“I am not comparing this to anything – I am saying that in advance in order not to be quoted – but Hitler came to power democratically, he was elected in a democratic way, and one of the first laws he enacted, if not the first, was to cancel the [German] High Court, and then he brought all of the other laws and made Germany what it was,“ Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben Barak said Saturday in an interview at a Shabbat cultural event in Beersheba.
“We need to safeguard our democracy. That is why the combination of [Otzma Yehudi leader Itamar] Ben-Gvir and [Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel] Smotrich’s racist and anti-democratic party [together] with [Likud and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu], a person who we see is willing to do nearly everything he can to extract himself from his trial – and who will allow them to do whatever they want – is dangerous. It needs to be prevented and that is why we need to win this election,” Ben Barak said to the crowd’s applause.
"Democracy is not just putting a ballot into a ballot box, it is also a culture that has been built here for a hundred years, since before the state was founded. But it is very easily destroyed," he concluded.
Ben Barak clarifies Hitler comparison
Ben Barak soon wrote a clarification on Twitter.
“It should be made clear – I do not compare and will never compare anyone in the State of Israel or in the world to Hitler. The attempt to portray it as a comparison is not true, and it is unfortunate if someone is trying to present it as such,” he wrote.
שיהיה ברור - אני לא משווה ולעולם לא אשווה אף אחד במדינת ישראל ובעולם להיטלר. הניסיון להציג זאת כהשוואה הוא לא נכון וצר לי אם מישהו מנסה להציג זאת כך.— Ram Ben Barak (@Ram_Ben_Barak) October 29, 2022
Politicians on the Right expressed outrage over the comment.
“Ram Ben Barak, one of the Top 10 in [Prime Minister] Yair Lapid’s party, compared me to Hitler and the Likud’s supporters to the Nazi Party,” Netanyahu said in a video. “This is shameful and a disgrace. Our answer will come at the ballot box on Tuesday.”
“Ram Ben Barak crossed a redline this morning, when he compared me to history’s greatest oppressor of all the Jewish people,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement. “This foolish and disgraceful comparison is not just hurtful to me, but to the six million Jews who were killed, slaughtered and burned by the Nazis.”
“I demand that Yair Lapid immediately expel Ben Barak from Yesh Atid,” Ben-Gvir said.