Israel’s Despondent Center-left Impotent Against Netanyahu’s Masked Mutiny

The group portrait of Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Masked Mutiny” in the Jerusalem District Court this week ‒ which might also be dubbed “Coronavirus Coup” or “Pandemic Putsch” ‒ was painfully hilarious. The photo of masked Likud bigwigs jostling to get close to Netanyahu as they tried to gaze menacingly into the TV cameras seemed as if was taken from a mad dystopian sci-fi comedy, something along the lines of The Hunger Games meets Contagion in Zombieland. The laughter, however, quickly made way for fear and apprehension once Israelis realized that the macabre joke is life itself.

In his all-out, full frontal assault on investigators and prosecutors, Netanyahu showed once again that he has no more brakes or boundaries. At the bottom of the barrel, Netanyahu just keeps on digging. The intolerable, inconceivable and reprehensible don’t even qualify as warning signs anymore: Netanyahu will break any rule, nuke any norm, breach any promise, tell any lie, destroy any rival, ignore any law and erode any foundation of democracy to save his skin and stay in power. He is still king of the hill by virtue of talent and charisma, but also because of an unbridled lust for power inflamed, hard as it is to believe, by the eternal grievance of victimhood.

– Bibi’s slash-and-burn strategy puts Israel on trial

LISTEN: Bibi’s slash-and-burn strategy puts Israel on trial

The senior Likudniks who rushed to his side at the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday showed they don’t stop for red lights either. Netanyahu’s fawning followers will suffer any insult, weather any humiliation, disseminate any defamation, assassinate any character and sabotage any worthy cause in order to climb their way to the top and to keep Netanyahu and the right in power. Most may not have much talent or charisma, but they have no shame either: They are ranked and promoted mostly by the length of their tongues.

They were summoned to Netanyahu’s putsch portrait and rushed to his side. They didn’t bat an eyelid as Netanyahu, criminal defendant, hurled lies, distortions and crackpot conspiracy theories at the police, State Attorney and Attorney General, accusing them of plotting to frame him, like any don in the Cosa Nostra. Netanyahu and his kowtowers may be savaged and ridiculed by the press, but to their loyal and anxious base they broadcast strength, unity, determination and a willingness to wage total war and leave scorched earth in their wake, if the need arises.

Get breaking news and analyses delivered to your inbox


Please enter a valid email address

Sign up

Please wait…

Thank you for signing up.

We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting.

Click here

Oops. Something went wrong.

Please try again later.

Try again

Thank you,

The email address you have provided is already registered.


The photo, grotesque as it may seem to outside observers, tells the whole story in a nutshell. It is an emblem of why the right always wins, despite deserving a loss, and why the so-called center-left always loses, despite holding all the cards in its hands. The so-called anti-Netanyahu bloc lacks a leader who even comes close to Netanyahu in terms of abilities, experience, stature, resoluteness, deviousness, brutality or guts to fight any law, regime or state that stands in his way. The left is bereft of ministers, parliamentarians or party activists with total dedication to staying in power and with a deep-seated fear and loathing of the other side.

The center-left is facing what could arguably be described as the greatest internal threat to Israeli democracy ‒ it is divided, despondent, defeated and despaired. It is easy to pin the blame on Benny Gantz, who bolted to Netanyahu’s side and quickly morphed into a floor mat, but the impotence of Israel’s pro-democracy camp started long ago. The center-left has no acknowledged leader, no unified leadership behind them and no coherent ideology besides contempt for Netanyahu, not even on the issue of Palestinians and the occupation.