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de Blasio praises racist rabbi for ‘wisdom, charity, sensitivity’ (and J St gave him shoutout)

Israel/Palestine
on 70 Comments

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the rightwing Shas Party in Israel, died yesterday. Yosef was famous for racist pronouncements. Haaretz’s editorial said right at the top, “Yosef will also be remembered as a man who contributed a great deal to the polarization and division of Israeli society.”

But Bill de Blasio, the Democratic frontrunner in the NY mayor’s race, mourned Yosef:

Millions of people around the world lost a leader today in Rabbi Chacham Ovadia Yosef. His wisdom, charity and sensitivity were legendary.

— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) October 7, 2013

And as Gawker noted, in “Bill de Blasio mourns death of very racist rabbi,” the candidate was not alone. The Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and the Times obituaries for Yosef all either left out his many racist statements or slighted them.

For instance, the Times spoke of Yosef’s charismatic leadership–“he harnessed the underdog sentiment of many non-European Israeli Jews, worked to restore their pride and turned them into a potent political force”–and quoted Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres’s praise for the rabbi before stating deep in the story, that Yosef lashed out “against those he despised — rival politicians, gay people and perceived enemies of Israel.” It included one paragraph with a genocidal curse against Palestinians.

The Times left out what it reported in 2004:

Speaking of Arabs in a sermon in 2001, he was quoted as saying: ”It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

Or what he said of non-Jews: “Goyim were born only to serve. Without that, they have no place in the world,” he said, per Max Blumenthal’s new book.

Here he is on the peace process and Palestinians, in 2010:

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef denounced upcoming peace talks with the Palestinians… and called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “perish from this world,” Army Radio reported overnight Saturday.

“Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world,” Rabbi Ovadia was quoted as saying during his weekly sermon at a synagogue near his Jerusalem home. “God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.”

He said of black people hurt by hurricane Katrina, per Ynet:

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

“Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of this because they have no God,”

Yosef also went after gay people as “sick” and “perverted,” and said they should be kept away from students. Gawker made a point of exposing the Times’s hypocrisy:

By contrast, in the 10th paragraph of its Jerry Falwell obituary, the Times detailed the conservative pastor’s comments about 9/11 and the Teletubbies’ Tinky Winky, who “could be a hidden homosexual signal, because the character was purple, had a triangle on its head and carried a handbag.”

de Blasio’s collapse is particularly galling. He was a radical in Nicaragua in the 1980s, his wife Chirlayne McCray is a hero among progressives because of her unapologetic concern for economic justice and her openness about having been gay, and their brown-skinned son has been the icon of the campaign. You’d think he would have sat this one out. You’d be wrong. Gawker asks a stupid question that it refuses to answer:

So why would de Blasio, who enjoys a gaping lead over Republican opponent Joe Lhota, go out of his way to praise Yosef’s racist bile? Who knows.

The answer is that de Blasio doesn’t want to lose the Orthodox Jewish vote in Brooklyn.

By the way, last week a moderator at J Street’s conference, Israeli television reporter Udi Segal, also went out of his way to offer Rabbi Ovadia best wishes in the hospital, and quote him in a favorable light (minute 104 in video). Some J Streeters applauded.

I’m with Jeffrey Goldberg here.

And from Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer:

 

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70 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    October 8, 2013, 10:21 am

    David Duke must be jealous since he’s never declared anything so racially vile as Rabbi Ovadia Yosefand did numerous times and knows he will never receive upon his death even a single Establishment accolade.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 8, 2013, 12:44 pm

      Yup. Mr. Yosef was a complete racist dirtbag. It’s disgusting that the papers here in the US and the news outlets are ignoring the racist rantings of this human turd.

  2. Marco
    Marco
    October 8, 2013, 11:08 am

    One thing’s for sure – the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times don’t have to court the votes of Orthodox Jewish voters in Brooklyn.

    Yet they responded to Ovadia Yosef’s death with whitewashes just as damning as de Blasio’s eulogy.

  3. Krauss
    Krauss
    October 8, 2013, 11:17 am

    Something that I found pretty terrifying was that his death was apparently attended by more people in the entire state of Israel’s history than any other funeral, despite the ultra-Orthodox Jews being about 15% or so of the general population(that is, everyone, not just the Jewish population).

    What does it say about a state that mourns a man like the racist rabbi more than any other figure?

    And yeah, the Times’ despicable coverage on Israel just keeps getting worse.
    At this stage they’re not even trying to do hasbara. They’re just leaving out as many details as possible since they can’t be defended if you bring them up at all.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      October 8, 2013, 1:32 pm

      “What does it say about a state that mourns a man like the racist rabbi more than any other figure?”

      That you’re relatively uninformed and that the story is more complex than you’re making it. The guy is also credited with helping Sephardic Israelis attain political empowerment.

      Do you have such things to say when the funerals of Hamas terrorists are attended by the masses?

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        October 8, 2013, 2:12 pm

        hoppy said

        Do you have such things to say when the funerals of Hamas terrorists are attended by the masses?

        Cite an example of Krauss honoring such a person in the way you Jewish supremacists honor a fellow Jewish supremacist.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 3:10 pm

        I’m not honoring him, Cliff. But it’s a nice, if underhanded, try.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        October 8, 2013, 4:00 pm

        I think you are, but at the very least you’re doing ‘damage control’ on his racism by listing his supposed good deeds as mitigating factors.

        He was a disgusting racist. That’s not hyperbole. His statements are as vile as anything Fred Phelps has said. He might have been more philanthropic though, I’ll concede that much.

        Anyways as I said – list an example of Krauss doing something analogous to your pathetic attempt at damage control above.

