Judge Proposes Rabbi Ginsburg Retract Inciteful Statements

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Noam Solberg on Wednesday proposed that Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg explicitly and publicly retract his offensive statements about Arabs, in return for an end to all criminal proceedings against him.

Ginsburg, a member of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement, and a former head of a yeshiva in the West Bank city of Nablus, was indicted in July on charges of encouraging racism against Arabs in his book, "Tsav Hasha'a - Tipul Shoresh" ("Order of the Day - Radical Treatment"), which was published in 2001.

According to the proposal, Ginsburg would publicly announce a retraction of his inciteful statements and state his support for social and political equal rights to all the state's citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender. Ginsburg, through his attorney Naftali Wurzberger, said he would consider the proposal.

Among others, the charges cite a conversation in the book between Ginsburg and a student. The student asks: "So an Arab has no right to exist in Israel?" Ginsburg replies: "Here in the Land of Israel, he has no right."

In another place in the book the student asks: "What is the rabbi's opinion about the Arabs as a nation and a people, as our enemies and our foes?"

Ginsburg replies: "There is something called the Third World or another name for more primitive nations. Clearly, they are lower on the world's cultural ladder; but the murderousness and anti-Semitism are not a function of primitiveness, since the Germans were the most enlightened and educated and also the most bestial in every way."

In the past, Ginsburg had praised the massacre carried out in 1994 by Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Muslim worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Ginsburg had declared that Goldstein's deed constitutes "a fulfillment of a number of commandments of Jewish law...[including] taking revenge on non-Jews."

He was held in administrative detention for a period of two months in 1996 for his pronouncements, but the State Prosecution decided not to charge him and let him go.