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Not for Most Heinous Crimes, But 'Malignant Dissembler' Benjamin Netanyhu Indicted on Corruption Charges

"These corruption charges for Netanyahu are certainly a start."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference at the Washington Convention Center March 6, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference at the Washington Convention Center March 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted Thursday on multiple counts of corruption. 

Netanyahu was charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, according to CNN

Arab American Institute founder James Zogby pointed out that Netanyahu's record as Israel's leader has been filled with criminal activity and misbehavior aimed primarily at the Palestinian people.

"Netanyahu has made a career being a malignant dissembler," said Zogby. "He's been a lying, thieving, serial violator of international law and Palestinian human rights."

"None of that mattered in Israel," Zogby continued. "But corruption with state funds and bribery—too much to take."

The charges come as Netanyahu faces a third election in a year. 

But, as The New York Times pointed out, the third time may not be the charm for Netanyahu, whose political career may now be over:

Mr. Netanyahu is not legally required to step down. But with Israel's political system already in uncharted territory, having failed to settle upon a new prime minister despite two elections and three attempts at forming a government since April, the criminal case against him could make it far more difficult for him to retain power.

Netanyahu's opponent, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, is himself hardly innocent, argued Freedom Forward executive director Sunjeev Bery. 

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"In a more just world, both Netanyahu and Benny Gantz would face justice for their crimes of occupation and apartheid," said Bery. "But these corruption charges for Netanyahu are certainly a start."

The Times noted that Netanyahu is the first sitting prime minister in Israeli history to be indicted, which Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, saw as a political problem. 

"We've seen consistently that a big majority of the public, about two-thirds, do not think a prime minister can serve and at the same time try to clear his name in court," said Plesner.

The Atlantic's Adam Serwer made the connection between Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump, who is facing an increasingly hostile impeachment probe.

"Racism and nationalism are so often refuges for the venal and crooked, because they set chauvinist perceptions of ethnic loyalty and betrayal as the standard for corruption rather than actual corruption," tweeted Serwer.

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