Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This Must Not Stand

Racism and xenophobia are taking hold in Israel at an alarming rate. Haaretz reports on a group of orthodox rabbis in Israel who in October signed a religious ruling which forbid Israelis from renting their property to non-Jews (a move aimed at Arabs). Money quote from the letter:

The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful deed.

Another quote from one of the rabbis who signed the letter:
Racism originated in the Torah. The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted.
Yikes. Luckily there has been considerable blowback from the Israeli government, including Netanyahu:
How would we feel if someone said not to sell apartments to Jews? We would protest, and we do protest when it is said among our neighbors. It is forbidden that such things are said about Jews or Arabs.

In what way are the words of these rabbis any different from the words of white supremacists or Nazis who created official rulings for forbid blacks, or Jews, from living in certain neighborhoods, from owning property or businesses?

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