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August 17, 2017

Charlottesville Is the New Cudgel Against the Israeli PM

It took no time at all for the mainstream media to transform the tragic events in Charlottesville, VA -- or rather the reaction to them -- into a cudgel with which to beat Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Does Netanyahu support white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Of course not.

Did he condemn them? Yes, below is his tweet from the Prime Minister's office.


So what has spawned all these articles critical of Netanyahu? Obviously, it does not take much to trigger articles condemning Netanyahu, but let's take a look at the specific criticism.


Only after Trump delivered a statement Monday against "the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups" did Netanyahu tweet his own condemnation: "Outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred."

Critics pointed out that Netanyahu tweeted his statement in English — not to Israeli followers in Hebrew — and from his official "PM of Israel" Twitter account of 494,000 followers rather than his more popular personal account of 1.07 million followers.

LA Times

Netanyahu issued no immediate statement following the weekend’s violence, which involved neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups. On Tuesday, in his only comment on the events so far, Netanyahu tweeted “Outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred,? but, as critics were quick to point out, the post was made only in English and not on the prime minister's personal account."

Associated Press

Benjamin Netanyahu has remained largely silent during the unfolding crisis in Virginia. While issuing a terse condemnation of neo-Nazis and racists, he has said nothing about Trump's apparent defense of the actions of white supremacists during last weekend's deadly violence.

Guardian Comment is Free

If Israel’s PM has trouble denouncing US neo-nazism, it’s possibly because the far right of both countries support the concept of a secure homeland based on race

But as Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a prominent historian of Nazism and the Holocaust, points out:

"I think he was right not jump in,? said Zuroff, the US-born director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, who often calls on Jerusalem to act against anti-Semitism in other parts of the world. “The government doesn’t have to respond as if the fate of the Jews depends on a statement of the prime minister. That’s not the case.?

In fact, it could be considered “bad manners? for an Israeli leader to comment on the events in Charlottesville, he said. “On a certain level, it’s insulting to the host country if Israel has to [preach] on every event of this sort.?

Noting the special relationship between Washington and Jerusalem, Zuroff said, “I don’t think the Israeli government has to do it everywhere and every time… I would say that the most important responses by the Israeli government to such cases are where there is a physical danger to Jews on a large scale, where it’s clear that the local government is incapable or unwilling to deal with it.?

While the rally in Charlottesville — during which neo-Nazis marched in broad daylight through the streets waving swastika flags and chanting “Jews will not replace us? — was a “blatant demonstration of racism,? Zuroff said there was no need for Israeli leaders to publicly denounce it because the local authorities could be relied upon to take care of the matter without any prompting from Jerusalem.

Posted by RH at August 17, 2017 03:31 PM


1) The completely unjustified criticism of Netanyahu in this matter - Efraim Zuroff's article says all that needs to be said - started as so often with dishonest commentary in the Israeli media.

Please note the New Israel Fund connections of Haaretz contributor MK Shafir -

2) The unique wickedness of Neo-Nazis and Nazi sympathisers means that Donald Trump was totally wrong on this occasion to "balance" criticism of violent right-wing extremists with criticism of violent left-wing ones. The protest at Charlottesville was dominated by KKK supporters and supporters of white supremacy and there is nothing to indicate that there was a significant number of people who were protesting legitimately against the wilful erasure of history at the behest of intellectually dishonest leftists and others(far better - in the case of public monuments commemorating Confederate leaders, military and non-military, to have signs educating passers-by about the historical context).

One of the best articles I have read about this is by Ben Shapiro -

For people who read French there is also this -

Posted by: Paul at August 18, 2017 07:20 AM

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