Editorial

In His Politics of Incitement, Netanyahu Has Reached an All-time Low

Netanyahu's attack and planned probe into the New Israel Fund proves Israel is headed by a man without red lines or restraint

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Arye Deri
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement Tuesday evening that he will take steps to appoint a parliamentary inquiry commission to probe the activities of the New Israel Fund set a new nadir in his politics of incitement, and proved irrefutably that Israel is headed by a man who has no red lines, who has lost all restraint. All means are justified for the end of shoring up his government.

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Netanyahu, who only a day earlier presented and defended the new plan for dealing with African asylum seekers, on Tuesday accused the New Israel Fund of being “the main source that applied European pressure on the Rwandan government to pull out of the agreement to remove the infiltrators from Israel,” thereby “jeopardiz[ing] the security and future of the State of Israel as the country of the Jewish people.”

Anyone following the reactions on the right to Netanyahu’s announcement Monday of the agreement signed with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees saw the way the wind was blowing. Israelis are all too familiar with his corrupt ways. Employing McCarthy-ite rhetoric against “the enemy within,” he slandered the left-wing activists who have bravely battled the disgraceful plan to deport the asylum seekers: “The New Israel Fund is a foreign organization that receives funding from foreign governments and from elements that are hostile to Israel such as the funds of George Soros,” he charged. He even added, “The New Israel Fund has been funding anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian organizations for decades, among which are those that slander Israeli soldiers such as Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem and those that fight for Palestinian terrorists such as Adalah.”

The dangerous incitement against the New Israel Fund is merely a way to lure back disgruntled Likud voters who were upset about Netanyahu’s decision to absorb 16,000 Africans into Israel, jeopardizing the purity of the Jewish people. Representatives of the right in the cabinet, the Knesset, the media and on social media sent Netanyahu a clear message: Don’t be deluded, you’re in power to represent the extreme rightist ideology, and there’s no room for getting soft. No one knows better than Netanyahu that being labeled a leftist is a political death sentence, even for a “magician” like him. For the first time in a long time, Netanyahu bled supporters, and he was forced to supply a generous portion of incitement to satisfy their ultra-nationalist appetite.

Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon wrote in a legal opinion delivered back in October that the Knesset cannot conduct an ideologically-based investigation of civil-society organizations. If a commission of inquiry will be needed in the future, it will only be to investigate Netanyahu’s political attacks on Israeli citizens.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.