‘NPR’ whitewashes Israeli rabbi the ‘Forward’ calls a ‘provocative bigot’

I can’t get enough of the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef story, of the press’s failure to talk about his racism. Here is a shocking obituary at NPR for the rabbi, by Bill Chappell. There’s no sense that he was a racist who rationalized genocide against Palestinians and who said Hurricane Katrina’s black victims brought it on themselves. Some NPR nuggets:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the Jewish people have lost one of the wisest men of this generation.”…

The New York Times gives us a sense of the man:

“Clad in his distinctive uniform of turban, gold-embroidered robe and dark glasses, etc.

There’s one little fragment of criticism, from NPR:

the outspoken rabbi also famously called several other leaders “evil” — including Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas.

Compare that to the obit in the Forward, the Jewish newspaper. It doesn’t foreground his racism, but it includes extensive quotations showing his intolerance. And here is a terrific remembrance at the Forward, by Aaron Magid, titled “Rav Ovadia Yosef was provocative bigot.”

At the same time, we should not be blinded by his political or religious importance to his shameful discriminatory language. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Yosef said black Americans brought the disaster on themselves.

“There are terrible natural disasters because there isn’t enough Torah study,” he said. “Black people reside there (in New Orleans) Blacks will study the Torah? (God said), ‘let’s bring a tsunami and drown them.”

The rabbi’s offensive talk was not limited to the African American community. In 2007, Yosef explained that some Israeli soldiers are killed in battle because they are not observant enough.

More at the link. Oh, but here’s Magid’s last paragraph, doing the most vital work of the eulogist, explaining who someone was, in full:

There is no doubt that Yosef was a key politician, especially for Sephardic religious Jews with roots in the Arab world. However, the understandable impulse to placate an important political base should not prevent Israeli leaders — and opinion leaders — from acknowledging Yosef’s true self. For the sake of black Americans, slain IDF soldiers, and Holocaust survivors, we must not forget.

The problem: How can the general press justify whitewashing a foreign Jewish extremist when Jews aren’t doing so, and some of them are citing the concerns of other members of a diverse American community? I believe the whitewashing demonstrates sensitivity to the sensibilities of a minority community, which is legitimate, but also an unconscious deference to the Israel lobby. (Yosef was an Israeli, remember. The analogies to Jerry Falwell are therefore not fully apt.)

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 67 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Citizen says:

    How about sensitivity to the majority community around the world, and making up 98% of the American population? Yosef declared Gentiles were put on earth to serve the Jews, which POV mirrors precisely what the Nazis said was the Jewish agenda.

    As pointed out by csmonitor.com:

    In 2010 he said in a weekly Saturday night sermon that the sole purpose God put non-Jews on earth was to be servants to Jews.

    “Goyim (gentiles, non-Jews) were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.” An “effendi” is a lord, or a master, in Arabic.
    link to csmonitor.com

    • hophmi says:

      So is the Christian Science Monitor MSM? Yes. So let’s stop the nonsense about the MSM isn’t covering this story.

      “The US media has no problem criticizing Pat Roberson, but they let this slide? go figure.”

      Is Ovadia Yosef American? No. So why would his death be a major story in the US? Most people know who Pat Robertson is. He is on TV every day. Virtually no one knows who Ovadia Yosef.

      You’re just grasping at straws.

      • Cliff says:

        It doesn’t matter whether he is American or not.

        He is a prominent figure.

        But he’s Jewish and a Zionist.

        Robertson can be attacked because he is primarily Christian and ‘White’ – both identities that do not have an equivalent tribal identity (Jewish) presence that will attack all detractors.

        Christians are more individualistic so they don’t think about the mothership as much as Zionist Jews.

        • RoHa says:

          “He is a prominent figure.”

          If I didn’t keep a close eye on the I/P issue, I would never have heard of him. I’m pretty sure that most people in the world either still haven’t heard of him, or have only just heard of him through the obituaries.

      • Chu says:

        “The US media has no problem criticizing Pat Roberson, but they let this slide? go figure.”

        I said that, but your referencing Citizen. I know you see us all as one evil mass, but try to address the person who wrote it, clown.

        If any media goon, worth his salt, did their research, they would see his death as a controversial figure. Instead they whitewash it. And furthermore, if he is going to lob comments about American Blacks not studying the Torah and infer that God aims to drown them in a Tsumani (Tsunamis are only in the Pacific) he definitely deserves as much criticism, if not more, than Robertson.

        We give Israel money and Weapons to survive each year, which could be sent to black communities that are starving for growth and development, you swine. Grasp at straws? go smoke your ___ pipe…

        • hophmi says:

          Oh, it’s because the US gives money to the Israelis? You want to play this game with Egyptian clerics at Al-Ahzar?

          You’re in a very large glass house, Chu.

          “We give Israel money and Weapons to survive each year, which could be sent to black communities that are starving for growth and development, you swine.”

