Israeli justice minister turns to police after professor calls her ‘neo-Nazi scum’ on FB
Two professors from Hebrew University accused Israel’s Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, of facilitating arms sales and “genocide” in Africa, with one branding the right-wing minister a “neo-Nazi.” Shaked wasn’t amused and filed a police complaint against both.
Dr. Ofer Cassif from the university’s Political Science Department shared a Facebook post made by his colleague, Professor Amiram Goldblum, which said that Shaked had received funds from Serge Muller, a Belgian-Jewish businessman arrested by Interpol earlier this year over allegations of illegal arms trading in South America and Africa.
The original post also criticized a bill approved on Sunday making it mandatory for NGOs receiving more than half their funding from other countries to publicly disclose their financial sources. NGOs would be slapped with a 29,000 shekel ($7,400) fine for failing to comply.
The post included a picture of Shaked holding two guns, with her hands dripping in blood and her body comprised of numerous dead bodies piled together.
“On clarity: Ayelet Shaked demands clarity. I demand clarity by Ayelet Shaked. So here’s the clarification that you will not get from her: The following photo is a clarity figure of that minister of justice’s own financial resources, at least some of them,” Goldblum, who is a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at the university’s School of Pharmacy, said in his post.
He went on to allege that “Shaked’s election campaign was based, among other things, on money collected in exchange for arms sold to killers in Sierra Leone and in South America by Shaked’s financial supporter who is now in jail in Belgium after being detained by Interpol for eight months in Montenegro since March 2015.”
“An Orthodox Jew, Serge Muller is a despicable supplier of arms to some of the worst killers in this world. But Ayelet Shaked needed the money. She demands clarity, so we clarify who she is.”
Israel’s Channel 2 revealed earlier this year that Muller donated 11,000 shekels ($2,820) to Shaked’s campaign in 2013. Shaked confirmed this information, but said she had been unaware of Muller’s crimes.
Muller was extradited to Belgium in 2015. There is an international arrest warrant out against him that alleges his involvement in a multinational cocaine ring, money laundering, and also accuses him of being a member of a criminal organization.
On top of the accusations, Dr. Cassif added the following insults when re-sharing Goldblum’s Facebook post: “This neo-Nazi scum is not only partly responsible for the fascisization of Israel, but is also an indirect partner to genocide in Africa and crimes against humanity. There are no words left in the dictionary that can describe this filth.”
The Justice Minister filed a police complaint against both university academics on charges of incitement.
Shaked also responded on Monday stating that a line between “freedom of expression and freedom of incitement was blatantly crossed and polluted the public discourse.” She added that she trusted law enforcement to handle the matter.
Members of Israel’s Parliament from all parties condemned the professors’ comments.
“This is the most serious incitement against a justice minister since the establishment of the state,” said Bayit Yehudi, leader Naftali Bennett. “We need to stop blaming and bring calm. We have no other country. We only have Israel, and Left and Right need to do what we can to protect it.”
Bennett added that the president of the Hebrew University, Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson will be addressing the issue.
Meanwhile, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog characterized the statements as “miserable, wretched and inherently wrong.”
In addition, Yesh Atid, leader Yair Lapid, called Goldblum a “talkbacker of the lowest kind.”“The university cannot stand by while one of its lecturers speaks like this.”
The Hebrew University has issued a statement on the issue: “The university is not responsible for the statements made by its lecturers and it is not its job to discipline them so long as it does not involve the exploitation of the academic platform for dissemination. As long as someone believes there is incitement in this or that statement or a violation of state law, they should turn to law enforcement agencies.”
Shaked is a member of the hardline, right-wing, ultra-Zionist Jewish Home party. She is also the architect of some controversial legislation passed in Israel this year, including a law that radically toughens punishments for people who throw stones – a tactic that is predominantly used by Palestinian protesters. The bill prescribes a 10-year sentence if prosecutors are unable to prove harmful intent, and 20 years if it is clear that the stone thrower desired to cause bodily harm.
Shaked also insisted on a law allowing Israeli police troops to fire on Palestinian and other stone-throwers when civilian lives are deemed to be at risk, even if it’s not in self-defense.
Another recently approved bill originally proposed by Shaked limits the release of Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis in future political deals or prisoner swaps.