We Are For Israel is sickened by the hate filled rant in the guise of a sermon given by Ovadiah Yosef. Yosef, the former leader of the SHAS party and former leader of Sephardic Jewry in Israel, has said some pretty awful things over the years and frankly, we condemn those too. They are too many to list and are beside the point. Israelis overwhelmingly also condemn Yosef’s words.
One must ask why the US State Department chose to publicize them. Why draw attention to HIM? Why publicize this man’s hate filled comments if they are NOT representative of the Israeli side? Will the state department also condemn, INDIVIDUALLY, every act of incitement on the Palestinian side and do so as representative of that side? Why AGAIN focus attention on a representative of SHAS who has every intention of torpedoing the process that you wish to see advance? Anyone remember Eli Yishai??? March??? Construction announcement during a meeting with Vice President Biden??? Ring a bell???
It would have been better to have ignored Yosef rather than to tell him that ” incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace,” as the State Department did. Are we to assume that Yosef felt that his statement was going to lead to hugs and kisses? Or might he have intended his words to influence his followers against peace with the Palestinians? As the answer here is blatantly obvious, one must wonder what the State Department is thinking! Why PROMOTE his ability to do damage to the process??? Why promote his totally insane and unrepresentative incitement??? How does THAT HELP the process? Why AGAIN allow SHAS to threaten the entire peace process with a few well-timed comments aimed at doing exactly that?
Radicals need to be told NOT that “incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace,” but instead that “incitement from opponents of peace such as this man must be ignored because the peace process must move forward.” If all it takes to “hurt the cause of peace” are a few words said by someone not even in a position in the government much less a representative of it in the diplomatic process, there is little or no hope of progress. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Ovadiah’s words will never hurt me–or you, and they shouldn’t be allowed to “hurt the cause of peace” either.