      • eGuard
        eGuard
        October 8, 2013, 5:15 pm

        hophmi, the underhand gesture was yours.

      • Donald
        Donald
        October 8, 2013, 5:19 pm

        I agree that anti-semitic statements by Hamas and other Arab figures should be covered, but they are covered in the mainstream. What’s interesting here is that a liberal American politician thought it was politically expedient to say nice things about a racist. Gosh, why would he think that? Who is he trying to please? Why does he think he can get away with it?

        Suppose a particular individual could be identified as the author of the Hamas Charter. Suppose that person died and was praised by Bill de Blasio? Wouldn’t that be front page news? Wouldn’t it stir an uproar that would sink his candidacy? Or suppose he praised Louis Farrakhan?

        There’s an obvious double standard here, though actually, I have some faint hope that this might turn into a bigger story than it is so far, in which case my double standard claim will be retracted. We’ll see.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 5:47 pm

        “I agree that anti-semitic statements by Hamas and other Arab figures should be covered, but they are covered in the mainstream. ”

        Yes and no. I don’t think I’d say that the MSM often talks about them. Mostly, it’s MEMRI, which is not really the media. The MSM certainly has covered Ovadia Yosef’s racist statements. I’ve heard the greatest hits reel a few times.

        “What’s interesting here is that a liberal American politician thought it was politically expedient to say nice things about a racist. Gosh, why would he think that? Who is he trying to please? Why does he think he can get away with it? ”

        Oh, stop with the I’m-shocked act. The ultra-orthodox in Brooklyn vote in blocs. So politicians pander to them. In this case, it happens to be a little silly, because your average ultra-orthodox Brooklyn bloc-voting guy probably does not have much regard for a Sephardic rabbi who was a liberal-leaning theologian. I suppose De Blasio may have been pandering to the community of Jews in south Brooklyn who hail from parts of the Arab world, who may have revered Ovadia Yosef.

        But again, Donald, I know literally no one who cares about Ovadia Yosef’s views on Katrina or black people. In the rabbinic world, his reputation is based on his career as a halachic decisor, not his views on race relations or his embarrassing statements on other cultural issues. It’s a little like Roald Dahl or Wagner – no one loves James and the Giant Peach or Gotterdammerung because Roald Dahl and Richard Wagner were antisemites.

        “Suppose a particular individual could be identified as the author of the Hamas Charter. Suppose that person died and was praised by Bill de Blasio? Wouldn’t that be front page news?”

        Hypotheticals like this obscure the context; Ovadia Yosef was not revered for his statements on race relations. And there isn’t a big bloc of fundamentalist Islamist voters in NY.

        “Or suppose he praised Louis Farrakhan?”

        Suppose he did. The question is why he would. Black Muslims don’t make up a major voting bloc in NY. If they did, I suppose he might have something to say if Farrakhan died. Farrakhan’s also an American. His pronouncements on race are what he’s all about. His record of statements on Jews and white people isn’t one of occasional comments. It’s pretty central to who he is. And it’s all there in English.

        “There’s an obvious double standard here, though actually, I have some faint hope that this might turn into a bigger story than it is so far, in which case my double standard claim will be retracted. We’ll see.”

        I don’t think so, because few people are going to dig to find out who Ovadia Yosef is, and when they do, they’ll see a much more complex picture.

        I mean, look at, for instance, the Guardian obit on him, which is like an Orientalist wet dream.

        You guys actually ought to say some nice things about him. He offered to meet with Yasser Arafat when Netanyahu refused to do so in the 1990s. He condemned ultra-orthodox Jews who expropriated property from Arabs in East Jerusalem. For all of the crazy things he said (and the vast majority of them came when he was quite old and were as much directed as other Jews as they were at everybody else), he greatly improved the standing of Mizrachim in Israel, was far, far ahead of his time in helping agunot, and was a dove when it matter most.

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/07/rabbi-ovadia-yosef

      • just
        just
        October 8, 2013, 5:53 pm

        My advice: Don’t hold your breath.

      • Donald
        Donald
        October 8, 2013, 9:26 pm

        “Hypotheticals like this obscure the context; Ovadia Yosef was not revered for his statements on race relations. And there isn’t a big bloc of fundamentalist Islamist voters in NY.”

        Exactly, but that’s part of my point. People who are sympathetic to fundamentalist Muslim Mideast clerics don’t comprise a big chunk of the NYC voting bloc. So there’s no incentive to pander to that brand of idiot.

        As for why he was revered, back when Farrakhan was in the news people would point out that he was respected for pushing self-help for blacks, but I can’t see de Blasio saying nice things about him when he dies because he’s also remembered for saying other things.

        “Yes and no. I don’t think I’d say that the MSM often talks about them. Mostly, it’s MEMRI, which is not really the media”

        That was about MSM coverage of anti-semitism in the Arab world. We don’t hear day-by-day commentary because it’s just part of the background of what Americans think we know–in the US I think most people take for granted that anti-semitism is common in the Arab world. In fact, the problem is that this is so much taken for granted I think it’s kind of a default assumption that everyone in the Arab world is an anti-semite unless proven otherwise. I’d actually like to see some sort of study on the degree of bigotry to be found in the various groups in the Middle East (including Israeli Jews and even within Israeli Jewish circles against each other, which is where the rabbi comes in) , but then, for that matter, it’d be interesting to see that here. Hard to do, no doubt.

      • amigo
        amigo
        October 9, 2013, 2:07 pm

        “I think you are, but at the very least you’re doing ‘damage control’ on his racism by listing his supposed good deeds as mitigating factors.”Cliff to hopknee.

