Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Criminal of the Day: Moshe Katsav

An Israeli court sentenced Moshe Katsav, the country’s former president, to seven years in prison for rape on Tuesday. The sentencing is the latest stage in a sordid drama that Israel’s leaders point to as proof of the principle of equality before the law, but one that has also seen the prestige of Israel’s highest office brought to a historic low. —Isabel Kershner reporting in "Ex-Israeli President Sentenced to Prison for Rape"

I am always cheered at the prospect of a national leader going to jail, since justice will not have been served until George Bush and Dick Cheney have done some time.  But, alas, there are some points to be made about this "proof of the principle of equality before the law."

First is that Katsav was the head of state, not the head of government—an office held by the prime minister. As such he held no significant power. More like the Queen, really.
Second, Mr. Katsav has not gone to jail yet.  As his lawyer noted, “Regarding the sentence, I have no doubt that this was not the last word.” Neither do I.  After the appeals I will be pleasantly surprised if Mr. Katsav serves a day of his sentence.
Third, the crime was about sex. Heads of state and government should take heart that they can commit any atrocity, any fraud, any deception, any aggression, any torture—indeed, any crime whatsoever—so long as they keep their pants zipped. We should remember that only the second impeachment in American history was occasioned by a blow job (yes, I know—that he lied about it) and that the term of the current Italian Prime Minister and media tyrant Silvio Berlusconi may be brought short by his dalliance with a 16-year-old.

So much for the rule of law.

Update: Update on Moshe Katsav (8/4/2016)

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