Friday, July 15, 2016

Dangerous external intervention - Dr. Gabi Avital

by Dr. Gabi Avital

Rather than investigate the claims by the prime minister, who happened to be the head of a political movement that was running in the election, Netanyahu was met with a wave of mockery.

An ancient proverb says that the truth is bound to come to light, or in another version, a thief will eventually hang. The late historian Professor Yosef Nedava said that some individuals and sectors of the public held out hope for "the test of history," which they saw as a kind of Supreme Court that would come down, dig around, and deliver an unimpeachable ruling. "That's a delusion," Nedava said. After the report was published detailing a U.S. Senate committee's findings that the V15 organization received money from the U.S. State Department and used it for one purpose -- to topple the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- has the folk saying proved the historian wrong? 

The truth depends on how you look at it. The average citizen's expectation that media outlets should have probed into the source of the money that flowed to various entities and nonprofit groups before the 2015 election was unfounded. Moreover, during the campaign, the prime minister posted on Facebook that left-wing groups were working to put the Left back into power, supported by funding from foreign governments, and held a press conference about the post. In the end, what happened? 

The proverb is slippery. Rather than investigate the claims by the prime minister, who happened to be the head of a political movement that was running in the election, Netanyahu was met with a wave of mockery. The atmosphere on the Left was one of impending victory, to the extent that heads of the well-known group peacocked around, although still in the guise of "protecting democracy." The sense was that there were too many foreign fingers in the pie. There was no need for proof. The biggest difficulty the prime minister and his team faced was the many ways in which the Left, with massive media backing, responded by attacking en masse the Likud and the person who headed it, in an attempt to create a distraction. This is what Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich, for example, wrote: "It's a paranoid post, confused, both whiny and threatening, by an old-time king whom the masses are tired of and who is feeling threatened because soon he'll be beheaded." 

So what happened here? The findings of the Senate committee confirm the claims made by Netanyahu and his staff. They hold a mirror up to many in the media who preferred to take sides in the election instead of doing their jobs and investigating what many people had already realized: A foreign nation was making generous financial contributions to flagrantly and unfairly intervene in the election process. The media's marginalized coverage of the committee's findings echoes the coverage of the prime minister's recent visit to Africa in the midst of a "huge scandal," which turned out to be nothing. Sleight of pen. 

No matter how we look at things, the bottom line is that we're talking about dangerous intervention by a foreign government and an attack on Israel's sovereignty, with the goal of influencing a democratic election. I look at the Left's cries about budding fascism and the destruction of democracy, not only in the context of the NGO law, and I am forced to conclude that the Left appropriates lofty, enlightened concepts, but its conduct -- with frightening support by the media, which is mostly leftist -- indicates only a passing connection between what the Left says and how it actually conducts itself. If it hadn't been for the Senate investigative committee, it's doubtful that the proverb would have won this struggle. It looks like Professor Nedava was right. Waiting for someone from outside to investigate these groups is a danger to democracy.

Dr. Gabi Avital


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