It’s long been clear that Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump’s Middle East mini-me, will do almost anything to keep his job as Israel’s prime minister. His resort to overtly racist, divisive tactics last week in a dispute over who will form the next government was ugly, yet unsurprising. Netanyahu’s vicious brand of hard-right identity politics has become a familiar blister on the face of Israel’s democracy.
A bigger mystery is how Netanyahu has got away with it for so long. To maintain his grip on power, “Bibi” has increasingly adopted the policies and prejudices of the extreme nationalist and religious right. His personal pact with Trump has wrecked peace prospects for Palestine. Under his aggressive direction, Israel – no longer a valiant David – more closely resembles a Goliath-like regional bully.
Netanyahu’s unprecedented indictment on Thursday on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust has intensified pressure on him to quit. With typical grandiosity, he denounced it as an “attempted coup”. When set alongside his failure to win a clear mandate in both of this year’s elections, this new humiliation would surely persuade any normal politician to stand down. [Continue reading…]