          Yes, I’m sure that’s why money isn’t going to Black community, Chu. It’s the Joos, you filthy demagogue.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “It’s the Joos, you filthy demagogue.”

          Is this what you’re reduced to??? LMAO.

        • talknic says:

          hophmi “Yes, I’m sure that’s why money isn’t going to Black community, Chu. It’s the Joos, you filthy demagogue.”

          hophmi immediately conflates Israel and “Joos”. It’s so pathetic.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “hophmi immediately conflates Israel and “Joos”. It’s so pathetic.”

          When zionists run out of substance, they always run back to libeling their opponents with this slander. It’s mostly why the call that something is antisemitism is increasingly being seen as a joke.

        • Chu says:

          ‘It’s the Joos’ – keep on digging your own hole.

          Man, all you do here is play defense. Tell us something positive about Israel in their quest for peace with their neighbors? If you are so worried about Israel’s decline, why don’t you work to change it instead of bash the millions of critics that have valid points. You’re a loner who wants other to believe that your passionate about defending what should not be defended. So what…You’re not changing hearts & minds, only angering more people with ridiculous sentiment.

          Your tact has steadily declined over the years, but you can’t seem to stop the winds of change, and how so many are fully recognizing Israel’s unwillingness to make peace and create dissent. It’s not your problem, but you want to go down with the ship, then so be it.

          Even when some article comes out, you don’t have to forsight or courage to say for example that Ovadia has some serious racist sentiment. Instead you defend him and wear the egg. I don’t know – keep digging if you must.

        • hophmi says:

          “Man, all you do here is play defense.”

          Well, I have a hundred extremists attacking me, so it comes with the territory.

          “Tell us something positive about Israel in their quest for peace with their neighbors?”

          Ah, you wouldn’t believe it or you’d be sarcastic, so why should I bother?

          “If you are so worried about Israel’s decline, why don’t you work to change it instead of bash the millions of critics that have valid points. ”

          I do, all the time. The points critics make in places, old stuff about how Jews control the political process and financial markets, is not valid.

          ” You’re a loner who wants other to believe that your passionate about defending what should not be defended. ”

          I’m only a loner here, because I’m in the minority. In America at large, I’m certainly not a loner.

          “So what…You’re not changing hearts & minds, only angering more people with ridiculous sentiment. ”

          No, I’m working to make sure that the pro-Palestinian movement isn’t infected by myths and antisemitism.

          “Even when some article comes out, you don’t have to forsight or courage to say for example that Ovadia has some serious racist sentiment.”

          No, once again, I’ve said that several times, but your mind seems too simple to countenance the complex idea that the man could express both racist and bigoted sentiments AND be loved by some for other reasons not having to do those sentiments. That’s a lesson I would think pro-Palestinian activists would be quick to embrace, given the statements of some Palestinian and other Arab clerics.

      • Ecru says:

        @ Hoppy

        “Is Ovadia Yosef American?”

        What a stupid question. No he wasn’t, what does that matter. The US press and the International Press routinely report on the deaths of important figures from other countries. Pope John Paul II was Polish – his death still got reported in the US press, the investiture of an Archbishop of Canterbury was also reported. And Ayatollah Khomeini? Yep. His death was reported too.

        What a pathetic attempt you made there Hoppy. Hasbara obviously isn’t what it used to be.

        • Theo says:

          The good rabbi was also known for more such pleasant remarks, like:

          “Killing a goyim is not a crime”.

          ” For jews a donkey has more value than a goyim”.

          etc., etc., may satan grill him forever.

        • hophmi says:

          ” Pope John Paul II was Polish – his death still got reported in the US press”

          Gee, I can’t think of any difference between the Pope and Ovadia Yosef. Other than that the Pope is the religious leader of well over a billion people, including nearly 80 million American Catholics, and Ovadia is one religious leaders beloved by a few hundred thousand people. Nope, no difference in fame or reach or worldwide relevance.

          “the investiture of an Archbishop of Canterbury was also reported.”

          See my comment above. There are a few Episcopalians in the United States.

          ” And Ayatollah Khomeini? Yep. His death was reported too.”

          Yell Death to America on a regular basis and hold Americans hostage for a year, and you too can have your death reported in the American press.

          If we’re just talking about reporting death, the American press certainly did report Ovadia Yosef’s death.

        • Ecru says:

          @Hoppy

          Do you have to work at being so thick? Surely such excess can not exist in nature. No don’t worry I know you’re being deliberately obtuse (aka dishonest as usual. Well you are a Zionist).

          “Nope, no difference in fame or reach or worldwide relevance.”

