Leftist MK Calls Rightwing Israelis Nazis – Again

Former Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Golan. (Gefen Reznik/Israel Army Spokesperson)

The Israeli right is “dangerous” and must be contained, MK Yair Golan (Democratic Camp) said in a radio interview Thursday. “We must be careful, very careful, because among us there are radicals with a messianic outlook who will use Israeli democracy” to bring about regime change. “I remind everyone that the Nazis came to power in a democratic manner,” Golan said.

This is not the first time the former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff has compared rightwing Israelis to Nazis. In a Yom Hashoah ceremony in 2015, Golan said that “it is frightening to identify that within our ranks there are shocking processes that remind us of what happened in Germany 70 to 80 years ago.” Golan was roundly criticized for those comments, and the criticism followed him through the April and September elections, with several rightwing petitioners even seeking to have him disqualified from running for the comments.

Several weeks ago, President Reuven Rivlin apologized to Golan for the negative reaction to his comments in the name of Israelis – in another move that generated a great deal of criticism not only on the right but among families of Holocaust survivors, who said that it was “shameful” that Rivlin should seek to assuage the feelings of someone who compared Israelis to Nazis.

Golan appears not to have changed his views, based on his comments on Radio South Thursday. “I am warning everyone about the radical right. During my many years of service I faced the most difficult elements of violent rightwingers aimed at IDF soldiers. The right is dangerous – to the rule of law, to the survival of Israel, to democracy. The right preaches things that are not part of the democratic process, it sometimes uses democracy to harm democracy. We must be careful of it.”

Responding to the comments, Channel 12 reporter Amit Segal said in a social media post that “the obsession of Yair Golan in finding Nazis in every corner of Israel teaches us that we are lucky that this man is not IDF Chief of Staff, and that the IDF was spared this embarrassment. The president must respond. If Golan deserved a presidential apology, then certainly all Israelis deserve one.”