(JTA) – The 26-year-old son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that far-left thugs in America may be as dangerous as neo-Nazis, spurring an Israeli left-wing lawmaker to imply that he was a fascist.
Yair Netanyahu was commenting on Facebook on events Saturday in which a white supremacist rammed his car into counterprotesters at a far-right rally, killing one and injuring some 20 others. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that both sides shared the blame for violence that occurred at the event in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli, the neo nazis scums in Virginia hate me and my country,” Yair Netanyahu wrote Wednesday in English, apparently after Trump’s reference at a news conference in New York to shared blame. “But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out. However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”
BLM is the acronym for the Black Lives Matter movement. Antifa is a group that opposes neo-Nazism and has some members from far-left circles.
Mickey Rosenthal of the Zionist Union took aim at Yair Netanyahu on Twitter the same day, calling him “Netanyahu Jugend” – a reference to the Nazi youth movement that promoted the adoration of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, the nrg news site reported. Rosenthal later deleted and apologized for the tweet after initially doubling down on his linking of the younger Netanyahu to the movement, whose name means “Hitler Youth.”
“Literally, what I wrote means ‘Netanyahu’s child,’” Rosenthal wrote to critics who felt offended by the phrase. “Unfortunately, the son is continuing to sow hatred like his father. I assume Ntanyahu and his supporters will try to twist what I said to their needs.”
But minutes later Rosenthal retracted and deleted his initial post.
“I reconsidered,” he said. “The criticism is founded. I accept it and apologize to anyone offended.”