Netanyahu accused of supporting antisemites over Soros campaign

Meretz chief Zehava Gal-On accused the prime minister of furthering antisemitism when his foreign ministry criticized Soros.

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform (photo credit: MERETZ)
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform
(photo credit: MERETZ)
“This won’t be the last time that neo-Nazis quote [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” the leader of the left-wing Meretz party Zehava Gal-On said Monday, accusing him of “supporting world antisemitism” after the Foreign Ministry released a statement legitimizing criticism of Hungarian- American billionaire George Soros.
This came after the Israeli Embassy in Budapest called on the Hungarian government to take down posters it had distributed of Soros laughing, alongside the words “Let’s not leave Soros the last laugh.”
The government objects to Soros’s call for Hungary to allow migrants to enter the country.
On Sunday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry released a clarification that while it “deplores any expression of antisemitism in any country... in no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny its right to defend itself.”
“This will not be the first time that neo-Nazis quote Netanyahu,” Gal-On said in a statement. “They still fondly remember his claim that the Mufti was responsible for the Holocaust.”
In 2015, Netanyahu made waves when he said that Adolf Hitler changed his plan in December 1941, from expelling the Jews of Europe to annihilating them, following a meeting with the Palestinian Arab leader at the time, Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini.
Gal-On’s statement emphasized the fact that the Hungarian campaign posters had been glued to the floors of trains, so that passengers would step on Soros’ face.
“Netanyahu did not blink and ordered the Foreign Ministry to retract its condemnation of the campaign and to attack Soros...” she continued.
She also referred to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recent praise of Hungary’s antisemitic leader during World War II, Miklós Horthy. Late last month, Orban included Horthy, a Hitler ally, among those he called “exceptional statesmen” in Hungary for leading the country following the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Horthy signed anti-Jewish laws in 1938 and 1939, as well as in 1920.
Gal-On backed calls by Hungarian Jews for Netanyahu to cancel his July 18 visit to Hungary in protest of these remarks.
“Instead of immediately canceling his meeting in the country, Netanyahu made do with the astonishing clarification [by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto] that ‘Horthy’s regime had positive periods and negative periods.’ One day you make an amazing strudel and the next day you send half a million Jews to their [death that] happens.
Happens. We mustn’t judge,” Gal-On said sarcastically.
“Make no mistake, this means something. Netanyahu’s support legitimizes this despicable campaign, and antisemites around the world will use it,” Gal-On asserted.
Meanwhile, Likud MK Miki Zohar, announced his intention to submit a “Soros law,” according to which people who donate to anti-Israel organizations will not be allowed to contribute to any organization in Israel.
“The time has come to dry up the left-wing organizations that are undermining the government, slandering Israel and trying to violate its right to defend itself. We must block their sources of funding and thus prevent them from harming the country,” he said.
JTA contributed to this report.