All Arabs are worthless says Israeli cabinet minister

December 27, 2011
Sarah Benton

Racist outburst by Israeli minister in charge of ‘combating antisemitism’

By Ben White, electronic intifada

In a shocking, racist outburst, an Israeli cabinet minister has described Arabs as a “damaged nation”, in remarks reportedly made at a conference in the Tel Aviv-area city Or Yehuda on Sunday.

Israel’s Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, who posted the comments on his Facebook profile, said:

“As long as the Arab nation continues to be a damaged nation that continues to invest in terror infrastructures, in education to hatred, and in the welfare of families of martyrs, there will be no peace.”

Edelstein, a member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, lives in the illegal West Bank settlement of Neve Daniel. Not only is Edelstein a settler, but he also supports initiatives like the ‘Lobby for Greater Israel’, whose members want “to hold onto all of Judea and Samaria”.

Ironically, given how it would be received if a member of Congress or European minister said similar remarks about “the Jewish nation”, Minister Edelstein plays a crucial role in the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) as a member of the body’s steering committee.

In October, he was in London for an ICCA meeting hosted by Labour MP John Mann, co-founder of the ICCA and chair of the UK-focused All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism (APPGAA).

Edelstein is committed to the conflation of political actions like Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) and antisemitism. At an international “combating antisemitism” conference he co-organised with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in December 2009, Edelstein told delegates:

“We must repeat again and again these basic facts – TO BE ‘anti-Israel’ IS TO BE ANTI-SEMITIC. TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, ISRAELI PROFESSORS and ISRAELI businesses, these are not political acts, these are acts of hate, acts of anti-Semitism! Anti-Israel hysteria is anti-Semitic hysteria. They are one and the same.” [Ed: Upper case letters in the transcript]

He has also drawn parallels between the Goldstone Report and the rise of Hitler, saying that the UN investigation into war crimes is “simply a type of anti-Semitism”.

While none of this has dissuaded members of the ICCA from working with the Minister, how will they react now, given the unapologetically anti-Arab views of someone apparently coordinating a fight against racism?

[h/t to Mya Guarnieri for finding the Facebook status]


Since this post was first published, Israeli blogger Yossi Gurvitz has covered MK Edelstein’s remarks for +972 (note that the word I put as ‘damaged’, Gurvitz translates as ‘deplorable’, i.e. Edelstein describes Arabs as a “deplorable nation”). Gurvitz sought clarification with the following result:

I phoned the minister’s office for comment, and asked his spokesman: “Are you aware of the fact there are some 80 million Arabs in the world, from Sudan to Syria?” He replied: “Yes, there are – and the minister meant them all.”

We await a response from the ICCA.

Israel’s Propaganda Minister: Arabs are a deplorable nation

Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, said the Arabs are a “deplorable nation.” His spokesman: He meant every one of them

Yossi Gurvitz, +972 news

Israel’s Propaganda and Diaspora Minister, Yuli Edelstein, told a crowd in a public diplomacy event in Or Yehuda that “as long as the Arab nation continues to be a deplorable nation, which continues investing in infrastructure for terrorism, education to hate, and welfare for the families of shaheeds (martyrs), there will be no peace.” It can be seen in his Facebook page, here (Hebrew). The Hebrew epithet used by Edelstein to describe Arabs – נפסד – is rather difficult to translate: I put it as “deplorable” but it can also mean “morally bankrupt.”

I phoned the minister’s office for comment, and asked his spokesman: “Are you aware of the fact there are some 80 million Arabs in the world, from Sudan to Syria?” He replied: “Yes, there are – and the minister meant them all.”

So there you have it: Israel’s Propaganda Minister (in Hebrew, he is called the Minister of Hasbara) believes each and every Arab is involved in rather deplorable actions. Seems that’s all you do, if you’re born an Arab. Why did his spokesman go an extra mile in confirming Edelstein’s comment? Possibly because Edelstein is a Yisrael Beitenu minister, and such comments play well with that base.

During the same event, Edelstein openly deplored racism – at least, some sort of racism. He was very angry about calls made by extreme ultra-Orthodox in Beit Shemesh towards policemen, displaying the tact and broad-mindedness we have came to expect of our ultra-Orthodox brethren: “Nazis, go back to Russia.” Edelstein, himself a Russian immigrant, noted that he was jailed in Russia for Zionist activities and said, “That’s not what I sat in prison with my Zion prisoners brothers for! That’s not what I made aliyah for! We will not let anyone exclude others – neither because of gender or intra-Jewish ethnicity! The land of Israel belongs to us all.” It’s a good bet that Edelstein would not realize his comments contradict each other.

Some dictionary definitions
Semite n
A person belonging to the race of mankind which includes most of the peoples mentioned in Gen. x. as descended from Shem son of Noah, as the Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians, and Aramæans. Also, a person speaking a Semitic language as his native tongue. OED

nation n.
a. A large aggregate of communities and individuals united by factors such as common descent, language, culture, history, or occupation of the same territory, so as to form a distinct people. Now also: such a people forming a political state; a political state. (In early use also in pl.: a country.)
c. A group of people having a single ethnic, tribal, or religious affiliation, but without a separate or politically independent territory.Freq. used of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. OED

נפסד = adj. worthless, obsolete Babylon translator

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