Benzion Netanyahu speaks


[UPDATE: Click here to read L.A. Times story on whether this is a new or old Bibi — sorry, Daily Briefing had the wrong link.]

Richard Silverstein links, in two parts, to Noam Sheizaf’s translation, in two parts, of Ma’ariv’s exclusive interview with Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, the 99 year old historian Benzion Netanyahu.

The original Hebrew is summarized here, but it appears as if the full Hebrew interview appears only in print. Enough emerges to make clear that the elder Netanyahu has unambiguously racist views about Arabs and believes very much in the Iron Hand.

The problem with the Left is that it thinks that the war with the Arabs is like all the wars that nations around the world are conduction. These wars end with a compromise after one side wins or after both sides get tired from war and understand that victory is not possible. But in the Arabs’ case, their nature and character won’t allow any compromise. When they talk of compromise, it’s a way of deceiving.


I think we should speak to the Israeli Arabs in the language they understand and admire – the language of force. If we act with strength on any crime they act, they will understand we show no forgiveness. Had we used this language from the start, they would have been more careful.

I am talking about strength that is based on justice. They should know that we will keep a just attitude towards them, but a tough one. You don’t kill or hurt people or deny their right to make a living just like that. In the villages that we rule, we need to grant them all the rights – infrastructure, and transportation and education… but they have to give things in return. If the teachers are inciting the students, we should close the schools and expel the teachers… we should keep their rights, but also ours.

I’m with Richard on the father-son issues here: on the one hand, kids don’t necessarily embrace the views of their parents; on the other, Bibi appears to defer to his father on at least some matters – disengagement from Gaza, for one. Some will say that the Netanyahus proved right on this one – it’s been a disaster.

But here’s the question: Was disengagement a disaster because, as the older Netanyahu suggests, all-out war is the only option with Arabs, whom he decrees an untrustworthy people? When Netanyahu nodded to his dad when he voted against disengagement, was it those views he was embracing? Or was he refracting his father’s views through a more pragmatic rejection of the "something for nothing" aspect of unilateralism. In other words, would Bibi have conceded Gaza as part of a comprehensive peace? Or does he reject, as his father does, the very premise of peace with Arabs?

In light of this interview, it’s certainly worth asking.

This, of course, immediately brings to mind the brouhaha over Benjamin Emanuel’s comments to Ma’ariv about Arabs and mopping up the White House after his son, Rahm, became White house chief of staff. (I think that in both cases, it’s the same interviewer, Sarai Makover.)

The differences are instructive:  Bibi Netanyahu tried to quash the interview; Rahm told his father to keep quiet. Bibi credits his dad for shaping his politics; Rahm tends to point more towards his mom, a civil rights activist in her time.

PS: Richard, this gets it on Google News. Enjoy.

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