Trump support for racists forces Israeli leaders to take sides, but which side will they choose?

Israel/Palestine
on 16 Comments

President Trump’s initial statement on the Charlottesville violence, where he said “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides, on many sides”, has taken on a life of its own. Equating the Nazis and white supremacists with their victims has become a national (as well as international) sport, and the promulgators of this “many sides” narrative are getting so excited with the prospect of it, that they are even going further, to regard the leftists as worse than Nazis.

All this has made various Israeli leaders rather uncomfortable. Because although they are on board with Trump’s attacks on the left, his “many sides” narrative was, after all, normalizing bona fide anti-Semitism.

But before we get to Israel, let’s see how the ‘left-equals right’ notion has been mainstreamed:

The notion of a supposed ‘Alt-Left’ as equal to the Alt-Right was voiced loudly merely a day after the Charlottesville violence via none other than the newspaper of record – New York Times, which published an op-ed by Erick Woods-Erickson, opening with the following:

“As a conservative, I see both the social justice warrior alt-left and the white supremacist alt-right as two sides of the same coin.”

Vox congressional reporter Jeff Stein tweeted in disbelief:

“NYtimes oped begins by admonishing “social justice warrior alt-left” the day after they fought Nazis. Unreal.”

Meanwhile, in Israel, Head of Republicans Abroad in Israel Marc Zell said that he holds “leftist thugs,” local authorities and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union responsible for Saturday’s events:

“I am, of course, no supporter of Nazis or white supremacists. But this very tragic event could have been avoided,” he said. “It was clear to all that the leftist thugs would come out to provoke and escalate the events. These thugs are the ugly face of progressivism around the country. They are looking to shut down free speech.”

Zell even went as far as to suggest that the car-ramming attack might have been a ‘false flag’:

“I am confident that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the newly appointed director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, will conduct a proper investigation. And I will not be surprised if they find that the incident was deliberately provoked by the left”, he said.

As I had mentioned in my first commentary on the Chartlottesville aftermath, Trump’s equivocal statements were a dog-whistle. He was calling on the dogs, and he was waiting to see how loud they could bark.

But there was also fierce pressure on Trump to name the thugs by name. So on Monday he finally did call out the KKK, Neo-Nazis and White-Supremacists, albeit ending the condemnation with “other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans”. Coming from Trump, the latter could be read as another opening to the “many sides” narrative.

Indeed, on Tuesday, Trump went back and doubled down on his original message, applying the “alt-left” notion which was being mainstreamed in the meanwhile. Speaking at the Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday, the president was asked for his opinion after Senator John McCain had condemned the “alt-right” for its role in the violent rally, to which he responded:

“What about alt-left? Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

Let’s hop back to Israel now, because the fact that the Nazis are involved in this is causing a certain discomfort to many Jewish Israelis. As CNN host Anderson Cooper was saying on Tuesday, the Charlottesville Neo-Nazis “were freaking chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ on the streets of America.”

Thus Israeli centrist leaders Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni were rather vociferous and unequivocal in their condemnations. Yesterday, Lapid said that

“There aren’t two sides. When Neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville and scream slogans against Jews and in support of white supremacy, the condemnation has to be unambiguous. They represent hate and evil. Anyone who believes in the human spirit must stand against them without fear.”

Sounds good. Let’s put aside for the moment Lapid’s own anti-Palestinianism, anti-miscegenationism (against mixed marriage) and ultra-nationalism.

Tzipi Livni, who had joined forces with the left under the Zionist Union was also quite clear:

“When it comes to racism, anti-Semitism and Nazism, there are never two equal sides. There’s good and there’s evil. Period”, she said.

Let’s also put aside for the moment the fact that Livni, who was Foreign Minister during Israel’s 2008-9 Gaza onslaught said that “Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation, which I demanded”, as well as that “Hamas now understands that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.”  – I mean, just because it’s hooliganism on a national level, doesn’t mean it’s racist, does it?

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has called on US leaders to denounce the rally’s “displays of anti-Semitism” and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of Bennett’s Jewish Home party has urged prosecution of neo-Nazi activists. Once again, let’s put aside for the moment the Education Minister’s “I’ve killed many Arabs and there’s no problem with that”, as well as the Justice Minister’s advocacy for genocide of Palestinians.

Now, as the condemnations were coming from the right of Netanyahu, that was a sign that he shouldn’t be too silent on this, even if he wanted to not upset Trump. So Netanyahu finally tweeted on Tuesday that he was “outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred.”