        Yes and ignoring his vile deeds such as claiming Goys are put here to serve Jews.

        Care to comment Hopknee.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 9, 2013, 3:23 pm

        “Care to comment Hopknee.”

        Not to people without the ability to spell my handle correctly. I’ve said clearly several times that I’m not a fan of the guy’s racism. I’ve merely tried to provide a little bit more of a picture of who he is and why he has his followers, and that, in general, his crazy pronouncements have nothing to do with his rabbinic standing.

        You’ve chosen to ignore what I said, and instead, continue to run your mouth.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 8, 2013, 4:30 pm

        “The guy is also credited with helping Sephardic Israelis attain political empowerment. ”

        Yeah, and Mussolini made the trains run on time. BFD. He was still nothing but a racist scumbag.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        October 8, 2013, 4:41 pm

        @ hophmi
        The US does not give $8.5 Million military aid per day to Hamas, nor does the US underwrite Hamas debt, nor does the US use its UN SC veto at the UN to immunize Hamas from accountability. Instead, the US demonizes Hamas as a terrorist organization and goes along with Israel’s treatment of the citizens of Gaza as prisoners in an open air prison, subject to showers of white phosphorus at the will of the IDF’s American made and paid for F-16s.

        Shouldn’t Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao get credit for what they did in behalf of groups of people? Was Hitler less a racist because he helped his own people in many ways after Wilson left Germany in the lurch at Versailles?

      • Qualtrough
        Qualtrough
        October 9, 2013, 12:06 am

        I agree with you, it is not fair to condemn vile racists without taking into account the positive things they have done as well. Entirely fair and understandable. I feel the same way when I see people constantly dissing old Adolf, without even mentioning that he helped save Germany from economic ruin, gave the world the autobahn, helped create the Volkswagen, and other positive achievements. So partisan, so unfair!

      • thankgodimatheist
        thankgodimatheist
        October 9, 2013, 3:06 am

        “Do you have such things to say when the funerals of Hamas terrorists are attended by the masses?”
        At least they died fighting to redeem what they were robbed of. OTH, This sorry excuse for a human, Ovadia Sulfur, “fought”( blurting insanities) to keep the spoils.

  4. Krauss
    Krauss
    October 8, 2013, 11:20 am

    Also, Phil, quoting a right-wing racist(Goldberg) condemning an even greater right-wing racist is pretty sad to see. Why are you taking a racist like Goldberg as a gold standard upon which to judge others?
    You as well as I could write pages of his belching racism.

    • piotr
      piotr
      October 8, 2013, 1:31 pm

      This is really unfair. Goldberg is a centrists or a center-left racist. While de Blasio is a leftist racist (he may pretend, plus, de mortui nil nisi bene).

  5. charlesfrith
    charlesfrith
    October 8, 2013, 11:21 am

    Randy Credico and his wall st sales tax is the way forward.

  6. OlegR
    OlegR
    October 8, 2013, 11:56 am

    You really should read about him a little more Philip something other then the compilations of his colorful language.
    Might learn something about changing the world , literally.

    • Pamela Olson
      Pamela Olson
      October 8, 2013, 1:50 pm

      “Colorful language,” oy! If that’s what you call vile racism, it reveals a lot about you (not that we didn’t have it pretty well sussed already…)

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Again, Pamela, simply answer the question: Are you as exercised about racism in the Arab world as you are about Ovadia Yosef’s? Are you an Orientalist on the Middle East, or just when it comes to Jews?

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        October 8, 2013, 4:07 pm

        Again, hoppy, simply answer the question: are you mentally and emotionally capable of addressing any of Israel’s shortcomings, faults, crimes, etc. (and all related bad press like this racist Rabbi) without disassociating and disassembling?

        Or do you have to exploit lazy Islamist stereotypes w/ the false assumption that people like Pamela (who have written for MW several times and are regular commentators – HENCE there’s no validity in your feigning ignorance as to what they believe) are as mendacious and hypocritical as you?

        Pamela makes an excellent point which you side-stepped.

        OlegR characterizes the racist Rabbi’s racism as ‘colorful language’.

        To that, YOU hoppy attempt to turn the tables and verb/noun/antisemitism the exchange.

        Do you know how full of sh*t you are? You’re absurd.

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        October 8, 2013, 4:54 pm

        I oppose racism and other forms of bigotry everywhere. Especially when a country falsely claims to be a democracy that “shares values” with my own country, which shovels $8 million per day into its coffers and gives it blanket political cover to continue and intensify its racist policies.

        Now answer me: Are you as exercised about racism in Israel as you are about racism in the Arab world and elsewhere?

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 5:02 pm

        “Now answer me: Are you as exercised about racism in Israel as you are about racism in the Arab world and elsewhere?”

        I am. In fact, I’m more worried about racism in Israel than I am in the Arab world, even though I think the problem in the Arab world is worse. It’s my people. I tell my friends on the right all the time that racism in Israel is a big problem that will get worse the longer we go without meaningful negotiations. The separation from Palestinians breeds the problem.

      • Dutch
        Dutch
        October 8, 2013, 8:08 pm

        @ Hophmi

        I always thought you and Pamela had this ‘special relation’. Isn’t that valid in case of criticism?

        As for your question: the Jews Only sign wasn’t put up by us, but by your own buddies. This whole project is about singling out Jews, in a more than vulgar way. That is a dangerous tactics. No complaints, please.

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      October 8, 2013, 2:14 pm

      This guy was a horrible person. Who cares if through his own tribalism he ‘helped’ other Jews.

