Netanyahu is courting anyone who supports Israel.

Supporters and detractors alike have recently soured on Benjamin Netanyahu’s friendships made in the past year. Leaders before him did not support leaders from other countries with far-right tendencies. Netanyahu is courting anyone who supports Israel.

In one strange twist of events, he befriended the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini from Italy. While this is not news in and of itself, the far-right member of government has recently made statements that echoed former dictator Benito Mussolini. Italy’s Interior Minister tweeted on the anniversary of Mussolini’s birthday: “tanti nemici, tanto onore,” which trasnlates to “so many enemies, so much honor,” and is eerily similar to Mussolini’s “many enemies, much honor.”

Netanyahu also has several other questionable friends according to those who think he is making strange partners in the modern day. He’s met with and supported leaders from Hungary and Poland who are nationalists in their approach to government. However, they still support a strong and sovereign Israel despite purposely making their country’s actions during the Holocaust seem smaller in scale than they actually were.

Netanyahu has replied that his critics aren’t seeing the bigger picture. It is important for Israel to make new allies even if they aren’t the perfect match on policy. Facing the rapid destabilization of the Middle East and what could be a troubling withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area, Israel is in need of powerful allies.

Some have come out in support of Netanyahu such as Emmanuel Navon, who claimed that "No country in the world would sacrifice its national interest for the sake of moral values.” There is a point there, to be sure, but the fact that Netanyahu invokes the Holocaust as his reason to embrace foreign leaders of dubious backgrounds shows that he is putting everything into the image of protecting Israel even if it appears out of sorts.

Compounding the issue for some is Hungary’s plan to open the House of Fates museum in Budapest which is feared to downplay the severity of the nation’s roles in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem has separated itself from the planned museum as it denies “the crucial role played by Hungarian authorities and a great many individual Hungarians in the persecution and deportation of Jews.”


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