          Equal to a Pope of course not, don’t be silly. Much as I personally loathed JPII he was a tad more erudite than this pathetic excuse. But Yosef WAS as important to many Jews as any Pope was to Catholics. Which is a bit of a problem considering his rancid views. And you obviously have NO idea how redundant an Anglican archbishop is. Which is hilarious. As for the Ayatollah – it’s funny. Scream “death to America” you think it’s newsworthy, scream “death to all non-Jews” and you think it’s perfectly normal, even (I hazard to guess) acceptable. However the bigoted little piece of cr** was commonly portrayed as a “King Maker” in a state that destabilises the entire planet, is constantly calling for WWIII and that enjoys 100% cover from the USA no matter what it does. He was also a firm believer in (non-Jewish of course) genocide. No, of course he was completely irrelevant and his views shouldn’t be reported on. Why the very thought.

          Basically what you’re saying is that since there aren’t as many Jews as there are Catholics, Judaism is therefore unimportant and that it’s unfair to report the viler aspects of this repugnant little toads life. No matter how influential he was in Israeli politics and religion.

          Another pathetic attempt from Hoppy here. But isn’t it interesting, a Zionist saying Judaism is basically a complete irrelevance to the wider world. Even if he didn’t have the wit to understand that’s what he was saying. Poor dear.

        • hophmi says:

          ” But Yosef WAS as important to many Jews as any Pope was to Catholics.”

          Hardly. But let’s take the point for argument’s sake.

          “Which is a bit of a problem considering his rancid views.”

          Again, hardly, unless you can show that it’s his rancid views that people loved. You can’t, so the point of your bringing it up is just to tell a story about how some Jew had rancid views.

          ” Scream “death to America” you think it’s newsworthy, scream “death to all non-Jews” and you think it’s perfectly normal”

          Well, first of all, Ovadia Yosef didn’t scream death to non-Jews. Second of all, when he did make his rancid comments about non-Jews, it wasn’t to a large crowd of people who repeated them over and over again, and it certainly wasn’t in his capacity as a head of state. So your comparison is ridiculous.

          “He was also a firm believer in (non-Jewish of course) genocide.”

          Oh please. Because he said a not-nice thing about the Arabs and about how Israelis should kill them without mercy? Since you guys are so big on Iranian mistranslation, perhaps you should apply the same rules here, since his handlers went out of their way to explain that he was talking about terrorists, not all Arabs.

          Given his well-known views on land-for-peace, that seems much closer to his meaning. But I know your game.

          “No, of course he was completely irrelevant and his views shouldn’t be reported on.”

          His views have been reported on by the CSM and others, particularly sources in the Jewish community like Times of Israel. In the overall scheme of things, he’s irrelevant compared to someone like the Pope.

          Listen, Ecru, I know you’re in the cult here, but really, outside the cult, no one agrees with you on stuff like this.

        • Ecru says:

          @ Hoppy

          Hardly as important as the Pope to many Jews? Did you not see the coverage of his funeral? A million people seem to disagree with you there Hoppy. And that’s not including the ones who couldn’t for whatever reason make it.

          Can I show they all turned up because of his rancid views? No. But they did show up despite them. Which strongly implies his rancid views weren’t a problem for these people. Which in itself is a bit of a problem. It’s as if Catholics showed up for the funeral of a child molesting priest. Maybe they didn’t show up because he molested children, but to do so in spite of his molestation would hint pretty strongly that they didn’t see it as the problem it should be.

          ..the point of your bringing it up is just to tell a story about how some Jew had rancid views.

          Still trying to get that antisemitic bird off the ground I see. You might want to try that with a bird that isn’t a long dead fossil there Hoppy. The point of bringing it up is that a man described as a King Maker in Israeli politics, a powerful political player and religious leader in Israel had such views and they’re being whitewashed in the MSM.

          ..when he did make his rancid comments about non-Jews, it wasn’t to a large crowd of people who repeated them over and over again..

          He didn’t speak his views in front of a large crowd? Although they were disseminated far and wide on paper so that makes it OK does it? And the crowd didn’t repeat them? They didn’t chant them in public but again that million person funeral is pretty problematic. As for his being head of state – neither was Kissinger. Do you honestly think that when that piece of **** dies people won’t mention things he did and said? And before you try and (and I know you will) the Rabbi was the spiritual leader of a powerful part of the Israeli Jewish political landscape. A part that (thanks to Israel’s insane voting system) could make or break ruling coalitions.

          he said a not-nice thing about the Arabs..

          HEY! You CAN do understatement. Well done.

          Since you guys are so big on Iranian mistranslation, perhaps you should apply the same rules here, since his handlers went out of their way to explain that he was talking about terrorists, not all Arabs.

          Sorry to break it to you Hoppy but I never give much credence to “handlers” after all, their job is to “handle” things. And that went for Ahmedinejad too. I listened to independent experts on Farsi in that case and came to the conclusion that the guy was still a nutjob. So far, as reported in Haaretz (and I’m pretty sure they know Hebrew) Yosef said:

          “All these evil people should perish from this world … God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians

          That last bits a kicker because it doesn’t limit things to people fighting Israel but includes ALL Palestinians. BUT if you can find an independent translation of what he said that back up your claim I’ll see about modifying my views.

