Police Leaks: More Dangerous than You Think
One day a reporter called and asked me for my response to the police plan to call me in for an investigation on the suspicion of sedition.
“I haven’t heard about it,” I answered the reporter.
“They didn’t notify you?” he asked.
There was a moment of confused silence and then he continued:
“OK, so let’s do this. I will notify you and then you will respond.”
This is not a joke. This conversation actually did take place years ago, when I organized the Zo Artzeinu demonstrations against the Oslo Accords. I was a novice at the time, and it was my first lesson (and nowhere near the last) on the politicization of the police.
I make a complete distinction between the investigation of PM Netanyahu and the issue of leaks coming from the police. It is clear to me that the investigations and leaks are quite good for Netanyahu. Because the Right’s analysis of the situation is correct: True, the issues for which Netanyahu is being investigated are serious and must be investigated. However, suspicion of much more serious corruption that make the suspicions against Netanyahu look like child’s play were either not investigated, covered up or dissolved – when the prime ministers in question were from the Left or were serving its agenda.
This is not an assumption. TV journalist Amnon Abramovitch’s public call to delay all the investigations against Sharon (“turn Sharon into an etrog”) until after the implementation of the expulsion from Gaza was immediately adopted by his fellow journalists and the police. The suspicions against Ehud Barak (including public testimony by former PM Olmert that Barak was getting kickbacks on all of his arms deals) were never seriously investigated. And we never saw protests outside the home of the Attorney General demanding an investigation of Shimon Peres and the unaccountable millions that he enjoyed.
So the Right can certainly justify its feeling of unfair treatment in this case and Netanyahu knows very well how to turn that feeling into political capital.
But Netanyahu notwithstanding, the police announcement/leak to the press that the investigation against Netanyahu is being renewed is a serious matter.
The public has the right to know that an investigation is being conducted, but not that an investigation will be conducted. The police has no authority to discredit a person (beforehand) and when the person in question is an elected official, it is a case of power wielded by the security apparatus in order to control the elected authority – and this has happened before.
I am very apprehensive of corruption. When I was in the Knesset, I fought against it with all my might. But unelected systems – police, State Prosecution, the High Court – that overpower elected officials, creating a covert dictatorship in a mantle of democracy – scare me much more.