Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump by Alan Dershowitz

Political News and Analysis

Trump and Netanyahu: Both Being Investigated for Made-Up Crimes

by Alan M. Dershowitz

 

November 27, 2019 at 5:00 am

Image result for Netanyahu Trump pictures

Trump and Netanyahu at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C. on February 15, 2017. (Image source: The White House)

 

There are striking similarities, as well as important differences, between the investigations being conducted against American President Donald J. Trump by the US Congress, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was just indicted.

 

 

The most striking similarity is that both are being investigated for actions that their legislatures have not explicitly made criminal. Moreover, no legislature in any country governed by the rule of law would ever enact a general statute criminalizing such conduct.

 

 

The investigations of these two controversial leaders are based on using general laws that have never previously been deemed to apply to the conduct at issue and stretching them to target specific political figures.

 

 

Netanyahu has been indicted for bribery on the ground that he allegedly agreed to help a media company in exchange for more positive coverage and/or less negative coverage. There are disputes about the facts, but even if they are viewed in the light least favorable to Netanyahu, they do not constitute the crime of bribery.

 

 

Nor would the Knesset ever enact a statute making it a crime for a member of Knesset to cast a vote in order to get good media coverage. If such a law was ever passed, the entire Knesset would be in prison.

 

 

Politicians always seek good coverage and many vote with that in mind. Some even negotiate good coverage in advance of voting. That is why they have press secretaries and media consultants.

 

 

Nor could a reasonable statute be drafted that covered Netanyahu’s alleged conduct, but not that of other Knesset members who bartered their votes for good coverage. That is why no legislature in a country governed by the rule of law has ever made positive media coverage the “quid” or “quo” necessary for a bribery conviction, and that is why the bribery indictment of Netanyahu should not be upheld by the courts.

 

 

Upholding a conviction based on positive media coverage would endanger both the freedom of the press and democratic processes of governance.

 

 

Prosecutors should stay out of the interactions between politicians and the media unless specifically defined crimes, as distinguished from arguable political sins, are committed, and no one should ever be prosecuted for actions that were never made criminal, and would never be made criminal, by the legislature.

 

 

President Trump is also being investigated for alleged bribery. Originally the Democrats thought they could impeach him for non-criminal conduct, such as alleged maladministration, abuse of office or immoral conduct.

 

 

I think they have now been convinced by me and others that no impeachment would be constitutional unless the President were found guilty of the crimes specified in the Constitution, namely, “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

 

 

So the Democratic leadership has now settled on bribery as an offence for which they can impeach President Trump. The problem with that approach — similar to the problem with the Israeli approach against Netanyahu — is that it is simply not a crime for a President to use his power over foreign policy for political, partisan or even personal advantage.

 

 

Imagine Congress trying to pass a law defining what would constitute a criminal abuse of the foreign policy power, as distinguished from a political or moral abuse.

 

 

Presidents have even engaged in military actions for political gain. They have given aid to foreign countries to help themselves get elected. They have appointed ambassadors based not on competence but on past and anticipated future political contributions.

 

 

None of these has ever been deemed criminal, and Congress would never dream of enacting a criminal statute that sought to cover such actions.

 

Could it carve out a specific crime based on seeking personal political advantage rather than partisan political advantage? I doubt it. But even if it could parse such a statute, it has not done so. And if it has not done so, neither Congress nor prosecutors can seek to criminalize the exercise of a President’s foreign policy power on the ground that they do not like the way he used it or even if he abused it.

 

 

The central aspect of the rule of law is that no one may be investigated, prosecuted or impeached unless his conduct violates pre-existing and unambiguous prohibitions. Neither Congress nor prosecutors can make it up as they go along, because they, too, are not above the law.

 

 

Now to the differences. Israel is a parliamentary democracy in which the Prime Minister can be removed by a simple vote of no confidence. There is no requirement of, or need for, an impeachment mechanism.

 

 

The United States, on the other hand, is a Republic with separation of powers and checks and balances. The Framers, led by James Madison, saw the impeachment power as central to preserving our Republic and not turning it into a parliamentary democracy.

 

 

That is why they rejected a proposal that would have permitted impeachment on the ground of “maladministration.” Such an open-ended criteria, according to Madison, would have resulted in a situation in which the President served at the will of Congress.

 

 

That is why Madison insisted on the specific criteria for impeachment that the Framers ultimately accepted.

 

 

Although the differences between Israel and the United States are significant, they share in common the rule of law. Under the rule of law, properly applied, neither Netanyahu nor Trump should be deemed guilty of bribery.

 

 

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019, and Guilt by Accusation, Skyhorse publishing, 2019

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Sec.Pompeo Busts Settlements Judea Samaria ‘Occupation’ Myth

Political News Opinion and Analysis

Sec. of State Pompeo Busts  Judea Samaria ‘Occupation’ Myth

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pompeo-busts-the-occupation-myth-11574207220

The Claim that Israeli settlements are illegal was flimsy in 1978 and ridiculous in 2019.

Map below of Biblical Israel showing the homeland of the Jews on both sides of  Jordan River extending all the way to Euphrates River in present day Iraq!  

There was never a country of Jordan until the League of Nations arbitrarily created it after WWI!

By Eugene Kontorovich

The Wall Street Journal  Nov. 19, 2019

Israeli settlements  West Bank do not violate international law. That is now America’s official view, announced Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The historic decision repudiates conclusions of  1978 State Department memorandum.

