Just about everyone in the media is blasting the פאר הדור - Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a for a statement he said against "Abu Mazen and these Palestinians". Unjustifiably, in my opinion.
(Click here to hear the audio of the "offensive" line.)
Can everyone take a step back for a second and realize what exactly was said?
Rav Ovadia, Shlit"a, was giving a Shiur in Halacha regarding the Simanim on Rosh Hashana. No less than three of the Simanim on Rosh Hashana deal with getting rid of our enemies:
The Yehi Ratzon for dates is:
יהי רצון...שיתמו אויבינו ושונאינו וכל מבקשי רעתינו
May it be Your will....that our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm should cease to exist.
The Yehi Ratzon for leek is:
יהי רצון...שיכרתו אויבינו ושונאינו וכל מבקשי רעתינו
May it be Your will....that our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm should be cut off.
The Yehi Ratzon for "Silka" (beets or spinach) is:
יהי רצון...שיסתלקו אויבינו ושונאינו וכל מבקשי רעתינו
May it be Your will....that our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm should be removed [from the world].
Now, let me ask you a question:
Who in the world would be considered "our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm"?
I could think of many nations, but one close one in particular who has been at the forefront of seeking us harm in the past century is the Palestinians and their leadership.
Abu Mazen, an unrepentant Holocaust-denier and unrepentant former terrorist should be near or at the top of the list. His willingness to conduct "peace negotiations" doesn't mean a thing. He has yet to recognize Israel, which should be a sign to all that he still dreams of its destruction, ח"ו.
Back to what Rav Ovadia, Shlit"a, was saying, he was giving us an example of what intent we should have when reciting these Yehi Ratzones. Other examples might include Nasralla, Ahmedinejad, and Meshal ימש"ו. That was Rav Ovadia's point. Is it more PC in G-d's eyes to ask for the destruction of Ahmedinejad than that of Abu Mazen? Hashem knows that the goal of both is the same - one is more open about it than the other in this world, so some people get offended by Rav Ovadia's statement, but in the Olam Ha'emet, Hashem knows that they both share the same goals - the destruction of Israel ל"ע. Rav Ovadia is more connected to the Olam Ha'emet than we are, so he's not worried about what's PC and what's not.
Regarding his asking for the destruction of "these Palestinians", he wasn't, of course, asking for the destruction of all Palestinians. The only nation we want eradicated is Amalek. Rather, he was referring to the Palestinians who were connected to Abu Mazen and his cronies. This is clear from the context for all who actually heard the audio.
There are those who agree with Rav Ovadia, but disagree with the fact that he said it publicly. To these people, I say: he was giving a halachic shiur, and in the course of halachic discourse, examples often need to be used. Would you have been so upset if he used "Ahmedinejad" instead? If not, see what I just wrote above why there is no difference. Perhaps, he was even using Abu Mazen as the bigger Hiddush (לאפוקי those with a PC-bent).
I didn't even mention the fact that the secular media is constantly watching Rav Ovadia "to see what he's going to say next" to try to break the next negative story against him. This is a given. Sometimes, Rav Ovadia gives them what they want to hear. The more PC your mindset is, the more of a shock his words will be to you, but know that his words are always rooted in Torah Hashkafa. If it shocks you, maybe you need a higher dose of Torah.
: See also Elder of Ziyon