What were the management at the Church of His Presence in Alabama thinking when they gave Yair Netanyahu a platform to speak earlier this month? Did they see him as a descendant of the Old Testament prophets come from the Holy Land to guide them? If they had troubled themselves to do even a small amount of due diligence, they would have discovered that the son of the Israeli Prime Minister is not exactly the best person to seek guidance from, especially when it comes to the Bible and morality.
Last year, for example, Netanyahu Jr was at the centre of a big scandal in Israel. Local media reported that he was driven to a Tel Aviv strip club in a government car accompanied by an official security guard. Once there, he was taped interacting with two of his friends, Nir son of Kobi Maimon who is a shareholder in Isramco, which owns Israel’s offshore Tamar gas fields, and Roman Abramov. The exchange included him putting pressure on his rich friends for money. He reminded Maimon that his father the Prime Minister had fixed a deal worth $20 billion for Maimon’s father. He thus reckoned that Nir Maimon owed him. To pay off his debts, Yair Netanyahu offered to fix his friends dates with his own girlfriend, and added that he would have to start lending her out to everyone to pay his debts. Apparently, he even talked about killing the guard who was protecting them, to keep the conversation private. According to his family after that incident, he was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Given the record of the Netanyahu family, this should not be a surprise. Benjamin Netanyahu is the accused in three corruption cases and might lose his political life if he is indicted. His political opponents — Barak, Gantz and others — claim that the Prime Minister’s insistence on another General Election later this year, which will cost millions of dollars from public funds, is an attempt to save Netanyahu from trial and conviction. He could face up to ten years in prison if found guilty of bribery and a maximum three-year term for fraud and breach of trust.
Yair Netanyahu’s mother, Sara, pleaded guilty and has been convicted of illegally misusing thousands of dollars of public funds on lavish meals. She was fined $15,000 after she made a plea bargain to admit lesser charges. This was not Sara Netanyahu’s first time in court. Referred to in the local media as “Marie Antoinette”, she is well known for bullying people, especially her domestic staff. In 2017, she paid tens of thousands of dollars in damages in a dispute with two former staff members who accused her of bullying.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s father Benzion Netanyahu (formerly Mileikowsky, and born in Warsaw), was the personal secretary of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of the most notorious of Zionists who called for the “Iron Wall” policy and the “transfer” of the “Arabs” from Palestine. His family are clearly not lacking in chutzpah. After all, to embezzle public funds and, after years of denial, simply confess and pay a fine, needs a lot of such audacity. To get yourself entangled in three corruption cases and then engineer another General Election to protect yourself, needs chutzpah. And to lack any sense of morality and stand in a church lecturing Christians on religion, needs chutzpah.
Maybe those evangelicals in Alabama invited Yair Netanyahu to endorse their right-wing theology, wherein the “ingathering of the exiles” — the Jews in the Diaspora — play a pivotal rule. As Noam Chomsky and many others have told us, Christian Zionism predates “Jewish state Zionism”, and the latter is merely a tool of the former. What is certain is that Netanyahu Jr has proven himself to the perfect scion of his family and, indeed, the State of Israel. His speech, from start to finish, was an amalgam of lies, myths and misconceptions.
In this, he surpassed his own father who once claimed that it was Sheikh Amin Al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian freedom movement in the 1940s, who convinced Hitler to trigger the Holocaust. This appalled many Holocaust survivors, who saw it as an attempt to absolve the Nazi leader of his responsibility for the genocide of Europe’s Jews. Netanyahu Sr has even claimed that it was not the Romans who forced the Jews to leave Palestine, but the “Arabs”, although it is a well-established fact that Jews lived in relative peace for centuries under Muslim rule.
In Alabama, Yair Netanyahu — a former member of the Israeli army spokesperson’s team — used all the tricks in the Zionist propaganda handbook to put forward a case where he denied Palestine, the Palestinian people, the two-state solution and, in fact, any solution except complete Palestinian submission to the Zionist narrative. He repeated the fiction that Israel faces an existential threat from its Arab neighbours and asked his Christian Evangelical audience to help, because the Bible tells them to do so. According to him, Israel is the only country in the region that protects Christians, and yet there he was asking Christians to protect Israel. In any case, Israel certainly does not protect Palestinian Christians.
The fact that the son of the Israeli Prime Minister went through with this charade in what is supposed to be a House of God tells us all we need to know about those at the top of Israel’s political pile, and those who support them. The sad thing is, we probably haven’t heard the last of, or from, Yair Netanyahu.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.