Members of Netanyahu’s Likud Blame Victims of Pittsburgh Pogrom and Echo the Killer’s Rhetoric

As Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett sets out to Pittsburgh, prominent members of the governing Likud Party have blamed the Jewish victims of the neo-Nazi massacre “for causing anti-Semitism.”

By Max Blumenthal

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has embarked on a visit to Pittsburgh “to be with our sisters and brothers in their darkest hour,” he said, after an avowed anti-Semite massacred eleven Jewish worshippers at the city’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

Robert Bowers, the right-wing terrorist, targeted the progressive congregation on the basis of its partnership with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, a Jewish non-profit that helps refugees from conflict-torn regions obtain asylum in the US.

“HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,” Bowers stated in a social media manifesto explaining his motives.

As Bennett departs for Pittsburgh, some members of Israel’s governing Likud Party have issued talking points and statements blaming the victims of the anti-Jewish mass murderer for inspiring the attack. One especially prominent Likud member has even echoed Bowers’ hate manifesto.

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Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

After Chemnitz: Germany’s Extreme Right Exploits Government Passivity and Public Resentment to Enter the Mainstream

While the AfD party emerges as a leading voice of political opposition, the government downplays its danger and even co-opts its xenophobic messaging.

By Denijal Jegić

German police rounded up a right-wing terror network this October 1, arresting its members ahead of an attack allegedly aimed at subverting the country. Called “Revolution Chemnitz,” the group “intended to launch violent and armed attacks against foreigners and people who have different political views,” a federal prosecutor told local media. The arrests drew attention once again to the district of Saxony, a base of the far-right Alternative for German (AfD) party where extremists staged a series of anti-migrant riots last month in the city of Chemnitz.

“We are the Nazis, you are the pigs!” a protester screamed during the extreme right demonstration in Chemnitz. Another proudly threw up a sieg heil salute during a live news broadcast. Thousands of far-right Germans and neo-Nazis mingled in riots in Chemnitz, in the East German state of Saxony. The gatherings were initially justified by the organizers, among them the AfD, as a supposedly commemorative response to the killing of a Cuban-German.

Daniel H. had been stabbed to death on August 26, 2018, allegedly by refugees of Arab ancestry. His killing inspired an especially ironic display of outrage: Having been confronted with racism as a person of color in Chemnitz, which is known to be a center of far-right activity, the very people who had called Daniel the n-word eventually seized on his death to engage in even more racism.

Far-right manifestations have become routine in Germany, and its influence has penetrated the mainstream political discourse, particularly since the AfD made it into the federal parliament following its historic success in the 2017 elections. The German government’s admission of refugees from the Middle East since 2015 has generally magnified racist tendencies among some of the country’s population. The former German Democratic Republic in the country’s east has been especially affected by an increase in xenophobic incidents.

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Denijal Jegic is a postdoctoral scholar. He holds a PhD from the Institute for Transnational American Studies. Follow him on Twitter at @denijeg