Sparks fly after AIPAC slams Netanyahu over new right-wing alliance

After AIPAC slammed the prime minister for fostering an alliance between far-right parties, Netanyahu accused his political opponents of pushing a left-wing agenda that imperils the Jewish state.

By and World Israel News Staff

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) condemned the merger this week of Jewish Home and National Union parties with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, a strategy backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Strength,” was formed by followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who founded the Jewish Defense League in the United States and entered politics after he immigrated to Israel.

His party was eventually banned from the Knesset based on accusations it violated a law prohibiting racism and Kahane was assassinated in 1990, with Egyptian-born American citizen El Sayyid Nosair the primary suspect in the murder.

Both the AJC and AIPAC slammed Netanyahu for facilitating the merger between Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit, with AJC issuing a statement claiming that the latter’s views “do not reflect the core values that are the very foundation of the State of Israel.”

AIPAC later tweeted that it “agree[d] with AJC,” citing its “longstanding policy not to meet with members” of this “reprehensible party.”

On Saturday, Netanyahu responded to criticism from within Israel on Facebook, posting, “What hypocrisy and double standards on the left, they attack a block on the right … while the left introduced radical Islamic extremists to the Knesset to create a majority block.”

Netanyahu specifically referred to former prime minister Ehud Barak’s “campaign rally” with the Sheik Raed Salah, a radical cleric who has been repeatedly arrested for promoting violence.

Netanyahu also mentioned representatives of the left-wing Labor and Meretz parties and their connection to Azmi Bishara, who “spied for Hezbollah.” Bishara became a Member of Knesset in 1999 and was accused of spying after he fled Israel eight years later.

Yair Lapid, who recently announced an alliance entitled the “Blue and White” list with retired IDF general Benny Gantz, blasted Netanyahu on Saturday.

“When even our good friends [in AIPAC and the AJC] feel the need to condemn [the merger], then it needs to be clear that a red line has been crossed,” wrote Lapid, Times of Israel reported.