Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thrown in his lot with Trump and rising anti-liberal forces. (photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty)
As corruption allegations mount against the Prime Minister, his air of invincibility has been punctured.
By Ruth Margalit | The New Yorker | Mar 6, 2018
“It’s the Louis XIV syndrome. More than just saying that the state is him, his feeling and the feeling of those around him, is that the damage to the party and the country by his resigning would be so great that it’s worth doing things that would have been unthinkable were it anyone else.”
— Nahum Barnea, Israeli columnist for Yediot Ahronot
Israel is famously low on pomp and circumstance. Attend an Israeli wedding and guests are likely to appear in jeans, with sunglasses perched on their foreheads. When Donald Trump landed at Ben Gurion Airport last May, the Israeli government tried to keep it stately — red carpet, military orchestra — but it wasn’t long before a member of the ruling Likud Party whipped out his cell phone and snapped a selfie with the American President on the tarmac. So minimal is the ceremoniousness that, whenever it exists, it tends to take on outsized meaning.
One such ceremony took place on Monday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Trump in the Oval Office. Netanyahu tried to project an air of business as usual — the relationship between the United States and Israel “has never been better,” he gushed — even as Trump may have quickened the Israeli leader’s pulse by saying, nonchalantly, that “we have a shot” at “doing” peace with the Palestinians. But only one thing was on the mind of the travelling Israeli press corps. A reporter asked, “Prime Minister Netanyahu, would you like to comment about the latest news coming from Israel?”
“I will later,” Netanyahu replied quietly, maintaining a glued-on smile. Continue reading
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Feb 11, 2018. (photo: Ronen Zvulun)
The police accuse Netanyahu of accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts over 10 years.
By David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner | The New York Times | Feb 13, 2018
“[The Prime Minister is] up to his neck in investigations. He does not have a public or moral mandate to determine such fateful matters for the state of Israel when there is the fear, and I have to say it is real and not without basis, that he will make decisions based on his personal interest in political survival and not based on the national interest.”
— Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking about former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was forced to resign in 2008
The Israeli police recommended on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, casting a pall over the future of a tenacious leader who has become almost synonymous with his country. The announcement instantly raised doubts about his ability to stay in office.
Concluding a yearlong graft investigation, the police recommended that Mr. Netanyahu face prosecution in two corruption cases: a gifts-for-favors affair known as Case 1000, and a second scandal, called Case 2000, in which Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of back-room dealings with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the popular newspaper Yediot Aharonot, to ensure more favorable coverage.
President Donald Trump stands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel as president. (photo: Hadas Parush / Flash90)
Both Trump and Netanyahu want to secure their rule by attacking liberal, democratic forces. But in order to do so, they need two things: a wall and the promise of eternal war.
By Alon Mizrahi | +972 Blog | Feb 5, 2018
Physical segregation, which creates psychological separation, allows for the existence of a project of scaremongering and the enlistment of nationalists that feed the second project necessary for any fascist regime: eternal war.
“George Soros is funding the campaign against deporting infiltrators. . . . Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn’t say anything.”
These remarks were made by Prime Minister Netanyahu during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to a report by Channel 10. The prime minister’s choice of words is confusing, perhaps deliberately: is he referring to deporting foreigners in Israel or the U.S.? If it is the former, why bother mentioning Obama? And if he’s speaking about America, why is he calling Dreamers, as they are known there, “infiltrators?”
The confusion is deliberate. The actions and goals of the Trump administration are identical to those of Netanyahu. Both leaders try to sell the idea that the world is a jungle, the notion of a dichotomous division between the good guys and the bad guys, and the image of “us” as “good” — as god-like. In both camps, the Bible, money, and advanced technology are viewed as both proof of and ethno-cultural justification for moral, genetic, eternal supremacy.
Trump has much to gain and little to lose; the reverse is true of Netanyahu.
