Netanyahu Blasts Israel's Left: 'Fascism Is Its Derogatory Name for Its Enemies'

At a Knesset session marking Ze'ev Jabotinsky Day, the prime minister referred to the accusations of fascism in his government, saying 'I appreciate Ben-Gurion, but he but he referred to Jabotinsky by the flattering title Vladimir Hitler.'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset on Wednesday, August 3, 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Israeli left during remarks at the Knesset on Wednesday, referencing the storm surrounding the establishment of the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation and the repeated criticism of fascism prevalent in the government's decisions.

"Fascism is the left's derogatory name for its enemies," Netanyahu said at the special plenary session marking Ze'ev Jabotinsky Day. "Jabotinsky was called a 'fascist,' does that sound familiar to you? I suggest to my friends to read the Hebrew Encyclopedia article under the 'fascism' entry," Netanyahu continued. "There's a sentence there that the author wrote according to which 'there is a tendency among the left to denounce any enemy as fascist.' It's the left's derogatory name for its enemies."

"I appreciate [first Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion, but he referred to Jabotinsky by the flattering title Vladimir Hitler," Netanyahu said. Vladmir was Jabotinsky's first name in Russian. "[Former politician] Mordechai Namir wrote that the Revisionist movement was a 'clearly fascist organization.' Today they say 'where is Jabotinsky's Likud,'" he added.

"One of the things Jabotinsky believed in was the idea of a free market, of competition, of the citizen's choice. To choose between commercial companies, between different views. We came to implement this in the economy, in public transportation, in aviation, in all the things that were ruled by centralized control," Netanyahu said, alluding to the argument over the establishment of the new broadcasting corporation.

"There's a persistent battle to prevent competition in the communications sector. There was monolithism in the media, first by the government and then by another group. This isn’t only the desperate cry of the public for diversity, it's a need of democracy; It's the citizen's right not to have what he listens to dictated the people will judge at the ballots, the people will control the remote," he added.  

Netanyahu also referred to the security situation, saying that in the Middle East "the weak doesn’t survive and the strong can both survive and create alliances." He also said that radical Islam "threatens free societies in the 21st centuries. The Shi'ite stream headed by Iran, and the Sunni one by Islamic State, want to place their flags atop of the ruins of the free world My policy is well-founded, I inherited it from my father who inherited it from Jabotinsky – treatment by power."

However, Netanyahu noted that "the fierce storm hitting the Middle East helps us in the unprecedented coming together with elements in our area that see us not as an enemy but as a partner. This is a historical opportunity and an opening to promote peace."