Lapid accuses Netanyahu of spreading fake news

Lapid lashed out at attempts to paint him is a serial political zigzagger. He accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his social media advisers of being behind the campaign.

By
June 4, 2018 18:39
2 minute read.
Lapid accuses Netanyahu of spreading fake news

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid speaks at the weekly faction meeting at the Knesset. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Yesh Atid went on the defensive on Monday against mudslinging aimed at party leader Yair Lapid, while the Zionist Union went on an offensive aimed at raising money for the party that has fallen dramatically in the polls.

Lapid lashed out at attempts to paint him is a serial political zigzagger. He accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his social media advisers of being behind the campaign.

“Over the past several weeks ,we have witnessed an enormous attack of fake news against Yesh Atid, and against me personally,” Lapid said. “I’ve never seen so many lies. It’s not coming from the fringes, it’s coming from the leadership. It’s being led by Netanyahu’s people, but the Zionist Union have also put money into it. They’ve convinced themselves that it’s OK to lie, it’s OK to distort, and it’s OK to invent things. Netanyahu sits in front of the cameras and complains about ‘fake news,’ but behind the scenes his people are the ones creating it.”

Lapid accused his opponents of using anonymous profiles and fake pages on social media, even creating quotes and attributing them to him.

“The whole ‘zigzag campaign’ is based on things I’ve never said,” Lapid lamented. “They take things out of context. Things with no connection to reality.”

Lapid singled out accusations that he had changed his mind on matters of religion and state and that he spends most of his time abroad. He said the truth was that his party has consistently fought against religious coercion and that he has been abroad only 22 days in the past two years.

“They spread lies without shame,” Lapid said. “It’s time for someone to investigate: Who is funding this campaign? What are the sources? It’s serious money. Who pays all those people who sit on Twitter and Facebook all day just to denigrate me and Yesh Atid? How many of them are getting paid from the state’s coffers? Is that the role of an employee at the Prime Minister’s Office: to spread lies about political opponents?”

Meanwhile, the Zionist Union, which like Yesh Atid has lost votes to Likud in recent polls, began a crowdfunding campaign Monday to help the ailing party.

“The party and its MKs will raise funds not from American billionaires, tycoons or those with wealth and special interests, but directly from their supporters in the public,” the Zionist Union said in a statement. “Politicians and parties in Israel receive contributions and funding from billionaires. We see that the result of the contributions in reports of police investigations.”

Sources in the party said the campaign was aimed at differentiating the Zionist Union from Netanyahu and his Likud party, which has ties to recently investigated billionaire Arnon Milchan and who receive positive headlines from the Israel Hayom newspaper that is owned by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

“Donations from America are still welcome, but we are targeting funding from those who have the right to vote in Israel,” a Zionist Union spokeswoman said. “We want our community to be more aware and involved.”


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