Middle East Eye / June 6, 2023
Gilad Zwick has called the US president ‘unfit’ for office and tapped into conspiracy theories about voter fraud in 2020.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a new press adviser who has had some choice words to say about social and political issues relating to Israel’s biggest ally, the United States.
Gilad Zwick, who previously worked at Channel 14 News and wrote columns for daily newspaper Israel Hayom, was appointed just last week, but has since spent much of his time distancing himself from comments made on his now-deleted Twitter account.
In those tweets, Zwick was heavily critical of US President Joe Biden, while peddling conspiracy theories about alleged voter fraud leading to the defeat of former President Donald Trump, and criticizing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
In a quickly deleted tweet last year, Zwick even falsely claimed that a senior Ukrainian military official had worn a swastika on a bracelet, and therefore “Israel is the last nation on earth that needs to sacrifice its vital interests for Ukraine”.
Zwick frequently waded in on right-wing talking points on social issues, particularly those relating to race and gender. Last year, he posted a video of a drag queen performing in a restaurant in Texas, accompanied by the tweet: “It’s all happening before the eyes of a little girl, as your eyes can see what’s happening to you, America?”
He has also spoken about gender and trans rights, tweeting last year that the Cambridge dictionary changing its definition of a woman to include trans women showed that “The West does not need to lose wars, it kills itself nicely alone.”
He accused social media organizations of declaring “war against the right’s freedom of expression” – with the notable exception of Twitter owner Elon Musk.
“Musk is changing the world with Tesla, but he may be remembered in the history books thanks to his holy work for freedom of expression,” Zwick said in December.
Middle East Eye breaks down Netanyahu’s new media aide’s stances on American politics.
Zwick has accused Biden of being “unfit” for office, and of “destroying America”.
In July, he tweeted: “The media is doing everything to hide Biden’s incompetence, yet the Chinese, Russians and Iranians are not stupid, they understand well that there is no leadership in Washington.”
He has also referred to the president as “Supreme Leader Biden”, in a comparison to Iran and North Korea, and referred to the US under his administration as the “Soviet Union of America”.
Zwick has criticized Biden’s economic record, too.
“Inflation is breaking records, fuel prices have jumped by 20% in the past year, electricity by 15% and basic food products have climbed by tens of percent, but Biden eats ice cream and declares that the economy under him is ‘crazy strong’,” he said in October last year.
“This is the man [former Prime Minister Yair] Lapid entrusts Israel’s security to, and at his request wants to hand over our territorial waters to Hezbollah,” he said in reference to a US-brokered maritime deal signed by Israel and Lebanon.
He stated that Biden was causing “enormous economic damage” to America “in the name of climate change”, and accused the president of “lying” about gas prices. He claimed that Biden had said gas prices had fallen during his term by misrepresenting the price when he was sworn in as president.
“He learned from Lapid how to deal with failure: lying that you are successful,” Zwick said. In a follow-up tweet, he referred to Biden’s party as the “Saudi democrats”.
“Biden offered a sort of bribery deal to the Saudis – to postpone the cut in oil (which will raise gas prices) until after the mid-term elections in the US, to help the Saudi Democrats. The ridiculousness of the Democrats,” he said.
In response to criticism over the tweets on Biden, Zwick tweeted on Monday: “I was a private citizen when I wrote the tweets about President Biden. I don’t hold those views today and I will act in a completely professional manner in the Prime Minister’s Office.”
He deleted his Twitter account shortly afterwards.
Trump election conspiracy theories
Following Biden’s election victory in 2020, Zwick shared conspiratorial tweets alleging that voter fraud had led to Trump’s defeat.
He retweeted a post that alleged that fake ballots were being taken out of suitcases in Georgia, and said workers had “counted 18,000 votes” more than Biden had defeated Trump by in the state.
He alleged that in Michigan, where Biden won by over 150,000 votes, workers had testified under oath that there was voter fraud, including “persuasion of voters to vote for Biden and duplicate ballots”.
Zwick also shared allegations against Dominion Voting Systems (DVS), a company that sells electronic voting hardware and software, which won a lawsuit against Fox News in April over its spreading of conspiracy theories about DVS machines used during the 2020 presidential election.
“Dominion representatives recanted and refused to appear before Pennsylvania lawmakers about the security of their machines,” Zwick said days after the presidential vote. “What do they have to hide?”
Fox News will pay more than $787m to Dominion, after a settlement was agreed two months ago.
Zwick said that those who “question the legitimacy of Biden as president” are treated as if they were equal to 9/11 conspiracy theorists.
He has also posted lengthy Twitter threads detailing “alleged evidence of Joe Biden’s corruption and exploitation of his position”, relating to data obtained from a laptop belonging to the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Black Lives Matter criticism
As well as electoral politics, Zwick has waded in on social issues, including on racism and police brutality in America.
In a section of the article under the subheading “The problem of the blacks is the blacks”, Zwick said that BLM activists held “total disregard” for the “culture of murder rampant in black neighbourhoods”, adding that black people killing other black people was a larger issue than killings at the hands of police.
Elsewhere in the article, in a section titled “Muslims are the new blacks”, he claimed that BLM rallies included “organizations considered to be supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US”.
He cited the founder of the mainstream Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group, which he said the FBI had “exposed” as an “open arm” for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, citing right-wing news website Breitbart as the source.
He also noted the solidarity expressed by BLM campaigners with Palestinians living under occupation.
“BLM members, who present themselves as lovers of peace, equality and justice, do not bother to condemn the cold-blooded murder of Israeli citizens by Palestinian terrorists,” he said. “The truth is, it’s hard to expect those who don’t really care about black lives in the US to show empathy for the lives of Jews in Israel.”