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The Scoop: Why Trump & Netanyahu are Bent on Destroying our Democracies


Our democracies, both in America and in Israel, are facing a real and present danger. It’s no joke, my friends: so much so that lately in some “respectable” media outlets, commentators and politicians were discussing seriously—I repeat: seriously!—the possibility that should trump lose the 2020 Presidential Election, not only he won’t relinquish his hold on power willingly, peacefully and democratically, but will unleash on us a new Civil War. Laugh to your heart content, but one such esteemed politician urged viewers on Fox TV to start arming themselves.

In Israel, meanwhile, the situation is somewhat different (though not as different as one might think). The notion and possibility of “Wars of the Jews” have been circulated in the open for a long time. Now though, the acuteness of such a possibility in becoming a reality has been upgraded by the approaching elections. And, if not a threat of civil war yet, at least a real danger to the survival of Israel’s democracy.

Now, you may challenge me on the validity of the word “scoop” in the title, but I challenge you to wait until you read the article to its end. Then judge its accuracy. Also, take in consideration the larger definition of the word scoop. I mean not only as a piece of breaking news nobody else broke before, but examining also the new take on the old news in the larger sense. And on that I truly believe I have something new to tell you, regarding the cause of the real danger to our democracies.

To begin with: Politicians and commentators alike are referring to Trump’s fight for survival, and especially to Netanyahu’s fight for survival, as though they were fighting for their “political lives.” Numerous articles have been written about that. But not so, I say: They are fighting for their “lives!” Pure and simple. Let me explain, starting with trump, simply because my concern today is more with Netanyahu, so I’ll dispose of the Trump argument as quick as possible.

It is well known and extensively documented that Trump’s legal challenges and difficulties have not started after he was elected president, but long before. According to an entry in Wikipedia, “… an analysis by ‘USA Today’ published in June 2016 found that over the previous three decades United States president Donald Trump and his businesses have been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. federal courts and state court, an unprecedented number for a U.S. presidential candidate.”

Add to that the legal issues, maybe crimes even, we still don’t know about, like what might be found in his tax returns. I personally believe that the reason he’d decided to run and become president is in fact to protect himself from his mounting legal problems. He was corrupted much before, throughout his business life; it wasn’t that power has corrupted him while he’s in office. Just look at all his cronies that had surrounded him for a long time, and are now going to jail. Simply put: He decided to be the president in order to stay out of jail.

As for Netanyahu, the situation is somewhat different, yet still the same at the end. I don’t believe he was corrupted, certainly not in any legal sense, before he was elected Prime Minister, which is now more than 10 years on. His is really a case of power corrupts. As to his mounting legal challenges, and his expected indictment by Israel’s attorney general on three charges of “fraud and breach of trust,” including one on bribery, I won’t go into it now because so much has been written about it already, and because I will be speaking about it soon at congregation Bet Haverim in Davis, April 3rd 7pm. My talk would be centered on the coming Israeli elections and Israel’s fight for democracy.

In Netanyahu’s case, as many observers have pointed out, he’s clearly fighting for his political life. And now, supposedly, he’s facing his gravest challenge yet. Not so, I say. First, as for his political life, he’s been Prime Minister for a long time. Almost as long as David Ben-Gurion. The way I see it, he’s fighting for his life! You see, if he loses this elections—it’s now seemed a possibility, at least—he not only will lose his political power, and might resign finally as the leader of the Likud Party, but he’s sure going on trial for the above mentioned 3 indictments. The likelihood of him, as recent history in Israel had surely taught him, ending up in prison is very real. Destroying not only his legacy, but his life.

His only way of avoiding this, of surviving this, is winning the elections. And if not by winning outright, then still forming the next government. Which is a possibility. Should that to have happened, the first business on his agenda—which he would make clear to all the parties joining his coalition before forming the government–would be to pass in the Israeli Knesset these 3 laws: 1. A Prime Minister cannot be indicted and go on trial while he’s in office. 2. A Prime Minister cannot be investigated on crimes he may have committed while in office. 3. It will apply retroactively to him. Passing these laws, should he succeed, would secure his leadership and immunity from prosecution forever,

It will also mean that he will be forever above the low. So as long as he’s Prime Minister, he will be able to continue to commit crimes at will. And that, my friends, is the definition of a dictator. Which also means, in the broader sense, the end of democracy in Israel. These two leaders try to cover up their crimes and protect their lives, even if in the process they will destroy our way of life and our democracies.