      Pat Robertson helps his own tribe too. So did Jerry Falwell.

      Only when it comes to Jewish extremists and racists do we have to put up with this bullshit parade.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 8, 2013, 4:54 pm

      @ OlegR

      Yeah, Phil, read up on more of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s colorful language, and while you’re at it, read up on Julius Streicher’s colorful language too–he even shows you pictures! Streicher was a teacher too. He was hung at Nuremberg for what he taught so colorfully. Yosef has been given accolades by American & Israeli media.

  7. amigo
    amigo
    October 8, 2013, 11:58 am

    “‘wisdom, charity, sensitivity’ “.

    All the traits he was devoid of.

    A racist, bigoted,hateful,piece of human waste.

    Good riddance.

  8. hophmi
    hophmi
    October 8, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Yep, Ovadia Yosef definitely said some very racist things, just as many revered Muslim Imams have said some very racist things, to much larger worldwide audiences. It is right and just to criticize the racist statements of all people, particularly clergy. Of course, Ovadia Yosef and Jerry Falwell had constituencies and similar sizes, right? Right? Oh well, I guess Falwell’s megaphone was about 100 times the size of Yosef’s.

    The irony is that he is actually known in the rabbinic world for his lenient rulings, and among peace advocates, as someone who endorsed the idea of land for peace as long as the security establishment could ensure the safety of Israelis.

    “The answer is that de Blasio doesn’t want to lose the Orthodox Jewish vote in Brooklyn.”

    You’re right; he doesn’t. Much like politicians in the South and Midwest won’t criticize the statements of right-wing pastors. Although, it’s another irony that the vast majority of the orthodox community in Brooklyn doesn’t follow Ovadia Yosef, and wouldn’t care if De Blasio said nada.

    I know; it’s only with the Jewish community that politicians pander. LOL.

    • eljay
      eljay
      October 8, 2013, 12:55 pm

      >> The irony is that he is actually known in the rabbinic world for his lenient rulings, and among peace advocates, as someone who endorsed the idea of land for peace as long as the security establishment could ensure the safety of Israelis.

      Which land was he willing to trade for peace:
      – Land within Israel’s / Partition borders – from which Palestinians were ethnically cleansed by supremacist Jews so that a supremacist “Jewish State” could be established?
      *or*
      – Land outside of Israel’s / Partition borders, which the supremacist “Jewish State” had occupied and colonized (and which it continues to occupy and colonize)?

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 8, 2013, 1:10 pm

      “Oh well, I guess Falwell’s megaphone was about 100 times the size of Yosef’s.”

      And the stuff Mr. Yosef said was about 10,000 times worse than what Falwell said.

      “The irony is that he is actually known in the rabbinic world for his lenient rulings, and among peace advocates, as someone who endorsed the idea of land for peace as long as the security establishment could ensure the safety of Israelis.”

      Doesn’t say much for “the rabbinic world.” The man have views more repugnant than the Westboro Baptist Church and in any decent society he would be anathema, but in israel, a piece of racist filth like Mr. Yosef is a “kingmaker.” Tells you all you need to know about that rotted cesspool of a society.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 1:36 pm

        This is another one of those moments where Mondoweiss engages in transparent Orientalism where Israel is involved, using the very same tactics it decries when they’re used to describe the Muslim world, where guys who say things like Ovadia Yosef (and for the record, no one took his statements on Katrina or the Holocaust very seriously) actually are taken seriously, in numbers much greater than 500,000.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 8, 2013, 5:05 pm

        LMAO. There is no bottom of the barrel you won’t scrape to defend and honor this racist, is there, hoppy?

        Google this pig’s name with the word “kingmaker” and you’ll see all the “Orientalist” press — such as NPR, New York Time, Haaratz, the Jewish Daily Forward, etc., etc., etc., — call him israel’s “kingmaker.”

        And if you think that he was some fringe person who no one paid any attention to, you’re out of your mind. 800,000 people turned out for his funeral — the largest in the state’s history. That’s about 13% (2/15ths) of all of the Jews in the country.

        Nope. This is all on israel. It’s showing its true colors honoring this piece of garbage.

      • Dutch
        Dutch
        October 8, 2013, 7:09 pm

        ‘no one took his statements on Katrina or the Holocaust very seriously’

        However, 700,000 people attended his funeral. BTW, suppose it was an Iranian leader who made similar statements ….. no problem, right?

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      October 8, 2013, 2:17 pm

      hoppy said:

      Yep, Ovadia Yosef definitely said some very racist things, just as many revered Muslim Imams have said some very racist things, to much larger worldwide audiences. It is right and just to criticize the racist statements of all people, particularly clergy.

      You are the same tool who paints all Palestinians as Nazis and harps on about non-existent suicide bombing and Hamas antisemitism.

      Here you are whitewashing a Jewish racist’s racism by pathetically linking him to Islamic extremists. But when did you ever give the same benefit of the doubt and ‘understanding’ said extremists? Never.

      Hence your usage of ‘Muslim blah blah’ as a ‘counter’ to our condemnations (as if we support either these nameless clerics and Hamas antisemitism) is transparent and cynical.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 3:14 pm

        “Here you are whitewashing a Jewish racist’s racism”

        I’m not whitewashing it. I’m encouraging people here to be self-critical. LOL. You’re all being Orientalists here, taking a culture you know little about, pulling out a few extreme quotes, and judging it by those quotes. If you can find me anyone important who actually cared about Ovadia Yosef’s opinions on Hurricane Katrina and said “I’m going to his funeral because I love that Hurricane Katrina stuff he said” then I’ll grant your point.

