‘One of the oldest hatreds’: Netanyahu sees new source of antisemitism

Last updated on December 4, 2022

Antisemitism is “the oldest hatred,” but the internet is making it worse, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

“It’s the oldest hatred, as I say, one of the oldest hatreds of humanity. It was wrong then, it’s wrong now,” Netanyahu told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But it’s got an extra life probably in the United States and in other countries by the age of the internet.”

The prime minister-designate was responding to a question about recent behavior by former President Donald Trump, who dined with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye late last month.

Both Fuentes and Ye, better known as Kanye West, have made a litany of antisemitic statements. Other figures, including basketball star Kyrie Irving, have also recently promoted antisemitism.

“There are many, many blessings of the internet age, but it comes also with a curse. And the curse is polarization,” Netanyahu said. “In the case of antisemitism, it’s the melding, the fusion of the antisemitism from the extreme radical left with the extreme radical right.”

Netanyahu, who leads a politically conservative coalition that is set to return to power, called Trump’s dinner “unacceptable,” even as he expressed support for Trump’s policy decisions as president. Leaders are constantly “balancing interests with values,” he said.

“I hope he sees his way to staying out of it and condemning it,” Netanyahu said of Trump.

Asked whether he’d support Trump as president, Netanyahu said he’d “deal with anyone who’s elected president.” The prime minister-designate, who is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, has a distinct connection to American political culture, having attended high school in Cheltenham, Pa., and college at MIT.