But, alas, another Netanyahu came out on this. Netanyahu Jr., that is – Yair Netanyahu. Writing on his Facebook yesterday:

“To put things in perspective. I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli, the neo nazis scums in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out. However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”

The Times of Israel reports sources “close to the Prime Minister” taking a distance, claiming that “Yair is an adult and his views are his alone”.

But this is where it gets more confusing. Because yesterday, ‘Hail Trump’, white supremacist, Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer was interviewed on Israeli Channel 2, and said that Israelis should respect someone like him, because he’s “a white Zionist”:

“An Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogue feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you want a secure homeland in Israel”, he said.

At the same time, Spencer voiced the classical anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish ‘over-representation’ and separating them from ‘whites’, when he was asked whether slogans such as “Jews will not replace us” constitute anti-Semitism:

“Let’s be honest,” Spencer said, “Jews are vastly over-represented in what you could call ‘the establishment,’ that is, Ivy League educated people who really determine policy, and white people are being dispossesed from this country.”

This is not the first time Spencer brings up the ‘white Zionism’ notion. He has also managed to leave Texas rabbi Matt Rosenberg speechless, when the latter, an avowed Zionist, challenged him with ‘love an inclusion’, where Spencer presented to him the question:

“Do you really want radical inclusion into the State of Israel? And by that I mean radical inclusion. Maybe all of the Middle East could go move in to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Would you really want that?”

Spencer added to the blow a white-supremacist embrace of “respect”:

“Jews exist precisely because you did not assimilate. That is why Jews are a coherent people with a history and a culture and a future. It’s because you had a sense of yourselves. I respect that about you. I want my people to have that same sense of themselves”, he said.

Not only is this not new from Spencer – it is not new from Nazis in general. As Adolf Eichmann said in 1960 (Time):

“In the years that followed (after 1937) I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that, had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not imagine anything else. In fact, I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable.”

Indeed, the anti-Semitic, white-supremacist notions represented in Charlottesville, make the proximity between Zionism and anti-Semitism too close for comfort for many Jews, especially the Zionist ones. Zionism has a long and murky record of collaboration with Nazis, which presents a contradiction to the narrative of Israel being a diametric answer to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

But having mentioned Yair Netanyahu, it could be an interesting anecdote to mention the letter of another Yair – the Jewish terrorist ‘Stern Gang’ leader Avraham ‘Yair’ Stern (‘Yair’ being his nom de guerre), offering allegiance to Hitler in January 1941. Here Stern offers to “actively take part in the war on Germany’s side” and that “common interests could exist between the establishment of a new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO” (NMO stands for National Militant Organization, of which the Stern Gang became an offshoot).

When Herzl wrote in his diary that “the anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies”, he was already pinpointing a notion which Zionism and Israel would desperately seek to conceal. Which is, that Zionism, the state ideology, and anti-Semitism, are tightly knit and inter-dependent. Zionism is not an answer to anti-Semitism – it is an extension of it. And when the unabashed racists and anti-Semites go marching, when their Israel-loving President keeps exonerating them and equating them with their victims, then it becomes a bit uncomfortable. The ideological affinity between anti-Semitism and Zionism becomes exposed. And that’s where the Zionist apologists try to cover it up again, under the balancing act of being a Zionist and opposing anti-Semitism.

But Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, he got the trick. The trick is to demonize the left as “haters” and “thugs”, so as to also be able to condemn the Nazis, as it were, but effectively making the left worse than Nazis, by downplaying the Nazis as a thing “of the past”. Because Israel is now in an ideological international fight both against anti-Semitism, supposedly and as it were, but more importantly and more truly, against the left. But it has to look good. You don’t want to seem too Nazi.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

16 Responses

  1. Mooser
    August 17, 2017, 6:28 pm

    MJ Rosenberg Knows which side he is on: “Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism”

  2. JLewisDickerson
    August 17, 2017, 6:52 pm

    RE: “However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.” ~ Yair Netanyahu

    MY COMMENT: I wonder where Yair Netanyahu gets the idea that BLM is becoming “super dominant in American universities and public life”? Might he be confusing/equating ‘super dominant’ with ‘superpredator’?
    Does he perchance want to “bring them (i.e., BLM) to heel”?