        ” But when did you ever give the same benefit of the doubt and ‘understanding’ said extremists? ”

        All the time. All the freaking time. As usual, you know nothing about me; you make the stupid assumption that I’m an extreme hothead like you are.

        That’s exactly the benefit of the doubt I talk about to my friends on the right who endlessly go on about how Mahmoud Abbas wrote a thesis that amounted to Holocaust denial or that this or that Muslim cleric (and there are an endless supply of them) compared Jews to pigs and monkeys or justified the killing of Israeli children through suicide bombing). Remember that little tidbit of info about Abbas? No, no, of course you don’t. And he’s not even a cleric. He’s a man in a suit.

      • Donald
        Donald
        October 8, 2013, 9:32 pm

        ” Remember that little tidbit of info about Abbas? No, no, of course you don’t.”

        Can’t speak for Cliff, but that’s not a secret. Asad AbuKhalil (The Angry Arab blogger) mentions that from time to time–btw, he says that all the Arab leaders seen as pro-Western are anti-semites. As for Abbas , I probably heard about his Holocaust denial thesis the first time I heard of Abbas, or pretty soon thereafter.

        Off-topic, but there’s a piece in the NYT today about Abbas saying some extremely moderate things to the Israelis (even rejecting a 1SS) –I thought there’d be some article about that here, but not yet, or maybe I’ve looked right at it and not seen it. Possibly Abbas has seen how well Rouhani has come across in the US and thinks he can win a few allies the same way, while Netanyahu continues to look arrogant.

      • Marco
        Marco
        October 9, 2013, 2:20 am

        “Can’t speak for Cliff, but that’s not a secret. Asad AbuKhalil (The Angry Arab blogger) mentions that from time to time–btw, he says that all the Arab leaders seen as pro-Western are anti-semites.”

        Asad Abu Khalil is a pretty doctrinaire leftist. Despite being an Arab, he seems less concerned with anti-Arab racism – which is widespread not just in Israel but in Europe and America, than he is with anti-Semitism.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        October 9, 2013, 6:00 am

        I’m encouraging people here to be self-critical. LOL. You’re all being Orientalists here, taking a culture you know little about, pulling out a few extreme quotes, and judging it by those quotes. If you can find me anyone important who actually cared about Ovadia Yosef’s opinions on Hurricane Katrina and said “I’m going to his funeral because I love that Hurricane Katrina stuff he said” then I’ll grant your point.

        Encouraging people to be SELF-CRITICAL? “LOL” INDEED.

        People will go to his funeral because he was a Zionist Jew. The anti-Arab racism and anti-Black racism and other bigotry and hate he espoused will be ignored and covered up. Just like Elie Wiesel calling the Goldstone Report a ‘crime against the Jewish people’. No one on TV will ever bring that up.

        You keep saying ‘no one cares’ as if TV news or mainstream journalism is not politicized. As if it’s a pure meritocracy – where the ‘best’ (whatever that’s supposed to mean) journalists ‘make it’. Everything is political. And politics determines how the racist Rabbi is portrayed.

        You used a similar yard stick when gauging the ‘usefulness’ of discussing the crimes of Jewish terrorism and the Nakba:

        You won’t “shut me up” since I never denied that Irgun perpetrated terrorist attacks. The real question is what exactly you hope to accomplish by repeating “Irgun, Irgun, Irgun.” Are you helping the Palestinians get justice? Are you being honest about the Irgun’s history, which is as a tiny group that was out of the mainstream but was basically fighting British imperialism? No. You’re standing up for British imperialism.

        In another thread where you lied about your slander of the Palestinians but simultaneously contradicted yourself:

        The Mufti did associate with Hitler. No one disputes that fact, and unlike your frequent claim, I have never adopted the viewpoint that his views on Nazism were shared by the Palestinian populace. What I have said, and what you always ignore, is that the Mufti’s wartime associations cost the Palestinian people after the war. He was a very bad leader and a very bad man.

        The Mufti did not represent the Palestinians. He was not voted for by Palestinians. He was put into power by a British Jew.

        The perception that he ‘cost’ the Palestinians sympathy is shared by racists and bigots like YOU.

        American children aren’t taught about the Mufti in history class. He is a cartoon character that Zionism uses to defame all Palestinians as Hitlerites.

        He is a Zionist MEME. Something CAMERA would harp on. Something YOU harp on. Not everyday people who are casual observers or those with a knowledge of this conflict obtained ‘by osmosis’ (daily reading of the news and sometimes the issue of Israel/Palestine comes up and they may glean some info here and there to ultimately form a partially-engaged impression of things).

        So for you to even mention his name in association w/ Palestinian public relations demonstrates YOUR perceptions and YOUR community’s perceptions. You just tried to dress all that b.s. up as a universal statement of fact.

        And here’s your whitewash of Jewish terrorism and the utility of discussion Palestinian grievances:

        Yes, I think it’s also a fair point that no one really discusses the Irgun in the real world. They accept the Israel is there to stay and that most country have had bloody beginnings.

        Yes, we know the Palestinians have less weaponry than the Israelis. We also know that Hamas has tried to blow up gas depots and apartment building, which would have caused hundreds, if not thousands, of Israeli casualties.

        Why shouldn’t I say Arabs in general? They have united in their hatred of Israel, and the Palestinian movement is an outgrowth of a greater Arab movement, a movement that has time and again tried to commit genocide against the Jews. In 1944, the Mufti organized an unsuccessful chemical attack that would have killed tens of thousands had it been successful. link to wymaninstitute.org

        To summarize:

        1. The Racist Rabbi is defend by Zionists in the same manner in which said Zionists defend Israeli crimes and Israeli apartheid:

        *diversion (Darfur, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, blah blah)
        *antisemitism card
        *tough neighborhood (i.e., this issue is sooooo complex!)

