Archive for the ‘Media and Netanyahu’ category

Permanent Investigation: How the Media Uses the Anti-Netanyahu Playbook Against Trump

November 7, 2017

Permanent Investigation: How the Media Uses the Anti-Netanyahu Playbook Against Trump, FrontPageMagazine, Daniel Greenfield, November 7, 2017

Taking out Flynn left Trump with few options except McMaster. And that allowed the swamp to reclaim the National Security Council and protect the eavesdropping operation against Trump. The likely Flynn charges have little to do with the reason he was forced to resign or any accusations against Trump.

But that doesn’t matter. The real goal was to remove Flynn. The details don’t matter.

Thinning out a target’s inner circle makes it harder for him to find competent and loyal replacements. And that makes it all too easy for the swamp to plant its own people in his inner circle. And even if the staffers and allies stay loyal, the investigations make it harder for them to get anything done.

In free countries, the left operates on two tracks: the democratic and the undemocratic. When it loses democratically, it redoubles its undemocratic efforts to retain power. Scandals and investigations are the tools of an undemocratic establishment. But they can’t overthrow the will of the people.

When conservative leaders stay strong, the scandals and investigations blow away like the wind

****************************

The latest news from Israel’s left-wing media outlets is that Ratan Tata, an Indian billionaire, testified to the Israeli police about Prime Minister Netanyahu. The story turned out to be fake news. And that’s true of most of their anti-Netanyahu hit pieces along with the police investigations that accompany them.

But that doesn’t matter.

Americans are just now being introduced to the permanent investigation and its scandal rolodex. Israelis have been living with this Deep State assault against their democracy for much longer. Over eight long years, leftists in the judicial system and the media have manufactured a non-stop campaign of scandals and investigations against Netanyahu. The investigations and the scandals fall apart, but it doesn’t matter because there are usually several being rotated in and out from the scandal rolodex.

The scandals and investigations fall into two categories that should be familiar to Trump supporters.

Category one scandals link some random billionaire to Netanyahu through a chain of connections. The random billionaire in this case is Indian. Then there’s an Australian billionaire in Mexico, German shipbuilders and whatever part of the globe the media-judicial alliance throws a dart at next.

The fake news media in this country is following the same game plan. The latest media hit pieces target Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, in much the same way. Indeed the Russia scandal developed out of media hit pieces that used Trump’s international network of businesses to build up very similar conspiracy theories about foreign interests and influences.

These types of scandals constantly imply corruption without ever actually proving it. But by generating a whole lot of them, they create the sense that Netanyahu or Trump must have done something wrong.

Though no one can say what, because no one can keep track of all the fake scandals.

Category two scandals are character attacks. “He’s a bad person.” Typical examples are Trump’s condolence call controversy and accusations that Netanyahu’s wife is mean to employees.

These types of scandals are straightforward gossip. But lefties have tried to transform them into legal cases. Just about anyone who has ever worked for the Netanyahu family can walk out of the door and have a standing offer to file a lawsuit and do a tour of the media alleging horrible treatment. And the left is trying to advance similar lawsuits against President Trump.

There are lessons to be learned for Trump and Trump supporters from Netanyahu’s experiences.

First, permanent investigations don’t resolve. Trying to wait them out doesn’t work. They never go away until the left wins. An investigation that doesn’t pan out gets swapped out for another one. There are three investigations targeting Netanyahu. If none of them get results, there will be three others.

Everyone knows that.

Second, the purpose of a permanent investigation isn’t to get results. The left would love it if their investigations finally brought down Trump or Netanyahu, but they know that’s a long shot.

The permanent investigation’s real goals are to inflict electoral and policy damage: tying down a targeted politician in scandals so that the public loses confidence in him and preventing him from focusing on his policies. What the left wants is to win elections and stop conservative policies.

The scandals and investigations are political sabotage. And should be treated that way. They’re not about Trump or Netanyahu. They’re about protecting illegal immigration and Islamic terrorists.

Third, the investigations isolate their target by harassing staffers, friends, donors and political allies.

The investigations are a political operation. And so their targets are political. The purpose of the attack is to take out loyal staffers and force allies to keep their distance out of fear that they’ll be next.

Taking out Flynn left Trump with few options except McMaster. And that allowed the swamp to reclaim the National Security Council and protect the eavesdropping operation against Trump. The likely Flynn charges have little to do with the reason he was forced to resign or any accusations against Trump.

But that doesn’t matter. The real goal was to remove Flynn. The details don’t matter.

Thinning out a target’s inner circle makes it harder for him to find competent and loyal replacements. And that makes it all too easy for the swamp to plant its own people in his inner circle. And even if the staffers and allies stay loyal, the investigations make it harder for them to get anything done.

And that too is the point.

This may seem like a grim picture of what the next term or two will look like. But it’s not all grim.

Netanyahu made it through eight years by not letting the scandals drag him down. Even when the attacks against him and his family were as vicious, nasty and personal as the left could get.

He even turned the constant scandals and investigations into a hilarious campaign ad.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has accepted them as a fact of life in a political system where the left’s anti-Israel extremism has made it toxic to voters even while it still controls much of the establishment.

The permanent scandal has been met with permanent scandal fatigue by the public. Israelis have been living through years of hysterical headlines about Netanyahu’s ice cream eating (CNN did its own version of a Trump ice cream scandal with “Trump gets 2 scoops of ice cream, everyone else gets 1”), his wife’s bottle deposits, their children’s misbehavior, their nannies and his bed.

Hardly anyone outside the media bubble cares. Netanyahu’s reputation has been damaged with the media’s low information voters, but he’s still Israel’s longest serving consecutive prime minister.

The Israeli lefty media reacted to its narrative failures the same way that its American counterparts did.

After Trump’s win, the media launched a crusade against “fake news” enlisting Google and Facebook to censor results based on the opinions of the media’s “fact check” operations. Their Israeli counterparts were even more brazen. After a previous Netanyahu victory, they rolled out the “Law for the Advancement and Protection of Written Journalism in Israel”.

The law “advanced and protected” written journalism by banning the distribution of successful free newspapers. The real purpose of the law was to ban the pro-Netanyahu paper, Israel Hayom.

But the media’s censorship crusade didn’t accomplish anything.

The media has an exaggerated sense of its own power and of the gullibility of the public. The two fallacies are interrelated. When people don’t listen to it, the media assumes that since they’re too stupid to have their own ideas, they must be getting all their ideas from some other source. Stamp out this other source, online or offline, and the people will go back to believing what they’re told.

It doesn’t work so well when the media has a worldview and interests that are at odds with the people.

Netanyahu is still around because he represents the public better than the establishment does. The same is true of Trump. And the establishment can’t look in the mirror long enough to understand that.

In free countries, the left operates on two tracks: the democratic and the undemocratic. When it loses democratically, it redoubles its undemocratic efforts to retain power. Scandals and investigations are the tools of an undemocratic establishment. But they can’t overthrow the will of the people.

When conservative leaders stay strong, the scandals and investigations blow away like the wind.

From Mueller to Mandelblit

November 2, 2017

From Mueller to Mandelblit, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, November 2, 2017

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

By making it clear through their actions to date that they will not stop their investigation until they get Trump, Mueller and his associates apparently view their investigation as a means to either overturn the election results or render them irrelevant. If Trump is either pushed out of office or denied the ability to govern in accordance with the agenda he ran on, then Mueller will have achieved that goal.

Netanyahu and his political camp’s victory came as a shock to Israel’s elites. Led by the media, which was itself an adjunct of the anti-Netanyahu campaign, and assisted by the Obama administration, which siphoned US government funds into anti-Netanyahu political groups, Israel’s elites were flummoxed by the election results.

Shortly after the election, the anti-Netanyahu media, with the support of police investigators, went on a hunt to find something – anything – to force Netanyahu from office. In the end, all they could come up with were two otherwise absurd allegations.

