Global, Israel, Religion

Neturei Karta Hasidim Hangin' With Ahmadinejad

This really blows my mind, and I’m not a mind-blowable kind of guy.

A handful of Orthodox Jews have attended Iran’s controversial conference questioning the Nazi genocide of the Jews – not because they deny the Holocaust but because they object to using it as justification for the existence of Israel.

Not that Neturei Karta are shocking — they’re not. In fact, their theology makes awfully logical sense. I mean, if those of us who believe that there is indeed a religious mandate to live in Israel, the mandate from heaven better be pretty damn clear, i.e. signs and wonders. I’m also a fan of holding in check the abuse of the Holocaust narrative, as an emotional trump card for use in politics:

Rabbi Friedman told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme that he was not in Tehran to debate whether the Holocaust happened or not, but to look at its lessons.
He says the Holocaust was being used to legitimise the suffering of other peoples and he wanted to break what he called a taboo on discussing it.
The main thing, he argued, was not Jewish suffering in the past but the use of the Holocaust as a “tool of commercial, military and media power”.

But this rocks even my socks:

In what many other Jews would consider the height of naivety, he commended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for wanting “a secured future for innocent Jewish people in Europe and elsewhere”.

Whoa. Read the rest here.
(X-posted to

18 thoughts on “Neturei Karta Hasidim Hangin' With Ahmadinejad

  1. I think that if we lived in the times when the Jewish Courts sentenced paople to death, these Neturei Krakta guys would be long dead.
    These scumbags are lower than ANY anti-semites.
    A 19th prayer, V’lamalshinim, was added to the Shmone Esrei (lit. 18, aka Amidah) that prays for the demise of such folk. From there I quote:
    “May you swiftly uproot, break, crush, and subdue the reign . . . ”

  2. Woah! I knew one of the big neutrei karta guys, i only found out later that he was part of it.
    But whatever their “intentions”, they are sending out a message, that these frum jews agree with ahmadinajad on the holocaust. Dont expect the Iranian press to print the story with accuracy.

  3. I get a secret joy out of seeing these idiots all over the major papers hugging the Iranian president. While I know it’s dangerous from a PR perspective, etc. I like that it makes the larger anti-Zionist haredi sects (like the Satmars, who would never attend this event) seem like whackos as well. Just as most Jews are quick to deny their connections to Naturei Karta, with most of the world not really hearing/understanding such denials, so, too would the Satmars deny their connection to the Naturei Karta, with most Jews not really hearing/understanding such denials. I know that’s sick of me, but whatever. I don’t like anti-Zionist Jews. Sue me.

  4. I’ll sue you!
    I like many anti-Zionist Jews. I dislike many others. I also dislike Holocaust deniers. I also dislike flan.
    In conclusion, Ahmadinejad is a Zionist for putting on this conference. That is my favorite new meme.

  5. I overheard this news on the radio, to which a friend remarked, “I didn’t know there were Jews who think the Holocaust didn’t happen.” The news piece (I heard in Toronto) made it sound like there were Satmar there as well.
    Mission accomplished, guys. Ugh.

  6. Uh….. when left-wing Israeli governments – including Saint Yitzhak and Brother Shimon – embraced Arafat and others with Jewish blood on their hands, all the “progressive” Jews were swooning with *yiddishe nachas* and urging the rest of us to get with their starry-eyed program.
    Then they backed up the ceremonial embrace with bundles of money and a decade-long policy of self-effacement that has delegitimized Israel, and hampers its self-defense to this day.
    At least the Kartaniks are just useful idiots – not heads of state.

  7. Unfortunately the push for “pluralism” of which this website is a leading advocate will mean that nobody can deny the Jewish credentials of the naturei karta.
    Sure they’re assholes. But who’s to say theirs is not a legitimate expression of Judaism within the great mosaic (hey) of jewish life?

