According to the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, ‘Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature’ and should be killed in order to ‘curb their evil inclinations. If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder,’ Shapira insisted. Citing Jewish law as his source (or at least a very selective interpretation of it) he declared: ‘There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.’ (Same as the Nazi’s orders the killing of the jewish childrens).
But because the religious leaders in question are Jewish, the Israeli government seems powerless to do much. When the spirtual leader of Shas, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef made similar statements about killing Palestinians. “God should strike them with a plague, them [leaders like Mahmoud Abbas] and these Palestinians,” Yosef’s son had endorsed the book mentioned above.
Netanyahu responded witha disclaimer that the views of his own coalition member, the fifth largest party in Parliament, are not the views of his government. Blumenthal calls this statement, “not only weak. It was false.” To paraphrase Dante Atkins’ Daily Kos post which asked the same question about General “My god was bigger than his god” Boykin, who would you rather have build a community center in your neighborhood, Shapira or Park51 Imam Rauf?
And whose views sound closer to those of Al-Qaeeda? And while Rauf is well-connected and even serves as a government envoy, he is far from the spirtual leader of a major political party.And yet Hamas is excluded from the direct talks, while Shas is able to participate, an imbalance that is just one of the many reasons these talks are doomed.
Blumenthal reports on the following thought experiment,
Palestinian Israeli member of Knesset Jamal Zehalka subsequently demanded that the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein put Yosef on trial for incitement. ‘If, heaven forbid, a Muslim spiritual leader were to make anti-Jewish comments of this sort,’ Zehalka said, “he would be arrested immediately.’
The formula is simple and foolproof (although those who deploy it so facilely seem to think we are all fools): If the bad act is committed by a member of a group you wish to demonize, attribute it to a community or a religion and not to the individual. But if the bad act is committed by someone whose profile, interests and agendas are uncomfortably close to your own, detach the malefactor from everything that is going on or is in the air (he came from nowhere) and characterize him as a one-off, non-generalizable, sui generis phenomenon.
Finally, James D. Besser blogs in New York’s Jewish week about the need for Jewish American leaders to condemn Yosef’s remarks. And wonder of wonders, the Anti Defamation League was the first to do so. Now if they would just condemn the abusive actions of the Israeli Governments, not just the abusive words of its members.