03 August 2017

Is our Knesset barking? Kaya Netanyahu bill, Alan Dershowitz etc

There are lots of law proposals being in process of lively debate, modification and sometimes quiet death on someone's shelf. Some of them outlandish, some reasonable and some (like the hotly debated recently law on state assistance to disabled people) vital for thousands of citizens, eagerly awaiting tangible results.

Meanwhile, the first family which, for reasons* of its own, decided to add to its roster a first dog two years ago, has experienced a few domestic upheavals due to the said canine's tendency to bite all and sundry.
The dog, Bibi assured his constituents, was “gentle and of a good disposition.”

Kaya herself must not have gotten the memo: five months later, during a reception at the Prime Minister’s Residence, she bit a member of Knesset who leaned in to pet her. Three months after that, she struck again, biting one of Netanyahu’s secret service agents. Eventually, she also bit the prime minister himself.
Since Kaya is the first dog, I don't even try to argue that this behavior is unseemly or should be in any way restricted. The first dog sees, the first dog bites. As it should be. There is a small catch, however: if a dog bites somebody inside the Israeli borders, the dog should be quarantined for a period of time (ten days) required to ensure it (the dog) isn't rabid.

Which might be good enough for a regular dog, but not for the first one, apparently. Bibi wants Kaya to stay at home, with its loving family. So, to accomplish this, the Knesset members were yanked out of richly deserved summer break. To vote on an amendment to the law which... you guessed the rest. Yep, Kaya the serial biter will stay at home, thanks to our suddenly proactive lawmakers and the appropriate legal beagles. So much for lawmaking and lawmakers.

Kaya, meanwhile, got more exposure in our media, paired with another member of the first family, Yair Netanyahu, Bibi's son.

According to a Facebook post by Talila Amitai, one of the Netanyahu family's neighbors, Yair Netanyahu took the family dog Kaiya for a walk in one of the local dog parks but failed to pick up her waste. Amitai wrote that when she pointed this out to the Israeli leader's son, who was accompanied by a bodyguard at the time, he stuck up his middle finger towards her in response.
There are different versions of the event (or non-event), but as far as Kaya concerned, it is a moot point. She poops, the rest is history, with its different versions and interpretations of thereof.

But what is the connection between the canine poop and the illustrious legal man, mentioned in the headline, one of the more eloquent supporters of Israel and all around brilliant person?

I happened to hear a summary of an interview Alan Dershowitz granted to Israeli radio and his views on the ongoing investigations into alleged Netanyahu's financial and other misdeeds frankly surprised me. To start with, he somehow concluded that Israeli police, on its own, persecutes Bibi. Of course, the usual culprit that motivates the police is, according to Dershowitz, the leftist media. But curiously, he has decided that police pursues our poor Bibi using its free will and free initiative.

Not to mention the inherent absurdity of the idea of our police being politically motivated, professor Dershowitz obviously doesn't know much about the local police, its authority and its betters, which are not that different from those in US of A. The attorney general here is the person whose authority it is to open (or to close) any police investigation, much as it is in US. Blaming the cops in the various investigations plaguing Bibi lately is missing the point by a mile (or 1.6 km).

I have googled up other opinions on the subject by professor Dershowitz and was surprised to find out that he expressed his deep dissatisfaction by this state of affairs quite a lot of times. Here is one example, from January 2017:
...Dershowitz took aim at the Israeli left and media outlets for what he described as attempts to use ongoing police investigations into the Netanyahu family to hobble the Prime Minister.

"[T]hey can't beat him through democratic means, so they're trying to use these investigations and the media to push him out of office. That would really undercut democracy. He's been elected by a proper method of election in Israel and he should be left to complete his term without interference. If there are issues they should be pursued after he leaves office.”
So, the Prime Minister, according to this, should be granted immunity while in the office. And the reasoning behind the idea is:
"The Prime Minister in this case has to work 24/7 particularly now, between now and the time when President Obama leaves office, to respond to the U.N. Security Council resolution, to the Kerry speech, to try to prevent another Security Council resolution - the idea that the Prime Minister is now going to have to be questioned about what appears to be relatively trivial incidents, really undercuts democracy."
So, Bibi works 24/7 and couldn't be bothered. I would agree if it were not widely known that he spent 5 years fighting the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, which, according to him, is (was) a part of that much hated leftist media that destroys the country and him personally. If the relentless fight for the freedom of canine quarantine described above (2 years only) wasn't so widely know, etc. A good part of these 24/7 isn't spent worrying about the fate of the country, but about the fate and the chair of one Benjamin Netanyahu, unfortunately.

Another poor argument used by Alan Dershowitz in the interview was "this is not how things are done in United States". Really? Kenneth Starr vs William Clinton and Robert Mueller vs Donald Trump - how is it exactly different from investigations of Bibi? Aside of multi-million budgets unseen in Israeli police cases?

In another article (Hebrew), professor Dershowitz went even further:
When asked what he thought of Israel's former prime minister [Olmert] behind bars, he replied, "First of all, the prime minister was sent to prison for things that were done before he was prime minister, and he was not sent to prison during his term of office, only after he left. Attorney general said unequivocally that the issue under investigation was not similar to what was being investigated in Olmert's or Sharon's case, and that suspicions in their cases were much more serious."
First of all, the chief reason Olmert decided to quit was the ongoing investigation. Then, to prejudge the seriousness of the cases against Bibi, when the final conclusions and relevant materials haven't been passed by the police to the attorney general seems to be out of character for a famous legal mind.

Anyway, logical or not, I can already see a bill granting immunity to the incumbent PM being pushed through the Knesset by Bibi's faithful, whose number is legion. And I sincerely hope this attempt will fail.

Besides - wouldn't now be too close to the Kaya Netanyahu bill?

One member of the family at a time, please.

(*) The reasoning is a bit outdated, since the current POTUS, unlike his predecessors, isn't known for his love of four legged beasts.