Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stands to lose his position if the coalition wins a trust vote on Wednesday, has accused social media platforms Facebook and Twitter of censoring posts and opinions by the country’s right-wing. He also charged that his political rivals were endangering the country.
Netanyahu’s comments came a day after the domestic security service appealed to leaders to tone down rhetoric for fear it would trigger violence.
Netanyahu said Facebook and Twitter were blocking legitimate right-wing criticism of the new government. He added that Facebook had removed a right-wing post that included the address of a Knesset member, where a protest was set to take place, while a left-wing post with the same address calling on people to support the lawmaker, was not taken down. He also criticised Facebook and Twitter, saying the two social media platforms, which he uses extensively, had been blocking legitimate right-wing criticism of the Lapid-Bennett coalition.
“It’s a scientific case, simply scientific, clinical, that proves an attempt to shut up the right-wing,” Netanyahu said.
His comments gained credence after the Twitter account of his son Yair Netanyahu was suspended for 12 hours on Friday after he posted the address of Yamina MK Nir Orbach’s home. Facebook and Instagram suspended Netanyahu’s Instagram and Facebook accounts for 24 hours for similar reasons. Netanyahu had called for protesters to head to Orbach’s home to encourage him to fight against the formation of a unity government.
“The persecution, censorship and silencing of social networks against right-wingers is breaking a new record. While Facebook and Twitter blocked Yair Netanyahu, they did not block the prime minister who posted the same post just like Yair,” read a statement issued by Yair Netanyahu.
The Likud Party’s Twitter protested the decision to suspend Netanyahu’s account and the accounts of other right-wing activists for posting the addresses, saying that left-wing activists were allowed to promote counter-protests and post the addresses without being suspended.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday a newly formed Israeli coalition that is poised to unseat him was the result of “the greatest election fraud” in the history of democracy. He made his sweeping accusation at a time when Israel’s domestic security chief has warned publicly about the prospect of political violence.
“We are witnessing the greatest election fraud in the history of the country, in my opinion in the history of any democracy,” Netanyahu said in comments to legislators of his right-wing Likud party.
Netanyahu focused his allegations on a broken campaign promise from the man set to replace him as prime minister, nationalist Naftali Bennett. Bennett had pledged not to partner with left-wing, centrist and Arab parties, but on Wednesday announced with opposition leader Yair Lapid that they had formed a governing coalition with factions from across the political spectrum.
While condemning violence and incitement, Netanyahu, 71, repeated his designation of the Lapid-Bennett coalition as a dangerous leftist alliance. “This government is endangering Israel with such a danger the likes of which we have not seen for many years,” he said. “We, my friends and I in Likud, will vehemently oppose the establishment of this dangerous government of fraud and surrender. And if, God forbid, it is established, we will bring it down very quickly.”