Prime minister speaks out after one of Israel’s top security chiefs slams incitement on social media by Israelis.
By World Israel News Staff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out strongly Sunday against incitement, saying
“We condemn all incitement on all sides, even when others remain silent as the incitement against us runs rampant,” Netanyahu said at a Likud Party caucus meeting at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
Netanyahu’s comments came after an unprecedented warning by Shin Bet security agency head Nadav Argaman, who posted a warning to political and social leaders that recent incitement, including accusations of treason, could lead to physical attacks including murder.
“I want to explain what incitement is. Incitement is not political criticism. Incitement is a call for violence–that crosses the line between criticism and incitement,” the prime minister said.
“For a long time there have been calls against us … threatening calls including detailed calls to murder myself, my family, my wife,” Netanyahu said, saying those calls were met with “silence, almost complete silence in the general discourse and the media.”
“But the principle has to be clear and unified to all of us – incitement and violence and the incitement to violence must always be [considered] out of bounds.”
“It is important to stress … that freedom of speech is not incitement,” Netanyahu noted.
“You can’t refer to criticism from the right as incitement and criticism from the left as a legitimate act of freedom of speech. It is an attempt to frame the right as something dangerous to democracy. That very idea is dangerous to democracy,” he said.
Netanyahu noted that Facebook had censored his son for posting the address of Yemina Party member Nir Orbach. Yair Netanyahu had called on his father’s supporters to go and protest against Orbach’s expected support for a coalition government that would unseat Netanyahu, but allowed left-wingers to post that same information calling for a protest against Netanyahu.
“Facebook blocked posts by right-wingers because they published [Yamina MK Nir] Orbach’s address for right-wing demonstrations, but Facebook left up the posts of left-wing organizations that [provided] addresses in favor of left-wing demonstrations at the same time,” Netanyahu noted.
Netanyahu also lashed out at his political rivals and accused them of carrying out “the biggest election fraud in the history of the country, and perhaps in the history of democracy. People rightly feel cheated,” Netanyahu said, echoing claims by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
“And this is not the only attempt, there are many many more. No one will silence us. When a massive public feels that it has been misled, when the national camp strongly opposes a dangerous left-wing government – it is their right and duty to protest in any legal and democratic way.”
Netanyahu is on the verge of being ousted from power by a wide-ranging coalition of eight parties led by opposition center-left Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Netanyahu’s former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Yemina party.
Bennett is set to become prime minister if the the coalition passes a vote of confidence in the Knesset. Bennett will theoretically head the country for two years before stepping aside to let Lapid be prime minister for the final two years of the duration of the coalition government.