        2. Hoppy cries to the moderators here at MW apparently. Likely by email. I ask the moderators to put his comments above into their consideration for banning.

        He has grouped all Arabs together and called them genocidalists. He then says Palestinian agency is an outgrowth of Arab genocidalists. He then links both entities up w/ the Mufti and a hypothetical chemical attack plot, citing some website no one has heard of.

        Taken in context of his initial slander: ‘Palestinian support for Hitler’ (in a thread where he did not mention the Mufti AT ALL). And then eventually bringing up the Mufti (when we all know that the Mufti is a personality only Israel/Palestine observers are aware of).

        Is there any doubt this troll isn’t saying Palestinians are Nazis by definition?

        How does all of this come back to the Racist Rabbi that the Mondoweiss Zionist shortbus is defending, led by the liar Hophmi?

        The same ‘how to make a case for Israel and win’ rubric is followed.

        The same hypocrisy is exhibited. The same contradictions. The same lies.

        The same equivocations and false assumptions/straw man (‘oh but you would probably say the same for a Hamas guy’).

        How is this a debate? It’s the same thing happening for years.

        It’s the Zionist trolls like hophmi and co. and us. They lie. We fight back with the truth.

        They use the same logical fallacies over and over. They get away with it.

        I don’t care if MW were to become an echo chamber. It’s better than reruns of the same show forever.

      • thankgodimatheist
        thankgodimatheist
        October 9, 2013, 7:15 am

        “Despite being an Arab, he seems less concerned with anti-Arab racism – which is widespread not just in Israel but in Europe and America, than he is with anti-Semitism.”
        Bullshit alert!! Where did you pull this one out from? Obviously you have NEVER read Asa’d AbuKhalil. Maybe once?! True that he is concerned with anti-Semitism but he’s extremely sensitive to all kinds and forms of racism and SPECIFICALLY anti-Arab racism that he never misses to highlight in the MSM in every delivery of posts that comes on a daily basis. With all due respect please refrain from talking about things you have no knowledge of.
        (And if you know why I’m so sure just ask and I can expand with more specific details but that’s hopefully unnecessary at this stage)

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 9, 2013, 8:09 am

        ” If you can find me anyone important who actually cared about Ovadia Yosef’s opinions on Hurricane Katrina and said “I’m going to his funeral because I love that Hurricane Katrina stuff he said” then I’ll grant your point. ”

        Yeah, you would like to reduce this guy’s vile bigotry to merely his comments about Katrina. Nice try. Some of his most vile and disgusting comments were his “interpretation” of the Jewish religion as it concerned non-Jews.

      • Donald
        Donald
        October 9, 2013, 12:35 pm

        “True that he is concerned with anti-Semitism but he’s extremely sensitive to all kinds and forms of racism and SPECIFICALLY anti-Arab racism that he never misses to highlight in the MSM in every delivery of posts that comes on a daily basis. ”

        Exactly. You saved me the trouble of responding to Marco’s bizarre claim. Sometimes people say things that are so far off I can’t even grasp what what would motivate them to say it–no one who had read “The Angry Arab” could possibly believe what Marco said, and yet, what purpose is served by the distortion?

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 8, 2013, 5:02 pm

      @ hophmi
      Why pick on an Israeli rabbi for racism when there’s so many Arab racists? OK, Charlie Brown, he’s a clown, he’s gonna get caught, just you wait and see–why’s everybody always picking on me!

      US politicians and Netanyahu himself constantly bray that US and Israeli values are the same, and Israel gets the biggest chunk of free foreign aid, the only aid with interest and given unconditionally. Dick and Jane paid this racist rabbi’s bills to a considerable extent.

  9. MahaneYehude1
    MahaneYehude1
    October 8, 2013, 1:06 pm

    “Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the rightwing Shas Party in Israel…”

    Only in Israel: Israeli Palestinians support the right wing Shas:
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israeli-elections-2013/when-the-bedouin-vote-they-often-vote-shas.premium-1.496401

    • eljay
      eljay
      October 8, 2013, 1:30 pm

      >> Only in Israel: Israeli Palestinians support the right wing Shas:

      They voted for the best of the worst. Not exactly a glowing endorsement…

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 8, 2013, 5:08 pm

      LMAO. I can see by you and fnlevit’s comments that the mandate from the israeli Ministry of Hasbara and Public Enlightenment says something like “to distract from the attention all the israelis are paying to the death of this racist, be sure to note that the Palestinians sometimes vote for Shas.”

  10. James Canning
    James Canning
    October 8, 2013, 2:40 pm

    How interesting. Radical warmongering Jewish rabbi is praised by candidate for mayor of New York City. What a surprise.

  11. October 8, 2013, 2:47 pm

    This racist (no doubt) rabbi is credited for creating an anti-discrimination Shas party. This is a typical “party of reaction” (please do not mix with “reactionary”) which was created by this Rabbi as a reaction to the (mostly implicit, i.e. via behavior not laws or regulations) discrimination of the Sefaradi Jews by the Ashkenazi “community”. The Shas party came in the wake of popular protests against the discrimination and was an extraordinary positive phenomenon in Israeli politics. It was one of the factors that slowly led to an impressive improvement of the situation.

    The unfortunate aspect of this party was that they lead the protests against Sefaradi discrimination via a haredi (ultra religious) platform causing many negative phenomena.

