Economist provides no evidence to support charge against Israel PM over Charlottesville

The Economist made a pretty serious charge against Israel's prime minister and offered literally zero proof to back it up.

An article in the Aug. 26th print edition of The Economist was critical of the Israeli prime minister’s delay in condemning antisemitism and racism at last week’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Headline of Economist article

Here’s the beginning of their critique:

Only after Mr Trump’s carefully scripted denunciation of “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups” did Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, issue a tweet saying, “Outraged by expressions of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and racism.” 

The article then criticises Netanyahu’s response for failing to name the groups responsible for the hate.

 Mr Netanyahu made no reference to where these expressions were made, nor to who was making them. He did not react to Mr Trump’s later comments, which pinned blame for the violence on both the neo-Nazis and the people who turned out to oppose them.

Whilst the article does acknowledge that Netanyahu’s putatively muted and delayed response to Charlottesville may have been partly motivated by the desire to maintain good relations with the US, another explanation is offered.

But his reluctance to speak out against anti-Semitism in America is about more than that. Mr Netanyahu and his supporters seem to believe that the people opposing the white supremacists are at least as dangerous to Israel as the neo-Nazis

Whilst it may be true that some of Netanyahu’s supporters “believe that the people opposing the white supremacists are at least as dangerous to Israel as the neo-Nazis”, what proof does The Economist provide to support the charge that Netanyahu himself believes this? 

Here’s the sum of their evidence:

Take Mr Netanyahu’s son Yair, who condemned the neo-Nazis on Facebook, but added that the counter-protesters of Antifa and Black Lives Matter “hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much”.

Of course, the views of Netanyahu’s son regarding the relative threats posed by neo-Nazis and the groups who opposed them in Charlottesville are of little relevance in assessing Netanyahu’s own opinions on the matter. The Economist made a very serious charge against Israel’s prime minister and offered literally zero proof to back it up.

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