FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How Netanyahu’s Son Became the Poster Boy for White Supremacists

Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0


Nazareth.

The eldest son of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has found himself an unlikely poster boy for David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.

Last week these cheerleaders for Jew hatred described 27-year-old Yair Netanyahu as “awesome” and “a total bro” for posting a grossly anti-semitic image on social media.

It depicts an Illuminati-like figure and a reptilian creature controlling the world through money and dark arts. Alongside them are a cabal of conspirators, their faces altered to show Netanyahu’s main opponents. They include George Soros, a Holocaust survivor who has invested billions in pro-democracy movements, and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister turned government critic.

This is not Yair’s first troubling outburst. Last month he emulated US President Donald Trump in decrying demonstrators who opposed a rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left a woman dead.

These might be dismissed as the immature rantings of a wayward son, had Yair not been groomed by his father as Israel’s “crown prince”. Netanyahu Jnr was supposedly behind an online media strategy that steered Netanyahu to electoral victory in 2015. He can be seen at his father’s side at meetings with world leaders.

The Israeli media were shocked not only by the post but Netanyahu’s determined refusal to criticise his son. An editorial in the Haaretz daily concluded that the prime minister’s silence signalled his “consent to the ongoing demonization of anyone who doesn’t get in line with the Israeli right”.

Yair’s choice of targets was revealing, particularly the image’s “Grand Jew” – George Soros.

In July, Netanyahu met his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, an ultra-nationalist who has led a xenophobic campaign against immigrants. In a bid to crush opposition, the Orban government has vilified Soros, an American-Hungarian who promotes progressive causes. A billboard campaign against the billionaire unleashed a wave of anti-semitism across the country.

As leader of a Jewish state professing to be the world’s only refuge against anti-Semitism, Netanyahu ought to have rushed to Soros’s defence. Instead he echoed Orban’s incitement. Soros, he said, had “undermined” and “defamed” Israel too – by funding human rights groups opposed to the occupation.

Sympathy with the European and US far-right is not restricted to the Netanyahu camp. It is moving into the Israeli mainstream. Last week the Herzliya conference – an annual jamboree for Israel’s security establishment – invited Sebastian Gorka as a keynote speaker.

Gorka, another American-Hungarian and Trump’s former terrorism adviser, is a figurehead of the alt-right, a term for US white supremacist groups. Gorka told the conference that Israel and the US were “founding members of the Judeo-Christian civilization” and would defeat their “common enemies”.

Meanwhile, another US alt-right leader, Richard Spencer, appeared on Israeli TV last month to call himself a “white Zionist”.

The affinity between Netanyahu’s Israel and the west’s far-right is understandable. Both detest a human rights discourse they have yet to crush. Both mobilise their supporters with dog-whistle Islamophobia. Both prefer militarised, fear-based societies. And both share an obsession with Jew hatred.

Israel is so esteemed by white supremacists because it offers a double whammy of anti-semitism. For decades Israel has sought to persuade the west that it faces an endless war against Arab and Muslim “terror”; while Israel also declares itself the only true home for Jews.

For an alt-right bristling with hatred for all semites, Jews and Muslims alike, this is manna from heaven. It too wants an apocalyptic battle against Islam, and it too is happy to see the west cleared of Jews by herding them into the Middle East.

At first sight, that has created an ideological inconsistency on the Israeli right that Yair Netanyahu’s meme highlights.

The Israeli prime minister has repeatedly called on all Jews to come to Israel, claiming it as the only safe haven from an immutable global anti-semitism. And yet Netanyahu is also introducing a political test before he opens the door.

Jews supporting a boycott of Israel are already barred. Now liberal Jews and critics of the occupation like Soros are increasingly not welcome either. Israel is rapidly redefining the extent of the sanctuary it offers – for Jewish supremacists only.

The paradox may turn out to be more apparent than real, however. For Netanyahu may believe he has much to gain by abandoning liberal Jews to their fate, as the alt-right asserts its power in western capitals.

The “white Zionists” are committed to making life ever harder for minorities in the west, in a bid to be rid of them. Sooner or later, on Netanyahu’s logic, liberal Jews will face a reckoning. They will have to concede that Israel’s ultra-nationalists were right all along, and that Israel is their only sanctuary.

Guided by this cynical convergence of interests, Jewish and white supremacists are counting on a revival of anti-semitism that will benefit them both.

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

More articles by:

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail