UK’s Chief Rabbi Criticizes Israeli Counterpart over Racist Insults

26 Mar
8:50 PM

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has slammed his Sephardic counterpart in Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, for making “deeply offensive” remarks about black people, comparing them to monkeys.

Yosef drew criticism last week, for comparing, during one of his weekly religious lessons, black people with monkeys, referring to them using the pejorative term in Israel, “kushi.”

“We don’t say a blessing for every kushi 
 He needs to be a kushi whose father and mother are white 
 if you know, they had a monkey for a son,” Rabbi Yosef said, according to Days of Palestine.

Delivering a sermon last week, Mirvis said that the comments, which were made in the context of a Talmudic discussion, were “totally unacceptable” and said that his office “has contacted the Chief Rabbinate in Israel directly” to voice its objections.

Last week, the Anti-Defamation League also rebuked Rabbi Yosef for his derogatory comments.

The New York City-based organisation devoted to battling anti-Semitism and racism called Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s comments “racially charged” and “utterly unacceptable.”

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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.

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