Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed recent antisemitic remarks by US rapper Kanye West as “stupidities” when asked if Israel would respond to the controversial outbursts.
The former prime minister made an appearance Friday night on US pundit Bill Maher’s HBO show “Real Time.”
Maher asked Netanyahu if Israel will take action over West, who has been the subject of a wave of criticism after a series of recent antisemitic statements, including declaring plans to go “death con [sic] 3 on Jewish people.”
“We’ve dealt with bigger problems than these stupidities,” said an amused Netanyahu. “But, you know, the communists blame the Jews for being capitalists, the capitalists blame the Jews for being communists.”
“You have a problem, blame the Jews. It’s old stuff. It shouldn’t have any place in civilized discourse,” Netanyahu added.
“That’s the reason we established the Jewish state — so the Jewish people would have defense against these absurdities, and sometimes they’re coupled with violence,” Netanyahu continued. “We don’t let that happen again.”
In his interview with Netanyahu, Maher cited remarks made over the years by unnamed US lawmakers accusing Israel of abusing Palestinians.
“Are you massacring Palestinians? Are you ethnic cleansing? And are you an apartheid state?” the staunchly pro-Israel Maher asked the opposition leader.
“No, no, and no,” Netanyahu responded. “I mean, these are ridiculous charges against the one democracy in the Middle East, the one democracy that upholds human rights, that defends freedom, and is America’s best ally.”
Netanyahu went on to accuse Palestinians of being the ones who “oppress gays, oppress women, are in league with Iran, Iran which is tormenting its citizens, oppressing women there.”
Netanyahu called for support for “the brave women of Iran that are showing the world what courage is.”
He also accused the Palestinians of being the biggest obstacle to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue, because “the Palestinians don’t want peace.”
West was barred from Instagram last week over a series of statements he posted that were deemed bigoted and hateful.
He then took to Twitter to write, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda” — one of his first tweets in two years.
“Death con 3” appears to be a mistaken use of the US military heightened alert status DEFCON 3.
At another point West asked on social media: “Who you think created cancel culture?”