Days of Palestine

Sunday, January 29

UK chief rabbi criticises Israeli counterpart for racist insults

Days of Palestine -

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has slammed 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. 

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."