On 18 March 2018, Yosef allegedly likened people of black African descent to monkeys.He was speaking on the topic of the Meshaneh HaBriyot blessing in the Talmud concerning the sight of an unusual creature, either person or animal (“Blessed are you, Lord our God…who makes creatures different.”). Examples of people given include “an (unusually) black, red, or white person, a giant, a dwarf, or one with spots”, and of animals, examples include “an elephant, monkey, or vulture”. In referring to black people, Yosef used the ancient term kushi, the term present in the Talmud. The term is considered derogatory in modern Hebrew, but in the Talmud it is equivalent to saying “African” (see Kingdom of Kush). He said: “Seeing a black person, you say the blessing. What black person? One who had a white mother and father, and came out black. Not on every black person do you make a blessing. When you walk in the streets of America, every five minutes, you see a black person. Will you say on him the blessing? Rather, it only needs to be on a black person whose mother and father are white. If, you know, two people birth a monkey or something like that, then you say the Different Creatures blessing.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tweeted that his comments were “utterly unacceptable”.


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