Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments Tuesday about Israeli Arabs “coming out in droves” -- a statement intended to push Netanyahu’s supporters to vote -- has been met with both criticism and snark. Israeli Arab political parties have used both to slam Netanyahu’s remarks, which were also derided as racist by left-wing parties that Netanyahu accused of busing Israeli Arabs to the polls.
Memes of Netanyahu as Eddard “Ned” Stark from “Game of Thrones” and as American patriot Paul Revere cropped up on social media in response to the Israeli prime minister’s remarks. As shown below, both memes played on Netanyahu’s comments.
â€” Neetzan Zimmerman (@neetzan) March 17, 2015
THE ARABS ARE VOTING!! THE ARABS ARE VOTING!! pic.twitter.com/70YjUpwXUP
â€” Hebron James (@HebronJames) March 17, 2015
The Netanyahu-Ned Stark meme was retweeted by Hadash, a far-left party headed by Arab Israeli politician Ayman Odeh.
The Israeli prime minister’s comment spurred outrage by the Zionist Union, an alliance between the Labor and Hatnuah parties. “No other Western leader would dare utter such a racist remark,” Zionist Union member Shelly Yachimovich said on Twitter, according to the New York Times. “Imagine a warning that starts, ‘Our rule is in danger, black voters are streaming in quantity to the polling stations.’”
Netanyahu’s Facebook page posted a video Tuesday afternoon that invoked high Arab Israeli turnout in an effort to boost the Likud party’s standing in the polls. "The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out,” Netanyahu said, according to an English translation in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “Get out to vote, bring your friends and family, vote Likud in order to close the gap between us and Labor."
In the run-up to the election, memes have also sprouted up depicting Netanyahu’s main rival, Labor party leader Isaac Herzog, as either a superhero or a baby, depending on whether the meme creator is a supporter or believes the perception that Herzog is weak.
A pro-Herzog Facebook page superimposed photos of his head with characters from “The Avengers” and as the "Terminator." One post takes aim at Herzog’s critics with a photo of him in a Hannibal Lecter mask with the caption in Hebrew that said, “Not a baby anymore.”
The other Facebook page includes pictures of Herzog either looking like a girl or a baby, including one where his head was superimposed on the body of a girl wearing a pink fleece hoodie and matching gloves and earmuffs while Netanyahu placed his hand on Herzog’s shoulder.