Why Netanyahu Critics Are Really in Meltdown Mode | Opinion

Since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured an unprecedented sixth term in office with his electoral victory in November, Netanyahu's left-wing critics have invariably been in full meltdown mode, with an escalating campaign of smears targeting the most popular leader in the Jewish state's history.

Furious that the Israeli people rejected left-wing parties and gave the right-wing premier a clear vote of confidence, these armchair pundits are frantically slinging mud in all directions to mislead and scare the public about the goals, ideology, and motivation of one of the most consequential and dedicated world leaders of the last century.

Make no mistake: Netanyahu decided to seek office again for one reason. Netanyahu, in short, is driven to complete his lifetime work of securing the Jewish state. He knows that he still has critical work to do on multiple major fronts, which makes him the right leader for the job—especially at this pivotal moment on the geopolitical stage.

Netanyahu understands that he cannot sit on the sidelines as the Islamic Republic of Iran feverishly works to obtain nuclear weapons that threaten not only the existence of Israel, but also the security of the Western world.

His decision to seek office again came after watching in horror as the previous Israeli government projected weakness and demonstrably failed to implement a coherent Iran policy—or even launch a public relations campaign to oppose a dangerous new Iranian nuclear accord. As a result, Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear arsenal. More than any other figure, the Iranian regime singularly fears Netanyahu as the iron fist who stands in the way of the mullahs' nihilistic messianic nuclear ambitions. Already, Netanyahu is fighting the Iranian regime with all tools at his disposal.

Netanyahu also sought to reattain the position of prime minister in order to expand the circle of peace in the region. As the father of the Abraham Accords, Netanyahu is best placed to implement policies that can bring about more game-changing peace deals. Indeed, he's hard at work right now trying to expand those agreements and forge new ones.

Netanyahu is further motivated to complete his transformation of Israel's economy into a global powerhouse. He previously revolutionized Israel's economic system with free-market reforms that transformed the once-socialist-leaning nation into an economic juggernaut. Netanyahu's experience is necessary again to secure the economy amid rising global inflation and worldwide economic instability. He has already taken measures to lower the cost of living on core utilities, fuel, and property taxes.

Furious at his latest electoral triumph, Netanyahu's apoplectic detractors are now spewing wild conspiracies, often baselessly asserting he is animated by personal reasons due to frivolous legal charges levied against him.

As someone who spent many of my waking hours working alongside Netanyahu for two years as his strategic advisor and as a friend who personally knows him quite well, I can personally attest that these offensive claims are the opposite of reality—and betray a total ignorance of Netanyahu as both a world leader and as a human being.

When the discussion turns to Benjamin Netanyahu, it is important to recall we are talking about an Israeli national hero who raced to leave high school from the confines of safety in Philadelphia to defend Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. We are talking about a commander who was shot releasing hostages on the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 and who nearly lost his life during a 1973 raid in the Suez Canal.

He's still the soldier running into battle every day to defend and secure Israel. It's a drive that will never cease because it is the very essence of his being. I've watched him work on behalf of the Jewish state virtually every waking minute from when he arises in the morning until he goes to bed late at night.

I was with him when the left-wing prosecutors' witch hunt resulted in charges in 2019 and the same detractors screamed that he must step down because he'd spend too much time defending himself in court. In actuality, he spent nearly no time on the cases and virtually all his time successfully navigating the COVID-19 crisis and securing major wins for Israel. Netanyahu's leadership during that period was a global model, with Israel boasting the world's most successful vaccine drive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waving as
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waving as he walks during a hearing at the Magistrate's Court in Rishon Lezion on January 23, 2023. ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Netanyahu even managed to redefine peace making by signing four historic peace deals with Arab countries—not bad for someone smeared as not having enough time to govern.

The latest leftist narrative has Netanyahu's ideological opponents fear-mongering that his current trial is motivating his government's proposal to rein in Israel's out-of-control Supreme Court. Never mind that the left-wing prosecutors' politically charged cases against Netanyahu continue to fall apart on their own, with mounting evidence of witnesses changing their testimony under prosecutorial intimidation and other dirty tricks being utilized by police investigators.

Netanyahu's denigrators are misrepresenting the profoundly democratic proposals to the Supreme Court and are ignoring that judicial reform has long been a consensus issue—among the Israeli Right, to be sure, but also among broader swaths of the Israeli electorate. Right-wing parties ran on the judicial reform issue in the latest election and received a clear and resounding mandate in the form of their victory.

The simple truth is that Israel's Supreme Court is not at all like America's. In fact, Netanyahu wants it to more closely resemble that of the United States—that is, one bound by the rule of law, and not itself the rule of law.

Following a self-pronounced "constitutional revolution" led by far-left hero Justice Aharon Barak, the Israeli Supreme Court has become in recent decades the single most activist court in the entire Western world. Instead of a balance of power, the Israeli Supreme Court reigns supreme on nearly every matter—even against the Knesset, Israeli's parliament.

It may shock some readers to learn that Israeli Supreme Court justices essentially pick their own successors. They are voted upon in secret by a nine-member Judicial Selection Committee that includes three other Supreme Court justices, two members of the Israel Bar Association, and only four Knesset members.

Elitist critics are in hysterics because Netanyahu's coalition wants to restore the pre-"constitutional revolution" status quo ante by democratizing the Supreme Court justice selection process, including adding two government representatives to the Selections Committee so that justices more closely reflect the public.

Some detractors are outrageously going so far as to incite boycotts of the Israeli economy. Notably, some of Netanyahu's American critics are either silent about, or champions of, a harebrained scheme of some U.S. lawmakers urging the Biden administration to "pack" the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices to ensure a liberal majority.

These self-avowed Israeli "champions of democracy" failed to protest in the streets when the previous Israeli government usurped the will of their own voters and violated election pledges by forming a dangerous and ideologically incoherent coalition that relied upon de facto Muslim Brotherhood support.

In the face of their blatant hypocrisy, then, it is the motivations of Netanyahu's critics—and not Netanyahu himself—that must be questioned.

Netanyahu's critics can't stand that he keeps winning. They are frustrated that the Israeli public keeps rejecting their left-wing ideology. They are frustrated by the manifest correctness of the "Netanyahu Doctrine" of peace through strength and peace in exchange for peace—as opposed to their failed paradigm of unilateral Israeli territorial concessions for empty promises of peace.

Israel's worldwide supporters should stop buying their nonsense and instead unite to strengthen bonds to the Jewish homeland—the one country that is the safe haven for the Jewish people against the rising tide of antisemitism.

Meanwhile, instead of retiring with a legacy of almost-biblical achievements and enjoying what would surely be a lucrative and far more peaceful private life, Netanyahu charges ahead full speed, undeterred by the naysayers as he continues to safeguard the state of Israel.

Aaron Klein is a bestselling author who served as strategic advisor and elections chief for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.