Friday, June 29, 2007

The End of the Katsav Affair

The Katsav affair is now over. Almost no one is happy with the results.
After blocking any attempt at a deal or plea bargain because he was
determined to indict Katsav for rape, the leftist Israeli Attorney General
Mazoz suddenly dropped the rape charges unexpectedl and signed a
compromise plea bargain. Under the deal Katsav could plea to sexual
harassment and misconduct and resign the presidency without doing any jail
time or face criminal indictment.

71% of Israelis dislike the deal, but that is because at least 50% think
Katsav is innocent, and the others probably just want an actual indictment
and trial to set the record straight. The feminists are outraged, and
were hoping to see Katsav marched into a prison in orange fatigues and
raped by motorcycle gang members there for his disrespect towards women.
The women who accused him of raping them are outraged that no charges were
filed against him based on their assertions. The Labor Party
establishment never forgave Katsav for beating Shimon Peres for the
Presidency in 2000. Peres only got to move into the Pres' mansion a few
days ago, after Katsav's presidency imploded under the prosecutions and

Ben Dror Yemini, an editor at Maariv, called for the Attorney General to
resign, now that the whole country knows he pursued a political vendetta
against Katsav and dragged the affair out unreasonably and unnecessarily,
building a case on conflicting and dubious pieces of evidence, acting
unprofessionally, indicting Katsav through the media.

Did Katsav actually rape anyone? Did he really molest women (in the plea
he concedes he did, but also says he signed just to get it all over with)
or was he targeted for harassment by vindictive prosecutors out to score
points for themselves in the media? We do not really know, even after the
"deal" has been struck. Some Knesset members are trying to strip Katsav
of his pension and perqs.

Kalman Libskind is the main "scandal investigation" reporter for Maariv.
He is not particularly identified either with the Right or the Left. He
is very good at digging out muck. He has long attacked Peres, but less
because of Peres' idiotic "ideas" and more because of his corruption.

Here are some excerpts from his column in Maariv today, not online, in
print only in Hebrew, my translation:

'Are the Media at Fault? Damned Right!

'....There are two main reasons for the stigma of shame attached to the
Israeli media. The first is not related only to the Katsav affair. It
has to do with the conversion of journalism into the indentured servant of
its sources. A great deal of the sources are leaks from people whom
journalists themselves should regard with suspicion, but prefer not to
check out deeply, that is, "source" people who are promoting specific
personal interests. It is because journalists know that if they check
sources the leaks will end. ... The truth? It can wait for better days!

'The second reason for the disrespect that Katsav got from the media is
directly related to the points Katsav raised in his press conference. The
truth needs to be proclaimed: The Attorney General spilled Kastav's
blood, the police coerced witnesses so that testimony would fit its
agenda, the media endlessly mocked Katsav and his people. Katsav and his
people asked the media again and again to check facts, to ask questions,
raise doubts. And time after time the media looked down at them in
condescension, like lords looking down upon a few punks in Kiryat Malachi
(Katsav's home town)...

'Let's say it clearly even if it is unpleasant to hear. The Israeli media
are so unidimensional and monolithic that they are a major threat to
democracy itself. There are no real flows of ideas in them and no new
faces there of "others". All of the members of the media are almost the
exact same, and almost none of them look like Moshe Katsav. The media are
composed of white, Ashkenazi, secularist, leftist elitists, who look down
upon anyone who is not just like them as an outsider. Anyone who checks
how many journalists live in Haim Ramon's neighborhood and how many live
in Katsav's neighborhood in Kiryat Malachi will understand the point
instantly. In this entire dismal affair, the media serve not as reporters
but as self-interested, biased, and self-promoting. Anyone who thinks the
media will now conduct a self-evaluation should go get a cold drink and
think again. The media only investigate other people, never themselves.'

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