Opinion

Throwing Decency – and Jews – Under the Bus, Yair Netanyahu Becomes neo-Nazis' Newest Surrogate

Yair has just shown the real family values the Trumps and Netanyahus share

Adopted by the alt-right: Yair Netanyahu as American anti-Semitic far-right hero. Screenshot from Twitter
Adopted by the alt-right: Yair Netanyahu as American anti-Semitic far-right hero. Screenshot from Twitter Twitter/@CorncobLeft

It would be almost heartwarming to watch the Trump and Netanyahu clans make common cause with each other, if only those bonds weren’t aligned along the worst side of their natures. 

Exhibit A: Saturday’s decision by Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, to post to his Facebook page a version of the internet’s most widely disseminated anti-Semitic meme

In this incarnation, the trope of the hook-nosed Jew dangling the world on a string insinuates that a George Soros-led Jewish conspiracy is driving the flood of legal problems rising around his family.

Yair Netanyahu's meme.
Screenshot from Facebook

Young Netanyahu’s meme fingers everyone from former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and anti-Netanyahu protest leader Eldad Yaniv to Meni Naftali, the former chief caretaker at the Netanyahus’ official residence who implicated Sara Netanyahu, leading to her indictment

If politics makes strange bedfellows, scandal sets the stage for an orgy where every act is permissible. Young Netanyahu’s actions helpfully cleared up any remaining doubts about his family’s values, which they share with America’s top autocrat.

Namely, saving their own skins in the face of the corruption charges bearing down on them, while saying and doing anything to that end with anyone who will climb in with them.

In this case young Netanyahu placed himself, his father, and the raft of right-wing Jewish leaders who refused to comment on or condemn his actions, in bed with the key bottom-feeders among America’s aspiring Nazis and white supremacists.

Ku Klux Klan dinosaur David Duke gushed, "Welcome to the club, Yair - absolutely amazing, wow, just wow."

"A total bro," swooned the Nazi wannabe Daily Stormer, in a post titled, "Netanyahu's Son Posts Awesome Meme Blaming the Jews for Bringing Down his Jew Father.”

There is, of course, some pleasure-tinged irony in watching homophobes act out the real perversity: a series of white, putatively straight men erecting homo-social bro bonds with anyone with the potential to shore up their power.

A picture taken on March 18, 2015 shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and his son Yair visiting the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
THOMAS COEX/AFP

Trump’s vehement defense of the white supremacists who marched through Charlottesville chanting "Jews will not replace us!" and his insistence on the moral equivalency between them and the people who protested against them, was more than a restatement of a bigotry-laced world view that has been on full display for eons, thanks to the media that he alternately excoriates and fellates.

It was a savvy show of solidarity with a base that he’s counting on to take to the streets, threatening if not armed, in the event that Robert Mueller’s probe of his Russian ties sets the stage for impeachment, jail time, or the destruction of his mud-baked empire. And all in the name of making American white, sorry, great again.

The same could be said of the Netanyahu clan, and not just because Young Netanyahu parrots Trump’s same tired slurs - that Black Lives Matter and anti-white supremacy protestors pose the real danger to Israel and America.    

Daily Stormer Homepage Screenshot
Screenshot: Daily Stormer Homepage

Arguably, the Netanyahu camp has been weaponizing bigotry and fomenting its own toxic brand of ethno-nationalism since Trump was just a wee speck of a pussy-grabber, a mere dot on the political map.

It may be most evident and most shocking to American Jews and the rest of the west in its current incarnation, but Netanyahu père’s political strategy has long been to consolidate power by advancing the dispossession and dehumanization of Palestinians and manipulating Holocaust-related fears of extermination — all in the wholesome name of Jewish safety and solidarity.

Small wonder that the sad trolls who litter my own Twitter account perpetually charge me with hypocrisy when I call out white supremacists. You’re a Jew, they say. You got your wall and your ethno-state, so who are you to get in my grill about wanting to keep America white? (Trolls are notoriously thin on their history as well as their grammar and punctuation.)

A screenshot of New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman's tweet on Donald Trump Jr. and the alt-right.
Twitter screenshot

Why, in other words, should Young Netanyahu get to call the progressive, inclusivist New Israel Fund the "Fund for the Extermination of Israel" when so many people, including a disproportionate number of Jews, constantly push back on a key white supremacist claim: that Jews, gays, people of color, and immigrants will be the death of white America?

Here’s the danger of dancing with Salome: someone’s head always winds up on a platter. In the short term, this devil’s bargain whereby right-wing Israeli politicians and activists make common cause with the European and, since Trump, American radical right around their shared hate of Arabs and Muslims, may lessen the former’s international isolation and provide cover for the latter’s anti-Semitism. 

Donald Trump Jr. likens Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles in a tweet on September 20, 2016.
 Illustration from 'Der Giftpilz’ (‘The Poisonous Mushroom’), a Nazi propaganda book for children published by Julius Streicher.
Twitter

But to pretend that the people who come for the only faith community on earth even more despised than us will not eventually knock on our doors is an act of willful ignorance and evil. 

To allow others to be persecuted on the basis of their religion, skin color, and immigration is as close as we can come to sin. And for Israel’s elite to lie down with Sebastian Gorka, is to get up with something worse than fleas.

The Trump and Netanyahu families have more, and more dangerous things, in common than a resident hotheaded white guy with a persecution complex and a fondness for posting his unmediated crazy-pants reactions to social media. They both drink from the same poisoned stream and spray the same toxic sludge.

Faced with news of the most recent charges against his family, young Netanyahu knew who he could turn to, and blew his dog-whistle loud enough to deafen even a German shepherd.

Nancy Goldstein has written for the Guardian, the Washington Post and The Nation. Twitter: @nancygoldstein