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Netanyahu cries leftist conspiracy over decision to indict him for bribery and corruption

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases, pending a hearing.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his decision on Thursday after two years of investigations and months of speculation as to whether he would pursue charges prior to April 9 elections.

When Netanyahu first called for snap elections last December, it was widely believed that his decision was made in attempts to get ahead of any indictment announcements that could potentially hurt his prospects of winning.

The premier’s legal team had previously pressured Mandelblit to delay his announcement until after the elections, to which the Attorney General responded saying postponing his recommendations would “be a violation of the principle of equality before the law” and “is not in keeping with the public’s right to know.”

Following the announcement on Thursday, Netanyahu blasted Mandelblit, blaming the decision on pressure from Israel’s left wing.

“The left’s pressure succeeded,” Netanyahu said. “Something terrible has happened here and it is hurting Israeli democracy.”

“For the first time in the country’s history we are going to a hearing before the election, just to topple the right wing and raise the left to the premiership. There is no other explanation,” he continued.

Netanyahu maintained his belief that the indictment won’t influence Likud voters, adding “”but if it does influence a few, the left – heaven forbid – will rise to power.”

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s most formidable opponent in the election cycle, called for the premier to step down over the charges.

“People of Israel, sitting with Netanyahu in the same government cannot happen. I call on you, Netanyahu, to show responsibility and to resign from you position,” Gantz said, adding that Netanyahu should “stop personal attacks on people you have appointed yourself,” referencing the premier’s criticism of Israeli law enforcement and the legal system.

“Instead of choosing what is good for the people, you chose what is good for yourself,” Gantz continued

Yair Lapid, co-leader of Gant’z Kahol Lavan alliance, also called on Netanyahu to resign and hand over leadership of Likud to another politician, saying “Netanyahu can’t carry on” as prime minister. “It disrespects us in the world.”

While it is too early to tell the extent to which Netanyahu will be affected by the announcement, nearly all of his rivals have called on him to step down, and political analysts have said it could spell disaster for him come April 9th.

Haaretz reported that the most recent polls prior to Mandelblit’s announcement showed “a slow but noticeable shift of right-wing voters” from the governing coalition parties, including Netanyahu’s Likud, toward the Gantz and Lapidalliance.

The report went on to quote an anonymous “right-wing pollster working for a coalition party” as saying that “the Likud vote is brittle – holding for now, but Mandelblit’s announcement could break off a significant proportion.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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6 Responses

  1. JWalters on March 1, 2019, 3:54 pm

    The mob routinely turns on its own when they become a liability.

  2. Kay24 on March 1, 2019, 7:51 pm

    Isn’t it ironic, Netanyahu and Sara have been found swimming in pink champagne, and accepting bribes (all which surely could be proved by investigators), and it is the fault of the left wingers.
    Crooked Bibi deserves to be held accountable for the endless crimes against civilians, including bombing civilians shelters, and killing children by snipers, which is far more serious than pink champagne and cigars.

  3. Vera Gottlieb on March 2, 2019, 10:57 am

    This guy has been getting away with a lot with impunity for far too long.

    • Kay24 on March 2, 2019, 10:40 pm

      One of the reasons perhaps is because like the Trump supporters, they have been misinformed, and misled. They believe his lies, and just like Trump accuses the left of conspiring against him, and calls the media “fake news”. Obviously they are not so smart to realize that the police and investigative officials, have to prove their accusations, in a court of law. They have witnesses, and proof, I am sure. Now as for his history of killing civilians, the entire world has proof in tapes, records, and UN condemnation for war crimes, but no one is doing a damn thing about it.

  4. Elizabeth Block on March 2, 2019, 9:48 pm

    Well now. If Bibi were being indicted for war crimes, THAT might be a sign of a left-wing conspiracy.

  5. just on March 3, 2019, 7:58 am

    Where and what is the “left wing”? I have not seen them ~ anyone who might advocate justice, the end of apartheid and Occupation, corruption, endless anti- Palestinian violence, and rampant racism has been marginalized, and that is putting it mildly! So now Bibi lovers are coming out of the woodwork in the US. Bret Stephens, sycophant extraordinaire of all things Israel/Netanyahu:

    “Netanyahu Is Israel’s Nixon, Says Conservative New York Times Columnist …

    … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be remembered as the Israeli equivalent of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, according to conservative political commentator Bret Stephens, who had published many supportive articles about Netanyahu’s policies over the years. …

    “I think Netanyahu is going to be remembered as the Richard Nixon of Israeli politics,” Stephens said. “Politically gifted, in many ways strategically canny, but also a fatally flawed human being.” Stephens also criticized Netanyahu’s political pact with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, stating that this creates “a moral case” against Netanyahu.

    Stephens was a strong critic of President Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and supported Netanyahu’s efforts against the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He lived in Israel and edited the Jerusalem Post during the Second Intifada.

    Last year, he wrote a column in the Times explaining why despite the corruption allegations, Netanyahu was still popular with many Israelis – mainly, Stephens believed, because of security issues. …”

    Pssst, Stephens~ your analogy stinketh. Netanyahu will never step down. He’ll be dragged kicking and screaming… and folks like you will never let that happen.

    Next up, two Netanyahu toadies from the US Congress:

    “‘Antithesis of American Values’: Pro-Israel Democratic Senators Slam Netanyahu’s Deal With Kahanists

    Robert Menendez and Ben Cardin, who are considered close to AIPAC and were two of only four Democrats to vote against the Iran nuclear deal, join wave of protest over far-right alignment

    Two Democratic senators considered among Israel’s strongest supporters on Capitol Hill have expressed rare criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following his political pact with the racist Otzma Yehudit party ahead of the April 9 election.

    Their statements join a wave of protest over the issue within pro-Israel circles in the United States, including from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most influential lobby group supporting the Israeli government.

    New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin are two of only four Democrats who voted against the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015. They have also been, for the past six years, the most senior Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and are considered close to AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups.

    On Friday, an article published on Al-Monitor quoted both of them making harsh statements against Netanyahu’s efforts to bring supporters of extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane into the Knesset.

    “The reality is that the party that Prime Minister Netanyahu has aligned himself with is the antithesis of American values,” said Menendez. He added that “since America plays such a significant role in supporting the State of Israel, you have to wonder at the end of the day how can we be supportive of such an alignment.”

    Menendez clarified that “I’m not opining on the election, but I am opining on the views of the party that the prime minister has aligned himself with.”

    Cardin was quoted as saying: “This is an outrageous coalition, and I think what AIPAC said expressed the views of most people that I know. We’re not weighing in on foreign elections. We are weighing in on a strategy that goes beyond elections.”

    Cardin and Menendez have both promoted legislation against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in recent years, and both chose to attend Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress in March 2015, in which he attacked President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. …”

    The horror is that these two, among others, put Israel before their own country and constituents. They put Netanyahu before their own President. They disgust me, and should have been voted out long ago. Want to bet that they’ll be at AIPAC, and that Stephens will be too?

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