ADL: Ovadia Yosef Comments "Offensive and Incendiary"

New York, NY, August 30, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned comments made by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as "offensive and incendiary," cautioning that his words "contribute to a potentially dangerous environment of intolerance and hatred."

In a speech on August 28, Rabbi Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas Party in Israel, reportedly said, "Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world … God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are outraged by the offensive and incendiary comments made by Rav Ovadia Yosef. Particularly on the eve of renewed peace talks, and on the eve of the Jewish New Year, one would have hoped that Rav Yosef could have inspired his students and followers with a message of hope, humility, repentance and forgiveness.

These comments do not exist in a vacuum – such incendiary expressions contribute to a potentially dangerous environment of intolerance and hatred.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.