Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Israeli prime minister, has caused his father a real political problem by declaring that “leftists” like Black Lives Matter are more dangerous than Nazis. That isn’t going over very well in a country created to protect Jews from Nazis.
“To put things in perspective,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook, “I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli, the neo nazis scums [sic] in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out.
“However the thugs of Antifa and [Black Lives Matter] who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.”
The Israeli premier himself tweeted Tuesday that he was “outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism. Everyone should oppose this hatred,” after he was criticized for staying silent on Charlottesville.
In a response Wednesday afternoon to Yair Netanyahu’s comments, sources close to the prime minister said, “Yair is an adult and his views are his alone”
I think there is far more legitimate criticism to be made of Antifa than of Black Lives Matter. They are not at all the same. Antifa is a very loose association without any hierarchy or leadership and that is because it is largely made up of anarchists. Anyone who has ever covered political protests has seen how anarchists can do serious damage to the goal of the protesters. Journalists covering them, as I have, can spot them a mile away now and they know there’s almost always going to be trouble coming. And I’m not talking about protests against Nazism, I’m talking about more mundane (but still important) protests against particular pieces of legislation, budget matters, and so forth). I’ve seen it first hand many times.
But the lumping of Black Lives Matter into this is particularly absurd and counter-factual. The Black Lives Matter movement has no record of serious violence. Their protests against racist policing around the country have been largely peaceful, with some associated violence along the fringe (again, probably caused by anarchists, not BLM activists). The notion that Black Lives Matter is racist against white people is so ludicrous as to not even deserve comment.
BLM is a vital reaction to and a powerful voice against our pervasively racist society, particularly in the criminal justice system. The solutions they have proposed to reform the system are thoughtful and reasonable. They should be praised, not demonized.