Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Don't-Sell-to-the Arabs Controversy

Jeffrey Goldberg pans Robert Wright's very constructive  NYT essay (" A U.N. Plan for Israel" - and by all means check out the piece by Daniel Levy to which Wright refers) by referring to Wright's column as regular installments of   "If Those Stiff-Necked Jews Just Did as They're Told the World Would Have Peace," taking issue with Wright's reference to the Israel rabbis who recently forbade Jews to sell land to Arabs.  Goldberg notes instead that another prominent halachic authority, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, has chastised those rabbis, and insists that Rabbi Lichtenstein is much more representative of Israeli public opinion.  The other rabbis' racist view is, in his view, marginalized.

Nice to hear that, but has Goldberg forgotten that one of the parties in Netanyahu's governing coalition is Shas, an Ultra-Orthodox party that is essentially ruled by its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.  The Rabbi Yosef's very racist views - which he grounds in Scripture and Jewish law - are a matter of public record - and as the leader of a party without whose support Netanyahu's government would fall, I would hardly call him marginal to Israeli political life.

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