    • JLewisDickerson
      August 17, 2017, 7:19 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Netanyahu Family’s Racist History: Like Father, Like Son”|
      by Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | July 12, 2011

      [EXCERPTS] . . . The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say. Here are a few of the choice racist comments this excellent expose by Uri Blau attributes to Yair Netanyahu via his Facebook page. A few years ago at a time when Ehud Olmert was prime minister, riots broke out in the formerly Arab town of Akko (Acre), when an Israeli Palestinian mistakenly drove into an Orthodox community on Yom Kippur (a day when driving is forbidden). The result was this Facebook page created by the younger Netanyahu which stated:

      As a Result of the Akko Pogroms, I Too Boycott Arab Businesses!

      Those Arab sons of whores desecrated the holiest day of our year. This wasn’t in Syria or in Egypt. It was right here in the State of Israel–the Jewish nation’s only state. Because the leftist authorities won’t do anything regarding this matter and because the media will only trot out [before the cameras] the “poor Arabs,” it is up to us to do the minimum to restore our self-respect by boycotting all Arab businesses and products. Besides, I boycotted these shits even before!

      Despite Netanyahu’s appeal for members to join the group, only 23 did, which seems a pretty lame performance for a soldier who serves now in the IDF international press liaison office . . .

      . . . Returning to his Facebook account, just after the murder of the Fogel family by Palestinian militants, Netanyahu wrote this under the assumed name, Jesse Netan. My editorial comments are in italics, I couldn’t help myself!:

      We Jews and Christians celebrate life and love, you Muslims celebrate hatred and death! I attended the funeral and saw the five bodies including the littlest of the babies [ed., this isn’t truthful as one does not see bodies at a Jewish funeral, only caskets]. When we Israelis accidentally harm a Palestinian boy in Gaza the entire nation mourns for the child of the enemy [ed., what country is he living in??] half the army goes to prison and we pay a lot of money to the family [ed., what planet is he living on??]. We have enough power to destroy Gaza in five minutes, but we operate there with utmost care against terrorists who intend to harm our citizens and to turn their own citizens into human shields.

      Further, after the murder of this innocent family, they danced and celebrated in the streets, precisely like after 9/11!

      Terror has a religion and it is Islam. Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim. Have you ever heard of anyone killing themselves with a bomb in the name of Jesus or Moses [ed., I suppose he forgot Masada and Trumpeldor]? NO! People blow themselves up only in the name of Allah!

      There is no such thing as a Palestinian state. It is part of Israel. There never in history has been a Palestinian state. There is no such state and I hope there never will be. Palestinians are Arabs who settled in our country, but who emigrated from other Arab countries less than 100 years ago.

      A mere two hours after Blau first turned to the IDF press office for a comment on the Facebook profile it was closed to public view. The army explained that Yair had been told what the expectations of him were and that he could not talk politics on his Facebook account. Of course, the IDF had no problem in general with the specific rage-filled/rejectionist racist views he expressed, only with the fact that they were “political.” . . .

      SOURCE – https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2011/07/12/netanyahu-familys-racist-history-like-father-like-son/

      • JLewisDickerson
        August 17, 2017, 8:46 pm

        RE: “Equating the Nazis and white supremacists with their victims has become a national (as well as international) sport, and the promulgators of this “many sides” narrative are getting so excited with the prospect of it, that they are even going further, to regard the leftists as worse than Nazis.” ~ Ofir

        A MIDSUMMER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the purveyors of new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine™ Inhalable: “Dream-castle Israel is just one exhilarating breath away!”
        “I’ve looked at life from both sides now
        From win and lose and still somehow
        It’s life’s illusions I recall . . .”


        Joni Mitchell: An appreciation of her classic Both Sides, Nowhttps://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/summer-entertainment/joni-mitchell-both-sides-now/article12557726/

        In the Mood for Love ~ Yumeji’s theme – Shigeru Umebayashi

      • Misterioso
        August 18, 2017, 4:00 pm

        @JLewisDickerson

        Greetings
        Regarding the following statement you quote made by Yair Netanyahu, aka,Jesse Natan, son of Bibi:

        “There is no such thing as a Palestinian state. It is part of Israel. There never in history has been a Palestinian state. There is no such state and I hope there never will be. Palestinians are Arabs who settled in our country, but who emigrated from other Arab countries less than 100 years ago.”

        I write the following response to Yair/Jesse with the hope that a Zionist who monitors Mondowiess will forward it on to him. His ignorance is appalling.

