In a tweet Wednesday, Yair Netanyahu, eldest son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insinuated that one of Israel’s top news networks was a propaganda tool second only to those used by the Nazis in terms of the “damage” it’s caused to the Jewish people.
“In my view, ‘Israeli’ channel 12 is one of the media propaganda tools that has caused the most damage in history to the Jewish people,” Yair Netanyahu wrote in an English-language tweet, “(except maybe of another one in Europe many decades ago…)”
Netanyahu later deleted the latter part of the post, though it had by then been screen-grabbed by some users and reported.
The Nazis were known for employing some of the most virulent — and at the time innovative — anti-Jewish propaganda in history, including the use of nascent filmmaking techniques, as they sought to sway German public opinion against the Jews ahead of the Holocaust.
יאיר נתניהו מבהיר לקוראיו באנגלית מהי הבעיה האמיתית של העם היהודי pic.twitter.com/Cj73H1FzRi
— Raz Shechnik (@RazShechnik) March 31, 2021
Channel 12’s newscast has been, in its different forms, a ratings leader in Israel for many years, and is usually considered to be fairly balanced. But it has increasingly drawn negative attention from the Netanyahus, particularly as the premier’s legal troubles have ballooned in recent years, with the prime minister and his son both repeatedly blasting the channel for its ostensible bias against the longtime Israeli leader.
In August 2020, for example, Yair Netanyahu posted a message to Twitter saying sarcastically (in Hebrew): “Go Al Jazeera 12!” – referencing the Qatar-based news network that is widely perceived to be anti-Israel. A photo was attached to the message, showing a graph of Channel 12’s weekly ratings declining over time, implying that their supposedly anti-Israeli coverage was backfiring, in Netanyahu’s opinion.
Yair Netanyahu has had a long history of provocative and controversial remails on social media, leading him to become something of a hero in right-wing circles, as well as intensely disliked on the left.
אל ג׳זירה 12, תמשיכו! pic.twitter.com/TMMzGTaRL2
— Yair Netanyahu ???????? (@YairNetanyahu) August 28, 2020
Last March, a Tel Aviv court ordered Yair Netanyahu to pay NIS 286,000 ($71,000) to a witness in a corruption case against the prime minister, over posts the younger Netanyahu shared on social media claiming the editor was “a mole” working with the state prosecution against his father. He is now attempting to overturn that decision.
During the pandemic, Netanyahu once appeared to wish that left-wing Israelis die of the coronavirus.
He’s also been repeatedly accused of doxing various figures, including leaders of protests against his father and a young woman he once baselessly claimed had had an affair with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.
Last year Channel 12 and anchor Dana Weiss said they would sue Netanyahu after he suggested she had attained her position through sexual favors. He eventually apologized and the case was settled outside court.