How Netanyahu’s son became the poster boy for white supremacists

Israel/Palestine
on 22 Comments

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.

About Jonathan Cook

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 new website is jonathan-cook.net.

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22 Responses

  1. JeffB
    September 19, 2017, 3:32 pm

    @Johnathan —

    The core distinction between anti-Judaic and antisemitic literature is the belief in the root causes of Jewish dysfunction. Anti-Judaic bigotry was situational believing at its root that the problem was that Jews were foreign, or sexual deviants or not Pagan / Christian / Muslim. Antisemitism believed the problem with Jews were genetic not situational. Zionism falls in the anti-Judaic camp. Zionism has always held a doctrine of shlilat ha’galut that living as aliens within other people’s countries is morally corrupting and spiritually deforming.

    Zionists are dialoguing with these groups and explaining shlilat ha’galut to people drawn to antisemitism. More and more the far right is moving away from a belief that the problems with Jews are intrinsic to the race (as per David Duke) and instead that the problems are situational. In Israel they see a normal society filled with Jews (I understand you are incapable of seeing a normal society in Israel, but we are talking about the far right here not the far left). Israel’s normality disproves the idea that Jews are biologically incapable of functioning in a normal society if given the chance to have one. For the right, Israel takes Europe’s most difficult minority and shows that the problem was always situational. It disproves antisemitism and arguably a good chunk of racism.

    I would think anyone who is an anti-racist would applaud the success of this dialogue. Not so much because of Jews, Israel has solved the Jewish question. But because the argument with respect to Jews applies via the same logic to other groups like the Roma. The Roma are in far more danger in Europe than the Jews. And of course it applies all over the world to a host of other minorities. The technique of vilification, name calling and suppression that the left prefers to rational engagement has proven itself a terrible strategy in winning converts to anti-racist positions.

    Put me down as a Jew who is comfortable with this dialogue going on.

    • Mooser
      September 19, 2017, 6:29 pm

      “Put me down as a Jew who is comfortable with this dialogue going on.”

      Of course you are “Jeffy”. After all, the man from a demonstrably superior race need not ever fear racism.

    • Keith
      September 19, 2017, 6:42 pm

      JEFFB- “Antisemitism believed the problem with Jews were genetic not situational.”

      You are, of course, referring to modern anti-Semitism, not the “new” anti-Semitism. The new anti-Semitism consists of anything and everything which may interfere with Jewish Zionist power-seeking such as criticizing Israel or referring to Jewish power and influence, etc.

      “Thus ADL head Nathan Perlmutter maintained that the “real anti-Semitism” in America consisted of policy initiatives “corrosive of Jewish interests,” such as affirmative action….” (p37, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein)

      • JeffB
        September 19, 2017, 11:40 pm

        @Keith —

        This post is mainly about groups that still embrace old fashioned anti-judaic and anti-semitic themes. New antisemitism is about the left, which claims to abhor this kind of racism, does get upset about rightwing groups doing it but then engage in the same themes. I’ll work with your comment about “referring to Jewish power and influence, etc.” is kind of indicative of the issue. Jews are roughly the same size and same economic demographics as Scots in America. They have roughly the same amount of cultural, political and economic power. There are areas where Jews have more influence and there are areas like the presidency (34 out of 45 vs. 0 out of 45) where Scots clearly have more influence. Why should there be any more attention on Jewish power than Scottish power? The Jewish power conversation is just basically saying that Jews use their political, cultural and economic influence to advance issues they consider to be in their vital interest, the same as most other groups in the United States. To take it beyond that you end up having to exaggerate beyond all reason, like AIPAC being America’s most powerful lobby.

        Now mostly the right is concerned about Jewish power. For the mainstream right their concern is donations and volunteering for Liberal causes and Democratic candidates. Among the far right the concern is cultural influence. Among the far left the primary concern is Israel. Jews are unusual politically active, Jews are unusual secular and Jews love their homeland and wish to protect her. All of those claims are at their root true, Jews do tilt the field. At the same time they are not particularly shocking lots of other groups tilt the field regarding their issues. Discussions of Jewish power which take place in a context of reason and balance are unlikely to create any upset. Discussion of Jewish power which take place in a context of paranoia and lack balance are going to create upset. I don’t see anything particularly troubling about that.

