By Khalid Amayreh
Who says there is no Jewish Nazism?
Ovadia Yosef is the spiritual leader of hundreds of thousands of haredi orthodox Jews who give him automatic and nearly absolute allegiance. This week, he lashed out at the Palestinians, saying that they should all be annihilated. “May God destroy them with a plague,” said the elderly rabbi.
Yosef’s remarks should be taken seriously as they seem to reflect a deepening grave phenomenon in the Israeli Jewish society. It is Jewish fascism, pure and simple. It is racist, virulent and violent.
Unfortunately, with the exception of a few sporadic voices, which criticized the rabbi for saying what he said, the Israeli society generally ignored the manifestly racist remarks, either out of apathy, or because they concurred with him.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu refused to directly and explicitly denounce the racist tirade, even though it was politically correct to do so in a certain sense. Instead he babbled a few words, saying that what Yosef said didn’t represent the policy of the Israeli government. Shas, the political party whose ultimate political maker is Yosef, is an important coalition partner in the Netanyahu coalition.
Interestingly, Yosef was not talking merely about Arab extremists, or terrorists, or other “demonized groups.” He was rather talking about “all Palestinians” who he said should perish.
Yosef is considered a Torah sage. Hence, it is unlikely that he was mincing words or making a slip of a tongue as some hasbara propagandists would claim to limit the damage generated by the racist utterance.
I strongly believe the world, especially Jews, ought to treat such calls, which haven’t been made for the first time, with utmost seriousness and gravity, because wishing Palestinians “a speedy annihilation” is effectively a call for genocide.
Jews can’t keep talking about the holocaust while fascism is taking root in their midst. They should realize, in case they don’t that Nazism was sinful and evil, not because it was partly directed against Jews, but rather because it was inherently diabolical and nefarious.
In the final analysis, Jewish fascism is no less evil than German fascism or any other fascism. There is no such a thing as a kosher genocide or a kosher holocaust, the kind of which this ignorant, hateful old man, who calls himself a Torah sage, is calling for. Didn’t he learn when he was young the cardinal Biblical commandment, thou shall not murder?
Yosef is by no means thunder on a clear day. He represents a widespread phenomenon in Israel and amongst Jews who increasingly harbor genocidal views toward the Palestinian people. This genocidal ideology, dubbed by much of the international media as merely “Jewish extremism,” can be called Jewish Nazism, at least from the perspective of ideology.
Several months ago, another rabbi, Mordechai Elyahu, who died recently, was quoted by his own son as saying that hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Palestinian civilians ought to be killed if largely innocuous projectiles from Gaza didn’t cease.
Other religious figures, who routinely invoke the issue of terror, readily quote from the Old Testament, justifying war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated callously by the Israeli occupation army against innocent civilians in occupied Palestine and Lebanon .
One religious Zionist leader, a lady, didn’t hesitate to call on the Israeli government and army to adopt Biblical-style genocide in dealing with the Palestinian issue. Needless to say, a Biblical-style solution means annihilating men, women, and children and not leaving a breathing thing.
It is highly hypocritical and morally duplicitous for Israel and its supporters to urge Muslims to rein in their extremists while giving a near carte blanche to the likes of Ovadia Yosef to spew their hateful venom.
When an Israeli soldier hears Yosef spew this Nazi-like venom, it is predictable how this soldier will internalize what he heard, especially in dealing with Palestinians.
Then the innocent blood shed will not be the sole responsibility of the young brainwashed soldier, but also the responsibility of the rabbis who keep fostering hate and racism among their followers.
When an Israeli murderer, a French Jewish immigrant, was asked by police a few years ago why he murdered an Arab taxi driver who had given him a ride to his home, the murderer said he thought non-Jewish lives were worthless and had no sanctity. He apparently had learned this during a homily at his neighborhood’s synagogue.
Yes, there are extremists everywhere. But in Israel, extremism is the mainstream, as successive elections have repeatedly shown. Today, in Israel humanists, human rights activists, academics who oppose racism and equality advocates are hounded and demonized. The gangs of fascism, who function under a variety of rubrics, don’t sleep the night trying to vilify university professors and others who dare call the spade a spade. In short, terror and McCarthyism are in the air every where in a state that mendaciously calls itself “democratic.”
True, Muslims have extremist organizations such as al-Qaeda and other organizations which commit acts of mostly politically-motivated violence and terror. However, while the bulk of Muslims are decidedly against these groups, it is sad that we find most Jews are decidedly and enthusiastically supportive of Jewish racist and terror groups, especially the settler movement whose venomous ideology advocates genocide as the ultimate solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Ovadia Yosef will get away with impunity as he did numerous times before. In the final analysis, Yosef is the product of Israeli fascism which he epitomizes.
However, Israel should also look back at similar experiences where fascism took its course and reached its evil potentials. We all know the rest of the story.
Khalid Amayreh is a Journalist living in Dura, Hebron District, West Bank, occupied Palestine . He has BA in journalism: University of Oklahoma , 1981 MA in journalism, University of Southern Illinois , 1983