US envoy slams rabbis for ‘vile’ diatribes supporting racism, Hitler’s worldview
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US envoy slams rabbis for ‘vile’ diatribes supporting racism, Hitler’s worldview

Jason Greenblatt says remarks from rabbis at West Bank academies do not represent Judaism and warns hate speech fuels violent attacks

Jason Greenblatt attends the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards gala at Carnegie Hall in New York, March 28, 2019. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Jason Greenblatt attends the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards gala at Carnegie Hall in New York, March 28, 2019. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

US envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt on Wednesday slammed rabbis from a West Bank religious academy for making “vile” comments denigrating Arabs, defending Adolf Hitler’s worldview, and openly promoting Jewish supremacy.

In a series of undated recordings published by Channel 13 news on Monday, Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David pre-military academy in the settlement of Eli, can be heard calling for the enslavement of the “stupid and violent” non-Jews due to their genetic inferiority. In another clip from the Bnei David Yeshiva, Rabbi Giora Redler can be heard praising Hitler’s ideology during a lesson about the Holocaust.

“These outlier comments are disgusting, do not represent Judaism & I condemn them,” tweeted Greenblatt, who is one of the main people crafting the Trump administration’s yet-to-be released peace plan.

“Hate speech of all forms is vile and as we increasingly see, leads to deadly attacks. We must fight all forms of hatred,” he said. Earlier in the day, Greenblatt visited Poway in California, the site of Saturday’s deadly synagogue shooting attack by a white supremacist.

On Tuesday the ADL also condemned their words.

“We harshly condemn statements made by rabbis teaching at the Bnei David Yeshiva in the community of Eli. Rabbi Redler’s attempt to ascribe reason — not to say justification — to atrocities perpetrated by Hitler against the Jewish people is unconscionable,” the ADL said in a statement.

“Statements made by Rabbi Kashtiel regarding non-Jews, specifically Arabs, suggesting they are genetically inferior are disgraceful. Such words are especially grave coming from senior rabbis educating the next generation. We urge them to apologize without delay,” the statement said.

Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the pre-military academy in the West Bank settlement of Eli. (screen capture: Channel 13)

In one sermon released by Channel 13, Kashtiel called for enslaving non-Jews.

“The gentiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves,” he told a class. “Instead of just walking the streets and being stupid and violent and harming each other, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape.”

“All around us, we are surrounded by peoples with genetic problems. Ask a simple Arab ‘where do you want to be?’ He wants to be under the occupation. Why? Because they have genetic problems, they don’t know how to run a country, they don’t know how to do anything. Look at them,” Kashtiel said.

In the lecture, Kashtiel went on to embrace racism against non-Jews.

“Yes, we’re racists. We believe in racism… There are races in the world and peoples have genetic traits, and that requires us to try to help them,” he said. “The Jews are a more successful race.”

In another clip from the Bnei David Yeshiva, Redler can be heard praising Hilter’s ideology during a lesson about the Holocaust.

Rabbi Giora Redler, a teacher at the Bnei David Yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Eli. (screen capture: Channel 13)

“Let’s just start with whether Hitler was right or not,” he told students. “He was the most correct person there ever was, and was correct in every word he said… he was just on the wrong side.”

Redler goes on to say that pluralism is the “real” genocide being perpetrated against the Jewish people, not Nazi Germany’s Final Solution, a plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II.

“The real Holocaust was not when they murdered the Jews, that’s not it. All these excuses — that it was ideological or systematic — are nonsense,” he said. “Humanism, and the secular culture of ‘We believe in man,’ that’s the Holocaust.”

The comments drew wide condemnation from opposition lawmakers who called for pulling all state funding to the Eli-based academy over the remarks.

Rabbis teaching at the Eli academy — a darling of the national religious camp for funneling of thousands of religious officers into senior combat positions in the Israel Defense Forces — have a history of making controversial and illiberal remarks.

After the footage was aired on Monday, Kashtiel and Redler, in a statement to Channel 13, acknowledged making the remarks but claimed the comments were taken out of context.

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