Golan blames right-wing ‘poison machine’ for criticism, police deny opening probe over comments

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Labor chief Yair Golan says a flurry of right-wing criticism aimed in his direction is the product of a smear campaign by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his backers, after Channel 14 airs a clip in which he cited desertion by IDF reservists as a form of civil disobedience that could be used to bring down the government.

“Over the last day, I have been attacked by Netanyahu and the Bibi-ist poison machine and its agents on Channel 14, on the radio stations, on the networks, and everywhere they inject their poison of divisiveness and incitement,” Golan tweets.

“We are not afraid! Not afraid of the poison machine, not afraid of the threats and incitement, not afraid of the illegal political use of the Ben Gvir police,” he continues, referring to a report that the police, who report to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, have opened a probe into the possibility that his remarks constituted incitement.

Police say Golan is not being probed.

Politicians across the right have attacked the newly elected Labor leader following the release of footage yesterday in which he said that civil disobedience could mean that “until this government is replaced, we don’t do reserve duty.”

He went on to qualify that he was “not discussing now about if this is the best step.” However, in the clip published by Channel 14, seemingly taken by a participant, the word “if” is inaudible, leaving the impression that he said “I am not discussing now, this is the best step.” He can be heard saying the “if” in other recordings of his statement.

Golan has called the Channel 14 clip “nothing less than cheap manipulation.”

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