win the next election so to have a similar right to govern and then win reelection.
In Susan Hattis Rolef’s presumptuous attempt to attack one of the world’s greatest thinkers and legal analysts (merely because he supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), she tries to argue against Alan Dershowitz’s principle that “it is wrong to try to bring down a serving prime minister by means of investigation of seemingly minor infractions” (if indeed there are any).
So what reasons does she bring to argue her case? • Netanyahu’s “backhanded means to ward off serious challenges to his leadership within the Likud....” Well really, what leader who is intent on leading his country would not try to “ward off” challengers? • The prime minister’s attempts to “systematically delegitimize the Israeli Left [and] fighters for human rights....” Naughty, naughty, Bibi – you should sympathize with them and their cause, even if you disagree with them. (And who is Ms. Rolef to determine that he does not fight for human rights?) • Netanyahu can “take advantage of circumstances favorable to him” to call early elections.
Now this really is disgusting! Ask Theresa May of the UK and just about any other political leader.
Wake up, Ms. Rolef. Democracy is the adoption of the will of the people, and if at any particular stage in a country’s life the people show sympathy for a ruling party, the exploitation of that moment is a perfect example of giving credence to such public opinion.
She should understand what Prof. Dershowitz is telling us – the Left did not win the election; the Left does not represent the majority opinion in Israel at the moment; and democracy demands that we accept this until the next election and not try by means of the press (and columns such as this) to treat the smoking of a few more cigars than usual or the enjoying of a few more glasses of champagne than usual as a lever to oust the legitimate government and it leader – who is indisputably the best international advocate of the Israeli cause, at least since the late Abba Even.
It has been many years since I read such ridiculous, superficial nonsense.
Missing, misplaced
In Tania Hary’s “Nothing to see here” (Comment & Features, August 7), there is something missing. It’s the fact that Gaza is Israel’s dire enemy. It foments terror attacks, often in the form of rockets, against Israeli civilians. The fact that Israel is a supplier of electricity and other needs to its enemy is surprising, to say the least.
Why doesn’t Ms. Hary ask Egypt, which shares a border with the Gaza Strip, to supply its needs? Isn’t Egypt its brother’s keeper? That’s certainly not Israel’s obligation.
Alfei Menashe
Tania Hary’s sympathies are misplaced and her voice misdirected.
As an Israeli citizen, should I not pay my electric bill after several warnings that my service will be turned off? Would Gisha go to bat for me? Ms. Hary and her organization lose sight that the Gazans and their Hamas leaders (a euphemism!) are not exactly neighborly.
They are our foes! They want to kill us – and not with kindness, which seems lost on her.
Why not address the Gaza government to pay its electric bills instead of diverting international funds to buying weapons and building tunnels with the desire to bury Israel? The monies in Gaza are available but are not being used for the good of the people.
Ms. Hary should address her piece to the powers-that-be in Gaza and stop looking to blame the Israel Electric Corporation (“macabre experiment on people’s lives”) with her self-righteous tirades (“their hands on the switch that turned down the power”). She could then print the answer from Hamas, should she receive one.
Telling our story
“Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy] is non-existent,” your columnist Melanie Phillips said in an Israeli TV interview last week. Her complacent interviewer looked shocked.
Should we be surprised that Israelis “don’t get it”? Where is the outcry in our Knesset that no English TV news program exists to tell our story to the world at least once a day from Jerusalem? What an embarrassment that our lawmakers don’t recognize this need! Many good people try to fill this void, but without coordination, it will never be enough.
Why has the Knesset never dealt with this as a matter of urgency? Where is a minister of hasbara? Worldwide, there is no connection with the Israel called the “Start-Up Nation,” only a distorted Israel. Is there nobody in Israel that the Knesset could appoint to set up an Internet TV service to be screened worldwide? Isn’t the funding merited? Surely for a Start-Up Nation, Israel can come up with a BBC-type news service for all the honest, decent people of the world, Jewish or otherwise.
The world is waiting to hear our story – from us. There has been talk about such a need for over 60 years. What is the problem? Yalla! Get started!
The Palestinians understand the power of public relations. The Israelis never have.
When I was the voluntary creative director of advertising for the Anti-Defamation League many years ago, one of the major PR firms in America offered to do a multi-million dollar campaign for Israel – and the Israeli government couldn’t agree which ministry should handle it. After a year of arguing back and forth, the organization withdrew its offer in disgust.
This was at least 40 years ago.
Think of how world opinion could have been educated.
It appears that nothing has changed – look at the consequences! It’s time to spend time and money on something besides weapons, technology, medicine and other items if Israel is to be respected for its amazing contributions to the world.