The news outlet, the Jewish Press reported today that in a radio interview broadcast on Voice of Israel radio, former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, used insensitive language directed towards Prime Minister Netanyahu on the issues surrounding support for a two-state solution. He used the term “autistic” in order to describe Netanyahu’s behavior and state of mind.
“Anyone who thinks going back to the 1967 lines will solve the conflict is autistic.”
Liberman has since been called upon by members of disability rights groups in Israel to make an apology. One such group is the Ruderman Family Foundation. Its President, Jay Ruderman, released a response in which they asked for Liberman to apologize for using the word ‘autistic’ as a direct insult towards Prime Minister Netanyahu. They also highlighted that millions of people around the globe have autism and that by using the term ‘autistic’ as an insult, Liberman has caused deep upset to the autism community. They further add that any term for a disability, should not be used in a derogatory manner.
After the Ruderman Family Foundation had released their statement, Liberman issued the following apology:
“Today I said in a radio interview that ‘anyone who thinks going back to the ’67 borders would solve the dispute has autism.’ Of course I didn’t mean in any way to offend autistic people, but wanted to illustrate the unwillingness of some people to accept certain realities about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I apologize if anyone was hurt.”
The Ruderman Family Foundation have acknowledged this apology and are grateful that he publicly apologized.
Source: Lori Lowenthal Marcus on the Jewish Press website: Liberman Apologizes for Using ‘Autistic’ as an Insult to Describe Netanyahu
Hayah Goldlist-Eichler on The Jerusalem Post: Liberman apologizes for using the word autism as an insult