The extremists who now speak for Israel

The Daily Beast reports: A West Bank settler who insults American and Israeli leaders might not seem a likely candidate for a job promoting Israel’s image to the world, but Ron Baratz is, indeed, tapped to be Israel’s next communications director.

The controversy over his appointment marks a new era of Israeli politics that has seen what used to be considered the fringe right take center stage while Israel’s international isolation intensifies.

“Allow me to be blunt,” wrote Baratz on his Facebook wall last Tuesday. “Obama’s reference to Netanyahu’s speech—this is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in liberal Western countries. It comes, of course, with much tolerance and understanding for Islamic anti-Semitism; so much tolerance and understanding that they’d be willing to give them a nuke.”

Baratz seemed to go out of his way to make this point. It refers to a remark by Obama way back in March when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.S. Congress in a bid to kill the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama called the speech “theater” which “didn’t offer any viable alternatives” for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Last year, Baratz targeted Secretary of State John Kerry, comparing his mental age to that of a 12-year-old child and joking on Facebook that Kerry could have a “lucrative career as a stand-up comedian.”

As communications director, Baratz would lead public relations efforts to disseminate positive information about Israel and its actions. [Continue reading…]

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