    The real solution for Sefaradi-Ashkenazi problem is coming from the demographic dynamics in which the number of intercommunity marriages are getting larger than 25% meaning that in a couple of generation there will be no separation of the communities
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Israel#Sephardi_and_Mizrahi_.28Middle_Eastern.29
    “Intermarriage between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim is increasingly common in Israel, and by the late 1990s 28% of all Israeli children had multi-ethnic parents (up from 14% in the 1950s). Research found that children of inter-ethnic marriages in Israel enjoyed improved socio-economic status.”
    What is amazing is that many Israeli Arabs voted for Shas rather than for one of the existing Arab parties. This is explained by the fact that the Arab parties did not really worried about the “well being” of their Arab voters but rather fighting between themselves or being active in issues related to WB or participating in flotillas and others of similar nature.

    This “voting for other parties pattern” is the reason why Arabs have only 11 members among the 120 MK’s (less than 10% while they constitute close to 20% of the population). Even smaller number (only 6) of Arab MK’s represent the actual Arab parties. Other four are MK’s of the mixed Jewish-Arab party Hadash. One is in a left wing Zionist party Merez
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arab_members_of_the_Knesset
    I believe this is a crucial reason in the inability of Israeli Arabs to act politically in the direction of improving their position in Israeli society. Like Shas did. Nothing (I mean no law or regulation) prevents them from getting organized and becoming a real force on the political arena. Such that could even play a crucial role in influencing the formation of the government.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      October 8, 2013, 4:22 pm

      Nothing (I mean no law or regulation) prevents them from getting organized and becoming a real force on the political arena.

      You don’t need a law or a regulation when “we all agree” that no non-Jew may serve in this Israeli cabinet. In South Africa, apartheid laws came later when there was a need to formalize the system. Israel has plenty of racist laws but it doesn’t yet need them with regard to power sharing in the government because it’s not even an issue.

      Contrast that to Egypt, where, because he excluded non-Islamists, Morsi lost his job.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 8, 2013, 4:36 pm

        “You don’t need a law or a regulation when “we all agree” that no non-Jew may serve in this Israeli cabinet.”

        Well, that’s not true. In the last Israeli government, Ayoob Kara was Deputy Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee. In the one before that, Majalli Wahabi was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Neither is Jewish.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        October 8, 2013, 10:30 pm

        Thirty Jewish cabinet members = 25% of the Knesset and not one non-Jew is trusted to hold their own portfolio. Just the token deputy that gives Israel’s apologizers a smokescreen.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 8, 2013, 4:41 pm

      “This racist (no doubt) rabbi is credited for creating an anti-discrimination Shas party. ”

      LMAO. Stop lying, zio. Shas is not anti-discrimination. It’s fighting against discrimination among Jews, but as to outsiders (or homosexuals) they love themselves some discrimination.

  12. just
    just
    October 8, 2013, 5:51 pm

    It would appear that de Blasio stepped in poop up to his neck………..

    Sad and shameful. Another kowtowing move by another pol.

    Silence is golden, de Blasio. Try it.

    • quercus
      quercus
      October 9, 2013, 5:47 am

      “who was a genius regarding knowledge of Jewish law”. “Genius” a much overused word that can be applied to a relative handful of humans in human history. Knowledge is not ‘genius’ nor is an encyclopedic memory, which is a skill that can be acquired. Yosef was not a genius.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 9, 2013, 10:50 pm

        quercus- I agree. I misused the word genius, which implies creativity rather than merely absorbing information. (The spring of water rather than the pit that holds all the water poured into it.) I used it as shorthand for encyclopedic memory. Sorry for my misuse of the word. But a 6 letter word is easier to use than two words with something like 20 letters. Don’t expect me to count so high, I’m no genius.

  13. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    October 8, 2013, 9:53 pm

    It is feasible that Ovadia Yosef, who was a genius regarding knowledge of Jewish law, always harbored racist thoughts, but he gave his mouth free rein only after he was over 75, when the censors on his brain predeceased him by some twenty years. His accomplishment- establishing a major political party was accomplished while he was still young. (David Duke and Louis Farrakhan, on the other hand, made their first public racist statements when they were in their youth and in their prime.)

    Should Bill de Blasio praise him for his accomplishments and ignore his hateful remarks? That unfortunately is a political question rather than a moral one. Any obituary that described his accomplishments but omitted his hateful remarks was remiss journalistically. He was the most significant Sephardic rabbi of my lifetime and no one will soon replace him. Unfortunately his legacy because of his late-in-life comments is decidedly mixed.

    (I heard him speak in 72 or 73 in Jerusalem and was impressed with his encyclopedic memory.)

    • OlegR
      OlegR
      October 9, 2013, 5:06 am

      / He was the most significant Sephardic rabbi of my lifetime and no one will soon replace him. /

      Some would argue that he was the most significant Sephardi figure in the last few hundred years.
      His impact on Jewish rabbinical law will probably stretch for centuries as well.
      And regarding his remarks and his political endeavors.
      I don’t think “iza iveret” will be remembered all that much.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 9, 2013, 8:11 am

      “It is feasible that Ovadia Yosef, who was a genius regarding knowledge of Jewish law, always harbored racist thoughts, but he gave his mouth free rein only after he was over 75, when the censors on his brain predeceased him by some twenty years. ”

      Stop making excuses for this vile racist. It’s disgusting.

    • piotr
      piotr
      October 9, 2013, 10:40 am

      I have no idea why one needs a replacement for an Orthodox rabbi. Apart for anything else, different authorities offer you choices how far you want to go away from common sense and modernity. Yosef was promoting moderation and attack “stringency” or “chumra”, and examples are a bit eye-popping. Example 1: he ruled that coeducation is OK for boys and girls under 9 year old.

