[News] Top Israeli rabbis advocate genocide

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 1 11:38:03 EDT 2007

Top Israeli rabbis advocate genocide


Ali Abunimah writing from Chicago, USA, Live from Palestine, 31 May 2007

Legitimate targets, to senior Israeli theocrats: Palestinian children 
play on the rubble of a destroyed Hamas training base after an 
Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, 29 May 2007. (Hatem 

Yesterday I wrote a piece entitled 
<http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6975.shtml>"Israel's House 
of Horrors" about the openly murderous statements of Israeli cabinet 
ministers. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, I read a news 
article on the website of 
Jerusalem Post that Israel's former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai 
Eliyahu -- one of the most senior theocrats in the Jewish State 
"ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the 
indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive 
military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings" 
("Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing Gaza," The Jerusalem Post, 30 May, 2007).

The Jerusalem Post reported that Mordechai made this ruling in a 
letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert citing biblical 
authority. The letter was published in a weekly journal distributed 
in synagogues throughout Israel. The report states that "According to 
Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective 
responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the 
entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the 
firing of Kassam rockets."

Eliayahu's son, Shmuel Eliayhu, himself chief rabbi of Safad, 
amplified his father's comments, stating: "If they don't stop after 
we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand." He added, "And if they do 
not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't 
stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make 
them stop."

This kind of genocidal hatred of Palestinians is not unusual in 
Israel. What used to be unusual was for it to be spoken so brazenly 
and openly. Of course we know what would happen if a Muslim or 
Palestinian religious figure made such a statement. We know the 
international outcry when Iran's President Ahmadinejad allegedly made 
statements calling for the elimination of Israel. Will all those EU 
officials who curried favor by condemning Ahmedinejad take an equally 
strong and public stance against Israel's former chief rabbi? Will 
they demand that Olmert publicly repudiate the letter he received?

A Muslim making such statements about Jews would certainly be 
banished from traveling to the United States, and could end up in 
Guantanamo for much less.

Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of 
Genocide adopted in the wake of the Nazi holocaust, "Direct and 
public incitement to commit genocide" is a punishable act. One 
wonders whether the UN Security Council, which created an 
international tribunal to investigate the killing of one man in 
Lebanon, will pay any attention to the indiscriminate state- and 
theocratically-sanctioned massacres of Palestinians by Israel.

Will Hillary Clinton, who continues to defame Palestinian 
schoolchildren with the lie that they are taught "hatred" in their 
schoolbooks, or any of our other pandering candidates, take a moment 
out from praising Israel to condemn Eliayahu's statement? What about 
Oprah Winfrey, who at the invitation of Elie Wiesel is to undertake a 
"solidarity" visit to Israel?

It seems there are no moral restraints left in Israel. It is right 
and proper that such a regime be isolated with 
divestment and sanctions until it desists from its racist -- and 
potentially genocidal -- practices. It is to be celebrated that an 
increasing number of individuals and organizations understand this: 
yesterday the governing body of the UK's University and College Union 
overwhelmingly to support a boycott of Israeli academia. Today 
UNISON, the UK's largest public service union announced it will vote 
on similar motions at its next congress. As Israel's house of horror 
grows, so does the movement to confront it. In that there is great hope.

Ali Abunimah is cofounder of the online publication The Electronic 
Intifada and author of 
<http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/store/548.shtml>One Country: A 
Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

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