Netanyahu isn’t Putin, and it’s time he understood that
Op-ed: If Breaking the Silence didn’t exist, the prime minister would have had to invent it. Otherwise, who would be his ultimate punching bag? The chief military censor and the Knesset’s legal advisor defended not only Breaking the Silence against the attempts to outlaw the organization—they defended Israeli democracy.
If Breaking the Silence didn’t exist, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have had to invent it. Otherwise, who would be his ultimate punching bag, his alibi, his excuse?
Those young leftists, the bleeding hearts, who speak out in the name of morality and who care for Palestinian rights more than they care for their own people. For the settlers, for example. These people are just what he needs in times of distress, when the hatred on the Israeli street must be further inflamed and when he must divert the attention from himself, to ensure that the terrible stench emanating from his investigations won’t affect his public status.
Elor Azaria, the far-right soldier convicted of manslaughter, was embraced and turned into a hero by the prime minister. The left-wing fighters, those who personally experienced the ills of the occupation, are being turned into traitors. Netanyahu excitedly informed the people of Israel that he would finally put an end to these dangerous enemies in the Knesset’s winter session. He would destroy Breaking the Silence.
This attack and elimination operation would be performed in a two-pronged flanking maneuver: a parliamentary commission of inquiry would be appointed to determine that Breaking the Silence is harming Israel’s security and putting the IDF at risk of being prosecuted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague; and simultaneously, legislation would be completed to outlaw the traitors. That’s the fate of a person who slanders Israel, even if he is among its finest sons.
Only two days went by, and one initiative was already thwarted by the Knesset’s legal advisor: A parliamentary investigation of civil society organizations on an ideological background contradicts basic regime principles, Eyal Yinon wrote. One bird has been intercepted. Netanyahu may have another one in his hand, but it will likely die too before spreading its wings.
By the way, if the Israeli government seeks to outlaw Breaking the Silence by arguing that the publication of their testimonies would lead the IDF to The Hague, it would likely have to outlaw the Military Censor as well. It’s a matter of basic logic: In March 2016, Chief Military Censor Col. Ariella Ben-Avraham cleared Breaking the Silence of all suspicions. “Everything Breaking the Silence published was handed over to the censor in advance and approved for publication, as it did not compromise state security in a direct manner,” she ruled. Naturally, the censor suppresses any information it believes might get IDF soldiers in trouble in international tribunals.
The chief military censor and the Knesset’s legal advisor defended not only Breaking the Silence. They defended Israeli democracy too. Netanyahu will have no choice but to understand that he isn’t Vladimir Putin, and that Israel isn’t Russia.