      Example 2, from Wikipedia: “His boldness as a posek was already revealed in his first term as a dayan when, at the age of 30, he wrote a Halachic ruling permitting Yibbum instead of Halitza which contradicted a religious ruling made by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel a year earlier which had forbidden Yibbum.”

      Try to learn what is Yibbun and Halitza, and the more you see the more weird it seems.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 9, 2013, 11:03 pm

        piotr- The intricacies of Jewish law aside, Ovadia Yosef’s significance was his establishment of a major political party and his acceptance by most Mizrachi (Sephardic) Jews as their spiritual leader. (Research regarding Sephardic Jewry in Israel is not at my fingertips but the percentage that consider themselves traditional rather than purely secular is quite large. Whereas among Ashkenazi Israeli Jews, the slice that is purely secular is much larger.) As such he was the spiritual leader of these Jews. He will not be soon replaced. as a leader of this sort. His capabilities and dexterity regarding Jewish law are thus besides the point here, the point is how many people considered him their spiritual leader or the embodiment of their spiritual ideals.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 10, 2013, 8:35 am

        “His capabilities and dexterity regarding Jewish law are thus besides the point here, the point is how many people considered him their spiritual leader or the embodiment of their spiritual ideals.”

        Yes, and those spiritual ideals — to judge by Mr. Yosef — are a cesspool of racism and barbaric thinking.

      • piotr
        piotr
        October 10, 2013, 8:16 pm

        I am not sure what “spiritual ideals” were championed by Ovadia Yosef, but as a leader of a large community he may deserve a kind word at the time when this community is grieving. To bad that this principle is used so selectively.

        Lebanese Shia community lost their spiritual leader three years ago, Octavia Nasr of CNN sent a polite twitter and was promptly fired. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/07/AR2010070704948.html

  14. piotr
    piotr
    October 8, 2013, 9:55 pm

    What is amazing is that many Israeli Arabs voted for Shas rather than for one of the existing Arab parties. This is explained by the fact that the Arab parties did not really worried about the “well being” of their Arab voters but rather fighting between themselves or being active in issues related to WB or participating in flotillas and others of similar nature.

    This is pretty wrong depiction of the situation. Arab parties may worry about well being of the voters 24/7 and the impact will be infinitesimal as they are frozen out of potential ruling coalitions and submitting bills, making hearings, participating in debates counts for very little (they actually do all that, and the idea that they worry mostly about “flotillas” is simply a caricature). Zionist parties may offer some crumbs in exchange for votes. That said, the crumbs are pitiful. I do not know where Ayoob Kara hails from, but Arab communities in Galilee and Negev were not exactly showered upon with “development”.

    Other thing is that apart from particularly colorful quotes, Shas as a party is probably no more racist than other Zionist parties in Israel. And is less warmongering and militaristic than most. That said, eulogizing Ovadia is a bit too much.

  15. Citizen
    Citizen
    October 9, 2013, 9:41 am

    Again, Julius Streicher was hung at Nuremberg for “Crimes Against Humanity,” consisting of his “colorful” language and images concerning Jews, which was the core evidence offered to support the charge. Streicher never imprisoned, killed or maimed a single Jew, nor did he recommend such–he recommended transferring German Jews to Africa. Further, Streicher’s newspaper was not a government, but a private organ, and he was shunned by the Nazi elite.

    And since Nuremberg, we have the “hate crime” trials of defendants, such as the African Hassan Ngeze for their speech in the context of incitement of genocide under international law that grew out of the Nuremberg Trials, that is to say, under internationally recognized law that is no longer ex post facto in this matter, as it was at Nuremberg. A case has also been filed against the former Iranian president. Seems to me Shas spiritual leader, Rabbi Yosef’s “colorful language” fits right in here; that the defendant merely was echoing the local culture of his time, and/or himself didn’t directly harm anyone, and may have help some selected people and did not advocate anything more than a transfer of the despised group outside the state–were and are all ineffective defenses.

  16. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    October 9, 2013, 10:27 am

    The question that troubles me — and I have not read all the comments here – is whether Josef’s racism (as described here and elsewhere) was PERSONAL racism, or ACCIDENTAL racism (which can afflict any of us, and which are VERY MUCH PUNISHED by the American politically-correct crowd when the racism is not consistent with their own feelings) — OR was it INTRINSIC ORTHODOX JEWISH RACISM typically hidden in the past due to the general rabbinic orthodox teaching to make nice with your neighbors but let-loose-and-made-public after the establishment of Israel because of the perception 9wrong, I think) that the Jews need no longer make-nice-with their-neighbors.

    Much is made by Jews of the allegation (I have no idea of its truth) that some Arabs (or Palestinians) teach racial hatred against Jews. It would seem from the discussion of Rabbi Josef that he and (as I surmise, but which I do not know, but Israel Shahak seemed to agree) that orthodox Jewish teaching (generally kept secret from non-Jews) was itself extremely racist against all non-Jews and especially against Arabs.

    It would seem that decent people should condemn all INDIVIDUAL racism when expressed by people in positions of power and persuasion, but should ESPECIALLY CONDEMN INSTITUTIONAL RACISM on the part of any ORGANIZATION or RELIGION. I understand that this butts its head against “freedom of religion” and I don’t know what to do about that.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 9, 2013, 11:44 am

      “I understand that this butts its head against “freedom of religion” and I don’t know what to do about that.”

      Doesn’t butt at all. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from condemnation or even freedom from official prohibition (something some religious people can never quite understand).

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