Netanyahu and Trump

Netanyahu and Trump


Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Binyamin Netanyahu’s political career is over. Regardless of how events play out over the next few days or weeks, the Likud Party will need to regroup, and the Israeli people must prepare for the a likely third election in the course of one year.  Bibi will be facing legal and ethical issues which present far more personal challenges than the political decisions that he faced. Netanyahu may go out in a storm or a whimper, but he is leaving government and politics in personal shame. His greed and avarice got the better of him and his family, as a result the Attorney General brought down the corruption indictments which had been expected now for months.

Avichai Mendelblit could wait no longer and the current electoral unrest in Israel was no longer a justification to hold back the inevitable. The legal system in Israel will now proceed and Netanyahu can challenge the charges as he wishes, but they will reach a final resolution in a courtroom in the months ahead.

Unlike his political friend and ally Donald Trump, the Israeli Prime Minister spent virtually his in entire life in the service of his country. Netanyahu is a patriot. He made his commitment to the State of Israel and its safety and security as his only goal in life. Whatever crimes he committed or corruption for which he is charged, they do not suggest that Bibi does not, did not, and will not accept the decisions of the system. Netanyahu must now fight his battles in Court. Ultimately, he will receive the judgement of a system which he served and respected; however angry and defiant he now may appear to be.

For Americans and especially for American Jews who supported Netanyahu, they need to consider the difference between Netanyahu’s behavior and that of President Trump. Netanyahu was greedy, wanted the good life, and was a petty thief compared to Trump. Netanyahu was sufficiently steeped in Jewish and Western values that he recognizes and will soon accept the fact that “the gig is up.”

Trump’s actions last week in response to the House Intelligence Committee’s Hearings was only the latest evidence of the President’s inability to face the facts. Trump and his sycophants made no effort to address the charges in the testimony made by the witnesses and the documented allegations made against the President and his immediate circle. Ad hominem attacks were the only response that the President and the Republican Committee Members were able to mount. There was virtually no effort made to question any of the facts that were produced in the hearings.

These hearings were not a time for partisanship. As the Watergate Hearings demonstrated in 1973, honorable Members could disagree, but the Senators on the Ervin Committee affirmed their respect in the system and their allegiance to the process. Today, the minority Members of the Intelligence Committee and the White House were unable to respect the legitimacy of the investigation, so they attacked the process; something Senator Howard Baker and his Republican colleagues never did.

In addition to the fact that there may well be other shoes pertaining to Trump’s actions which are yet to drop—other than those related to Ukraine—a time will occur when the Judicial Branch will begin to force the Executive Branch to accept the rule of law.

Beginning this week if more Court decisions are reached requiring individuals to honor subpoenas and/or to hand over documents, the President may find that some of his staffers may begin to bend. They also may prefer to await additional higher court decisions. If the Supreme Court ultimately does rule against Trump’s withholding of materials from legitimate legislative or legal investigations or preventing people from testifying, the President may eventually be boxed in. Finally, if and when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presides over an impeachment trial, he, too, could demand documents and depositions be made part of the record for consideration by the Senate.

For Trump, the question is time and timing. In this election year, no one knows what will be the time frame in which these legal deliberations will play out. When Trump’s political career ends remains to be seen. Binyamin Netanyahu’s is over. Netanyahu will ultimately accept his fate; Trump never will.



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