Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, posted an image on his Facebook page Saturday that seems to suggest a conspiracy is behind his family’s growing legal problems. The meme is laden with anti-Semitic imagery.
Update: Following outcry, Yair Netanyahu has removed the meme from his Facebook page. Evidence of David Duke's support, however, is still visible.
The meme, captioned "the food chain," features a photo of George Soros dangling the world in front of a reptilian creature, who dangles an alchemy symbol in front of a caricature of a figure reminiscent of the anti-Semitic “happy merchant” image.
The other figures in the chain are former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, anti-Netanyahu protest leader Eldad Yaniv and Meni Naftali, a former chief caretaker at the Netanyahus’ official residence who implicated Sara Netanyahu in the case she is being indicted in.
David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted the following in an apparent show of support for Yair Netanyahu:
Soros, a Hungarian-born Jewish American billionaire, has spent a large part of his fortune funding pro-democracy and human rights groups. Among the organizations he funds is Human Rights Watch, a frequent critic of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its policies toward the Palestinians. The images of Soros and the reptile evoke anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claiming that Jews control the world.
The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer also posted an article regarding the meme entitled "Netanyahu's Son Posts Awesome Meme Blaming the Jews for Bringing Down his Jew Father," in which they called Yair Netanyahu "a total bro."
This version of the meme seems to have originated on a right-wing Facebook page. The meme is nearly identical to, and appears to be adapted from, a viciously anti-Semitic image that has been repeatedly posted across the internet in recent years on racist and conspiracy-theory message boards.
Like most memes, it is impossible to determine who originally created it. In one instance, it was posted by a white supremacist named John de Nugent with the title "Illuminatus Jew Dumb American Burger" in its URL.
In the original version of the meme, the first figure in the “food chain” is an obese walrus in an American flag T-shirt tempted by a hamburger dangled in front of him. Behind the man is an Orthodox Jew motivated by money, controlled by the same Illuminati figure featured in the cartoon that Netanyahu posted, with the same giant lizard looming over them all.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes de Nugent as "a prolific writer who has worked with numerous hate groups including the neo-Nazi National Alliance and the Holocaust-denying Barnes Review. De Nugent has run for elected office, and has even vowed to one day become president. While maintaining racist views about numerous racial and ethnic groups, de Nugent is particularly anti-Semitic, believing that the Jews are, along with nefarious space aliens, intent on exterminating the Aryan race."
After Haaretz published a report about his meme, Yair Netanyahu dismissed the claim that he is anti-Semitic and accused the newspaper of being exactly that.
Barak, who is depicted in the meme chasing money, suggested that Yair Netanyahu should see a psychiatrist. “Is this what the kid hears at home?” he said. “Is it genetics, or a spontaneous mental illness? It doesn’t matter. In any case, we should fund his psychiatrist instead of security guards and a driver.”
Labor leader Avi Gabbay, also on Twitter, said: “It’s a particularly sad day for Israel when a caricature that’s endorsed by the head of the KKK emerges from the home of the prime minister of the Jewish state.”
MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) added that “motifs in the Netanyahu family are anti-Semitic par excellence.” MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) said that “this post deserves all manners of condemnation, from the left and the right. I’m on the right.”
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Friday that Sara Netanyahu would be indicted for fraud and breach of trust. She is to be charged with spending 359,000 shekels ($102,000) in state funds on catering at the prime minister’s official residence, while falsely claiming that the house did not employ a cook. The indictment is subject to a hearing, whose date has not yet been announced.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has accused Naftali, the last link in Yair Netanyahu’s meme, of inflating spending on food during his tenure as chief caretaker of the official residence.