        Finally my definition for “new anti-semitism” is leftist taking traditionally antisemitic / anti-judaic beliefs and modifying them slightly to fit a leftist orientation and updating a bit. This makes sense the Nazi antisemitism influenced the propaganda of Soviet anti-Zionism which influenced the anti-Zionism of today. For example:

        Jews control the press — doesn’t need to change. The far left is convinced that support for Israel among the American population is a result of propaganda rather than a rational self interested evaluation of the pros and cons on the part of the American people.

        Jews manipulate the economy, especially through banking monopolies and the power of gold — Gold gets replaced by “big banks”

        Jews encourage issuing paper currency not tied to the gold standard — Updated now concern about derivatives and so forth.

        Jews work through Masonic lodges — They replace “Masonic lodges” with other institutions they hate like lobbies or corporations.

        etc…

        Finally, I doubt Nathan Perlmutter said what either you or Finkelstein is quoting him as saying in context. That sounds simply too strong and out of character.

      • Talkback
        September 20, 2017, 9:30 am

        JeffB: “They have roughly the same amount of cultural, political and economic power. ”

        Giraldi – former CIA and counter terrorism specialit says that American Jews are driving American wars.

        JeffB: “Finally my definition for “new anti-semitism” is leftist taking traditionally antisemitic / anti-judaic beliefs and modifying them slightly to fit a leftist orientation and updating a bit.”

        Your examples are missing the core element of antisemitism. The targeted Jews are targeted for what they do and not because THEY ARE JEWS albeit innocent. With your perverted definition of “new-anti-antisemitism” you only want to slander any accusation against Jewish individuals or interest group as being “antisemitic” only to cover up their atrocities and only because THEY ARE JEWS allthough they are not innocent at all. It’s your accusation of “new-anti-antisemitism” that is based on racism.

      • Keith
        September 20, 2017, 10:30 am

        JEFFB- ” Jews are roughly the same size and same economic demographics as Scots in America. They have roughly the same amount of cultural, political and economic power.”

        Do you always just make stuff up? The above statement is so ludicrous that it is an insult to the intelligence. Those Scots sure manage to keep a low profile for all of their influence on foreign policy, finance, the media, etc. And their campaign contributions!

      • JeffB
        September 20, 2017, 11:22 am

        @Keith

        JEFFB- ” Jews are roughly the same size and same economic demographics as Scots in America. They have roughly the same amount of cultural, political and economic power.”

        Do you always just make stuff up? The above statement is so ludicrous that it is an insult to the intelligence. Those Scots sure manage to keep a low profile for all of their influence on foreign policy, finance, the media, etc. And their campaign contributions!

        Sorry it is absolutely true. Good match in most respects. As for the low profile Scottish power isn’t talked about as Scottish power. It is talked about as American and not differentiated on the basis of ethnic subgroup. And that is precisely the point and why the discussion of Jewish power becomes antisemitic. There is an underlying belief that Jews aren’t entitled to fully participate in the national discourse and try and shape policy in line with their beliefs.

      • JeffB
        September 20, 2017, 11:46 am

        @Talkback

        JeffB: “They have roughly the same amount of cultural, political and economic power. ”

        Giraldi – former CIA and counter terrorism specialit says that American Jews are driving American wars.

        The Scots played a big role in forming the alliance with Britain the core of US foreign policy. So even if true, so what? How is that any different than other groups that advance policies in their interests? American pharmaceutical policy harms Jewish interests, no one is shocked that there are groups that benefit from this policy and they advocate for their interests.

        But of course it isn’t true. The idea is ludicrous. 73% of Americans supported the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion. American policy reflecting the overwhelming USA public opinion there was no secret conspiracy. This was broadly debated and the pro-peace camp lost the debate badly. Later on many of their points were proven correct, public opinion turned, and an anti-Iraq war Democrat became president.

