TORONTO - We’ll know by the end of today whether Israel is still one of the great democracies of modern society or whether it has descended to the status of a petty fiefdom that bends to the will of its new oligarch – Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bibi, as he is known, has prompted three (3) national elections in the space of one year for the sole purpose of avoiding a jail cell. So much for the high calling of the desire to serve the public good that we claim distinguishes true democrats from self-seeking petty tyrants.
The “common good” he has been advancing is apparently evidenced in the charges of corruption and abuse of power for personal gain that Israelis could no longer stomach.
The fact that “People” still pay any attention to him beggars the imagination.
Yet, his party, Likud, overwhelmingly endorsed his leadership and his candidacy even as his character flaws crossed the line separating “personal peccadillos” from criminal behaviour. Somehow – perhaps because he has skillfully played on the State-paranoia of Israel being pushed into the sea by “hate-driven” Palestinians (even the paranoid have enemies) – he has “dressed himself in the proverbial flag” that renders him almost invulnerable.
He is no less a scoundrel for that success. Just before the call of this latest election, he suggested he might not seek re-election if provided with immunity from prosecution! His [misplaced] pomposity is exceeded only by the likes of a Trump (his best friend ever) whose chin juts out only when the teleprompter demands he appear interested… for effect.
Is there anyone who any longer trusts Bibi’s empty, boastful, “promises” of a two-state system, of an Israel that is the first and last bulwark against international terrorism, of an Israel which promotes human rights for peoples everywhere?
Which countries implicated in “the destructive unrest” that characterizes the Middle East are prepared to admit they take him/Israel seriously as they embark on their own “solutions”?
Can anyone recall the last that time Israel, under his guidance, was genuinely involved in humanitarian relief involving refugees?
Surely it couldn’t be in February of 2018 when Israel engaged in the deportation of African refugees. Bibi called them “illegal infiltrators” and offered plane tickets and $3,000 for each of them to whichever country (Canada stepped up to the plate) would take them.
Former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said such language was inciting adverse feelings against asylum seekers and "designed to stigmatize, criminalize and expel, rather than evaluate and properly determine their status according to law." But Bibi consistently “thumbs his nose at the law”. He operates like a “Teflon Don”.
Ironically, the majority of Israelis would just as soon be rid of him. With Netanyahu at the helm in Israel, it is hard to see any of its neighbours taking any peace initiatives seriously.
Unfortunately, the electoral system works in his favour. Poor Israel.
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