A defeat for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in this week’s Knesset election would be a “disaster for Israel” Fox News host, lawyer, former chief of staff to the US Attorney General, and pundit Mark Levin said during an interview with Arutz Sheva.
Speaking with Arutz Sheva just days after he endorsed Netanyahu’s reelection bid, Levin took aim at the media, the Israeli electoral system, Blue and White chief Benny Gantz, and Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit for his decision to indict the prime minister, calling the charges ‘weak’.
Levin argued that the three indictments pending against Netanyahu rested on trumped up charges, and criticized the media – particularly the Israeli media – for accepting Mandelblit’s indictments without questioning the basis of the charges.
‘The Media In Israel Is Even Worse Than In the US’
“I find that in free societies – and quasi-free societies, such as Europe – that the media continues to advance a hard progressive agenda.
“It’s very difficult for those of us who do not embrace that agenda to have their viewpoint honestly provided to the public. That’s why more and more, whether it’s President Trump or Prime Minister Netanyahu, that they have to figure out ways, such as social media, to get around it and to communicate it to the public.
“In the case of Israel, it is even worse than in the United States. There is no counterbalance channel, like Fox News, or other channels like that. There is no significant radio presence, as there is in the United States with talk radio, and you have a near-monopoly of a single ideology.
‘Juicing the Charges Against Netanyahu’
“So what happens is that you get an Attorney General who has these three ridiculous allegations against the Prime Minister. I’ve looked thoroughly at all three of them. I’m sure no other American has looked at them, and I’m sure few Israelis have. And they have the media tell them what is in those allegations. Those allegations are really prepared for the media. That’s why, particularly the third allegation, which everybody says is the toughest, is actually the weakest.
“The third allegation is, essentially, that one news outlet wanted special treatment. And in exchange for special treatment, it would run more positive stories about the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was unhappy about his Minister of Communications, and he got rid of him. That is all you have. There is no direct evidence that there was a positive story written about the Prime Minister in exchange for some policy. To have bribery, you have to have something other than an Attorney General who lectures the media on journalistic ethics. That’s what he’s doing in there. And then he also disagrees with the Prime Minister’s policies. If you want to be the Prime Minister, you have to run for it.
“Now look at the other two” charges. “Cigars and champagne. What the Attorney General did is he actually combines cigars and champagne that were given to the Prime Minister from two people. And one person wasn’t even requesting anything. And he did that because what would otherwise look like a minimal gift now looks massive. You know what that’s called in the United States?...Juicing the charges – in other words, it’s called ‘prosecutorial misconduct.’”
“Then in the second [charge], [the AG] claims that Netanyahu was trying to deliver favored legislation to one news outlet over another. Not only didn’t he support the legislation, he opposed it, and the Knesset was suspended before it could even consider the legislation.”
“When you’re making allegations against a head of state, your allegations need to be solid as a rock. And these allegations – as somebody who was chief of staff to an Attorney General in the United States… is just so repulsive, it’s just unconscionable.”
‘Netanyahu Is Enormously Popular In the US’
“If he’s not the greatest Prime Minister that Israel’s ever had, he’s certainly one of two. In the United States he is enormously popular. I don’t think [the indictments] have had an effect on him in the United States…or in most of the world.”
“Look at his accomplishments, with respect to the United States. I don’t think there’s another Prime Minister who could work so closely with our president the objectives that he has achieved: recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, moving our embassy to Jerusalem, the recognizing the sovereignty over the Golan Heights, closing down the terrorist PLO office in Washington, cutting off American taxpayer dollars to PA terrorists who kill Israelis.”
“The relationship between Netanyahu and Trump, the United States and Israel, has never been this strong.”
Levin called the charges against Netanyahu an “attempt to try and destroy a sitting prime minister while he’s accomplishing a lot of things; while he’s facing the Iranians, while he’s building the economy.”
“Who really cares if the American Jewish Left like or dislike Netanyahu? I don’t really care. The American Left is very similar to the Israeli Left – they’re out of their minds.”
‘Blue and White Party is Just Remake of Labor’
“This Blue and White party – it’s not a ‘Blue and White party’. They can try and deceive the public about what they really are. But it is a remake of the Labor party. Look at Gantz – he’s weak on the Iranian deal. The guy said ‘There’s some good things in there. People shouldn’t respond hysterically.’”
“Nobody is responding hysterically. Smart people with sober thinking believe, and rightly, that it was a disaster, for our country, America, for Israel, and for surrounding countries.”
“Obama was the worst president not just for America, but for Israel…and what does Blue and White do? They hire [Obama’s] top adviser to advise Gantz. And we’re supposed to believe that this is a centrist party.”
Levin defended Netanyahu’s March 2015 address to a special joint session of Congress during which he lobbied against the Iran nuclear deal.
“I don’t think viewed that as going against Obama. I think he viewed it as explaining to the Israeli people and the American people, in a joint session of Congress, and to the whole world exactly what this Iranian regime is, that it is a threat to the whole world and the United States and to Israel.”
Lambasting President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for not only the Iran nuclear deal, but the passage of the United Nations Security Council measure against Israel after Trump’s election, Levin called the two the “worst individuals” with regard to Israel.
“Obama and John Kerry were these worst individuals when it came to my own country I think, and when it comes to Israel. Even on their way out the door, their actions in the UN were despicable.”
‘A Netanyahu Loss Would Be A Disaster For Israel’
Urging Israelis to support Netanyahu’s bid for reelection, Levin asked that voters consider what they “want from a prime minister.”
Netanyahu “has opened up your economy. You’ve got one of the great technological explosions on the face of the earth.”
“For a little country that is surrounded by enemies to be successful is a miracle. And when it comes to foreign policy, you’re not going to find someone better on foreign policy than this. He works with all countries. His relationships with a lot of these countries are really important.”
“Meanwhile, you have General Gantz…and how the Iranians have tapped into his conversations. And how he’s been absolutely unwilling to tell the Israeli people what he said in those phone calls. Obviously, there are things that he said that are embarrassing. Otherwise, he could answer, at least with simple yesses and noes. And this is a problem, because the Iranians know what he said, while the Israeli people don’t know what he said, heading into an election.”
“In the US, if you had a low level official who had his phone tapped by the Iranians, he wouldn’t get security clearance, let alone become President of the United States. So Gantz is telling people to trust him. The last person who ran in the United States on ‘trust me’, was Jimmy Carter, who was an absolute disaster.”
Again comparing Netanyahu to Winston Churchill, as he did last week, Levin said that if Netanyahu were defeated Tuesday, as Churchill was in the July 1945 UK general election, it would be a “disaster” for Israel.
“After World War II, the British voted Churchill out of office. I think it would be a disaster if the Israelis vote Netanyahu out of office. I don’t think they will, but if they will, they will regret it. Especially with Gantz, he’s a lightweight.”
‘Israeli Electoral System – A Disaster’
“Let’s be honest. Your electoral system is a disaster. Having elections with all these minor parties…to be it is a disaster. Not that ours is perfect. But to have a prime minister who is so successful for so long to have to travel through these ups and downs, is really quite remarkable.”