Liberman: Netanyahu uses ‘exact methods’ of Nazi propagandist Goebbels
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party, on Sunday accused his political rival and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu of employing the “exact methods” of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi party’s top propagandist, as well as the dictator Soviet Joseph Stalin.
The comparison sparked political outrage, and he later said he had no intention of harming anyone.
Liberman had in recent days accused Likud leader Netanyahu of being behind claims by Yossi Kamisa, a former Liberman associate, that the Yisrael Beytenu leader tried to hire him to kill a police commissioner two decades ago, charges that Liberman denies.
“This is blood libel,” Liberman said as he entered the cabinet meeting on Sunday.
“These are Netanyahu’s methods, just like Goebbels’ and Stalin’s, of making the most serious and absurd accusation and repeating it a million times until people get used to the absurdity. “, Liberman said.
The frequency of slander between Liberman and Netanyahu — colleagues turned rivals — has increased in recent weeks, amid a report that Netanyahu is trying to undermine Yisrael Beytenu in a bid to knock the party five seats below the electoral threshold in November 1 election.
The Likud party slammed the finance minister for “insulting” the Holocaust and hinted he had Mafia ties by calling him “Don Liberman”.
“Don Liberman has no borders. His false and outrageous words are an insult to the Holocaust,” the party said in a statement.
Liberman later defended his comments, but said he was sorry for any offense caused.
“Netanyahu has indeed forgotten that the people closest to him chose to call the Israel Police ‘the Gestapo’ but he still vividly remembers how to use propaganda methods to harm me,” Liberman wrote on Twittera reference to comments allegedly made by Yair Netanyahu several years ago.
He added: “I had no intention of hurting anyone and certainly not on an issue that is so close to my heart: the Holocaust and the Second World War, including some members of my family. were victims”.
Liberman continued that “no one will preach morality to me, and my actions speak for themselves,” noting efforts to increase social benefits for Holocaust survivors in Israel.
Liberman immigrated to Israel in 1978 from then-Soviet Moldova and has long said many of the attacks on him by political rivals were rooted in racism against Israelis from the former Soviet Union.
Opposition politicians, as well as some colleagues in Liberman’s coalition, condemned Liberman for comparing Netanyahu to a high-ranking Nazi.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, both sons of survivors, chastised their cabinet colleague for invoking the Holocaust against a political rival.
“Even when we are faced with an endless machine of poison and incitement eating away at Israeli society, the Holocaust should be left behind. Any statement that equates or implies this only harms the memory of the Holocaust and our social cohesion,” tweeted Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid.
National Unity party leader Gantz conveyed a similar message, tweeting that while he “greatly appreciates” Liberman, he “condemns the unacceptable comparison with those who committed the worst atrocities in the history of the United States. ‘humanity”.
Gantz said “boundaries have to be set” even during a tough election campaign.
Netanyahu’s opposition partners were also quick to rally behind Liberman.
Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich called Liberman a “bully provocateur” who spread “hate and boycotts”, an apparent reference to Liberman’s drive to cut subsidies for full-time religious studies – mostly intended to Haredi men, but also to a segment of the national religion. community.
“Now it dishonors the memory of the Holocaust as well. The Israeli public must take it down in order to make Israel a better place,” Smotrich said.
Moshe Gafni, who leads the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, reacted similarly, saying Liberman did not respect cultural red lines around the Holocaust.
“[Liberman is] someone who tries to spread pork all over Israel and goes after various groups in Israeli society – no wonder he doesn’t view the Holocaust and its various components as a disaster that can’t be compared to d ‘other issues,’ Gafni said, also calling for Liberman to step down from public life.
Last week, Liberman called Netanyahu “a scum of the human race” while accusing the Likud leader of being behind Kamisa’s accusations.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara is expected to make an initial assessment of Kamisa’s allegations, but no official investigation is planned.