In the Mueller probe and the incessant probes against Netanyahu we see the new face of the Left. Unable to win elections, they exploit their control over the bureaucracy and media to overturn election results.

There can be no greater threat to the health of a liberal democracy than that.

Two things must happen for this situation to be corrected.

First, we must recognize what is happening and what it means for our systems of governance. Second, lawmakers in Congress and the Knesset alike need to stand up to the media and the legal fraternities and bravely restore the power to govern to those in whom the public has vested it.

*****************************

There are stunning parallels between US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged collusion between US President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia and the ongoing criminal probes against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

Monday, after a weekend filled with speculation due to an illegal media leak regarding sealed grand jury indictments, Mueller and his team indicted two former Trump campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, for offenses related to their business and lobbying actions allegedly carried out between 2006 and 2014.

Mueller also announced that George Papadopoulos, a junior campaign aide, pled guilty to lying to investigators about a meeting he tried to arrange between then candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As commentators across the political spectrum have noted, none of the charges against Manafort and Gates have anything to do with Trump’s presidential campaign.

As for Papadopoulos, his story exculpates rather than implicates Trump’s campaign in collusion with Russia.

Not only did Papadopoulos’s boss on the campaign reject his offer to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, the actions described in his indictment demonstrate that the Trump campaign had no significant ties to the Russian regime.

And yet, despite the apparent absence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, no one expects Mueller to close down shop. To the contrary.

The Manafort and Gates indictments and the Papadopoulos plea tell us that Mueller has abandoned the stated purpose of his investigation. Having found no evidence of collusion – criminal or otherwise – between the Trump campaign and Russia, he has decided to investigate the business dealings of Trump and his associates going back decades.

Mueller’s move demonstrates that he does not view it as his job to incriminate or exonerate Trump regarding alleged collusion with Russia. Indeed, he doesn’t view it as his responsibility to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 elections at all.

If he thought that was his job, then Mueller would not be expanding his writ to include alleged crimes carried out by Trump’s associates that any US attorney could be investigating. He would be expanding his probe to include the growing mountain of evidence of collusion on the part of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and their attorneys, as well as Mueller’s friend and successor as FBI director, James Comey, with foreign agents, including Russian government officials, during and in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mueller’s apparent refusal to follow the evidence where it leads him regarding Russian involvement in the 2016 elections and his decision instead to investigate any and all suspicions against Trump and his associates whenever the events in question may have taken place tells us that he views himself as a hunter, not an investigator. His prey is Trump.

Mueller will continue to hunt Trump until one of three things happen.

Mueller may eventually find something – anything – to charge Trump with. Such a finding will precipitate an impeachment hearing in Congress that could lead to Trump’s removal from office.

His hunt may find nothing against Trump, but just as it netted Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos this week, it may bring down other people related to Trump. At a minimum, his continued probe will keep those close to Trump under continuous investigation. In this case, Mueller’s probe will dominate Trump’s presidency and make it impossible for Trump to govern in accordance with the agenda he was elected to advance.

The third possible outcome is that Trump fires Mueller and ends his probe or that Congress defunds his probe or limits its duration. Such moves would require the unanimous support of congressional and Senate Republicans, which currently is not on offer.

The threat that Mueller’s investigation represents to US democracy couldn’t be clearer.

By making it clear through their actions to date that they will not stop their investigation until they get Trump, Mueller and his associates apparently view their investigation as a means to either overturn the election results or render them irrelevant. If Trump is either pushed out of office or denied the ability to govern in accordance with the agenda he ran on, then Mueller will have achieved that goal.

This then brings us to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and the political Right won a massive electoral victory in 2015. For the first time in many years, the Right won indisputably. There are no coalition partners who place appeasing the PLO at the top of their governing agenda or even in the middle of their agenda.

Netanyahu and his political camp’s victory came as a shock to Israel’s elites. Led by the media, which was itself an adjunct of the anti-Netanyahu campaign, and assisted by the Obama administration, which siphoned US government funds into anti-Netanyahu political groups, Israel’s elites were flummoxed by the election results.

