His Rule Slipping Away, Netanyahu Could Bring Capitol Insurrection to Israel
Category: Op/EdVia: hallux • 2 weeks ago • 9 comments
By: Alon Pinkas - Haaretz
Much has been written, dissected, said and analyzed about the similarities between former U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They are two different men with entirely different backgrounds, vastly different experiences and distinctly different intellects. Yet they share a striking similarity underlined by a deep sense of entitlement, self-ordained grandeur, self-aggrandizement and a common Louis XIV attitude: L’état, c’est moi. The state is I, or: I am the state. Both possess a narcissistic personality, paranoid political behavior, burning hatred of elites, constant fear of a “deep state” or a vast cabal out to get them, and a mix of derision and debilitating fear of their political rivals. They share an identical populist and often demagogic rhetoric, perennial sense of victimhood, relentless whining, as well as an innate proclivity to lie, double down on falsehoods and project on others the very things they are accused of, rightly or wrongly.
Like any analogy, this one is far from complete, especially given the different political systems and circumstances between their two countries. But some of the similarities are uncanny With his brother-in-arms Trump out of power , consumed by incoherent ranting and mumbling in Mar-a-Lago about how the election was stolen from him by Democrats and the media, Netanyahu has one last page to copy from Trump’s playbook: creating his own “January 6.”
As his rivals are negotiating a new governing coalition, Netanyahu has a chance to delegitimize the election he failed to win, dehumanize those trying to replace him, undermine a possible new government, and incite loudly and forcefully enough to perhaps facilitate an Israeli version of the infamous insurrection on Capitol Hill. This is not to say that Mr. Netanyahu is planning anything practical, or that a January 6 scenario will necessarily play out in Israel. But disturbing signs are already pointing in that direction.
Netanyahu failed to win (nor did he outright lose) four successive elections over the past two years. He failed to form a government a month ago and opposition leader Yair Lapid was subsequently tasked with trying to form one instead. Netanyahu is on a high-decibel, incendiary and patently antidemocratic crusade trying to foil any coalition that doesn’t include him.
Facing trial on counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and sensing that he may be about to lose something he believes is his by divine authority and intervention – the prime minister’s position – he is becoming unhinged, untethered from reality. Naftali Bennett , who until three days ago was being offered the prime ministership by Netanyahu in a weird rotation agreement, is now a fraud, a traitor, an unreliable novice, a man who cannot be trusted to protect Israel, something only Mr. Netanyahu has been able to do since at least the year 70 C.E., or so he believes.
As a result of incitement and disinformation, judges, prosecutors and now also the leaders of the opposition are receiving extra protection after Netanyahu’s cult-like supporters threatened their lives.
The Netanyahu-free government that could perhaps be formed in the coming days – described as “the change bloc” in the Israeli media – is illegitimate, according to Netanyahu. He says it runs contrary to the will of the “2 million people” who voted for him. Of course, Netanyahu’s Likud party won only 1,066,892 votes in the last election, 24.19 percent of the total vote. Hardly a majority. And if he had a majority of at least 61 lawmakers behind him, then why has he failed to form a government time after time since 2019? The answer is simple, according to his twisted, cynical narrative: The elites, the left, the media, the judiciary, and also the Democrats in America: all of these hate him so much, they prevented him from forming a government. By default, an alternative government led by anyone else is thus an illegal coup d’état.
He talks about the “change coalition” as a dangerous, leftist – yes, Avigdor Lieberman , Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar, all of them former Netanyahu allies and leaders of right-wing parties, are suddenly described as well-known members of the Comintern – and weak band of reckless, power-hungry politicians In his speeches, these political leaders are trying to subvert history’s course and moral imperative: that Mr. Netanyahu remain prime minister. Until that happens (possibly in the next seven days), all is fair game. In the last week, Netanyahu and his allies have been desperately pressuring and threatening the members of right-wing parties set to join the new government. He is relentlessly repeating a Trumpian January 6 mantra: This is an illegitimate government and so, by extension, all means to prevent it are justified.
In his desperation, and since the Gaza conflict with Hamas ended two weeks ago without completely destroying the option of a new government, he is now resorting to his favorite topic: Iran. In a series of statements, he not only vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining military nuclear power, but said that confronting the United States on this issue is possible. He also presented the false choice Israel supposedly has: Stop Iran or confront the Biden administration. The substance of the Iran issue and a possible U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal under unfavorable conditions for Israel deserves separate attention. But when a prime minister, who by Wednesday may be facing the reality of a different government being formed, all of a sudden invokes Iran – which only he can deal with – coupled with political antics about its “illegitimacy,” there is reason to suspect that a January 6 scenario is unfolding.