  8. Great to hear that some groups (especially those beyond the reach of false accusations of anti-semitism) do see the rationale and logic that ‘should’ lead any man or woman of intellect to the conclusion that by appropriating land from someone you are likely to antagonise them. Whilst violence is always wrong, its reasoning is understandable in 99.9% of cases. If someone came to my home and forced me out claiming the ‘some 3000 year old fairy-tale told him it used to be his ancestor’s’ then I’d certainly feel justified in using a violent response to remove him. It would be better though if he were to realised that his fairy-tale bears no relation to real events, and that his initial claim was false.
    Although I think it should, I don’t agree with Neturei Karta that Israel can now be dissolved. I do believe however that this world would be a much happier and better place if Israel had never been contrived.
    Shame most commentators on this site appear to prefer to simply dismiss these people and these views as “assholes”.

  9. It is possible to call a group of people assholes without dismissing them. And I think that even had Israel never come into being, the political landscape of the world today would be just as violence-prone and problematic. The point is that we need to move forward with what we have. And what we have is an ancient and ongoing sibling rivalry which has only grown more bitter and destructive as time has passed. Of course it doesn’t help that there are Jews of every stripe and color and opinion, including those who would prefer to incite more hatred rather than work productively to eliminate it, but the commentors on this site aren’t being purely destructive; most of them (us) are engaging in discussion and debate, which is where all change starts. And when one of them (us) calls these people assholes, it’s because we take the threat of their actions so seriously.

  10. You “may” be right that even without Israel there would still be problems in the world – a point which hardly needed to be made! – but that doesn’t change the jist of my arguement, and doesn’t make Israel’s history any more defensible.
    I’ve always thought that dialogue for peace would go a lot more smoothly if the Israeli government just admitted that the state was illegally created (by the UK), and that using a religious pretext for this (which, thankfully given the effects of Sharia law, is nothing to do with actual “Law”, and is only really accepted by a small fraction of the earth’s population anyway) was a mistake. There’s no point trying to progress peace when both sides think they’re in the right, and on balance, as an impartial (atheist) observer, the arabs do seem to have a stronger argument for having been wronged.
    Interested to hear your views on this though of course!!

  11. Chris, given the fact that historically the arab world ethnically cleansed (murdered massacred etc) jews from many parts of the world, where they lived before the arabs had even heard of the place, I think Jews are justified in “compensating” themselves for incurred damages. Hence Israel.
    Of course since much of the arab world is incapable of feeling shame or remorse for any crime they commit no matter how heinous ( sudan being one case in point) it becomes necessary for Israel to defend it’s perfectly moral claim to it’s territory with violence.

  12. “Sure they’re assholes. But who’s to say theirs is not a legitimate expression of Judaism within the great mosaic (hey) of jewish life?”
    In a word, no.
    The position that there should be not be a secular pre-Messianic Jewish state is a legitimate (if unpopular) opinion, but these people are (intentionally or recklessly) messing with the Holocaust, which puts them firmly in the no-fly zone.
    The NKs are a small, PR-savvy group that gets more PR per capita than Britney Spears. They’re smart enough to know that their appearance at the conference will be co-opted by nefarious folk and for that — shame on them.
    Try watching this on the news with your grandmother and thanking God that she isn’t fluent enough in English to understand it.

  13. “FormerMuslim”, I have to say I find your views a little backward.
    History is full of war and suffering and violence of all sorts, but to “keep score” as you seem to be doing is dangerous as well as foolish. You also seem more than a little bit partisan and naive in your view that it is only Arabs who are incapable of feeling shame or remorse for their actions. You presumably feel little shame or remorse for the Arab children killed by professional Israeli soldiers over recent years, making yourself no worse – but no better – than the Arabs you so un-reasonably vilify.
    If the Irish had followed your prescribed course of self-righteousness indignation over the deaths of 1 million people during the potato famine of only 160 years ago (deaths which were directly caused by lack of aid from the British) then it is likely we would still be fighting now.
    BTW, since we’re rather off-topic now…Holocaust deniers are clearly incorrect in that view. A shame though, since some of their other views do seem more reasonable some others I have seen on this forum. Their stupid Holocaust stance makes these other more interesting ideas far too easy to dismiss as crazy talk.

