Two of a kind

Joseph Aaron

I am more convinced than ever that Bibi is Trump’s brother from another, in this case, Jewish mother.

I mean, they have so much in common. They both are on wife number three, having both cheated on wife number one with wife number two and on wife number two with wife number three (one can only wonder if Bibi’s past also includes an Israeli porn star with whatever the Hebrew version of the name Stormy is). They both have sons who have shown their stunning stupidity, lack of judgment and possible criminality. They clearly both are not fans of salads, considering the ample waists on both of them. They both have Orthodox daughters, both have current wives with very expensive tastes. And both are amazingly prolific liars. Just the latest was when Bibi announced that he was in “historic” talks with the Trump administration about annexing West Bank settlements. This lie was such a whopper that the White House, which normally will do anything Bibi wants, put out a statement saying “Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false. The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal.” In other words, Trump called Bibi a liar. That’s gotta sting, unless he saw it as a compliment from the master.

And both, when faced with criminal investigations, have taken to twitter, both have cried ‘witch hunt’ and ‘fake news,’ both have attacked the investigative agencies of their own governments, each headed by those who they have themselves appointed.

It is truly eerie. And now making it even eerier is that it seems we are seeing in Bibi’s present what will be Trump’s future.

Despite Bibi protesting that all the investigations into his conduct “will come to nothing, because there is nothing,” the Israeli police have officially recommended that Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

There are so many things I find so fascinating about this, but perhaps the most is what Bibi had to say just days before the police said he should be indicted.

Bibi did exactly what Trump has done to the FBI and the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel. He attacked the credibility of the investigators and that of their chief. He did so after Israel police commissioner Roni Alsheich – who was appointed to his current post by Netanyahu — went on TV to once again say that “powerful” people had hired private detectives to gather information about investigators working on the Netanyahu files, sniffing around their relatives and neighbors and asking questions.

Take that in for a minute. The head of the Israeli police department said an investigation into Bibi was being interfered with, that the investigators were being gone after. Sound familiar?

Like Trump, who keeps claiming he’s innocent but sure as hell keeps acting guilty as hell, Netanyahu responded to the allegations by attacking and name calling, saying the police chief was “delusional and mendacious” and questioned whether he can be impartial in his investigation.

Roni Alsheich meet Robert Mueller.

Note also that the investigation is being overseen by Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, who was also appointed to his position by Netanyahu, and who has strongly defended the police against those who would “weaken the public trust in the rule of law.”

Avichai Mandelblit meet Rod Rosenstein.

Though it all was said in Hebrew, tell me it doesn’t sound awfully familiar. Bibi, the leader of the Jewish people, the head of the Jewish state, is handling the criminal investigations into him just like the Donald is handling the investigations into him. And if the credibility of the Israeli police and the Israeli justice system has to be sacrificed in the process, well so be it.

“Any fair-minded person will ask themselves how people who say such delusional things about the prime minister can investigate him objectively and make recommendations in his case without bias,” Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post after midnight. “A large shadow has been cast over the police investigations and recommendations in the case of Prime Minister Netanyahu,” he added.

Fascinating. Please note that like Trump, who tweets at crazy hours when normal people are sleeping, so Netanyahu was up Facebooking after midnight. And oh, he was Facebooking  even as Syria was shooting down an Israeli fighter jet, the first time that’s happened in decades, even as Iran was showing its increasing military presence in Syria by sending a drone into Israeli air space. And Bibi was busy on Facebook going after his critics.

And note also that, like Trump, who refers to himself as Trump when he defends himself, how Bibi oddly calls himself first “the prime minister” and then “Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

Egomaniacal, narcissistic Bibi meet egomaniacal, narcissistic Trumpy.

But the scariest Trumpian thing about Bibi is that it is clear he is doing exactly what the Donald is doing, namely discrediting the police in order to delegitimize investigations that could undermine his political future.

“Clearly it is unjustified,” Barak Medina, a professor in the law faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said of the attack on the police commissioner. “The prime minister is trying to create a spin and present himself as the victim.”

And just like Trump loved Jeff Sessions before he didn’t, please note that when Netanyahu appointed Alsheich as police commissioner about two years ago, he praised him at the time as a “creative, original and determined commander who is not afraid to take the initiative.” Now, because he’s investigating Bibi, he’s delusional, mendacious and biased.

And then we have the Bibi sycophants and hit men like David Amsalem, the coalition chairman for Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party, who accused the police of attempting “a coup.” Yes, a coup.

David Amsalem meet Kellyanne Conway and Sean Hannity and Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the whole gang at Fox News.

All this would be funny if it wasn’t so serious and if it wasn’t the prime minister of the world’s only Jewish state.  A prime minister who the Israeli police say should be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Following in the footsteps of the last two presidents of Israel, one of whom had to resign for taking bribes, the other for raping women. Three former chief rabbis are either in jail or awaiting trial. A former prime minister just spent time in jail. And in a #metoo moment, the head of the anti-corruption unit of the Israeli police was forced recently to resign after charges of sexual harassment.

And while Bibi is in trouble as a result of two criminal investigations, there are another two still being conducted, which might lead to even more charges against Bibi. Especially now that Ari Harow, his longtime chief of staff, has become a state witness.

Ari Harlow meet Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos.

Just to recap, the two main corruption scandals involving Netanyahu both concern allegations of illicit dealings with rich and powerful men. In the first, called “Case 1000,” Netanyahu is accused of receiving expensive gifts from billionaires and then taking action on their behalf. In the second, called “Case 2000,” he is accused of striking an illicit deal with a newspaper publisher.

The two scandals still being investigated are “Case 3000” which involves alleged corruption in the sale of German submarines to Israel. Police have accused businessman Michael Ganor of bribing government officials to become the negotiating agent for ThyssenKrupp, the German company that built the subs. In addition, Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, was simultaneously acting as Ganor’s representative during the negotiations over the sale.

Meanwhile, in “Case 4000,” the director-general of Israel’s Communications Ministry, Shlomo Filber, is accused of illicitly allowing Bezeq, the national telephone company, to buy shares of YES, a satellite cable provider. Filber was appointed by Netanyahu, who also serves as the country’s communications minister.

And yes, family members are also caught up in it all. Wife Sara Netanyahu is likely to be indicted for misusing public funds at the couple’s official residences. The Israeli first lady is accused of using government money to pay for private chefs at family events, a caregiver for her father and weekend electrical work at the couple’s home in the tony coastal town of Caesarea.

Caesarea meet Mar-a-Lago. Sara Netanyahu meet Don Junior and Jared Kushner.

Of course, despite it all, even as it seems clearer and clearer what a crook Bibi is, just as every day shows us what a crook Trump is, Bibi, like Trump is denying everything, accusing everyone, refusing to admit anything, claiming total innocence, whining about how he is the true victim of unfair persecutors, all of whom are out to get him.

But he won’t let them. Bibi, who has been in office almost 11 years, says he’s not going to quit, even though the police have recommended he be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. There’s no reason he should he says. And, of course, as with Trump, where you can always find a tweet from the past that totally contradicts what he is saying in the present, so it is with Bibi.

In 2008, when police recommended that then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert be charged with bribery, breach of trust, money laundering and fraudulent receipt of goods, but who was refusing to step down, Bibi called on him to resign.

Describing Olmert as “up to his neck in investigations,” Netanyahu said “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.”

If only today’s Bibi would listen to the words of yesterday’s Bibi and not follow the lead of his brother from another mother.

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