        The invasion was advocated for by a bunch of Christians with a few Jews mixed in. The various congressional and executive authorizations were enacted by Christians with a few Jews mixed in. The invasion was performed mostly by Christians. Jews who are normally anti-war were mixed in their public opinion, not decided in favor which made them unusually pacifistic among American subgroups. That’s reality.

        Claiming under those circumstances that “the Jews did it” is simply a lie. And a lie that is only believable based on deep antisemitism. I’m sure there are former CIA analysts who believe that the Lizard People control US policy. The fact that you choose from all possible analyst one who presents an anti-Jewish picture is the thing you should wrestle with in your conscience.

        The person most responsible for the USA deciding to attack Iraq was Saddam Hussein by being a total pain in the ass. The next most responsible person was a Christian by the name of George W Bush.

        JeffB: “Finally my definition for “new anti-semitism” is leftist taking traditionally antisemitic / anti-judaic beliefs and modifying them slightly to fit a leftist orientation and updating a bit.”

        Your examples are missing the core element of antisemitism. The targeted Jews are targeted for what they do and not because THEY ARE JEWS albeit innocent.

        Traditional anti-Judaic and antisemetic attacks were often based on what Jews did. Jewish writers did critique and help undermine Christian sexual standards during the 19th century. The idea that the hatred had no tortured reasoning behind it is a bizarre myth that comes from not having read any old books where Jews are talked about. The people back then had far more reasonable causes than the haters of today.

        Mostly what you had then and now were Jews engaging in the same behaviors as others were singled and persecuted more strongly. The singling out the persecution are the antisemitism.

        With your perverted definition of “new-anti-antisemitism” you only want to slander any accusation against Jewish individuals or interest group as being “antisemitic” only to cover up their atrocities and only because THEY ARE JEWS allthough they are not innocent at all. It’s your accusation of “new-anti-antisemitism” that is based on racism.

        Jews ask to be held to the same standards as other peoples in a fair and unbiased system. Whatever standards are applied to Jews should be applied equally to all. That’s not racism, it is the opposite.

      • Mooser
        September 20, 2017, 2:37 pm

        Shorter “Jeff b”: ‘Since anti-semites have at one time accused Jews of almost everything, any charge which resembles an anti-semitic charge must be spurious. Case dismissed!’

        Doesn’t work that way, “Jeff”.

      • Keith
        September 20, 2017, 5:34 pm

        JEFFB- “Sorry it is absolutely true.”

        Who claims this besides you? Do you have a fear of quotes and references?

        So, you are going to pursue this? Are you setting up Mooser for parody? What are we talking here? Trump’s son in law Jarred McKushner? Ambassador to Israel David McFriedman? Council to the President Michael McCohen? Treasury Secretary Steven McMnunchin? Pro-Scottish billionaires Haim McSaban and Sheldon McAdelson? Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd McBlankfein? The Conference of Presidents of the Major Scottish Organizations? AI-McPAC? Scottish control of Hollywood? All of the aid we send to Scotland? All of the Congressional trips to Scotland? Training US police in Scotland? What? All you have is chutzpah and a lack of integrity.

      • Marnie
        September 21, 2017, 2:10 am

        “Finally, I doubt Nathan Perlmutter said what either you or Finkelstein is quoting him as saying in context. That sounds simply too strong and out of character.”

        Shorter version JeffyBee –

    • RoHa
      September 19, 2017, 11:00 pm

      “Zionism has always held a doctrine of shlilat ha’galut that living as aliens within other people’s countries is morally corrupting and spiritually deforming.”

      Living in Palestine has certainly been morally corrupting and spiritually deforming for the Zionists.

    • Marnie
      September 20, 2017, 12:36 am

      “I would think anyone who is an anti-racist would applaud the success of this dialogue.”

      In one sentence JeffB explains it all. Of course YOU are comfortable. No surprises here.

      Yair Netanyahoo is the less attractive counterpart to Ivanka tRUMP. Always at daddy’s side.

