Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's a First: Netanyahu Does Not Condemn Call for Genocide


Netanyahu is not alone amongst Israeli society in decrying Palestinian enticements to terror. When Palestinians recently planned to rename a square after a woman who had hijacked an Israeli bus, killing dozens, Israelis were understandably livid. This was all the proof that Israelis needed that ALL Palestinians were terrorists, not just those involved in the heinous acts. Fair or not, it is easy to follow Israel rationale as they move from point A to point B.

Over the weekend Ovadia Yosef, the founder and current chief spiritual leader of Shas, raised a bit of a ruckus. Shas is the political movement of the religious Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews of Israel (meaning essentially, Jews of Eastern descent). During a Shabbat sermon, he claimed that Abu Mazen and the Palestinians, along with all of the enemies of Israel, should perish. He was of course dramatic and biblical, claiming that a plague should strike them down. Now let us be clear, this is not like Dick Cheney rising from his defibrillator to decry liberals and terrorists, this is like Pat Robertson taking the air waves to tell his followers that 9/11 was caused by homosexuality and feminism. The call to arms, while all in the interpretation, cannot be pretty.

Now, the first thing that comes to mind is Israel's immediate reaction to anyone talking about their own destruction. A serious discussion is raging in America today about Israel's right, and ability, to eliminate Iran's nuclear program. Jeffrey Goldberg's recent Atlantic cover story is a serious account of the situation in Israel as to the probability and justification of just such an attack.

The argument against this comparison from some is obvious, Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, only one or two of which would be needed to wipe out the Jews in Israel at least for the foreseeable future. But is there anyone who doubts that Israel lacks the capabilities to do just this to the Palestinians in the region, should they so desire. PAY ATTENTION, I am not saying that they will, would, or even that they remotely want to. I am merely saying that they can.

Should Iran one day, in the near or distant future, gain the technological know-how to wipe Israel off the map, they know that it would be to their detriment. Should they choose to take the suicidal step of launching a nuke at Israel, either by missile or by proxy, they know that Israel has the ability to respond. If there was nothing left in Israel but dust and ash, Israel could still launch a nuclear warhead from a submarine directly at Tehran. Israel is gone, and Iran follows closely behind.

Does Israel have the same concern of Mutually Assured Destruction should they decide that the Palestinians have been a pain-in-their-tuchus (Jewish for ass) long enough and that it is time for them to go once and for all? Of course not. As far as PR and tourism and economy and diplomacy are concerned, it would almost certainly be a disaster for Israel, but would it mean the end of the Jewish state? Not necessarily.

Now the reason that I raise this comparison is not that an 89 year old Iraqi born Rabbi made a crazy claim asking God to strike down the Palestinians. Forget the fact that when this man speaks, he is seen by many, including 11 members of Shas who currently sit in the Netanyahu government, as orders from the highest of places. He is a spiritual Commander-in-Chief, if you will. But still, my concern is not that he said it, rather how Netanyahu reacted to it.

Now let's be clear, Netanyahu "distanced" himself from the statement, about that there is no doubt. Netanyahu's office released a statement saying that "Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's remarks do not reflect Netanyahu's views, nor do they reflect the stance of the Israeli government."

Great! It is good to hear that Netanyahu does not personally believe that all of the Palestinians should be struck down by plague. I suppose the next question one would need to ask were should this far-fetched plague to happen, might it not be out of even God Almighty's hands to keep it from spreading to the Jews who live, work and travel alongside these Palestinians on a daily basis?

Netanyahu is not a zealot or a nut. Obviously he does not agree with the statement. But is he really okay with the fact that 11 members of his coalition government see the man who made this comment as their spiritual leader? Can he really count on receiving their support next week, as peace talks resume after such a long overdue absence, when their Rabbi and leader says that the people on the other side of the negotiating table should be smote by plague from God. 

How can we hope to have peace when such a large contingency of Netanyahu's government comes from a party that is openly calling for a plague on the Palestinians. Can we at least get these guys Hazmat suits so that they can sign their names to their Knesset attendance sheet in the meantime.


  1. "How can we hope to have peace when such a large contingency of Netanyahu's government comes from a party that is openly calling for a plague on the Palestinians. "

    Since when is Ovadia Yossef a large contingency of Netanyahu's government, dipshit moron? Fuck you.

  2. Anonymous:

    The larger point of the posting regrading Yosef was that he is the spiritual leader of a party that makes up a large contingent of the current Netanyahu Government. Shas is the 4th largest party in the current government (and the 5th in the Knesset). It makes up only 2 less seats than Labor and 4 less that Yisrael Beitanu. In other words, we are not talking about a rogue movement, but a serious Israeli institution.
    Eli Yishai, the current head of Shas, is a Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    When Ovadia Yosef makes a declaration going against the government of Israel, these 11 men of Shas in the government, including the Interior Minister, are not burdened with conflicting loyalties. Netanyahu is a man, but Yosef speaks from a higher power.

    For this reason, Yosef IS a large contingency of Netanyahu's government. Thank you for your comments.