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Noga Tarnopolsky @NTarnopolsky
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Mini-thread on the very strange decision of senior Israeli officials sent to console Pittsburgh choosing to defend Trump instead:
First off, there were evident talking points. Here's Dermer: "It's not a new problem... It’s a growing problem, its been growing for about 2 decades & I think with the advent of social media its allowed these purveyors of hate to spread their message far & wide and to connect
with other purveyors of hate in a way that they couldn’t do before. Here's Bennett: We’re seeing a certain rise across the world. It primarily has to do with social media. Its not true that there’s more anti-Semites but they can interconnect better than in the past & they can
inspire each other for antisemitic acts. Dermer: What I saw from the president yesterday was one of the strongest statements I’ve ever heard from a leader & the difference with this president is that he has Jews in his family, so I think there is no question in my mind that he
wants to confront the antisemites. More: I’m not aware of a single non-Israeli leader that has made such a strong statement in condemning antisemitism, meaning he said that to those who seek to destroy the Jewish people, we will destroy them.
Bennett: I think blaming Pres Trump for this horrific massacre is unfair, its flatly wrong. Pres Trump is a great friend of Israel, of the Jewish state. His family is Jewish. He came out with the most powerful words I can recall, he said, that anyone who is out to destroy the
Jewish nation he will destroy them."
You get the picture. This is neither here nor there, but I was struck by how much more well-spoke Bennett-- the Israeli-born son of Americans-- is when compared to Dermer, who was born and raised in Florida.
To say that local Jews did not appreciate being lectured to by politically-minded Israelis is to understate the case considerably. Henry Siegman told Bennett that “It is not very wise of you coming to tell us that this is not your problem just because he’s helping Israel."
Born in Germany in 1930, Siegman noted that as a survivor of the Nazi era he “knows something about anti-Semitism.” He lectured Bennett for failing to acknowledge that Trump has fostered an atmosphere that allows hate and anti-Semitism to flourish. “The problem for me in Germany
was never whether Hitler was an anti-Semite,” he told Bennett. “Rather it was that the German people, who were known as the most advanced and sophisticated culturally liberal people, allowed this monster to come to power and that’s the problem is this country.”
Fromer Warner Bros. pres Edward Bleier said “some of us are older than you are & we recall the pre-war period in America when the Nazis convened in Madison Square Garden & paraded on 96th street with brown shirts and swastikas.”
“The rallying cry of the anti-Semites was ‘America First.’ So my hair stands on end when I hear an American president invoke that line,” Bleier said. Read @jacobkornbluh's excellent item here.…
None other than staunch Netanyahu supporter & former legendary ADL director Abraham Foxman scolded the Israelis. “I think Israeli officials & Israeli representatives should come & stand in solidarity with the American Jewish community in a time of pain & anguish and tragedy.”
“I don’t think they should come to the United States & stand in solidarity with the POTUS, especially during an election period. I can thank Trump on one hand for the good things he’s done, but that does not take away from me the right to be able to criticize him
on issues of value and that I feel are part of our tradition.”…
Former US ambassador to Israel @DanielBShapiro put it this way: Memo to Israelis: America is Sitting Shiva. Your Job is to Listen (and not, as the diplomatic Shapiro chose not to make explicit, to mouth off against our views.)…
There's more to say about this, but I'm going to leave it here. Even for Netanyahu men, the fact that two such senior Israeli officials as the ambassador & the minister of diaspora affairs, no less, saw it as their duty to tell off American Jews in mourning, is weird as hell.
One more thing, which I discovered through @AnshelPfeffer’s biography of Bibi, is that Netanyahu has exhibited gross contempt for American Jews since he was 14. Its remarkable. H/t to @chick_in_kiev.
Thread con’t. PM Netanyahu has felt moved to post two separate thank yous to President Trump this evening. Yes, two. Bibi just can’t quit The Donald. And one is weirder than the other:
First up, Bibi thanks Donnie “for going with his family to pay their respects to the dead and to visit the wounded, and for his powerful statement that “those seeking their [the Jewish people’s] destruction – we will seek their destruction.” Note direct echo of Dermer & Bennett.
This is whiplash weird because Bibi tries to represent a community whose views he publicly scorns. Netanyahu is Prime Minister of Israel, not of Pittsburgh & not of Tree of Life faithful, many of whom opposed Trump visit. On whose behalf is he thanking Trump? Likud party members?
Next thank you note has Bibi thanking Trump for reinstituting anti-Iran sanctions. And wait for it: it includes a direct quote from Trump’s Highlander-style promotional poster.
In case you think I’m mad in assuming Netanyahu is thinking of a Likud public when he engages in these ritual obeisances, see below. The Thank You Trump vid quoting GOP midterm ads has been posted only in Hebrew.
Netanyahu’s habit of publicly thanking to Trump– Twice tonight! In writing!– is politically impossible to understand, all the more so because he & his envoys openly dismiss the wounded community’s cares & needs. Only an expert of @fakedansavage caliber can explain this, um, rite.
I am not exaggerating. See for yourself. The Israeli PM purring Trump’s midterm self-adulating poster line.
Peeps, its not “The sanctions are indeed coming,” its “The sanctions are truly coming.” This is an official correction.
That said, the Hebrew word אכן is correctly translated as ‘indeed.’
Third (3rd) discrete Netanyahu “Thank You” to Trump tonight.
What head of state behaves this way? Actually, what crushed out 14-year-old behaves this way? Its like a compulsion. Or a fetish.
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