For decades, Israel’s detractors have appealed to consensus, asserting that settlements are illegal because the entire international community agrees they are illegal. As with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the Trump administration has refused to be cowed by a hollow consensus. By dissenting, the U.S. has destroyed both the consensus and the frail arguments that relied on it.

The four-page 1978 memo, written by legal adviser Herbert Hansell, was hardly a thorough study. It painted with broad strokes across several issues and cited no precedent for its key conclusions. Most important, its legal analysis of occupation and settlements has never been applied, by the U.S. or anyone else, to any other comparable situation.

Hansell’s memo took two analytic steps. First, it concluded that Israel was an “occupying power” in the West Bank. Next, it invoked an obscure provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Hansell concluded that Jews who have moved past the Green Line into disputed territory have somehow been “deported or transferred” there by the state of Israel.

Under international law, occupation occurs when a country takes over the sovereign territory of another country. But the West Bank was never part of Jordan, which seized it in 1949 and ethnically cleansed its entire Jewish population. Nor was it ever the site of an Arab Palestinian state.

Moreover, a country cannot occupy territory to which it has sovereign title, and Israel has the strongest claim to the land. International law holds that a new country inherits the borders of the prior geopolitical unit in that territory. Israel was preceded by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, whose borders included the West Bank. Hansell’s memo fails to discuss this principle for determining borders, which has been applied everywhere from Syria and Lebanon to post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine.

Even on its own terms, the memo’s conclusions no longer apply. Because occupation is part of the law of war, Hansell wrote, the state of occupation would end if Israel entered into a peace treaty with Jordan. In 1994 Jerusalem and Amman signed a full and unconditional peace treaty, but the State Department neglected to update the memo.

Even if there were an occupation, the notion that it creates an impermeable demographic bubble around the territory—no Jew can move in—has no basis in the history or application of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Almost every prolonged occupation since 1949—from the Allies’ 40-year administration of West Berlin to Turkey’s 2016 occupation of northern Syria—has seen population movement into the occupied territory. In none of these cases has the U.S., or the United Nations, ever claimed a violation of this Geneva Convention provision.

Mr. Pompeo’s action shows the U.S. understands that we can’t have one international law for one country and another for the rest of the world.

Mr. Kontorovich is professor at George Mason University Scalia Law School.

Also view:   Eugene Rostow:

Jun 14, 2019 – For those under gross misconception Israelis are “on Arab land“. “Nothing could be further from the truth. …
and primary producer UN Resolution 242 lsraeli Settlements Judea, Samaria, Gaza www.israelcommentary.org.

 

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I Rising Scourge of Islamic Anti-semitism II Laura Ingraham’s response to Islamic anti-Christian theology

Dr. Andrew Bostom gave a presentation to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), July 30, 2019, entitled, “The Rising Scourge of Islamic Antisemitism”   Islamic anti-Semetic anti-Christian theology

Dr. Bostom summarized extensive, and unprecedented Anti-Defamation League (ADL) survey data revealing current disproportionate 2.0 to 4.5-fold excess of extreme Anti-semitism amongst Muslims vs. all other religious groups, or those professing no religion, globally, and regionally, including within United States.

He also demonstrated what animates Muslim Antisemitism: the 1300 year-old living legacy of theological Islamic Jew-hatred, rooted in Islam’s core texts—the Koran itself, the traditions of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, and the earliest pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad.

These texts, in turn, have begotten three inter-related canonical Islamic doctrines which continue to be espoused by Islam’s most authoritative religious teaching institutions, Sunni, and Shiite, alike: jihad war to subjugate Jews, and other non-Muslims; the application of Islamic Law,

Sharia seeks to humiliate Jews, Christians and non-Muslims who survive their conquest but refuse to convert to Islam.

Islam’s theology of virulent Jew-hatred which targets Jews, relentlessly, for their alleged intrinsic evil, manifested as stubborn, even hateful rejection of Islam, and conspiratorial efforts to undermine the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and his mission to propagate the Muslim creed, from Islam’s inception, till now.

The presentation, notably, also includes an exposure, and thorough debunking, of the popular, late modern Western Islamic studies doyen, Bernard Lewis, whose platitudinous bowdlerization of doctrinal and historical truths, continues to negate the Islam underpinning Muslim Jew-hatred, with tragic consequences.

Finally, the mea culpa-based teachings and implementation of Vatican II/Nostre Aetate, launched in 1965, which sought to expunge Christianity’s Anti-Semitic theology, were summarized as a template for challenging institutional Islam—indeed demanding—that it initiate a similar effort to eliminate Islam’s own virulent theological Jew-hatred.

II  Dr. Andrew Bostom challenges Laura Ingraham’s vacuous response to the  immediate  threat of Islamic theology to Christianity

Janet Mefferd interviewed Andrew Bostom 6/14/19 on a segment that aired  6/10/19 discussion between Fox News host of “The Ingraham Angle,” Laura Ingraham, and two so-called “reformist” Muslim women, Qanta Ahmed, and Asra Nomani given unchallenged license to: (i) dissimulate about Islam’s uniquely virulent anti-Christian theology; and (ii) ignore hard data on the resultant unparalleled extent of murderous anti-Christian persecution in Muslim societies, and now Church desecrations in Western Europe, past as prologue.

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