Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son on Monday accused left-wing politicians, the media, and left-wing groups, of treason, saying he was giving voice to “what everyone in the nation thinks.”
Hours later his father said he rejected the use of the term, but went on to assert that the media was practicing a double standard by failing to condemn those who have called him a traitor.
The younger Netanyahu made a tumultuous court appearance earlier in the day in a libel lawsuit against a left-wing activist. Upon his arrival, he was greeted by protesters who called him and his family “corrupt” and “garbage.” At least one also referred to the prime minister as a “traitor.”
Later, Yair Netanyahu uploaded a Facebook post in which he noted politicians’ accusations of treason against his father — mainly surrounding the so-called submarine probe, in which police investigated corruption in the army, government, and other influence positions. The prime minister is not a suspect in the case, though critics have accused him of complicity.
“Now that we can finally use this word, I’ll say what everyone in the nation thinks,” Yair Netanyahu said. “Left-wing associations funded by foreign and hostile governments, left-wing politicians and the media who always side with the enemy and against the Jewish interest — who care nothing for terror victims, settlers or victims of infiltrators while showing such compassion for every Palestinian rioter hurt on the Gaza border — are traitors!
יפה אז עכשיו שסוף סוף מותר להשתמש במילה הזאת אני אגיד את מה שכולם במדינה חושבים. עמותות השמאל במימון ממשלות זרות…
“It’s time to say the simple truth. By any basic agreed human standard in any nation across history. They are traitors for all intents and purposes.”
The prime minister’s Facebook account later issued a statement according to which “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects the use of the term ‘treason’ by any side of the political discourse.”
However, the post also included a video of various figures making accusations of treason. It went on: “Sadly, others use it all the time. Ever since the submarine probe that the prime minister was never a suspect in, Ehud Barak, leftist protesters and others have accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of ‘treason.’ The media hasn’t said a word. Apparently they believe the term ‘traitor’ is acceptable as long as it’s directed at Prime Minister Netanyahu. That which is forbidden for the right is also forbidden for the left. Enough with the double standard.”
ראש הממשלה נתניהו דוחה את השימוש במונח ״בגידה״ מכל צד שהוא בויכוח הפוליטי. לצערנו, אחרים משתמשים בו כל העת. מאז חקירת הצוללות שרה״מ נתניהו מעולם לא היה חשוד בה, מאשימים אהוד ברק, מפגיני השמאל ואחרים את ראש הממשלה נתניהו ב״בגידה״.התקשורת לא אמרה על זה מילה. כנראה שלדעתם מותר להשתמש במונח ״בוגד״ כל עוד הוא מכוון נגד ראש הממשלה נתניהו. מה שאסור לימין אסור גם לשמאל. נמאס מהסטנדרט הכפול.
Posted by Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו on Monday, 10 December 2018
Barak did not in fact accuse Netanyahu of treason, saying only that that case itself appeared to represent “borderline treason” on the part of those involved. He did, however, note the proximity of several of the suspects to the Israeli leader, and said he should resign.
Yair Netanyahu has often stumbled into controversy. Earlier this year, the Netanyahus were embarrassed by recordings in which the premier’s son was heard making disparaging comments about women during a night of excess at a series of Tel Aviv strip clubs.
He has also often shared controversial posts on social media including American alt-right propaganda with anti-Semitic undertones, and recently publicly brawled with a TV host who criticized his father, calling her a “vulgar beast.”
On Monday, Yair Netanyahu’s libel lawsuit against Abie Binyamin began with raucous shouting outside the courtroom and sharp exchanges inside that saw the judge tell the younger Netanyahu to stop cursing. Earlier, he gave the finger to activists who yelled at him at the courthouse.
Netanyahu is suing activist Binyamin for damages of NIS 140,000 ($37,000) over a Facebook post that claimed the premier had asked the Mossad to issue his son a passport under a different name, which he then used to hide money offshore.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.