HBO's 'Our Boys' Is 'anti-Semitic,' Netanyahu Says, Calls to Boycott Israeli Producers

After failing to prevent Channel 12 from publishing leaked materials from his corruption probes, PM tells Israelis they should boycott the channel for producing show which 'slanders Israel internationally'

A frame from HBO's 'Our Boys,' co-produced by KI's Keshet Studios
Ran Mendelson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a boycott of Israel's Channel 12 for producing the HBO series "Our Boys," which he said is anti-Semitic and slanders Israel internationally.

"The propaganda Channel 12 produced an anti-Semitic series called 'Our Boys,' that is distributed internationally and besmirches the good name of Israel," Netanyahu said in a Facebook post. "I am not surprised that Channel 12 slanders Israel, as I am used to them blackmailing me on a daily basis."

Also on Friday the High Court of Justice rejected a petition by Netanyahu's Likud party to block Channel 12 from publishing leaked investigation materials from his corruption cases.

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Netanyahu called on the public, and especially those who have ratings measuring devices installed in their homes, to boycott the channel. “This is the real answer in a democracy, the freedom to choose what to watch,” he wrote.

He said that the series devotes just "few minutes of cold archival footage" to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in 2014 and for the rest of the series, "the plot … focuses on one case – the murder of an Arab boy from Jerusalem – which is shocking but rare."

Since "Our Boys" aired earlier this month, right-wing activists have harshly criticized the series. Hagai Levy, one of the show's creators, addressed the criticism in an interview with conservative Israel newspaper Makor Rishon. Asked why the series focuses on the kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir by Jewish minors, Levy said, "It's a political series, and it investigates the events not just artistically… The portrayal of the Abu Khdeir family is not a portrayal of a grieving family, but a broader story of a private person who sunk into grief and almost reluctantly became a political figure, a symbol."

"Another theme explores how a man who has no reason to murder can become a murderer. And this includes a degree of empathy for him," he added.