  14. Chris, I don’t know if you’re Jewish or how much contact with Judaism you have, but NK’s appearance at a Holocaust-denial event is only part of the reason why many Jews don’t like them, and perhaps why people here have been calling them a**holes.
    Basically, NK’s raison d’etre is that the State of Israel simply shouldn’t exist on a theological basis. Whether or not this is true, it is at least one valid Jewish theological view amongst many, which is why there was great opposition to the Zionist movement pre-1948 from the Orthodox world. Conversely, in Rav Kook and others there is also a theological argument for a Jewish state, which many modern Orthodox Jews today subscribe to.
    There are still many among the more right-wing/ultra-Orthodox Jewish community today who are either anti-Zionist or who are neutral on the issue. However, where Neturei Karta differ is that, not only are they the most outspoken, they also go to the extreme of standing alongside those wishing for the deaths of Jews in Israel. They show support for Hamas, have marched alongside people dresesed as suicide bombers, and apparently over the summer were praying for Hizbullah’s success at a time when Hizbullah was shelling the north of Israel with lethal consequences. Quite apart from their willingness to associate with enemies of the Jews such as the Iranian president – while they didn’t deny the Holocaust as such, they were essentially ‘selling out’ and taking the most extreme action possible all for the sake of attacking Israel, no matter who they’re making alliances with.
    Two of the most fundamental principles of Judaism are respecting the sanctity of human life (‘thou shalt not murder’, and the fact that it is permitted to break almost any rule to save a life), and the unity of the Jewish people (All Israel is responsible for each other). Because of this, even those ultra-orthodox who are not Zionist, including the anti-Zionist Satmar Hassidim from whom the NK sprung, nevertheless concern themselves with the physical wellbeing of Jews in Israel and are willing to stand by them in some way in times of crisis.
    Neturei Karta also falsely and loudly claim that they represent the voice of Orthodox Judaism (I know, I’ve heard them on campus), when they quite blatantly do not – there is a wide range of opinions in the Orthodox world over Israel, and NK’s extremist attitude in their disregard for Jewish life can in no way be described as ‘authentic Torah Judaism’.
    It is for these reasons that Neturei Karta are looked on in revulsion by the rest of the Orthodox Jewish world, as they have elevated their anti-Zionism to the point of ignoring other much more fundamental principles of Torah such as those mentioned above. After this latest outrage in Iran, many Orthodox authorities (including, I understand, the Satmar) put out cherem or excommunication orders on those JNK reps who took part in the conference. As a practitioner of Orthodox Judaism, I am outraged and sickened to think that the media and the wider would ignorantly look at these heretics and class us in the same category – not to mention the Israel and Jew-haters who gleefully take these ‘rabbi’s and use them to undermine the Jewish people as a whole.
    Hope that explains something, Chris, it’s hard to tell if you’re outside the Orthodox Jewish community but this goes a lot lot deeper than just Holocaust denial…

  15. chris– created by the UN, not the UK. GB turned the situation over to the UN, and the UN came up with the partition plan, etc.
    and jews didn’t come in and say “hey, we’re home, now get out”. They came in increasing numbers, bought land, and had a whole lot of different ideas of what the future would be (binational state, jewish state, etc). When enough had immigrated that they had become a sizable percentage, and jews were realing from the holocaust, and the situation had unmanageable in general, GB decided to get out, and had the UN decide what to do. A partition plan was recommended, and approved by 2/3 votes. As expected, lots of Arab countries declared war on the state of israel, and the fighting got nasty. that’s the point where people were actually kicked out of their homes. sometimes it was strategically necessary, sometimes probably not. meanwhile, millions of jews were kicked out of their homes in arab lands, and came to israel. . .

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