Down the Alt-Right Rabbit Hole

Just like another famous progeny of a right-wing nationalist leader, Yair Netanyahu has been something of a headache for his father recently. In his zeal to defend his family against the myriad of accusations leveled against them, Yair has seemingly managed something that previously seemed impossible: he’s made a Jewish Israeli a darling of the alt-right.

The controversy started this week when Yair posted a meme on Facebook depicting financier George Soros — a frequent bugaboo and anti-Semitic dog whistle for right-wing conspiracy theorists — as a behind-the-scenes puppeteer secretly controlling the people leveling accusations against his family. As is standard with bonkers far-right conspiracy theorizing, there is also a layer of lizard people and Illuminati between Soros, the mastermind, and the Israelis who seek an end to the Netanyahu government.

Yair’s meme was greeted with jubilation in the anti-Semitic/alt-right/neo-nazi/white supremacist/whatever-we’re-calling-it-now community. David Duke, former KKK Grand Wizard and one-time almost-U.S. Senator from Louisiana, “welcomed” Yair to the “club” in a tweet, exclaiming, “Wow, just wow,” in admiration. The Daily Stormer, the internet’s leading neo-Nazi website, called Yair a “total bro.”

It’s not the first time that Yair has dabbled in the murky waters of the alt-right. A few weeks ago, Yair responded to the violence in Charlottesville by attacking anti-fascist (Antifa) and Black Lives Matter movements, calling them “thugs.” He engaged in the same game of moral equivalence as President Trump, laying equal blame for the catastrophe on the counter-protesters as he did the Neo-nazis and white supremacists, one of whose members plowed a car into a peaceful countermarch, killing one and injuring many others.

So far, there hasn’t been any comment from the Netanyahus on the praise Yair is now getting from the alt-right. Yair hasn’t apologized for his actions or offered any additional explanation, though he did remove the meme from his Facebook page.

It’s worth noting that Yair is no political novice. He’s said to be a valued political advisor to his father, so it’s hard to believe that he didn’t know exactly what he was doing when he made the post.

It’s truly remarkable the degree to which the Netanyahus have decided to mirror the Trumps, ranging from their political style to their scandals. Now, incredibly, you can add flirtation with neo-Nazis to that list.

Author: Jonathan Leslie

PhD candidate at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

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