By J. J. Goldberg / Forward
May 2, 2017
Israelis with ties to the Trump administration are reporting, according to political correspondent Tal Shalev of the widely read Walla news site, that the president wants to convene a “regional summit” of Middle East leaders this summer in Washington. Participants would include Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, along with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The agenda would be based on the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative.
When Donald Trump visits Israel later this month, as he reportedly will do, he faces much to potentially gain and little to lose. The reverse is true of his host, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
For Trump, it’s an opportunity to show some statesmanship and gravitas — qualities he’s not widely associated with — in a friendly environment. It’s an opportunity to solidify his shaky relationship with the ardently pro-Israel Republicans in Congress, who’ve been repeatedly undermined or plain flummoxed by Trump’s unpredictable antics. And — who knows? — he just might make some progress where so many have failed: getting the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock unstuck. Strange things happen when Trump’s around.
Besides, if he tries and fails, it will simply end up being another implausible promise he’s made and then airily dismissed. We’re used to it.
German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (left) with Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem on April 25, 2017. (photo: Sebastian Scheiner / AP)
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel will learn far more from his meetings with B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence than from meeting with Netanyahu.
By Dahlia Scheindlin / +972 Magazine
April 25, 2017
“You never get the full picture of any state in the world if you just meet with figures in government ministries.”
Given an ultimatum of meeting with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem or meeting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel very simply made the right choice to forego Netanyahu. And not in order to “defy” Netanyahu, as per a breathless Bloomberg headline, or to give any message at all.
He was right simply because what would he have actually learned from Netanyahu? Those organizations will give Gabriel concrete information: B’Tselem will update him on developments regarding the 50-year-old occupation and its most current manifestations, in the form of data, documentation and analysis. Breaking the Silence will give him human experiences of occupation, and tell the truth about growing attempts to intimidate and suppress the group for daring to oppose Israeli policies. Continue reading
“Netanyahu invariably repaid Obama’s generosity with ingratitude and abuse.” (photo: Stuxnet Documentary, LLC / BBC)
Believe it or not, Barack Obama had Israel’s best interest at heart. Trump, on the other hand, will drive a stake through hopes of peace.
By Avi Shlaim / The Guardian
January 17, 2017
That Obama detests Netanyahu is common knowledge. What is less well known is that Obama’s personal antipathy towards the prime minister co-exists with a genuine commitment to the welfare and security of the Jewish state.
America has not one but two special relationships: one with Britain and one with Israel. When the two clash, the alliance with Israel usually trumps the one with Britain, as Tony Blair discovered to his cost in 2003. For the sake of the special relationship Blair dragged Britain into a disastrous war in Iraq, but in the aftermath of the war his American allies reneged on their promise to push Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians. Blair was no match to the power of the Israel lobby in the US. With American complicity, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has now reached its 50th year and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.
American politicians of both parties often use the mantra that the bond with Israel is unbreakable. But Israel’s continuing drift to the right has imposed serious strains on the relations with its principal ally and chief benefactor. In America, Israel is essentially an issue in domestic politics rather than foreign policy. And it is the subject of deep disagreement between the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration.
photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times
Political lift as both Netanyahu and Trump face mounting challenges on home front.
By Mark Landler / The New York Times
March 7, 2017
“It appears that President Trump is prepared to go a long way to help Prime Minister Netanyahu with his domestic difficulties and that Netanyahu, in return, is willing to provide a kosher seal of approval for a president who was slow to condemn anti-Semitism.”
— Martin S. Indyk, former special envoy to the Middle East
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was sitting in his residence in Jerusalem on Monday, being questioned by the police in a murky bribery and fraud investigation that could put an end to his political career, when the telephone rang.
On the line was President Trump, who wanted to talk to Mr. Netanyahu about Iran and a few other matters.
The prime minister excused himself for several minutes to take the call, and later issued a statement in which he thanked Mr. Trump “for his warm hospitality during his recent visit to Washington and expressed his appreciation for the president’s strong statement against anti-Semitism during the president’s speech before Congress.”