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Anti-Semitism: See Under Hate, Envy, and Israel

Every weekend I go down to the American River to wash my eyes with its beauty, and to refresh my mind as to what truly matters. I have a saying: Every week that ends by the river, was a good week; every week that begins in the river, will be a good week. But a couple of months back when I went there for my weekend visit, I was shocked to see a swastika painted in white on the bike-trail, from where I take a small dirt path that leads to the bank of the river. I saw no one around, and still went ahead with stopping by my favorite tree on the small hill, washing my eyes with the beauty of the rapids, enjoying the cool breeze, marveling at the flight of the birds.

And yet, this incident kept rolling in my head weeks after I’d informed the police and the park authorities about it, and after I’d been informed by a Park Ranger that they erased it. I did visit the river again, of course, and was happy to see that the hateful emblem was no longer there. Still, with everything else going on around the issue of anti-Semitism—I don’t need to spell it out for you, do I?—I decided to jump into these turbulent waters, see if I can reach the other side with something of value to tell you.

Here’s what I found: The cause of anti-Semitism is rooted, first, in deep old hatred. Hatred that, for whatever reason, is ingrained in some people hearts and minds. I can hardly explain it, as I’m not sure I know where it comes from; but it’s being passed on from generation to generation. Some people are so full of hatred and resentment, it simply blind them to the truth. They bring up and educate their offspring this way, and the children grow up hating Jews, yet without knowing really why they do, just as other people hate blacks or gays no matter the progress we’ve made. That’s the reality that some people live with, while trying to inflict and spread their venom around.

For me, however the question of envy is more prominent. Let’s be frank about it: The Jewish people—wherever they were, however much suffering, atrocity, and misfortunes befallen them—always managed not only to survive, but to excel. They are successful in most things they try their hands in, with some of the best doctors, scientist, artists… you name it. No wonder no other group, race or ethnicity, while being such a minority, can claim so many Noble Prize winners among their ranks. And of course, the need to survive in tough environments and circumstances had thought them how to be good in business. Yes, with money. How to work hard and make a good living.

Nothing wrong with that. Except in the eyes of some uneducated people, who’d rather lay around drinking beer instead of getting an education, or working-skills. Some poor people hate rich people; some unsuccessful people hate successful people; some downtrodden people take these feelings of envy and resentment on the most obvious easy target: the Jews. In their misinformed minds, Jews are responsible for all their problems. If it weren’t for the Jews, they would be well off. They’d get their money and be successful without the need to work hard and get an education. Blame the Jews, it’s easier; unleash violence too, and conspiracy theories on them.

As of late, though, I find myself concerned more with another source for the prevalence of anti-Semitism. It’s the “New anti-Semitism,” as I call it, result of Israel’s government actions, and the attitude of its people. This reason for anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, is a cause for great discontent among Jewish people, especially here in America. Because, when it comes to Israel and the way it deals with the Palestinian people and issue—the occupation and military rule over other people, the constant violation of basic human rights—they prefer to look the other way.

But in the world we live in, this might be of greater cause for anti-Semitism. Many people the world over, most of them democrats, liberals, open-minded people—most prominently in academia, media, and the arts—refuse to look the other way when it comes to Israel’s constant abuse of human rights and international law. Of course, Jewish organizations here in America are quick to equate it—wrongly!—with anti-Semitism. Add to that the large immigration of Muslim refugees, in Europe and also here, from Middle Eastern and North African countries, and we have a combustible situation ready to be ignited.

The Israeli government, especially all these years under the rule of Netanyahu, had operated under the belief that the increase in anti-Semitic virulent sentiments and violent actions in Europe and America, will in return increase the immigration of Jews to Israel. Will help Zionism, the way they see it; decrease the unfavorable demographic situation, and will help deflect the need to solve the Palestinian conflict. Which, to a degree, is what has happened. However, it’s also very unscrupulous and dangerous, as it continues to cultivate and fester anti-Semitism outside Israel, with accusation of Apartheid state in-the-making, and with unforeseen consequences.

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