        1.
        Re: “There never in history has been a Palestinian state.”

        Reality;
        The first known written reference to Palestinians as a people (Peleset) was c.1150 BCE at the temple of Medinet Habut. They were among those who fought with Egypt during Ramesses III’s reign.

        The region between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea was referred to as “Palestine” by the Greek historian Herodotus (“the father of history”) during the 5th century BCE.

        100 years later, in the mid-4th Century BCE, Aristotle referred to Palestine while discussing the Dead Sea in his Meteorology. “Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine….”

        Jewish historian Josephus’s (c.37-100 CE) The Jewish War, Antiquities of the Jews contains many references to both “Palestine” and “Palestinians.”

        Contemporaries of Jesus also routinely referred to Palestine as “Palestine.” In the first decade of the 1st Century, the Roman poet Ovid mentioned Palestine in both his famed mythological poem Metamorphoses and his erotic elegy The Art of Love. He also wrote of “the waters of Palestine” in his calendrical poem Fasti. Around the same time, another Latin poet, Tibullus wrote of “the crowded cities of Palestine” in the section “Messalla’s Triumph” in his poem Delia.

        The Zionist claim that the Roman emperor Hadrian officially changed the name of the region to “Syria Palaestina” or simply “Palestine,” in 135 CE is contradicted by the fact that by then, the term “Palestine” had already been in use for over 600 years.

        When the Muslim Arabs arrived in Palestine in the 7th century CE (and liberated its Jewish population from Byzantine oppression), they retained the administrative organization of the territory of Palestine as it had been under the Romans and later, the Byzantines. They referred to the territory as Filastin (no “P” in Arabic.)

        To quote the opening sentence of the section entitled “Filastin” that appears in the book “Dictionary of the Lands,” written by geographer Yaqut ibn Abdullah al-Hamawi in 1225: “Filastin: It is the last one of the regions of Syria in the direction of Egypt. Its most famous cities are Ashkelon, Ramle, Gaza, Arsuf, Caesaria, Nablus, Jericho, Jaffa and Beit Guvrin.”

        By about 1300 CE, Palestine was a recognized geographical concept using coinage with “Filistin” written on them. There were diaries of Palestinian travelers who said they missed “Palestine” and a distinctive Palestinian dialect of Arabic had evolved. From 1300 on, the vast majority of people who lived in Palestine were Christians and Muslims.

        In 1603, Shakespeare wrote in his play Othello: “Emilia: I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.” (Act IV, Scene iii.)

        In 1863, The Religious Tract Society of London published its “Pictorial Journey Through the Holy Land; or Scenes of Palestine.” In this work Beersheba is described as the southern limit of Palestine. Beersheba lies south-east of Gaza on the northern edge of the Negev desert. Palestine is described as “south of Lebanon.”

        European tourist books of the nineteenth century refer to “Palestine,” as did Theodor Herzl in his correspondence and the 1917 Balfour Declaration as well as the 1922 Class A League of Nations British Mandate.

        To quote the Winston Churchill Memorandum (1 July 1922) regarding the British Mandate: “[T]he status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status.”

        2.
        Re: “Palestinians are Arabs who settled in our country, but who emigrated from other Arab countries less than 100 years ago. ”

        Reality:
        It seems like many others, Yair/Jesse has been duped by Joan Peters’ long since debunked mountain of mendacity, “From Time Immemorial…”

        To wit:

        Professor Porath, one of Israel’s leading demographic historians, called Peters’ book a “forgery… [that] was almost universally dismissed [in Israel] as sheer rubbish except maybe as a propaganda weapon.”(New York Times, Nov.28, 1985)

        Rabbi Arthur Herzberg, vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, agreed: “I think that she’s cooked the statistics…. The scholarship is phony and tendentious. I do not believe that she has read the Arabic sources that she quotes.”(ibid)

        To again quote Professor Porath: “The precise demographic history of modern Palestine cannot be summed up briefly, but its main features are clear enough and they are very different from the fanciful description Mrs. Peters gives…. [S]he has apparently searched through documents for any statement to the effect that Arabs entered Palestine. But even if we put together all the cases she cites, one cannot escape the conclusion that most of the growth of the Palestinian Arab community resulted from a process of natural increase.” (“Mrs. Peters’ Palestine” New York Review of Books, 16 January 1986.)

