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Left in Frenzy over MK's Pro-McCarthy Statement

Leftists in Israel are aflutter after MK Ofir Akunis of Likud says Sen. Joe McCarthy "was right in every word he said."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/5/2011, 9:53 AM

MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) caused a frenzy among Israel's leftists when he said that Sen. Joseph McCarthy was "right in every word he said." Akunis was responding to an interviewer who mentioned McCarthy in a debate regarding Akunis's bill limiting donations by foreign countries to political NGOs.

The media was aflutter over the statement, as were leftist politicians. "Akunis is not alone," said Meretz's Zehava Gal-On. "His dangerous legislation and his McCarthyist perceptions, in which all criticism is seen as damaging the state, is part of the evil wind of violent nationalism that is blowing from the government and threatening free thought in Israel."

She accused Akunis of being a "pogromist" who wants to hurt the left and delegitimize human rights groups.

MK Akunis said that he did not mean to give sweeping justification to all of McCarthy's actions. "The interviewers mentioned Hillary Clinton's criticism of the laws that passed in the Knesset. I said that in the US there is a much more restrictive law called the Foreign Agent Act. Kirschenbaum said that there were indeed much worse things there like McCarthyism, and I answered that by the way, in some of the things McCarthy was right, because it turned out years later that there were indeed Soviet agents planted in the US."