A leader of the protests against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was filmed Wednesday night likening the prime minister to Adolf Hitler, yimach shemo. His remarks drew immediate condemnation, yet he subsequently refused to take back the comment and called Netanyahu a “human rag.”
Sadi Ben Shitrit, one of the leading figures in the “Crime Minister” protest movement, is seen in a video shared on social media holding a microphone during a demonstration outside Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha’ayin and blasting Netanyahu for filing a restraining order against him.
“There is no forgiveness for a crook, there is no forgiveness for destruction and abuse against us, the citizens,” Ben Shitrit said. “In the 1930s, there was an enemy of the Jews, he was in Germany, and he behaved the same as you.”
Ben Shitrit is a cousin of Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana and is considered a prominent activist in the protest against Netanyahu. He was also interviewed regarding the protests several times on various broadcast media channels. He has been arrested in the past and later claimed that the police were deliberately acting against him.
This is not the first time a protester has come under fire after making harsh statements against Netanyahu and his family.
A protester was interrogated by police in May of this year after he had threatened Netanyahu’s son, Yair.
That protester was filmed saying, “We know why you need security guards. One day you won’t have guards around you and you can’t know what will happen.”
President Reuven Rivlin condemned the remarks on Thursday. “Likening Prime Minister Netanyahu to Hitler, the persecutor of Jews, is not a legitimate protest,” Rivlin tweeted. “Such discourse […] must be denounced.”
Defense Minister Gantz also released a condemnation of Ben Shitrit’s words.
“I strongly condemn the despicable comparison made between Netanyahu and the tyrant Adolf Hitler,” Gantz said. “There is no place in Israeli society for such comparisons that desecrate the memory of the Holocaust. Even if there are serious disagreements with Netanyahu’s path, this is absolutely not the way to express it.”
But Ben Shitrit said Thursday morning that he “stands behind every word” he said. Speaking with Channel 12, he continued to fan the flames: “Who does Netanyahu think he is? He’s a human rag. In Germany in the ’30s Hitler took the leadership using the same methods as Netanyahu. I didn’t talk about the gas chambers and didn’t talk about the ’40s. What did Hitler do? Sowed division and incited, that is exactly what Netanyahu is doing.”