How many judges does it take to change a light bulb?The verdict was praised as a victory for the country’s legal system and for women’s rights in a macho culture. Three Cheers for justice. Hip hip hooray, Hip hip hooray, hip hip who wait a minute here….. and justice for all? or someone to take the fall?
“Those who manipulate the shadows that dominate our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers and television news personalities who create the vast stage for illusion. They are the puppet masters….These techniques of theatre…have leached into politics, religion, education, literature, news, commerce, warfare and crime.” (Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion, The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)
Signed Sealed and Delivered.Why were they so determined to get this man?.. “Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape Thursday, a dramatic fall from grace for a man who rose from humble beginnings to become a symbol of achievement for Jews of Middle Eastern origin.
The disgraced politician, who had rejected a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail, will likely be sentenced to four to 16 years in prison. The verdict was seen as a victory for the Israeli legal system and for women’s rights in a decades-long struggle to chip away at the nation’s macho culture, which once permitted political and military leaders great liberties. “The court sent two clear and sharp messages: that everyone is equal and every woman has the full right to her body,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. But he added that it was “a sad day for Israel and its citizens.” ( Federman )
In following this story, in particular the use of media “noise” and distortion, there is the inescapable feeling of watching Elliott Spitzer or Bill Clinton redux…
On Sunday, Israel Channel Two TV broadcast the famous “tape” about which much of the Katsav Affair revolved. To rewind a bit, the whole litigation got started when Katsav complained to the police that a woman, known as “A” or “ALEPH” in the Israeli media, was trying to shake him down for money. To “prove” this, he provided a tape of their conversation he had recorded. Later the prosecution used the same tape as evidence that Katsav had supposedly raped “ALEPH”. But the tape had not been played for the public.
And the tape essentially proves that Katsav is not a rapist. He is hardly innocent or redeeming; like many others before him in elected office, he appears to be a chronic philanderer, who has profited from office to pressure women to engage in various sexual acts with him. And philandering is precisely what the tape shows.But is philandering a crime?
The tape reveals that “ALEPH” was bitter because she had had a romantic affair with Katsav but was angry at him for ending it and for having found a new girlfriend. “ALEPH” explodes when she finds a photo of the new girl in Katsav’s desk, in which cleavage is ver
sible. (Alas, the newspapers did not reproduce that photo.) “ALEPH” demands from Katsav $200,000, not as compensation for having been raped, but evidently as compensation for having been abandoned, and for finding herself “without work and without a decent car” – in her words on the tape. The prosecution claims she was raped and as revenge she demanded money to upgrade a
…The prosecution in the Katsav Affair was unable to prosecute Katsav for the things that they knew he had done (because of the Statute of Limitations). So instead they decided to prosecute him for what they knew he had NOT done (violent rape), because that was something the Statute of Limitation would allow them to pursue, even though they knew he had not committed rape.
Yemini’s column is titled “Judicial Disgrace.” He begins by paying lip service to feminists and to their attempts to make the public aware of sexual mistreatment of women and other grievances. (Ok, so I TOLD you he is Left of Center!) But he then reminds his
readers of the long track record of the Israeli political and media establishment (meaning the Left) in bashing Katsav. It began when
Katsav first beat Shimon Peres in the 2000 vote for the Presidency. Yemini recalls how numerous leftwing journalists (including leftwing ultras Gideon Levy and Ron Myberg) in Israel compared the Katsav vote victory to the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. Amos Oz published at the time a particularly offensive piece in Yediot Ahronot about the Katsav victory, as the triumph of unenlightened religious people and conservatives, and as the impudence of the “Second Israel” (meaning lower-income Mizrachi and working-class Jews). Israel’s leading comedy television program, “Eretz Nehederet,” essentially the Israeli “Saturday Night Live” (but not aired on Saturday night) then “Palin-ed” Katsav, turning him into their favorite butte of mocking.
Katsav was regularly vilified by the Israeli media. After all, he is not “one of us,” not a leftwing Ashkenazi yuppie. He is a man who rose from humble origins and poverty in a religious family of Iranian Jews, living most of his life in an impoverished development town in the Negev. The three justices who just found Katsav guilty (they included two women and the radical outspoken Arab judge George Kara) can claim all they want that they were not influenced by the media frenzy and assault against Katsav (writes Yemini), but their denials are not persuasive.
It seems the court had enough evidence to convict Katsav for various acts and cases of sexual harassment and sexual misbehavior, but ALL those acts transpired long enough before the prosecution so that they were covered by the Israel Statute of Limitations (Hok Hityashnut). So the prosecutors were faced with letting Katsav go altogether, or charging him with rape (which, like murder, is not covered by the Statute of Limitations). But they themselves did not believe Katsav had raped, nor that they had enough evidence to charge him with rape. Instead, they offered him the plea deal to try to get him “convicted” of something. Katsav evidently understood the situation, knew that he was protected by the Statute of Limitations, and believed they would not charge him with rape. SO he rejected the plea.
So the Prosecution was faced with the dilemma of being unable to charge him with what they knew he did. But were reluctant to charge him with rape, not believing he committed rape, something with which in principle he could still be charged because the Statute of Limitation would not apply. So they decided to prosecute him for what they COULD still prosecute in court, and filed rape charges against Katsav.
“When asked how many Jews would be allowed to immigrate immediately after World War II, one of King’s civil servants, Frederick Charles Blair, famously quipped that “none is too many”. King who said he wanted to “keep this part of the continent free from unrest and from too great an inter-mixture of foreign strains of blood.” When the Government did let in a few Jewish refugees, for example, there was a huge outcry, leading one historian to quip that King “had a weather vane where most people had a heart.