      I will happily put you down but not as a Jew. You can’t hide behind your religion Jeffy Boy. You’re just another entitled white man who believes he knows everything. And says he’s Jewish. Nu? Yawn…..

      • Misterioso
        September 20, 2017, 10:09 am

        @Marnie

        Re: JeffB

        “Yawn….” PRECISELY, WELL AND TRULY STATED!!

      • Mooser
        September 20, 2017, 1:06 pm

        “I will happily put you down but not as a…”

        “Marnie”, although I fear it’s not very nice of me, all I can think of when I read “Jeffy B” is “Oy gevalt another cracker who thinks it’s a matzoh

    • W.Jones
      September 20, 2017, 11:21 am

      ” Zionism falls in the anti-Judaic camp”.
      With this statement, I thought JeffB was being antiZionist until I read the rest.

      • eljay
        September 20, 2017, 12:06 pm

        || W.Jones: ” Zionism falls in the anti-Judaic camp”.
        With this statement, I thought JeffB was being antiZionist until I read the rest. ||

        It was a teaser, kind of like a Zionist saying:

        Colonialism, (war) crimes and supremacism are unjust and immoral…
               [long pause]
        …unless they’re done by Jews.

  2. Keith
    September 19, 2017, 6:27 pm

    JONATHAN COOK- “They include George Soros, a Holocaust survivor who has invested billions in pro-democracy movements….”

    Pro-democracy movements? That is an odd way to describe color revolutions. Speaking of color revolutions and the CIA, I simply can’t resist linking to a superb interview with Douglas Valentine about the CIA. I strongly recommend this interview. A quote followed by the link.

    “Everything the CIA does is illegal, which is why the government provides it with an impenetrable cloak of secrecy. While mythographers in the information industry portray America as a bastion of peace and democracy, CIA officers manage criminal organizations around the world. For example, the CIA hired one of America’s premier drug trafficker in the 1950s and 1960s, Santo Trafficante, to murder Fidel Castro. In exchange, the CIA allowed Trafficante to import tons of narcotics into America. The CIA sets up proprietary arms, shipping, and banking companies to facilitate the criminal drug trafficking organizations that do its dirty work. Mafia money gets mixed up in offshore banks with CIA money, until the two are indistinguishable.” (Douglas Valentine) https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/09/the-cia-70-years-of-organized-crime/#more-72008

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    September 20, 2017, 11:13 am

    I am of shameful Jewish background. And yet I will state: some of these Jews make me vomit.

  4. Ossinev
    September 20, 2017, 11:34 am

    @jeffB
    ” Jews are roughly the same size and same economic demographics as Scots in America. They have roughly the same amount of cultural, political and economic power. There are areas where Jews have more influence and there are areas like the presidency (34 out of 45 vs. 0 out of 45) where Scots clearly have more influence. Why should there be any more attention on Jewish power than Scottish power?”

    Please say you are joking. I am certainly pissing myself laughing. If Ms Sturgeon gets to hear about this “Scottish power ” in the US it`s dream come true time for those weak powerless Scots who want independence.

    Continuing to muse: articles “Scottish lobby influencing US foreign policy” . “”Trump`s ascendancy to the Presidency down to all pervasive influence of the Scottish Lobby – they found his trousers”. ” New body the American Scotland Public Affairs Committee ( ASPAC) set up to support Scotland`s case for independence”. “ASPAC condemns comments from a a prominent member of AIPAC that Scottish Americans tend to be jockular”. ” An independent Scotland set to get $3 billion a year in military aid from US” “Nicola Sturgeon gets 27 standing ovations during historic address to Congress” “

    • John O
      September 20, 2017, 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Ossinev. Made me chuckle; and nails the absurdity of JeffB’s analogy.

      Of course, Trump’s mother was Scottish; so, I suspect, any day now he will endorse the SNP’s desire for Scottish independence in exchange for a couple of golf courses.

    • Citizen
      September 20, 2017, 6:01 pm

      SO, Scotland just got another $38billon from us US taxpayers, and a 42nd UN SC veto immunizing it from its rogue conduct under international law? How many free F-35s are going to the Scot air force?

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