    • Krauss says:

      I’d only add this:

      We have to keep in mind that the racist rabbi got the biggest state funeral in Israeli history, bar none. If he is such a racist, journalists fear that will lead to the inevitable question: what does the most mourned political figure in Israel today say about that country if he is a pro-genocidal fanatic?. The implications are clear, and as Phil says, there’s self-censorship.

      The racist rabbi casts a long, dark shadow on the by-now well-entrenched racism in Israel and his massive popularity moves to the foreground that his racism is shared by many within Israel.

      • Cliff says:

        The Racist Rabbi reflects Israeli racism.

        To criticize the Racist Rabbi openly and/or discuss his commentary w/ a panel or something on TV would put too many dents in the pro-Israel narrative stranglehold.

      • hophmi says:

        “The racist rabbi casts a long, dark shadow on the by-now well-entrenched racism in Israel and his massive popularity moves to the foreground that his racism is shared by many within Israel.”

        You’re just an anti-Jewish bigot exploiting the story because you’d like to see more negative stories about Judaism in the press. You’re transparent. And you’re an idiot, because it would be like shooting fish in a barrel to exploit the deaths of Islamist clerics in the way you’re exploiting Yosef’s death.

        • just says:

          Do you also defend Kahane, hophmi?

          Do you revere him as well? You know, in private?

        • Ecru says:

          You’re here defending non-discussion of the role of a bigot religious leader in a bigoted nation and you have the gall to call somebody else a bigot? Thanks for the laugh.

          Now let’s look at what Cliff wrote:

          “The Racist Rabbi reflects Israeli racism……..dents in the pro-Israel narrative…”

          No mention of Jews, just of a nation-state. And yet, you respond with….

          “You’re just an anti-Jewish bigot……you’d like to see more negative stories about Judaism in the press.”

          Again, Cliff didn’t use the word or even imply Jew/Jewish/Judaism and yet you accuse him of bigotry (in a clear case of projection) even though he’s clearly criticised a polity not all people who share the (artificially) dominant ethnicity of that polity.

          Just for your info though I for one would LOVE to see more negative stories in the press about Judaism. Loony Muslims and Christians get all the lime-light, let’s make room for equal-opportunity loonyism shall we. Maybe they could start by doing an interview with you.

        • hophmi says:

          “Just for your info though I for one would LOVE to see more negative stories in the press about Judaism. ”

          I know that, believe me. That, along with your belief in the myth that Jews are getting some kind of easy ride, is what makes you the bigot that you are. You’re not the only one here that feels this way. But I appreciate your honesty.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “I know that, believe me. That, along with your belief in the myth that Jews are getting some kind of easy ride, is what makes you the bigot that you are. You’re not the only one here that feels this way. But I appreciate your honesty.”

          Seriously, what do you think you’re accomplishing? You wrench Ecru’s comment out of context to make it appear to be anti-semitic, but in the post immediately above yours, it’s clear he is talking about Looney Jewish clerics like the racist Yosef, and not making any kind of bigoted statement about Jews. So, really, what do you hope to accomplish with such ham-handed attempts at slander?

      • Danaa says:

        On the funeral – it was supposedly attended by 700,000 people. That’s more than 10% of all the jewish citizens of israel. If the Mizrahi population is 30%, not all of whom are Shas followers, why, that’s 1/3 of the total. one might as well assume that quite a few ashkenazi attended as well.

        The problem with eulogizing Ovadia Yosef is that, beyond acting like an Ayatollah, issuing Fatwas, edicts and accepting accolades, he presided over one of the biggest rackets in Israel, one that is corrupt beyond measure, yet rules over the lives of so many. It’s not for nothing that Shas political personalities ended up in jail for racketeering etc (though that is hardly unusual for israeli politicians).

        Shas and Ovadia are a microcosm of much that ails the israeli enterprise at its core – when all is said and done, it’s about “let me have mine now”. Shas is just a vehicle for at least a few Mizrahis, who feel – justifiably – much excluded from the israeli goodies at the center table, to get a little piece of the pie, plus a bit of revenge, with a smidgen of pride thrown in. Shas and the ostnesibly-religious apparatus it has grown act much as Hamas and the muslim brotherhood do. In fact they are a direct jewish analogy to the latter – it’s been all along a system based on patronage – almost feudal in practice – where a large chunk of the population, typically more disadvantaged and less educated, can get some help – one that’s hardly forthcoming from the state. In return, these people become devout, almost fanatic followers of the religious organization, cloaking themselves in reverence of their “spiritual” leaders, acting as a single united movement, papering over the many divisions underneath.

        It was, BTW, my opinion that were the Muslim brotherhood allowed to stay in charge of Egypt, propelled there by the unity of their followers, they would end up much as Shas would, were they in charge of israeli coalitions. Both would act like the mafia (or the vatican of old, take your pick), dispensing favors and meting out punishments as needed to consolidate their rule, using religion as cover. Just something to think about….

