Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke out for the first time on Thursday night about the contretemps with the Swedish foreign minister over a call for an inquiry into Israeli “extrajudicial killings,” terming her remarks “outrageous, immoral and unjust.”
Speaking at the annual reception for foreign correspondents organized by the Government Press Office (GPO), Netanyahu lashed out at an “absurd” double standard.
“People are defending themselves against assailants wielding knives, who are about to stab them to death, and they shoot them, and that’s extrajudicial killings?” Netanyahu asked.
“So why is San Bernadino not extrajudicial killings? And, the other day in Paris, a knife-wielding terrorist was shot to death. Is that extrajudicial killing? Does the Swedish foreign minister suggest that there be examinations of what happened in Paris or in the United States? This is definitely wrong and it singles out Israel, and in an absurd way,” he said.
Netanyahu also decried the double standard he sees applied to Israel regarding the proposed NGO Transparency Law, which would obligate NGOs that receive half of their funds from foreign governments to divulge that information and wear special identifying tags in the Knesset.
He rejected charges heard in Europe and the U.S. that the bill is undemocratic.
“How is divulging foreign government funding anti-democratic?” he asked. “I think it is the most obvious request in any democracy.”
Netanyahu cited a House of Representatives resolution from 2015 on rules for the 114th Congress mandating that anyone testifying before a House committee must make a “disclosure of any federal grants or contracts, or contracts or payments originating with a foreign government, received during the current calendar year or either of the two previous calendar years by the witness or by an entity represented by the witness and related to the subject matter of the hearing.”
This type of transparency is practiced in other countries, he said, but as we hear no similar criticism of those countries, then “Israel Is being held to a different standard, once again. If there are universal standards, that’s fine. But a double standard, or in the case of Israel a triple standard, that is unacceptable.”