Netanyahu’s New PR Chief
by Stephen Lendman
Leaders are best understood by their policies and appointees. Netanyahu’s new Arab-hating UN envoy Danny Danon claims Palestinian leaders teach “kids to stab Jews at school. (They) established an incubator to raise children as terrorists.”
Extremist settler Ran Baratz is new Netanyahu PR chief, dependent on cabinet ministers approving him next week.
He’s another polarizing figure, best known for favoring unlimited settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian land, wanting Al-Aqsa replaced by a third Jewish temple, denying Muslims access to Islam’s third holiest site unless they recognize equal rights there for Jews, and most recently insulting Obama and John Kerry.
On Facebook, he said (a)llow me to diverge from my usual moderate ways and be a bit blunt. Obama’s response to Netanyahu’s (congressional) speech - this is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in Western and liberal countries.”
“And it comes, of course, alongside much tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism; so much tolerance and understanding that they’ll even give them (a nuclear bomb, referring to Iran).”
Baratz is no dummy. He earned a Hebrew University doctorate summa cum laude. He’s founding editor of the conservative Hebrew language news site Mida, as well as Tikvah Fund’s (TF) Political Thought, Economic and Strategy program executive director. TF is over-the-top neoliberal and ideologically hardline Zionist.
Baratz formerly taught philosophy, history and Zionist ideology at various Israeli academic institutions - including Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Cornerstones program. Israeli newspapers and periodicals feature his commentaries.
He criticized Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for flying home from a Czech Republic visit in coach, saying:
“I think it says a lot that the president flies in economy class, goes around the plane and shakes hands with everyone. In particular it says that he’s such a marginal figure that there’s no concern for his life.”
Rivlin responded harshly “demand(ing) to know if his statements were known to (Netanyahu) when he decided to appoint him to the post.”
His appointment needs cabinet approval next week. Likud ministers Gila Gamliel and Haim Katz oppose him. Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said he should be “sent home.”
In mid-October, he criticized a John Kerry speech, saying “I went to see (his) speech, where he linked Israel and the Islamic State, and it was pretty hilarious, so I summed it up for you.”
“After his term as secretary of state, Kerry can look forward to a flourishing career in one of the comedy clubs in Kansas City (scene of multiple shootings in April 2014), Mosul or the Holot detention facility” where African asylum seekers are confined and abused.
In an online column he said “(t)o Kerry’s credit, it should be noted that there is no Miss America around who could say what he said any better. This is the time to wish the secretary of state good luck, and to count down the days with the hope that someone over there at the State Department will wake up and begin to see the world through the eyes of a person whose mental age exceeds 12."
State Department spokesman Admiral John Kirby called his comments “troubling and offensive. We obviously expect government officials from any country, especially our closest allies, to speak respectfully and truthfully about senior US government officials. We understand (Netanyahu) will be reviewing this appointment…”
Yediot Ahronot daily satirist Mika Almog commented, saying “(t)his is the man the prime minister chose to be my mouthpiece, all of our mouthpieces, to talk to the world in our names. This man, with his words dripping with poison, his mouth is our mouth now.”
If approved next week, he’ll be Netanyahu’s communications chief and media advisor. On November 9, Netanyahu meets with Obama in Washington. Baratz won’t accompany him on the trip.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.