        • Elliot says:

          @Danaa it’s been all along a system based on patronage – almost feudal in practice – where a large chunk of the population, typically more disadvantaged and less educated, can get some help – one that’s hardly forthcoming from the state.

          I think you are right in your analysis of the “feudal” system. Shas people would say they are doing nothing that Ashkenazi Jews weren’t doing for decades. The State of Israel was sectarian for many years, during which time, Sephardi Jews were given crumbs off the table. Shas (like Hamas) show up the failure of the secular state to provide for all.

          In return, these people become devout, almost fanatic followers of the religious organization, cloaking themselves in reverence of their “spiritual” leaders, acting as a single united movement, papering over the many divisions underneath.

          There appears to be a contradiction here. Do you think they are “devout and fanatical” or are they just dissembling in a manipulative manner? Many Shasnikim are religiously devout, or at least respectful of religiosity, and also loyal to the party that feeds them. There’s no necessary contradiction there. And likely, the people at the top are papering over differences and seeking to harness “the people” to build up their own power. Just like other political outfits.

    • seafoid says:

      I think effendi is Turkish. All of that jewish destiny stuff implicitly takes the holocaust as component of jewish fate and implies that those who were murdered industrially were sacrificed for Israel. And that is abhorrent.

  2. hophmi says:

    “The problem: How can the general press justify whitewashing a foreign Jewish extremist when Jews aren’t doing so, and some of them are citing the concerns of other members of a diverse American community?”

    I’m curious: which bothers you more, the comments about Israeli soldiers dying because they were not observant enough or the comment about Blacks in New Orleans? Because the press is whitewashing his comments about other Jews just as much as they are whitewashing his comments on Blacks, and you only seem to be emphasizing the latter.

    • Cliff says:

      Who cares WHAT they are whitewashing specifically.

      It’s all bad. They won’t focus on any of it. They will just nod, take their paycheck and say he was a very good person (when he is a racist scumbag that Zionists like you worship).

      • hophmi says:

        “They will just nod, take their paycheck and say he was a very good person”

        Please quote me all US MSM sources who said that Ovadia Yosef was a “very good person.”

        • Cliff says:

          Sure, as soon as you quote Krauss saying so-and-so hateful Islamist cleric was not just a hateful Islamist cleric.

          Quid pro quo, hoppy.

          I asked you first after all.

          But it is true I cannot find someone in the MSM, saying the exact words: “very good person.”

          I did find a WPost article that said so between the lines:

          link to washingtonpost.com

          The article highlights none of his comments on Katrina or ‘the goyim’ or Muslims but emphasizes his achievements for his tribe:

          Considered an outstanding Jewish scholar in his teens

          He made some of his biggest waves by ruling that Israel may give back parts of the West Bank in exchange for peace, invoking the Jewish concept that preserving life is the highest commandment.

          His prominence helped boost the confidence of his community

          His devotion to empowering disenfranchised Sephardim and to religious scholarship

          Blah blah blah.

          It’s total bullshit. Not a single quotation of his hateful statements about Muslims and ‘goyim’.

          And of course the NPR article above.

    • Krauss says:

      Tell me, dear readers of Mondoweiss, is anyone at all surprised that hophmi comes out defending this racist bigot?

      • hophmi says:

        “Tell me, dear readers of Mondoweiss, is anyone at all surprised that hophmi comes out defending this racist bigot?”

        Is anyone surprised that my argument that Ovadia Yosef’s veneration in Israel has little to do with his bigoted statements, and my condemnation of those statements, is cast by this bigot, Krauss, as a “defense”?

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Is anyone surprised that my argument that Ovadia Yosef’s veneration in Israel has little to do with his bigoted statements”

          You don’t get it, do you? The fact that nearly a million people — one out of every 7.5 Jews in the country — came out for the funeral of this racist bigot IS THE STORY.

          The excuses offered as to why they venerate him are irrelevant, because they venerate him. You’re like a defender of a bunch of train enthusist gushing about Mussolini, saying, “All the bad things you’re pointing out about Mussolini are irrelevant; they love him because he made the trains run on time.”

        • Bumblebye says:

          hophmi

          As Woody said:

          “The fact that nearly a million people — one out of every 7.5 Jews in the country — came out for the funeral of this racist bigot IS THE STORY. ”

          These people are Yosef’s FOLLOWERS, they BELIEVE as he told them. NEARLY A MILLION RACISTS! And that’s only ONE kind of Israeli racist!

      • Danaa says:

        Absolutely not, Krauss. Some things in this life really ARE predictable. may be there’s a weird comfort in that?

        Admit it, were hophmi to change his tune, even a little, that would throw us all off big time – it’d be like the oil companies going all benevolent for a day. Or like Washington actually functioning for a week. Or a study coming out that definitely proves that creme puffs are actually really good for you.

