Netanyahu’s son shares anti-Semitic caricature on Facebook

Few politicians have been more ingenious in getting themselves into (and out of) political trouble than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There was his upset victory in the 2015 elections, and there have been continuing investigations into corruption allegations, leading to the disclosure last week that his wife, Sara, would be facing fraud charges involving the purchase of food for the official residence. But corruption is endemic in Israeli politics; what is not is any connection to the anti-Semitic fever swamps of the internet inhabited by the likes of David Duke. But that’s just where Netanyahu finds himself now, after a bizarre Facebook post last Friday by his unemployed 26-year-old son, Yair.

The image posted (and subsequently deleted) by Yair — under his Facebook user name “Yair Hun,” apparently adapted from a common neo-Nazi meme that has circulated online for years — can only be deciphered with detailed knowledge of the ongoing investigations into the financial dealings of Netanyahu’s family. Several of the figures in it are minor players in that scandal. But the main characters are easy to discern: the (Jewish) financier George Soros, who frequently figures in far-right conspiracy-mongering, and appears to be masterminding an effort to entrap Netanyahu; a reptilian character evidently symbolizing something evil; and a hooded figure with a prominent nose and a sinister grin, rubbing his hands together in a parody of greed. But for the absence of a Jewish star (the iconography of the drawing instead, for reasons not immediately apparent, invokes Masonry), it could have appeared in Der Sturmer, the pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic German newspaper of the 1930s.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and his son Yair visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem on March 18, 2015. The younger Netanyahu faced online criticism on Sept. 9, 2017, after sharing an image on his Facebook page deemed anti-Semitic by critics. (Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

Much more troubling was the attention and admiration that the image received from anti-Semites on the extreme right. David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, approvingly shared Yair’s post on social media, adding: “Welcome to the club, Yair — absolutely amazing, wow, just wow.” And the meme found its way to other dark, morally repugnant corners of the internet. The neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer praised the meme in an article titled “Netanyahu’s Son Posts…

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