A right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) lawmaker has backed Yair Netanyahu, son of the Israeli Prime Minister, in criticizing the EU. The German and the Israeli both want the return of a “Christian” Europe, or so they say.
While his father cobbles together a coalition government with rival Benny Gantz and prepares for a visit from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week, Yair Netanyahu spends his time on social media, defending his beleaguered dad and firing off incendiary tweets at his political opponents.
These posts have landed him in trouble before, like when he published a meme depicting his father’s political rivals as puppets of liberal financier George Soros.Yet lately, the European Union has been the target of his anger.
As Israel celebrated Memorial Day last Tuesday, Netanyahu blasted the EU for supporting a joint event commemorating both Iraeli and Palestinian dead the night before.
>>> countries! Schengen zone is dead and soon your evil globalist organization will be too, and Europe will return to be free, democratic and Christian!
— Yair Netanyahu 🇮🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) April 28, 2020
“Shame on you for financing a disgrace in the holiest day of the Israeli calendar!” he tweeted at the EU’s Israeli outreach Twitter account. “[The] EU is an enemy of Israel, and an enemy to all European Christian countries! [The] Schengen zone is dead and soon your evil globalist organization will be too, and Europe will return to be free, democratic and Christian!”
Netanyahu’s outburst caught the eyes of German MEP Joachim Kuhs, who plastered it onto a campaign-style poster, along with Netanyahu’s face. “#Christianity is the #Remedy for the evils of the globalist #EU,” Kuhs wrote approvingly on Wednesday.
That a German nationalist Christian and an Israeli Jew would team up against the EU would have been a bizarre idea a few decades ago. Even last year, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, said he was “very clear” on avoiding the AfD, owing to its “highly offensive” stance on the Holocaust.
AfD leader Alexander Gauland once called Hitler’s rule “just a speck of bird s**t on more than 1,000 years of German history,” and this Wednesday drew controversy for calling the May 8 end of World War II a “day of absolute defeat.”
Still, both Netanyahu and the AfD agree on some issues. When the German parliament passed legislation condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement last year – earning them praise from the Israeli government – AfD lawmakers argued in favor of a total and enforceable ban on boycotts of Israeli goods. Additionally, both have been criticized for their outspoken opposition to Islam, with Netanyahu banned from Facebook in 2018 for calling Palestinians “monsters in the form of men,” and for declaring “There will not be peace here until… All the Muslims leave the land of Israel.”
Netanyahu has apparently welcomed the Kuhs’ support. “Please act with your colleagues to stop this insanity!” he replied to Kuhs’ tweet, linking an article which details the German government finances “political advocacy NGOs in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza through a variety of frameworks.”
Both the AfD and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party have fiercely loyal voter bases, and both are hated by the left in their respective countries. While their positions on historical events preclude an open alliance, perhaps Jair Netanyahu’s Twitter relationship with Kuhs is a sign that these players, who most reasonable observers would deem adversaries, may build a relationship in the future.
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