        You listening hophmi?

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “Tell me, dear readers of Mondoweiss, is anyone at all surprised that hophmi comes out defending this racist bigot?”

        Good rule of thumb to resolve such questions: If the racist bigot in question is Jewish, hoppy will defend him.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “I’m curious: which bothers you more, the comments about Israeli soldiers dying because they were not observant enough or the comment about Blacks in New Orleans?”

      Only a monster would say that they are equivalent or that the first is more disgusting than the second. The uniformed terrorists were engaging in war crimes; the people in New Orleans were innocent.

    • hophmi- I will address you, even though I basically agree with you, rather than those who are attacking you, even though most of my comments are aimed towards them.

      Yosef built his career much earlier in his life than his racist comments. Shas was established in 1984. And most of his racist comments are from the last 20 years.

      As I wrote in a different thread, the censor in his mind predeceased him by some 20 years. In fact his wife predeceased him by 19 years and it is not unreasonable to expect a man like Yosef to depend on his wife to keep his statements more palatable to the wider world.

      An analogy: when a father dies we mourn, even if the father was a racist, but certainly even if in his last years the father let his mouth talk without censorship. With a rabbi of Yosef’s influence, to compare him to a father is not outlandish. A rabbi is a type of father and Yosef’s death I’m sure struck many Sephardic (Mizrachi) Jews in Israel like the death of a father.

      (Another analogy: many Catholics who disagreed with Pope John Paul II on issues of gender and homosexuality and even abortion, I’m sure mourned at his death and felt a great loss.) People raised without religion and disdainful of religion cannot accept that religious male leaders are a type of surrogate fathers for the faithful and even for the nostalgic/semi-faithful.

      The racism that exists in Israel is a real problem. The respect given to Yosef in his death really does not shine a light on this problem. It is a sign that many respected Yosef for his accomplishments. The fact that many of those who mourned have no “problem” with Yosef’s racist statements might be worthy of mention, but it is not THE story. And only people who have no idea what a rabbi, or a pope represents to their flock, would consider Yosef’s racism as THE story.

      You people have no idea what organized religion is even about other than to condemn it. Then when you discuss the religious splits in the Arab world and the future of the Arab world, we are supposed to take you at face value, when you have no idea what these predominantly traditional cultures are even about. You only know your own secular culture and we are supposed to respect your opinions regarding a culture that’s totally foreign to you!

      • Ecru says:

        @ yrn

        So what you’re saying is you don’t have a problem with his racist thoughts, just that he didn’t censor them for public consumption for the last 20 years of his miserable life. Nice.

        As for “respecting your religious culture” funnily enough I’ve no respect for ANY bigoted dolt who uses their religion to justify their hate and wild xenophobia be that a Fundamentalist Christian, a Taliban militiaman, a Hindu Nationalist or a Zionist Jew.

        What YOU don’t get is that religious leadership is not an excuse it’s a responsibility.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        Stop making excuses for the bigot. It makes you bad as him. Face it, Mr. Yosef was nothing but a con man who could only keep up the scam for so long before he let his real self — with its black heart of racism — shine through.

        • hophmi says:

          “So what you’re saying is you don’t have a problem with his racist thoughts, just that he didn’t censor them for public consumption for the last 20 years of his miserable life.”

          Ecru, I’m done with you on this topic. You’ve intentionally distorted what I said several times now.

          “Face it, Mr. Yosef was nothing but a con man who could only keep up the scam for so long before he let his real self — with its black heart of racism — shine through.”

          Yep, you’ve got it. He was a “con man” (eye roll).

          I guess that describes Islamic clerics when they talk about Jews. They’re just “con men”. It’s actually quite reminiscent of the apologetics one hears from some Muslims when they’re actually confronted with the statements of some of these people or the acts of terrorists – they’re “not real Muslims.”

          Oh well, continue orientalizing, Woody.

  3. Chu says:

    Blacks will study the Torah? (God said), ‘let’s bring a tsunami and drown them.”

    The US media has no problem criticizing Pat Roberson, but they let this slide? go figure.

  4. seafoid says:

    Yosef was straight out of the middle ages. All of this evil and people bringing disaster upon themselves. He probably said the same about everyone murdered at Auschwitz. Poor sephardim are kept ignorant so medieval bigots like Yosef call the shots. The votes are delivered to shas and pork barrel goodies are negotiated while secular jews pay the bills.

    The religious sephardim are very like northern ireland’s protestant working class. Shafted for so long by their leaders and middle class co religionists. Totally cut off from globalised tech and info flows. They will be first in line for “adjustment” when the system collapses.

    • Marco says:

      Is this simply a case of sephardic backwardness? I don’t know about that.

      Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch made racist pronouncements similar to Ovadia Yosef’s.

    • piotr says:

      Ashkenazi Orthodox clergy seems to be more backward than Sephardim. The latter are not really segregated away from Ashkenazi, and the proportion of intermarriage is quite high (although not as high as for Jews-non Jews in USA, the rate of intermarriage is similar with American Democrats and Republican).

      By the way, today headline: The Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot reported the call to prayer [of prominent Ashkenazi rabbis] under the headline, “Rabbis: Pray for Failure of Peace Talks.”

      • Theo says:

        piotr

        “intermarriage between american democrats and republicans”.

        Now, that is really new to me, I never realized that young couples must agree before marriage not only on religion, but also on political views.
        Do you think a New England lad can marry a California gal, or that is the next step of separation? No intermarriages between the states!

        • piotr says:

          This is not by law, but clearly, by social contacts. Actually, a study showed that young couples in USA agree on politics more often than on religion.

  5. Taxi says:

    This is what my friends and I did when we heard that Ovadia had gone to the place where no one wears sunglasses:

  6. Stogumber says:

    hophmi asks:
    “I’m curious: which bothers you more, the comments about Israeli soldiers dying because they were not observant enough or the comment about Blacks in New Orleans?”

    Personally, as a goy, I was mostly bothered by something else:

    “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”
    “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.”
    According to Yosef, death has “no dominion” over non-Jews in Israel.
    “With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.”

    (link to haaretz.com)

    • hophmi says:

      Good, be bothered. I know literally no Jew who thinks that way.

      It’s threads like this that define this site as an anti-Jewish site, rather than a pro-Palestinian one.

    • Rusty Pipes says:

      Ovadia’s statement about the purpose of gentiles gives another layer of meaning to the SNL fellate-a-donkey-for-Israel sketch:

      “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.”
      According to Yosef, death has “no dominion” over non-Jews in Israel.
      “With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.

  7. RE: “I can’t get enough of the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef story, of the press’s failure to talk about his racism.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Yosef, other ultra-Orthodox rabbis and their followers must be lauded because “without [them], secular Israelis have no better claim to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea than the Palestinians do. . .”*

    *SEE: “Why no Israeli government will ever impose mandatory IDF service on the ultra-Orthodox”, By Steven A. Cook, +972blog, 1/19/13
    Compulsory military service for yeshiva students is a popular issue for secular politicians. But Shas and other Orthodox parties will continue to get their way on this issue, partly because of Israel’s fragmented electoral system, but also largely because Zionism depends on the haredim for its raison d’être.

    [EXC ERPT] Although compulsory military service for yeshiva students is popular among Israelis and thus a good issue for secular politicians, Shas and other Orthodox parties will continue to get their way on conscription and a variety of other issues. That is the way it has been and likely the way it will continue to be. A good part of the explanation for this has to do with Israel’s electoral system, which can best be described as “disproportionate representation,” but there is something else going on that is at the heart of the Zionist project that gives the Haredim and other prominent religious voices far more sway than most Israelis prefer. Setting aside the gauzy images of secular sabras tilling fields, Paul Newman in Exodus, and more contemporary high-tech entrepreneurs who got their start in Unit 8200, the army’s intelligence unit, Israel is dependent on the Haredim. Not financially, of course, but without the likes of Yosef, other ultra-Orthodox rabbis and their followers, secular Israelis have no better claim to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea than the Palestinians do. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to 972mag.com

    • RE: Yosef, other ultra-Orthodox rabbis and their followers must be lauded because “without [them], secular Israelis have no better claim to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea than the Palestinians do. . .” – me (above), incorporating a quote from Steven Cook (also above)

      SEE: “New Study Shows Yeshiva University Researcher, Others Appear To Have Cooked The Genetic Books To ‘Prove’ Middle Eastern Origin Of The Jewish People When One May Not Really Exist”, by Shmarya Rosenberg, FailedMessiah.com, 12/29/12

