The United States Today condemned remarks by Chacham Ovadia Yosef, who said the Palestinians should “perish.” “We regret and condemn the inflammatory statements by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,” U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley. “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.”
Rav Yosef had said during his weekly Motzoei Shabbos drasha that the Palestinians, namely Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, should perish from the world. Rav Yosef also described Palestinians as evil, bitter enemies of Israel.
“All these evil people should perish from this world … God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians,” Rav Yosef had said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu today distanced himself from rav Yosef’s remarks, but stopped short of a condemnation.
“Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s remarks do not reflect Netanyahu’s views, nor do they reflect the stance of the Israeli government,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
“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,” the statement continued.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed Rav Yosef’s remarks, saying they were paramount to incitement to genocide.
Erekat called on the Israeli government to denounce the remarks by Rav Yosef and to take action against racist remarks by other elected officials.