      • YoniFalic
        August 18, 2017, 7:24 pm

        It is a symptom of mental colonization by racist EEuro fake “Jews”/Zionists to use the term Jew and paronyms with respect to any of the inhabitants of Greco-Roman Palestine. Said inhabitants when practicing a form of Judaism can be called Judaic. When living in the Judean region of Palestine, they may be called Judean. Jew and paronyms should only be used in the 10th century or thereafter.

      • MHughes976
        August 19, 2017, 1:21 pm

        To add to your remarks, Mist, we should note that the Bible, the book that Zionists know so patchily, is the primary witness to a Philistine state. Its boundaries are uncertain and it may have lost its independence after the time of Nebuchadnezzar, but the same is true of the states or kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which likewise lost their independence after a time.
        It was the Philistine/Palestinian name that spread over the whole territory as a geographical term, as is indicated by the evidence you mention, which is proof, I think, that the Philistine/Palestinian state whose name (unlike Israel) thus spread, and which represents an non-Israelite ancient population, had never been an inconsiderable thing.
        Moreover a new perspective comes from the recently identified ‘Northern Palestine’, a neo-Hittite kingdom. See Weeden, After the Hittites, SOAS Research Online, 2013 .
        Not that human rights depend on ancient history..

    • DaBakr
      August 18, 2017, 11:54 pm

      @jld

      Your reading an awful lot into one opinion. A bit melodramatic maybe?

  3. JohnSmith
    August 17, 2017, 9:36 pm

    I came across this image by accident at instagram. Save it if you think it’s useful/factual since things always disappear online, of course. I couldn’t confirm the facts with a search for “233 New Yorkers” or “233 settlers” or “233 new settlers.” I also don’t know abou the “caves” allegation. But of course the general message is true: settlers are flown in and are immediately privileged, while Palestinians suffer. If you can verify the particulars here, great:

    https://scontent-ort2-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/20838128_145053222747450_4118042371713662976_n.jpg

  4. mcohen..
    August 18, 2017, 2:43 am

    I love a good conspiracy.bannon called the neo nazis a bunch of clowns.i think that they are more likely a bunch of canaries in a coal mine.forget about zionist exceptionalism.how about white exceptionalism.

    Most of the protesters on both sides were white.this is a fight about which direction whites should take.fact is american demographics speak for themselves.over 50% of american cities have majority hispanic populations.

    Most interesting of all though is the slogan “jews will not replace us”

    So the alt left or the jews or the Democrats are now opposing the alt right the neo nazis or the Republicans or the christians.

    Sounds like someone is trying to create artifical opposing sides for a greater purpose.the obvious target is the israel supporting christian right.they are being vilified.that is why Netanyahu is pondering the ponder.clever move by bannon .and a dangerous gamble.

    As i said before only the usa and russia can force change by working together

  5. maddave
    August 18, 2017, 9:33 am

    I find it wholly hypocritical that “Israel” can criticize the openly anti Samatic alt-right christians (sic) while, at the exact same time Jews all over the world are supporting and encouraging the much more (theological) anti-semantic “christian (sic) zionists” whose very existence is predicated upon either the conversion or slaughter of all Jews during their well-scripted “end times”. Netanyahu and Likud literally suck-up to these despicably non-Christian sons-of-bitches . . . While simultaneously slaughtering, empoverishing and enslaving millions of illegally and immorally imprisoned Arabs whom they hold captive in the occupied territories. Go figure!

    • mcohen..
      August 18, 2017, 1:18 pm

      23,24,25.

    • Jack Green
      August 18, 2017, 2:58 pm

      maddave

      I don’t know even one Jew who supports Christian Zionists,
      but I’m sure that there are Jews who are happy for the support that they are getting
      from Christian Zionists.

      • Misterioso
        August 18, 2017, 6:32 pm

        “Birds of a feather……”

  6. Stogumber
    August 30, 2017, 10:44 am

    Who is worse, the leftist or the rightist?
    Depends on the distribution of power.
    In a Gulag, the Bolshevist was far worse than the Nazi. (That’s why Solshenitsyn had a soft spot for the soldiers of general Wlassow.)
    People like Tzipi Livni or Jonathan Ofir tend to forget that there was something like a Gulag.

    • Mooser
      August 30, 2017, 12:40 pm

      Uh, “Stogumber”, if you dislike “the leftist” so much, and think he is “far worse than the Nazi”, why do you use “cosmopolitan” as a slur? “Cosmopolitans” is a Soviet slur, used against those who won’t brush up their dialectic.

      You is very confused.

Leave a Reply