Shortly after the election, the anti-Netanyahu media, with the support of police investigators, went on a hunt to find something – anything – to force Netanyahu from office. In the end, all they could come up with were two otherwise absurd allegations.

First, that Netanyahu received too many gifts from his wealthy friends. Specifically, he allegedly received too many cigars from his friend Arnon Milchen. Second, Netanyahu taped himself discussing with his nemesis, Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Mozes, the possibility of winning less adversarial coverage from Yediot Ahronot in exchange for lobbying Israel Hayom, which is owned by Netanyahu’s friend Sheldon Adelson, to cut back its circulation and so diminish its competitive edge over Yediot. This discussion, which came to nothing, was discovered by police investigators during their investigation of Netanyahu’s former chief of staff for alleged crimes unrelated to Netanyahu.

If the allegations were directed against any other politician, there is no doubt that they would not have led to police investigations. The late president Shimon Peres’s legendary use of the public trough to pay for his lavish parties and lifestyle were never the subject of investigation. Former prime minister Ehud Barak never faced investigation over his allegedly sketchy business dealings or his deeply suspect campaign financing operations. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was never investigated for the massive collection of expensive pens that he was showered with by “friends” during his tenure in government.

And none the 43 lawmakers who voted in favor of a bill backed by Mozes to shut down Israel Hayom were ever investigated for their votes.

But with Netanyahu, with the prodding and active support of the media the police are pursuing multi-million shekel investigations around the world to find and interrogate Netanyahu’s friends and ask them about their gifts to him. Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich has hired Lior Horev, one of Israel’s top anti-Netanyahu political consultants, to serve as the police’s public relations representative.

As for the probes against Sara Netanyahu, every day the public is treated to yet more salacious, unsubstantiated tales of her alleged abuse of workers at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

While Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit did not initiate the probes against Netanyahu, he has done nothing to stop them. This despite their demonstrably prejudicial nature. Mandelblit is a product of the system that has turned the police, media and state prosecution into a political party united in their common goal of hunting the political Right. As a result, he can be expected to go along with whatever they do. If the police recommend indicting Netanyahu, Mandelblit can be counted on to dutifully indict him, even though the acts he is suspected of committing are not crimes.

Given the current dynamic, the only way for Netanyahu not be forced from office for actions that aren’t even criminal is for his political associates to rein in the out of control police and state prosecution by limiting their authority. So far, the media have cowed them into inaction.

In the Mueller probe and the incessant probes against Netanyahu we see the new face of the Left. Unable to win elections, they exploit their control over the bureaucracy and media to overturn election results.

There can be no greater threat to the health of a liberal democracy than that.

Two things must happen for this situation to be corrected.

First, we must recognize what is happening and what it means for our systems of governance. Second, lawmakers in Congress and the Knesset alike need to stand up to the media and the legal fraternities and bravely restore the power to govern to those in whom the public has vested it.

Thanks to the Left

August 11, 2017

Thanks to the Left, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, August 11,2017

Trump was elected because of the cultural Marxism that had enveloped the United States. It was a climate that enabled and fed on the two-term presidency of Barack Obama, a Saul Alinsky adherent. Nor was the media the sole culprit. The United States was becoming an Orwellian universe in which all concepts of good and evil were turned on their head. Universities were no longer institutions of higher learning, but rather totalitarian training grounds for the policing of thought. Trump’s brash assertions about “making America great again” elicited elation that somebody was listening to a mass plea to “make America America again.”

The point is that Trump owes his victory, and the obstinacy of his loyalists, to the Left’s penchant for going too far. The same applies to Netanyahu. Members of his base turned out in droves to cheer and champion him this week, precisely because they felt that he, and they, have been under unjust assault. It did not matter to them whether there is merit to the case against Netanyahu. Politics, after all, is 75 percent perception.

