Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called anti-Semitism the “oldest disease” in the world.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Netanyahu, who will return for a third stint as prime minister, blamed the rise of anti-Semitism on increased polarization in the internet age. He also condemned the recent anti-Semitic outburst from rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and said that former President Donald Trump was wrong for recently having dinner with the musician.
“It’s the oldest disease,” Netanyahu said. “It’s been around as a systemic ideology for around 2500 years, 500 years before the rise of Christianity, actually. So it’s accompanied our history, with horrific results, over the centuries, and it’s not gonna go away… But I think that free societies have to take a consistent position to condemn anti-Semitism, to stand up against it, and to do so consistently.”
“It’s the melding, the fusion of the anti-Semitism from the extreme radical left and the extreme radical right,” he continued. “It fuses into Jew-hatred. The communists blame the Jews for being capitalist, the capitalists blame the Jews for being communist. You have a problem, blame the Jews… It’s gotten extra life, probably, in the United States and in other countries by the age of the internet.”
Netanyahu went on to criticize former President Trump for hosting Ye, who has made multiple odious comments attacking Jewish people and praising Nazis in recent weeks.
“It’s not merely unacceptable, it’s just wrong, and I hope he sees his way to staying out of it and condemning it.”
But Netanyahu seemed to pin the blame squarely on Ye, speculating that his recent outbursts were more about his personality than how he really views the world.
“Whoever says it, for whatever reason, it’s wrong. You don’t praise [Adolf] Hitler. How can you praise Hitler? Hitler was the greatest mass killer of all time. So anybody who praises him is wrong. Anybody who meets with him and gives him legitimacy is wrong. I’ve said as much, and I’ll continue to say it.”
In early October, Ye claimed on Instagram that fellow rapper Diddy was controlled by Jewish people. He later tweeted, then apologized, for a tweet attacking Jewish people. Ye doubled down on the comments in an interview on the “Drink Champs Round Three” podcast, claiming that “Jewish people have owned the black voice.” Last week, Ye walked out of an interview on the “Timcast IRL” podcast after being pressed on his anti-Semitic comments. In a wild interview with InfoWars’ owner Alex Jones on Thursday, he praised Hitler and the Nazis and denied that six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust.