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Five Things That Netanyahu Actually Said

Copies of ballots papers and campaign posters for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party lie on the ground in the aftermath of the country's parliamentary elections, early on 18 March, 2015 in Tel Aviv [AFP PHOTO/JACK GUEZ/Getty]
Copies of ballots papers and campaign posters for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party lie on the ground in the aftermath of the country's parliamentary elections, early on 18 March, 2015 in Tel Aviv [AFP PHOTO/JACK GUEZ/Getty]

1. "Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel them."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prompted outrage and ridicule this week, with his claim that it was the Mufti of Jerusalem who convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews. While already debunked by historians, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Netanyahu's statement was highlighted by political analyst Yousef Munayyer.

2. "America is a thing you can move very easily."

In candid remarks captured on a home video in 2001, Netanyahu boasted of his ability to manipulate U.S. policy. "I know what America is," he said. "America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get in their way."

Netanyahu also explained how he undermined the peace process as prime minister in the 1990s. "But how do you limit the withdrawals? I interpret the [Oslo] accords in such a way that will enable me to stop this rush toward '67 borders [the internationally-recognised Green Line."

3. "I say to the Jews of Europe – Israel is your home."

Responding to a fatal shooting at a Copenhagen synagogue in February 2015, Netanyahu urged European Jews to move to Israel. The remarks, however, were criticised by Denmark's chief rabbi, while the head of the European Jewish Association said it was "an unacceptable call."

Netanyahu had made similar remarks after the Paris attacks in January, and his efforts to exploit the fallout for political capital were described in the Israeli media as a "PR disaster." One commentator suggested that by encouraging the mass emigration of French Jews, Israeli leaders "could very well be helping terrorist fanatics finish the job started by the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators."

4. "We won't divide Jerusalem, we won't make concessions, we won't withdraw from land."

These were the words of Netanyahu to a 20,000-strong rally in Tel Aviv earlier this year. More infamously, in the run up to the last election Netanyahu was asked "If you are a prime minister, there will be no Palestinian state?" Hisresponse: "Indeed."

Netanyahu recently noted with pride that the settler population under his watch had risen from 280,000 to 400,000. The Israeli premier's minister cabinet includes numerous politicians who explicitly reject Palestinian statehood and endorse the annexation of the Occupied West Bank.

5. "Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls."

This was Netanyahu's extraordinary warning to the Jewish Israeli public, as voters went to the ballot boxes in March. His remarks were widely condemned, but were actually consistent with his own track record – and that of dozens of Israeli politicians from across the spectrum.

In 2010, Netanyahu told in a government meeting that a Negev "without a Jewish majority" would constitute "a palpable threat" to the country. When he was finance minister in 2003, Netanyahu described Palestinian citizens as a "demographic problem." As Israeli writer Gideon Levy put it:

Talk of a 'demographic threat' is not legitimate. Imagine what would happen if a discussion were held in the United States or Europe on 'the worrisome natural growth of the Jews.'

Graphic designed by Rachele Richards.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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