Ron Ben-Yishai
Ron Ben-Yishai
A pro-Trump mob clashes with police on Wednesday outside the U.S. Capitol

What happened in Washington can happen in Israel too

Opinion: Politicians who enable populist leader who attacks very foundations of democracy in order to incite a mob to riot exist in Jerusalem as well as Washington; they would rather save their own political skins stand up to lies

Ron Ben-Yishai |
Published: 01.08.21, 13:58
The violent mob and its attack on the United States Congress on Wednesday was the direct result of a union between a populist president suffering from a sever personality disorder and tens of thousands of angry followers who like him believe their country was stolen from them.
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  • But what made this union so explosive was the use of social media, spreading incitement, fake news and conspiracy theories at the speed of light.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    ארה"ב עימותים בין משטרה לתומכים של דונלד טראמפ
    ארה"ב עימותים בין משטרה לתומכים של דונלד טראמפ
    A pro-Trump mob clashes with police on Wednesday outside the U.S. Capitol
    (Photo: AFP)
    These platforms allowed the inciter-in-chief to mobilize the mob, calling them to descend on Washington, to then rile them up and point them, with impeccable timing towards the Capitol so they would stop the certification of the votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
    This digital monster, which does not differentiate good from evil and truth from lies, has risen up against its creators.
    Other than outgoing President Donald Trump and the violent thugs who rioted in his name, the blame must be directed at the leaders of the Republican Party.
    They could read the writing on the wall that showed Trump was losing his grip on reality. They knew how dangerous he was, but did nothing to stop him.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    ארה"ב עימותים בין משטרה לתומכים של דונלד טראמפ
    ארה"ב עימותים בין משטרה לתומכים של דונלד טראמפ
    Rioters in the Capitol's rotunda after breaching the building on Wednesday
    (Photo: EPA)
    Many of them, including outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, publicly supported his mendacious claims, granting him an illusion of legitimacy when he insisted the elections were stolen from him.
    By doing so, these Republican leaders not only encouraged the president but also the most extreme among his supporters.
    They heard him incite to violence at every rally, but they either backed his claims or remained silent for fear that the right-wing zealots and evangelical extremists would punish them at the ballot box.
    They knowingly and cynically allowed an unstable president, who long before Wednesday's violence had denied the existence of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. To save their own skins, they put democracy at risk.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington
    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington
    U.S. President Donald Trump urges his supporters to march on Congress at a rally in Washington on Wednesday
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows a president to be removed when he is deemed unfit to hold office. The Republican leaders refused to invoke the amendment while Trump egged his supporters on as they ransacked the halls, offices and chambers of Congress.
    "I know your pain, I know your hurt," the commander in chief tweeted, having reportedly refused to call in the National Guards to end the riot (Washington D.C. is not a state and therefore most law enforcement there is controlled by the federal government).
    "Go home with love and peace," Trump gently urged the mob, in the tones of a parent rebuking a mildly naughty child.
    This is the same man who demanded that the National Guard be mobilized against demonstrators protesting around the country against police murder of Black men.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    מהומות מפגינים תומכים של טראמפ עם מסכות גז נכנסים ל בית הנבחרים גבעת הקפיטול ארה"ב
    מהומות מפגינים תומכים של טראמפ עם מסכות גז נכנסים ל בית הנבחרים גבעת הקפיטול ארה"ב
    Police struggle to hold back a pro-Trump mob outside the Capitol on Wednesday
    (Photo: MCT)
    Trump began legitimizing right-wing violence early in his administration. In fact, even during his presidential campaign, he refused to denounce the nonsensical claims than his political opponent Hillary Clinton was part of a pedophile ring operating from the basement of a pizza parlor in D.C.
    He called for her arrest for using an unsecured email account and joined in when the crowd of his supporters screamed "Lock her up!"
    After the alt-right and neo-Nazis rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Trump - after a counter-demonstrator was murdered and the mob chanted "Jews will not replace us" - insisted there were "good people on both sides."
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    An alt-right fascist plows his car into crowd  of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017
    An alt-right fascist plows his car into crowd  of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017
    An alt-right fascist plows his car into crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017
    (Photo: AP)
    Trump refused to wear a mask as the coronavirus pandemic began raging across the world, despite his own medical experts insisting doing so was the most effective way to prevent the virus from spreading.
    In his denial of the disease, he supported the violent rioters who stormed the state house in Michigan enraged by a decision to mandate masks there.
    Storming Congress was only to be expected and the unacceptable ease with which the mob was able to breach the Capitol must be investigated and understood.
    D.C. authorities and the neighboring jurisdictions warned their residents to stay away to avoid the violence. Some office buildings and shops took precautions ahead of time and bordered up their windows and doors.
    But on Pennsylvania Avenue, on Capitol Hill, there were not enough police forces to block the rioting hordes.
    Why? Was is inconceivable to expect that the halls of Congress, the beacon of American democracy, would come under attack? Was there a conspiracy to prevent the appropriate steps from being taken?
    Someone will surely have to be held to account for this dereliction of duty. But the events that unfolded are proof that what could go wrong, likely will, and authorities must always prepare for the worse.
    Not only America's political system should learn from the events that unfolded before the eyes of the entire world.
    Populists and unruly masses, nursing feelings of disfranchisement, exist elsewhere. They too are attentive to the tweets and video clips posted by their leaders.
    The world is all too familiar with politicians who in their own interests suck up to the populist leaders and facilitate their assault on democracy and its guardians.
    Our own politicians in Jerusalem should take note. They should understand how slippery the slope can be. It can happen here too.
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