"The conduct of what once was called the "War on Terror" is now in the hands of people who cheer for the terrorists. No wonder they can't stand to hear the truth"
-- Mannie Sherberg
- Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: Abbas and Palestinians Should Perish From This World
- U.S. State Department Condemns 'Offensive' Remarks from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Before PJ Crowley was even born, Rav Ovadiah Yosef was already a rabbi for ten years, having received smicha (ordination) at the early age of 20. Before PJ Crowley was even born, the Rabbi had already taught in yeshiva and served as the head of the beit din (rabbinical court) in Cairo. And by the time Crowley was born, Ovadiah Yosef had already authored Halachic rulings and published an important book on the laws of Pesach.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is Mizrahi Hareidi. Hareidi is what dhimmedia calls "ultra-orthodox," and refers specifically to those Israeli Jews who unfailingly adhere to and strictly observe Jewish law (and are often seen wearing black hats). Mizrahi, on the other hand, means that he comes from The Muslim World -- the very one of which the Omerican president (PJ Crowley's boss) is so enamored. Mizrahi Jews descend from the extinct Jewish communities that once flourished in places like Iraq (Ovadiah Yosef was born in Basra), Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Persia/Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Ethiopia, India and of course, Pahkistahn.
And Rav Ovadiah Yosef is quite special among Mizrahi Hareidi. He is a highly revered Talmudic scholar and a widely recognized religious authority. In the Mizrahi world, he is regarded as "the most important living authority" on Jewish law. He also just happens to be a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the current spiritual leader of the Shas political party.
According to the Wikipedia entry on Yosef's "Position on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,"
Rabbi Yosef has long been a distinguished rabbinical authority advocating peace negotiations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has done so since the late 1980s....
.... However, Shas abstained on Oslo I and voted against the Oslo II agreement. Furthermore, as Oslo stalled and relations between Israelis and Palestinians began to deteriorate, and particularly following the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Rabbi Yosef and the party pulled "rightward", supporting the Likud.
In 2005, Rabbi Yosef repeatedly condemned the Gaza Disengagement. He argued that he was opposed to any unilateral action that occurred outside the framework of a peace agreement. Rabbi Yosef again cited the principle of Pikuach Nefesh, saying that empowering the Palestinians without a commitment to end terror would result in threatening Jewish lives, particularly in areas near Gaza in range of Qassam rocket attacks....
Rabbi Yosef has protested strongly against demands by the United States and other foreign countries that Israel freeze construction in East Jerusalem, saying that "it's as if we are their slaves."
Nevertheless, he has shown some flexibility on the issue and may take a pragmatic approach. In the wake of the diplomatic row between Israel and the US over Jewish housing in east Jerusalem, Rabbi Yosef is reported to have said, in a private meeting with Shimon Peres, that "[i]t is not permissible to challenge the nations of the world or the ruling powers" and that Israel should agree to a partial building freeze in east Jerusalem, at least temporarily.
What Wikipedia does not note is his explanation to Peres:
... [Rabbi Yosef] added that the pause in building could be temporary, and that “nothing would happen” if Israel concentrated on construction in other parts of the country for a few years.
Uh-huh. So now we have the Obama State Department making it a point to condemn this "distinguished rabbinical authority" who for decades advocated peace negotiations and who has supported the temporary construction freeze now in effect. Some folks just never know when to keep their mouths shut (and I don't mean the Rabbi).
The original account in Vos Iz Neias? quotes Rabbi Yosef as follows.
Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef denounced upcoming peace talks with the Palestinians, which are set to start September 2 in Washington, 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.”
The Shas spiritual leader also called the Palestinians “evil, bitter enemies of Israel” during his speech, which is not the rabbi’s first sermon to spark controversy.
In 2001, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox faction gave a speech in which he also called for Arabs’ annihilation.
“It is forbidden to be merciful to them,” he was quoted as saying. “You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”
I cannot condemn these statements, as I have entertained these very same thoughts. These terrorists are "evil and damnable," and there is no shortage of evidence for that statement of fact. So let's see what PJ had to say in his press release yesterday.
We regret and condemn the inflammatory statements by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. We note the Israeli statement that the Rabbi's comments do not reflect the views of the Prime Minister. These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace. As we move forward to relaunch peace negotiations, it is important that actions by people on all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it.
QUESTION: Moving on, P.J., (inaudible) Iran to come to the negotiating table, and Iran has finally now said that it’s ready. What is holding up the determination of a date and place both with regard to the Vienna Group meeting (inaudible)?
MR. CROWLEY: There are discussions ongoing between Iran and Catherine Ashton in the EU, and between Iran and the IAEA. We are hopeful that there can be constructive meetings in the coming weeks on both of those fronts. We stand ready to join other countries in a P-5+1 discussion with Iran, and we hope that such a meeting can be set up very shortly. And likewise, we look forward to discussions within the IAEA about whether there’s any arrangement that can be arrived at regarding the Tehran research reactor. So we’re hopeful that both of those meetings can happen soon, and there are discussions ongoing to try to set up a specific date for both of those meetings.