Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
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June 01
Freelance writer, editor, and first citizen of Judy's World.

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AUGUST 30, 2010 1:52PM

Rabbi's "genocidal" statements could torpedo Mideast talks

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Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 
Israeli Rabbi Ovadia Yosef


Israel's former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef may be a lousy diplomat, but he sure knows a thing or two about timing. During his weekly Shabbat sermon, held just days before the start of a new round of peace negotiations to help resolve the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the good rabbi expressed his hope that President Abbas (“an evil hater of Israel”) and the Palestinian people would be wiped from the face of the earth. No, wait - wasn't that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Right, here we go: Palestinians are “evil, bitter enemies… All these evil people should perish from this world,” the 89 year-old Iraqi-born spiritual leader told his followers. “God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.”


It’s usually easy to the comments of an old man to mere old age, but that is a lot harder to do in the case of someone with the reputation of Rabbi Yosef. This distinguished scholar is not only deeply revered in Sephardi and Mizrahi communities worldwide, but serves as the spiritual leader of the ultra-orthodox Shas party in the Knesset, which forms part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government and holds four cabinet positions. The rabbi’s greatest influence lies in the sphere of religion, where he is regarded as something of a liberal among his ultra-orthodox colleagues. His findings sound odd to outsiders, but pull a lot of weight within ultra-orthodox circles. For example, he has ruled that it is acceptable for a man to listen to a recording of a woman singing via radio or a recording device, as long as he has never seen the woman in person. (Viewing her photograph does not count as seeing her in person.) He has also revealed that it is acceptable for girls and boys to study together up to the age of nine. After that – not so much.


It is when he ventures into politics that the problems start. The rabbi has made hurtful comments about Arabs before, saying in 2001 that “it is forbidden to be merciful to them (...) You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable." He has made frequent statements calling them “snakes” and “accursed wicked ones” that “God was sorry” for ever creating in the first place.


But Ovadia Yosef is an equal opportunity hater. A decade ago, and again last year, he generated headlines by essentially claiming that Holocaust victims had it coming – although his followers unequivocally state that he means no such thing. ''The six million Jews, all those poor people who were lost at the hands of those evil ones, the Nazis, may their names be blotted out -- was it for nothing? No. This was all the reincarnation of earlier souls, who sinned and caused others to sin and did all sorts of forbidden acts. They returned in reincarnation in order to set these things right, and received, those poor people, all those torments and troubles and deaths under which they were killed in the Holocaust." Where did come up with this hurtful notion? A week later he cited a sixteenth century Jewish mystic who had said: "If the soul was not purified entirely the first time, and it left this world, that soul must come back in a reincarnation, even a few times, until it is entirely purified."


Other controversial statements refer to women, gay people, and even parents who send their children to secular schools, who he believes will be punished in this world and the next. Of course, he doesn’t mean any of this, we are told. At least, not literally - or not quite literally. Well, I’ve heard this sort of thing before. I guess it’s all a question of what “mean” means.


So where do we go from here? On Sunday, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, called the rabbi’s remarks “a call for the assassination of President Abbas” and “an incitement to genocide” and is demanding a forceful response on the part of the Israeli government. Philip J. Crowley, a State Department Official, has issued a statement regretting Ovadia Yosef’s comments, saying "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."


So far, prime minister Netanyahu’s office has issued a statement saying that the comments “do not reflect Netanyahu’s views, nor do they reflect the stance of the Israeli government.” The statement goes on to say that “Israel plans to take part in peace negotiations out of a desire to advance toward a peace agreement with the Palestinians that will end the conflict and ensure peace, security, and good neighborly relations between the two peoples.”  

We’ll have to wait and see if Mr. Netanyahu’s statements have the desired effect, but it is already looking as if – thanks to the rabbi’s comments and a string of other awkward events in recent days – the peace talks are long over before they’ve even begun. It seems that in hatred, like in humor, timing is everything.

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Another Israeli ayatollah. Israel hates Iran so much because it's beginning to resemble it too closely.
i think Israeli "democracy" leaves much to be desired. it is more aptly described as a theocratic union with front men whose job it is to pretend it is nothing of the kind. where is the Israeli Obama?
The rabbi is not the only genocidal one looking to torpedo ANY talk of peace as my latest blog post indicates.

As for an israeli obama, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemies.

a shande fer de goyim.

Well, proof to reasonable people that ignorant, mean-spirited religious jerks inhabit every creed.

May this open lots of eyes, and force many to back off and re-think settlements, and hating Arabs. Let him be 2010's Bull Conner.
Thanks for being a faithful observer and reporter for those of us who may not be as close to or advantageously positioned to get direct information, or at least more info than you can get from traditional media on middle-east subjects. Keep up the good work!
(R)ated for same.
He's simply seeking a Final Solution to the Palestinian Problem.

I have no doubt Bibi approves.
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Every NearEast playe, Jew & Muslim, has long known Ovadia is nuts. They know he'e the same guy who declared the Holocauste dead were just reincarnations of bad souls.
If the talks are derailed it won't be bc of him.
Judy, Judy, Judy a fascinating little excursion through the dark heart of the middle east here in these pivotal times. The question that despite your best attempts at objectivity leaps from this post is; why do you begrudge an old man his hatred of his enemy. If sitting Bull was camped in your living room beating his war drums would you serenade him with love and understanding.

On Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to the middle east in march Netanyahu handed Biden broken glass supposedly by accident, Netanyahu had shattered the framed document recording the trees Israel had planted in commemoration of Biden’s mothers support of Israel. Heads of state don’t make mistakes like that in a ceremony honoring another head of state of their most powerful ally. When he handed him the shattered frame Netanyahu said "I have one thing to offer you right now, and it's broken glass." For those in the know it was a symbol of the rift that would soon become a chasm if Israel was forced to sit at the peace table with the Palestinians which I am sure was the message Biden was delivering in private. Current events bear this out. It is Israel's point of view that after years of faithful service to the Bush dynasty they have been set up to be stabbed in the back by a Chicago snake oil salesman.Years of conniving and scheming, Machiavellian manipulations that our beyond the comprehension of the public in both Israel and America only to end up as the legacy of Dick Cheney’s idiot cousin.

The conditioning for this peace that will be arranged is the answer to the question I posed in the first paragraph. Americans are being swept away in a swirling tide of anti Zionist blogs generated by Arab oil money which is conjoined at the hip like Siamese twins with the oil money of the Bush Dynasty. Therein lies the treachery many of Dubya’s most heinous crimes, and they are unmatched since the days of Nero, could not have took place without the assistance of cells within the Mossad. Jeff Rense, The Truth Seeker, Prison Planet, all financed by Arab and Bush oil money have been building a grass root sentiment that trickles down into the mainstream media till the sentiment against Zionist “occupation” makes Israel's position in the middle east untenable. American Jews have even turned against Israel. Now she must make peace with an enemy that has sworn to drive her into the sea.

I cannot say I feel sorry for Netanyahu when you lie down with snakes you get bitten or should I say Biden. I can say I feel sorry for the people of Israel. Why should the Jews give Israel, any of it back to the Arabs? In fact they won it fair and square in multiple wars with little and at first no help and perhaps even opposition ( why do you think they attacked the Liberty ) from America. What right do we have to tell them to surrender what they have won in battle after what was done in Europe not 70 years ago and Russia 25 years before that. What's being done to the Palestinians is wrong but that wrong has not been committed by the Israelis they have treated the Palestinians far better than we treated the Indians.

You would think that since the Arabian Royal families and their enablers the Bush’s are wealthy beyond belief and the Muslim and Anglo countries bountiful in land, they would relocate the hapless Palestinians but they will not. Why? Because the Palestinians are the vanguard protecting the Mosque that stands in the way of building the third Temple. We are told that the Mosque is the third holiest sight in Islam but the Temple of Solomon is the holiest sight of all 3 religions : Christianity , Islam and Judaism what child has ever been born without a mother. It is that Mosque that grieves me the most it does not commemorate the angels carrying Mohamed up to heaven but it is rather a monument to the power of money, Bush oil money, over God that is why it is still standing.

The Rabbi which you are slandering here; Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is a learned and holy man do you think he has risen to his position of prominence because he is a desert dwelling savage? Just like the good Rabbi Knows that the “souls of the impious, of the sinners and of the hardened of spirit” must descend back to the physical world as it is written in the Zohar which is what the sixteenth century Rabbi, Isaac Luria, based his interpretations upon. So the Rabbi knows that in the unholy deal that was stuck century's ago the third temple must be built over the ruins of the second temple. Since the Bush’s believe themselves to be Gods they also believe they are no longer bound by that deal.

You can dismiss what I have written here and crawl back into your refuge of the dammed where consolation is found on the pillow of ignorance but I will leave you with this: George Herbert Walker Bush demonstrating his distain for western civilization had John Hinckley Jr. the son of John Hinckley Sr., chairman of the oil company Vanderbilt Energy Corp. Vice President George H. W. Bush's principle political and financial supporter in his 1980 presidential primary campaign against Ronald Reagan empty a revolver at Reagan not two months into Reagan's first term. They blamed it all on a disturbed crush for … Jodie Foster and you believed them and allowed the Bush dynasty to proceed from their. Please do not cast dispersion upon a holy man for hating his enemy even Jesus never said love your enemy only Paul, Nero’s dog said that.
A fucktard is a fucktard no matter how you look at it.
“It’s usually easy to the comments of an old man to mere old age”

Actually if you want to get to the truth you might want to consider the possibility that these are because of the irrational beliefs of a small child; seriously. These types of beliefs are usually drilled into the heads of people when they are young and impressionable. It shows much more when they are older and they often start behaving the way the authoritarian adults treated them when they were younger. The same could be said for many of the extremists on the other side who adopt virtually the same beliefs only they reverse the enemies and allies.

In the long run the most important thing to change is the way children are raised. But in order to make it through the short run someone has to deal with powerful people like this.
Judy, just admit that you're part of the Neturei Karta agenda and you realized that your blog could get published if you took an anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian stance, no matter what is right.