*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
The archaic proverb, “birds of a feather flock together” is universally understood to mean that “people with the same tastes and interests will be found together” is beginning to have some 21st Century relevance respecting the cozy relationship between Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reality show celebrity Donald Trump. And no, not because each man is considered a head of state, but because each “leader” is prone toward actions that are considered criminal and worthy of a state-level investigation. Many people had wondered why Trump glommed on to the Israeli Netanyahu after his presidential campaign, and his supporters, began promoting decidedly anti-Semitic views, and although there is yet no proof, it might well be because both Netanyahu and Trump are as corrupt as the proverbial day is long.
In precisely the same manner that Trump is “dogged by controversy” over his widespread business interests that make him guilty of violating the Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause” the second he is sworn in office, Netanyahu has been facing his own problems with accepting illegal gifts from “business tycoons,” including those who are foreigners. Also like Trump, Netanyahu has been dodging reporters and investigators who want to question him over allegations that he used his high political office for personal financial gain.
As reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit began “examining” allegations against Netanyahu last July over credible reports that the Israeli leader took gifts from wealthy business barons in violation of Israeli law. But now, after months of maintaining that he was only conducting an inquiry, Mr. Mendelblit announced yesterday that the “probe” has been “upgraded” to a “full-fledged criminal investigation.” That designation eliminates Netanyahu’s ability to avoid “investigators” making inquiries and allows Israeli police to question Netanyahu regardless his high political office.
Of course, like his new BFF Trump, Netanyahu automatically denied there has ever been, or is even a hint of impropriety in his office and denied all of the reports. Reports, by the way, that he happily accepted “gifts” as Israeli Prime Minister worth “hundreds of thousands of ‘shekels’” including high-cost suits from an American “businessman” named Ron Lauder who has already confessed to Israeli police that he gave Benjamin Netanyahu several gifts while he is prime minister.
As Haaretz reported, Netanyahu “has been deftly avoiding police all week,” while officials are telling local media that they are unable to find a time to meet with him for lengthy questioning; because he is avoiding police investigators like plague all week. Netanyahu’s office said that “All the supposed affairs have proved baseless, and the same will be with the claims now being published in the media. There will be nothing — because there is nothing.” Nothing except Ronald Lauder’s admission that there is something and it was in the form of several high-value gifts from an American business tycoon to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
There are already Israeli claims that what started out to be just a “controversy” in July will soon escalate into a major scandal that is no doubt foreshadowing the “major scandals” about to “haunt” Trump beginning on day one of his administration. Remember, unless Trump sells off his “vast business entanglements prior to being sworn in as president, he will be in conflict of interest.” And if he or any of his business interests, including his children or his hotels, receives even a penny of funding originating from any foreign governments he definitely will be guilty of violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It is something Trump has already done as reported here, and his corruption exceeds anything Netanyahu has done.
It is not immediately clear what kind of rules the Israeli Attorney General is citing to investigate Netanyahu, but if he accepted gifts in office similarly to Trump accepting payment from foreign tenants in any of his hotels, then he is violating something akin to the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
It is why legal scholars have railed against Trump for not already completely divesting all of his business interests. Remember, if the reprobate Trump refuses to sell his business assets like the Wall Street Journal called for and simply transfers operational control to his children, he will be in violation of the U.S. Constitution the second he is sworn in office.
It remains to be seen if the Republicans in Congress who so want to be like the nation of Israel will take a hint from the Jewish state’s attorney general and immediately begin a thorough criminal investigation into Trump, his businesses and his intimate relationship with Vladimir Putin. However, based on the Republican attempt to eliminate the House Ethics Committee, it is questionable if there will ever be any investigations into the Trump. It is all but certain that Trump’s designee for the American attorney general job does not share the Israeli attorney general’s belief that no politician is above the law; especially after being an early supporter of the man he would be investigating and when there are African American communities and civil rights laws to undermine.
Perhaps the loving embrace between Netanyahu and Trump has more to do with than just opposing President Obama for not praising Israel’s illegal incursions into and aggression against Palestine. Birds of a feather do flock together, and it appears that heads of state flock together as well and in Netanyahu and Trump’s case, they are apparently cut from the same corrupt cloth. But at least in Netanyahu’s situation, there is an attorney general on the job who doesn’t care if he is Israel’s prime minister and is going forward with a criminal investigation that one hopes is a preview of what awaits corrupt Donald Trump immediately upon taking the oath of office.