The Real Threat to Israel’s Democracy Comes from the Office of Its Attorney General

Hovering behind the Israeli elections of April and September as well as the current coalition negotiations, are state prosecutors’ investigations into possible criminal wrongdoing on the part of Benjamin Netanyahu. The investigations have been public knowledge for three years, and the subject of endless media coverage. At issue is the charge that Netanyahu offered to pursue legislation benefiting a major Israeli newspaper in exchange for more favorable coverage. Caroline Glick argues that the charge itself, and the manner in which it is being pursued, undermine the integrity of democracy in the Jewish state:

The key question—indeed, just about the only question—that has been endlessly discussed is whether Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will end Netanyahu’s political career by indicting him on corruption charges. The importance of this question is self-evident. On the one hand we have a democratically elected leader. On the other hand, we have unelected state prosecutors who wish to oust him from power by indicting him.

In Israel, and throughout the free world, all politicians and all media organs maintain ties with one another as a matter of course. If Mandelblit accepts the state prosecutor’s position and indicts Netanyahu, practically speaking, he will render all politicians and media outlets in Israel hostage to state prosecutors. At their pleasure, the prosecutors can criminalize the routine practice of politics and journalism. They can investigate anyone, at any time. They can destroy reputations, squeeze politicians and media outlets financially by saddling them with legal fees, and even send them to prison. And at their pleasure, prosecutors can decide not to investigate politicians and media outlets, and so leave them free to attack their less fortunate colleagues as “criminal suspects,” and “alleged felons.”

At the core of the state prosecutors’ desire to arrogate the power to criminalize politics stands a rejection of the democratic principle that the public is the sovereign and the source of political power, and an ambition to replace the public as the sovereign. . . .

Prosecutors and police investigators have provided anti-Netanyahu reporters with a steady flow of prejudicial leaks from interrogation rooms and from the prosecutions’ internal deliberations. [But] the public has also been subjected to case after case in which other politicians have made deals with media owners that are substantively identical, and in some cases for more problematic than those Netanyahu is accused of having negotiated. In all of these instances, police investigators and state prosecutors have stubbornly refused to open investigations.

Read more at Caroline Glick

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli democracy, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli media

Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus