Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, on Wednesday night was in the middle of an interview with Rabbi Shmuely Boteach in New York in a live-streamed conversation on Facebook, when four protesters from the anti-Zionist organization CODEPINK disrupted the event and started shouting at Netanyahu’s son.
Code Pink: Women for Peace (a.k.a. CODEPINK) is a leftist NGO that describes itself as a “grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end US-funded wars and occupations.”
Critics have accused CODEPINK of working closely with “terrorist organizations and state sponsors of terrorism” in Gaza and in Iran. The group endorsed the “Cairo Declaration to End Israeli Apartheid” which calls for a sweeping boycott of Israel.
— Rabbi Shmuley (@RabbiShmuley) November 7, 2019
Rabbi Boteach chastised the CODEPINK activists, who had earlier received his permission to attend the interview peacefully. He told them: “You disgraced yourselves and you disgraced good faith. Unbelievable that you lied to me. Disgusting. Disgusting. Absolutely vile.”
Boteach added: “For those of you who wonder why Yair goes to war on social media every day, now you see a demonstration, because it’s one thing to disagree with Israel’s policies, but to have no integrity, to have no truth, to lie through your teeth… I’m astonished.”
Before the disruption, Yair Netanyahu said (the following contains translations from the Hebrew transcript offered by Mako): “Not a day goes by that I don’t receive death threats against me or my parents.”
He described the media attacks against him: “I was five when my father became prime minister and the media were wicked. The lynching had started and it’s not over yet, and when you’re five it’s more difficult to take. It’s difficult for politicians in their 50s, too, but that’s life and some things are harder.”
Yair Netanyahu also said that a small group controlled the power centers in Israel, mainly in the media. “They’re really cruel,” he said. “I’m not talking about the entire leftwing camp which has good people. North Korea is a country where everyone agrees on everything, and we don’t want to go there, but this is what’s happening in the media, it’s not something that goes on for a month or a year, but year after year for 30 years. And it’s not even the entire left, it’s a small group of extremists in Israeli society who are part of Israel’s mainstream media. This represents a very marginal part of Israeli society that has an unlimited amount of power.”
Of course, some would say that there are other, even more influential groups controlling even more meaningful portions of Israeli society, who are very close to PM Netanyahu, such as the owners and operators of Israel’s offshore natural gas digs who, some say, received a sweetheart deal from Netanyahu’s government.
Yair Netanyahu recently settled a defamation suit against Roy Rosen, the chauffeur who secretly recorded his conversation with the son of an Israeli mogul who made a bundle on his natural gas deal with Netanyahu. The two boys were out on the town cruising strip clubs. The recording was illegal and Rosen will pay the PM’s son 30,000 shekel in compensation and has issued an apology (See: Chauffeur Who Secretly Taped Yair Netanyahu’s Shameful Chat to Pay 30,000 Shekel).
When Boteach asked Netanyahu Jr. if he had political ambitions, he said he didn’t, adding: “I am a political person, but I do not intend to enter the political arena. I will continue my own wars, and express myself – but on the outside.”
The PM’s son also elaborated on his positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “What we signed in Oslo is not worth much today. We must do things de facto, it’s not going to happen in an agreement on the White House lawn.”
He praised his father’s contribution to Israel’s economy, saying: “My father changed the Israeli economy. Before him, the economy was based on oranges.”
The brave changes Benjamin Netanyahu introduced to heal and develop Israel’s economy were made when he served as Finance Minister in Ariel Sharon’s government. In fact, his moves were so brave, the Israeli voter rewarded him with the worst defeat in Likud’s history – the party came in fourth, with fewer seats than Shas. Since then, Prime Minister Netanyahu has left the problematic Finance seat to others.
Netanyahu Jr. told Rabbi Boteach: “I have been quiet all my life in face of this injustice, and now I possess a balancing device. Until now there was no way to reach the majority of the public [over the hostile mainstream media] and this has helped freedom of expression. Today, anyone can be a journalist. There are tweeters and bloggers who do better than 99% of the institutionalized media and are more reliable.”
No, they really aren’t. But neither are the mainstream media.