After Siege on Capitol, Israeli Politicians Wonder 'Could It Happen Here?'

While many Israeli lawmakers decry the siege, some compare the pro-Trump protesters to anti-Netanyahu demonstrators

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Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters during clashes with Capitol police, Washington D.C., January 6, 2021.
Tear gas is released into a crowd of protesters during clashes with Capitol police, Washington D.C., January 6, 2021.Credit: Shannon Stapleton/ REUTERS

Israeli politicians condemned Trump supporters’ violent siege of Captiol Hill on Wednesday, with some questioning “could something like this happen here?”

Telem Chairman Moshe Ya’alon wrote, “Following the events in Washington, the question arises: Will something like this happen here? I'm reminding you that it has already happened: Netanyahu didn't receive the election results he wanted and instructed Likud members on the Election Committee not to certify them." 

Ya’alon added, “We've seen this shameful and dangerous script of ministers and members of Knesset from the Likud backing up the defendant Netanyahu  in the halls of the court. Anyone who doesn't protect the rule of law and equality in the face of the law, or who gives into threats, will bring us there again.”

MK David Amsalem threatened, if ‘Netanyahu stands trial, millions will take to the streets.’” 

Moshe Ya'alon in the Rose Garden in Jerusalem, September 20, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Netanyahu condemned the events in Washington on Thursday morning, shortly after Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the election and President Donald Trump publicly promised “an orderly transition on January 20.” 

"The violent rampage that took place today is the stark opposite of the values that Americans and Israelis uphold. The attack on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. was disgraceful, and we must condemn every such attack. I have no doubt that American democracy will prevail, as it has always done."

Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter Wednesday night, while the riot was still ongoing, “The pictures from Washington wound at the heart of anyone who believes in democracy. I didn't believe I'd see images like that coming from the strongest democracy on earth. It's proof that before we challenge the leadership, we must agree on the rules of the game: Protecting rule of law, respect for democratic processes and respectable discussion. I hope that this worrying event is brought to a conclusion quickly, with no one injured.”

Netanyahu’s Coalition Whip Miki Zohar of Likud took a different approach, writing on Twitter, “Here’s a question that's been bothering me: What damages democracy more? The violent assault of American citizens on the Capitol in Washington, or the violent assault of Israeli citizens on the prime minister's home in Jerusalem? Objectivity is an important trait and I suggest our media and political pundits adopt it from time to time.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Askenazi said he was “shocked by the attack on the U.S. Congress” and world democracy as a whole.” 

“From its founding, the United States of America, our closest ally, is a beacon of democracy, liberty, justice and freedom. I am sure that the American people and their leaders will fend off this attack and continue to defend their vallues upon which the United States was established,” Ashkenazi said.  

New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar said that he was sad to see the images coming out of Washington. 

“Now that the quiet has been restored, I’m sure that there will be an orderly transition of power in the United States, our closest ally in the world. These events serve as a reminder of extremism and polarization in our society.” 

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said, “The stunning attempted coup on Capitol Hill. Much of it was incited by a defeated president who lost the brakes. He was defeated and Biden will be sworn in. The message is clear, when you let a leader run riot and those who must act remain silent and afraid, the impossible can happen. Our man is only slightly less disturbed… On the other hand, we don't have a constitution.”

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