update deskAntisemitism

Netanyahu slams South Africa’s Amalek slander

"This false and preposterous charge reflects a deep historical ignorance."

The banner in Yad Vashem's permanent exhibit in Jerusalem urging visitors to "Remember what Amalek did to you." Credit: Office of the Prime Minister.
The banner in Yad Vashem's permanent exhibit in Jerusalem urging visitors to "Remember what Amalek did to you." Credit: Office of the Prime Minister.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on Tuesday accusing South Africa of falsely interpreting his use of a biblical quote as a call for genocide.

Last week, Pretoria’s legal team argued in its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague that Netanyahu’s recent invocations of the Amalekites were a call for the mass murder of Palestinian civilians.

“Among the absurdities leveled against Israel at The Hague was the charge that after the October 7th massacre, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incited genocide by quoting the biblical phrase ‘Remember what Amalek did to you,'” the statement from Netanyahu’s office begins.

“This false and preposterous charge reflects a deep historical ignorance,” it continues.

“The Amalekites mercilessly attacked the Children of Israel after the Exodus from Egypt. The comparison to Amalek has been used throughout the ages to designate those who seek to eradicate the Jewish people, most recently the Nazis.

“That is why the words on a banner in a permanent exhibit at Yad Vashem, Israel’s famed Holocaust Museum, urge visitors to ‘Remember what Amalek did to you.’ This same phrase appears in The Hague at the memorial for Dutch Jews murdered during the Holocaust. Obviously, neither reference is an incitement to genocide of the German people.

The Holocaust Memorial to Dutch Jews murdered by the Nazis, in The Hague, Netherlands, with the Amalek biblical phrase. Credit: Hague Municipality.

“So too, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reference to Amalek was not an incitement to genocide of Palestinians, but a description of the utterly evil actions perpetrated by the genocidal terrorists of Hamas on October 7th and the need to confront them,” the statement concludes.

On Oct. 7, approximately 3,000 Hamas terrorist forced their way across the Israel-Gaza border, murdering some 1,200 persons, mostly civilians, wounding thousands more and taking around 240 hostages back to Gaza. Israel responded by initiating a military campaign to end the threat from Hamas in Gaza.

In late December, Pretoria submitted an 84-page charge to the ICJ in which it accused Israel of genocide. The trial began last week with the hearing of preliminary arguments. South Africa has also demanded an immediate end to the Israel Defense Forces’ offensive against Hamas.

Netanyahu on Saturday night marked 100 days of Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip by reiterating his vow to continue fighting until the Palestinian terrorist group is defeated.

“Today, we mark 100 days of the war, 100 days since the terrible day on which our citizens were massacred and taken hostage. We are continuing the war until the end—until total victory, until we achieve all of our goals: eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will never again constitute a threat to Israel,” said Netanyahu.

The premier then pivoted to the proceedings at The Hague.

“The hypocritical onslaught at The Hague against the state of the Jews that arose from the ashes of the Holocaust, at the behest of those who came to perpetrate another Holocaust against the Jews—is a moral low point in the history of nations,” said Netanyahu.

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