      “My research refutes 40 years of genetic studies, all of which have assumed that the Jews constitute a group that is genetically isolated from other nations,” Dr. Eran Elhaik says.
      That’s because Jews were never genetically isolated
      , making those other studies fatally flawed and very often contradictory.
      Now Elhaik, in a study that is being called more profound than all of those that came before his combined, has exposed that fatal flaw and is the first to propose a viable way resolve those contradictions, Ha’aretz reports.
      The answer to the origin of the Jewish people Elhaik found is startling – for most of us, our Jewish origins really do begin with the Khazars, the Medieval central Asian people whose ruling elite (and perhaps its merchant class, as well) converted to Judaism.
      The 32-year-old does his work at the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. His study was published earlier this month as, “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses”, in the prestigious journal, ‘Genome Biology and Evolution’, which is published by Oxford University Press. This study is based on a complete analysis of the comprehensive genetic data published in preceding studies.
      But in the absence of genetic data for the long-lost Khazars themselves, Elhaik uses a procedure often used by researchers in his field – he used data from populations that are genetically similar to the Khazars, including Georgians, Armenians and Caucasians, populations that Elhaik says have all come from the same genetic soup.
      When doing so Elhaik discovered what he calls the Khazar component of European Jewry.
      According to his study’s findings, the dominant element in the genetic makeup of European Jews is Khazar. Among Central European Jews, this makes up the largest part of their genome, 38%. For East European Jews it does the same, at 30%.
      Elhaik found that European Jews genome is mostly Western European.
      “[They are] primarily of Western European origin, which is rooted in the Roman Empire, and Middle Eastern origin, whose source is probably Mesopotamia
      [a name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq, the northeastern section of Syria and to a lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran - J.L.D.], although it is possible that part of that component can be attributed to Israeli Jews,” he told Ha’aretz by phone from Maryland.
      That possibility is important because, if it turns out to be true, it could connect European Jews to Israel. However, even if it is true, that connection is only a tiny part of the overall genome, a percentage so small that it would reportedly not be statistically significant enough to show that the origin of the Jews is the Kingdom of Judah in the biblical Land of Israel. . . . .

      SOURCE – link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

  8. irmep says:

    There are times when broadcasting at NPR seems like a concerted effort of studied ignorance. The stream of WINEP pundits are never identified as working for an AIPAC think tank, b/c that might raise questions about why they are so prominently featured.

    I guess you have to have special investigative powers to figure it all out. e.g.:

    link to irmep.org

    • Kathleen says:

      About 10 years ago I had read quite a few pieces on line about former NPR employees who had filed cases in the D.C. courts against what they were referring to as the “pervasive cronyism” within NPR’s hierarchy. Most of these suits were I believe settled out of court. Then read that there had been a call for an outside investigation of NPR about these claims that was completed and then never released publicly.

      I was able to ask these questions of former NPR employee Juan Williams at a public talk at Ohio University. He said I had done my homework well and that the claims were not unfounded. Contacted the ombudsman at NPR at the time about the alleged investigation and report but never did get a reply about this question. I dropped the ball.

      You are so great at digging. Does this interest you at all?

  9. Nevada Ned says:

    In 2000, rabbi Ovadia Yosef described the Holocaust as God’s retribution against the reincarnated soul of Jewish sinners. “The six million Holocaust victims were reincarnations of the souls of sinners, people who transgressed and did all sorts of things that should not be done. They had been reincarnated in order to atone.” The Rabbi who voiced these thoughts was the Sephardi chief Rabbi of Israel, so he held a very high rank in the pecking order of rabbis.

    These remarks produced an uproar in Israel, especially among Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and the descendents of Holocaust victims..

    But Eli Yishai (chairman of Shas) defended Rabbi Yosef, explaining that “Hitler was a messenger sent to do God’s work before the arrival of the Messiah”

    Gosh, I did not know that!!

    In an October 2010 sermon, Yosef stated that “The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews”. He said that Gentiles served a divine purpose: “Why are Gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why Gentiles were created.” In the same article in The Jerusalem Post, according to the journalist who interviewed him, Yosef compared Gentiles to donkeys whose life has the sole purpose to serve the master.

    [These remarks were so extreme that they drew condemnation from the American Jewish Committee and also from the ADL.]

    Gee whiz, I learned an awful lot from the esteemed Rabbi. Because I’m a Gentile, God created me to serve Jews. I’m like a donkey. I did not know that either!!!!

    Source: Wikipedia

  10. Taxi says:

    People have gotten fired for praising the enemies of zionism:
    link to theguardian.com

    But if you praise the criminal zionist leaders, dead or alive, you get handsomely promoted (read congressional, senatorial and presidential elections).

  11. Taxi says:

    Ovadia as indulged juhadi?

  12. Theo says:

    Phil

    I keep wondering if Hophmi has the freedom of a court jester and can insult without consequences?
    Please look at his many comment above, full of personal insults, which, according to MW policy, is not allowed.

    • hophmi says:

      “Please look at his many comment above, full of personal insults, which, according to MW policy, is not allowed.”

      ROTFLMAO. I guess my comments are the only ones you read.

  13. Kathleen says:

    NPR is dominated by pro Israel (no matter what Israel does) Jews. Why would we expect anything else out of NPR than support for a Rabbi who was a bigot?

  14. “Unconscious deference to the Israel lobby”. By NPR et al. Very true indeed. And pathetic.

  15. hophmi says:

    “NPR is dominated by pro Israel (no matter what Israel does) Jews.”

    Really, NPR is “dominated by pro-Israel Jews.” You want to substantiate that, Kathleen? NPR is a huge, huge non-profit. Who are these pro-Israel Jews who “dominate” it? I’m all ears.

    Let’s go: List these Jews, tell me what evidence you have that they’re pro-Israel, and then tell me how they “dominate” NPR.

    After you finish with that, you can explain how NPR “supported” Ovadia Yosef.