WASHINGTON (JTA) — Gilad Zwick, who just started a new job as a media adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, no longer believes President Joe Biden is “ruining America” or that Donald Trump should rightfully be in Biden’s place.
“I was a private citizen when I wrote the tweets about President Biden,” Zwick, who most recently was employed in Israel by right-wing pro-Netanyahu media outlets, said Monday on Twitter. “I don’t hold those views today and I will act in a completely professional manner in the Prime Minister’s Office.”
Over the weekend, Haaretz reported past tweets by Zwick that align him with the Republican Party’s extreme right, asserting that Biden is mentally unfit and that Trump won the 2020 election.
In May 2021, Zwick quoted a tweet by a right-wing provocateur, Logan Clark Hall, that depicted Biden licking an ice cream cone and saying “I ordered chocolate chip ice cream,” while a man representing mainstream media outlets cries out “OMG.”
“An accurate caricature that very well reflects the admiring American ‘media’ coverage of Supreme Leader Biden who slowly but surely is ruining America,” Zwick wrote then.
A year ago in another tweet, Zwick said, “The media is doing everything to hide Biden’s incompetence, yet the Chinese, Russians and Iranians are not stupid, they understand well that there is no leadership in Washington.”
In the wake of the 2020 election, Zwick also retweeted multiple tweets advancing false claims that Trump had won the election.
Biden and Netanyahu have been friendly for decades, but Biden has indicated that he is in no hurry to meet Netanyahu since his reelection in December as Israeli prime minister. Among the reported reasons for Biden’s reluctance is Netanyahu’s alignment with extremists in creating the most right-wing coalition government in Israeli history, and the Netanyahu government’s plan to overhaul the country’s court system in ways that Biden has criticized.
Should such a visit take place, Zwick, as a media adviser, would be expected to accompany Netanyahu to meetings.
Netanyahu has in the past hired advisers reviled by Democrats, among them Aaron Klein, an activist on the American far right who spearheaded a campaign to discredit women who accused an Alabama politician of abusing them as minors; and Arthur Finkelstein, the late strategist who was credited with advancing negative campaigning techniques and who advised a candidate in a South Carolina race in 1978 to make an issue of his rival’s Jewishness.
In 1998, Netanyahu deeply irked the Clinton administration when his first stop on a U.S. tour was to address a gathering convened by Jerry Falwell, the Evangelical leader who had peddled false claims that Clinton was a murderer and a drug peddler.