Which brings us to the final and most significant gift that the Left has bestowed on both Netanyahu and Trump: the notion that both heads of state are dangerous, trigger-happy alarmists, liable to set off a nuclear war with rhetoric, if not weapons. This is nonsense, of course, but the Shiite mullahs in Tehran and the crazy communist dictator in Pyongyang are not so confident.

*****************************

On Wednesday evening, thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv to demonstrate solidarity with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purpose of the rally, organized by Coalition Chairman Likud MK David Bitan, was to decry the investigations into Netanyahu’s alleged acts of corruption, and commiserate over the news that the attorney general had decided to indict Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, for spending public funds on private expenses.

“Both the Left and the media, and they are the same thing … are now involved in an unprecedented, obsessive witch hunt against me and my family,” Netanyahu said at the event. Participants waved banners protesting the “putsch” being attempted by way of “trumped-up” criminal charges. Though the pun here is unintentional, the sentiment is eerily similar to that felt by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in the face of his opponents’ move to delegitimize his election, criminalize his presidency and bring about his impeachment.

This is not the only comparison between Netanyahu and Trump that Israelis have been making lately. Although the press likes to mock Netanyahu for having so readily adopted Trump’s favorite phrase — “fake news” — journalists are not the only ones drawing parallels between the two leaders. Sara Netanyahu did so as well, when she greeted First Lady Melania Trump, on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport on May 22, when the Trumps arrived in Israel as part of the U.S. president’s first official trip abroad.

“You know, in Israel … the media hate us, but the people love us. Like you,” Sara told Melania. Later that evening, when the two couples had dinner together at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, there was undoubtedly further discussion on the matter.

Whether they also talked about being loathed by certain groups within their own parties is not clear. Yet, just as Trump has many harsh critics in the Republican Party, Netanyahu bears the brunt of hostility from rivals within Likud and in the broader right-wing bloc. In addition, both Trump and Netanyahu are seen, even by many of their supporters, to possess character flaws that are difficult to discount, let alone defend.

What the two have most in common, however, is something that neither realizes. Indeed, the “background noise” — as Netanyahu has referred to hysterical calls for his indictment and ousting — seems to be preventing both the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president from noticing that they have been, and continue to be, bolstered by the very forces working tirelessly to take them down.

Trump was elected because of the cultural Marxism that had enveloped the United States. It was a climate that enabled and fed on the two-term presidency of Barack Obama, a Saul Alinsky adherent. Nor was the media the sole culprit. The United States was becoming an Orwellian universe in which all concepts of good and evil were turned on their head. Universities were no longer institutions of higher learning, but rather totalitarian training grounds for the policing of thought. Trump’s brash assertions about “making America great again” elicited elation that somebody was listening to a mass plea to “make America America again.”

The point is that Trump owes his victory, and the obstinacy of his loyalists, to the Left’s penchant for going too far. The same applies to Netanyahu. Members of his base turned out in droves to cheer and champion him this week, precisely because they felt that he, and they, have been under unjust assault. It did not matter to them whether there is merit to the case against Netanyahu. Politics, after all, is 75 percent perception.

Which brings us to the final and most significant gift that the Left has bestowed on both Netanyahu and Trump: the notion that both heads of state are dangerous, trigger-happy alarmists, liable to set off a nuclear war with rhetoric, if not weapons. This is nonsense, of course, but the Shiite mullahs in Tehran and the crazy communist dictator in Pyongyang are not so confident.

What level-headed Israelis do know for certain, beyond the real and present danger of Iranian and North Korean nukes, is that Netanyahu was ridiculed and chastised by the Left for making a special trip to Washington in March 2015 to address Congress and warn against the nuclear deal with Iran. In the same vein, Americans this week witnessed Trump being raked over the coals for responding to North Korea’s test-launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles with a threat of “fire, fury and … power.”

Such ludicrous belittlement of leaders doing their duty discredits the detractors and instills fear among those enemies with the will and means to annihilate whole populations of innocent people. Rather than commiserating over their shared victimization at the hands of the “Left and the media,” Netanyahu and Trump should be grateful for the help.

