Yair Netanyahu took the stand to testify in his own defense on Sunday as part of an ongoing court saga launched by members of a left-wing protest organization, who are demanding half a million shekels (about $153,000) in compensation for defamation over a series of tweets in which the former Prime Minister's son compared them to Nazis.
The Crime Minister anti-Netanyahu organization sued former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s oldest son in 2020 following a tirade of attacks on Twitter, in which he wrote, among other things, that the movement "[recruits] the most insane, violent and with severe psychotic problems."
Netanyahu also claimed that members of the protest movement were being paid to attend demonstrations against his father and that the entire movement was operating with "foreign European funding, Soros, the pedophile Epstein and Ehud Barak.”
Last December, now-opposition leader Netanyahu called on the state to continue to provide his family with security details even after he left office, citing "many and enormous threats" against his family, including a post on a Facebook page run by the Crime Minister group that specifically noted his security detail's end date.
According to his defense, Yair claims that he did not direct his remarks to the entire organization but "to a small handful, loud and violent thugs who will do anything, including resorting to violence, to get publicity." His publications were expressions of opinion and within the bounds of reasonableness because "by any standard" it is an "anarchist group, with radical views, which acts violently, and whose members tend to shout with a megaphone and swear in rude language," he said.
He told the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday that the defamation suit against him was "completely Kafkaesque," citing what he called incitement against him by the activists who sued him. The court set another hearing in 45 days.
Yair Netanyahu is known for his pugnacious online style which has led Twitter and Facebook to suspend his account and delete several posts deemed to violate the platforms’ terms of service.
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In 2017, he posted a meme to his Facebook page which some critics charged was laden with anti-Semitic imagery. The meme, captioned "the food chain," featured a photo of George Soros dangling the world in front of a reptilian creature, who, in turn, dangled an alchemy symbol in front of a caricature of a figure reminiscent of the anti-Semitic “happy merchant” image.
In 2020, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Sunday ordered Netanyahu to remove a tweet in which he published the personal information of people leading the protests against his father and calling on followers to protest in front of their homes.
Last year, Facebook took down one of his Instagram posts containing personal details of a Yamina lawmaker, and blocked him from posting or commenting for 24 hours.