Being the megalomaniac that he is, Donald Trump has always had a soft spot for foreign despotic rulers and/or autocrats such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
So it wasn’t surprising to see him getting along really well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently came to the United States to meet both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.
During the 90-minute-long discussion behind closed doors at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, Trump and Netanyahu talked about matters like "military assistance, security and regional stability” – and, of course, walls.
The two discussed “at length” Israel’s “successful” experience in building a border fence. It is a 26-foot-long (nearly 8 meters) structure made out of concrete, which the Israeli government claims, was built to keep away terrorists, however, Palestinians claim it makes their lives even more difficult in the region. They even call it the “apartheid wall.”
(FYI: In 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled Israel’s border wall was illegal, calling it de facto land grab. The world court ordered the Israeli government to tear it down but it still stands.)
It’s little wonder then Netanyahu, as suggested by the meeting handout by the Trump campaign, appreciated the media mogul’s infamous idea to build a wall with Mexico to keep “rapists” and “criminals” out, while referring to undocumented Mexican immigrants.
In fact, nearly seven months ago, Netanyahu said something similar about Arabs living in countries bordering Israel.
The Israeli leader announced his government’s plan to build a mega project; a fence (or a wall) that would be built all around Israel to protect from, what he billed, “wild beasts” in the region.
“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all. I’ll be told, ‘This is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes,” Netanyahu said in February, according to Haaretz.
“Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”
Netanyahu was referring to the Arab states, including Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the embattled West Bank and Gaza Strip, all of which surround Israel.
But, just like Trump, he managed to hide his offensive undertones of his comments in the garb of national security.
And it’s not just walls. Just like Trump, Netanyahu has gotten away with a lot of racist and xenophobic vitriol and lies.
Last year in March, for instance, in order to strengthen support from Israeli conservatives, he posted a warning on Facebook, saying "right-wing rule is in danger" because left-wing organizations were bringing Arabs to vote "in buses" – which wasn’t true.
The comment was denounced as racist and fear-mongering and soon Netanyahu issued a half-hearted apology to brush off further criticism.
Later that year in October, he suggested in an address to the World Zionist Congress that it wasn’t Hitler who was directly responsible for the expulsion of Jews from Europe. It was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, who planted the idea of the Holocaust in the Nazi dictator’s mind in 1941.
Also, both Trump and Netanyahu – and direct members of their families – have been accused of committing financial frauds.
Just recently, the Washington Post revealed the boorish U.S. Republican candidate used the money donated to his charity organization, Donald J. Trump Foundation, for personal use. In July, Netanyahu was investigated by Israel's attorney general following accusations of money laundering. In addition, his wife, Sara Netanyahu, has also been accused of spending taxpayer money – $68,000 in two years, according to one report – on makeup, hairstyling and "presentation” and an additional $41,000 in one year on takeout meals.