No turning-points in Trump and Netanyahu cases

August 4, 2017

No turning-points in Trump and Netanyahu cases, DEBKAfile, August 4, 2017

A whole range of media and opposition politicians were having a field day in Washington and Jerusalem over what both depicted as the imminent downfall of two targeted leaders, Donald Trump and Binyamin Netanyahu. The two cases have nothing in common except for their synchrony and the fury of the extra-judicial campaigns waged against them.

In Washington the celebration was sparked Thursday, Aug. 3 by Special Council Robert Mueller’s convening of a criminal grand jury in pursuance of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. In Jerusalem, the prime minister’s former chief of staff Ari Haro’s consent to turn state’s evidence in the long-drawn out alleged corruption probes against Binyamin Netanyahu was hailed as a “political earthquake.”

In both cases, the celebrations were premature.

Mueller will be able to subpoena witnesses to testify under oath, and is expected to summon Donald Trump JR to answer questions on his meeting with a Russian lawyer, who promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, as well as president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. But this does not mean that the Mueller investigation is about to wind up any time soon. Just the opposite: grand juries take their time. They may go on typically for a year or eighteen months – or even for years. And they don’t necessarily vote to indict subjects of an investigation.

So Mueller’s step poses no immediate danger to Donald Trump’s presidency.

The media-fueled campaign for toppling Netanyahu is going into its second year, with headline chasing headline claiming one alleged scandal after another. As soon as one goes up in smoke, another takes its place.

Although a whole range of witnesses have faced police questioning in search of evidence against the prime minister – they include some of the prime minister’s friends, Arnon Milchen and Sheldon Adelson, in the case of “inappropriate gifts” – no indictment has yet transpired.

On Friday, Aug. 4, the agreement signed with his former chief of staff, Ari Haro was greeted as the last nail in the prime minister’s coffin – and not for the first time.

A court-ruled gag order covered the details of the deal. In essence, Haro was promised that in return for providing evidence against his former boss, the charges against him of promoting his private business interests while in public office will be dropped and reduced to fraud and breach of trust. Instead of jail, he would face six months of community serve and pay a fine of NIS700,000 (roughly $250,000).

A court-ruled gag order covered the details of the deal. In essence, Haro was promised that in return for providing evidence against his former boss, the charges against him of promoting his private business interests while in public office will be dropped and reduced to fraud and breach of trust. Instead of jail, he would face six months of community serve and pay a fine of NIS700,000 (roughly $250,000).

Binyamin Netanyahu has been judged and convicted of bribery and corruption by Israel’s mainstream media in at least four cases, even though long police investigations have so far failed to turn up the evidence for any indictment. Haro’s testimony may, or may not. provide such evidence. But it is not unknown for the prosecution in Israel and other places to reject plea bargains.

But the headlines are not waiting, any more than they waited for proof before alleging that the national security authorities were riddled with corruption. They named names before the prosecution had a chance to bring any indictments in the alleged case of the German submarines. Day after day, the main culprit Micky Ganor was reported as having admitted to paying bribes to top figures, including the former commander of the Navy, Eliezer Merom, and implicating David Shomron, a lawyer who happens to be related to Netanyahu. The relationship was stressed in story after story.

So far, however, this egregious criminal scandal has died down. Ganor finally confessed to nothing more than tax offenses.

This did not stop Avi Gabay, the newly elected leader of the opposition Labor party, declaring that the people won’t stand for a prime minister whose “cousin is implicated in the illicit submarine deal.” Neither is an anti-Netanyahu group deterred from demonstrating week after week outside the home of the state attorney, Avihai Mandelblitt, to protest his and the prosecutor general’s failure to indict the prime minister.

But what can they do? In the final reckoning, even if all charges brought against Netanyahu turn out to be true, he like any other Israeli citizen is innocent until proven guilty.

The cases against Trump and Netanyahu may have inched forward by another step this week, but there will be many ups and downs before they are over. The last word will not be left to the media, but to the systems of justice in both the American and Israeli democracies.