'The Good In Neturei Karta'
Religious anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta has been heavily criticised for attending Iran's Holocaust denial conference. But here JN columnist Howard Palmer writes of his shame at the Jewish community's treatment of the group.
Well there is a first time for everything and this is the first time I have been deeply ashamed of my Jewish brethren and their actions against Rabbi Cohen of Neturei Karta after his visit to Iran.
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There are 25,000 Jews in Iran, six kosher butchers and an array of fully functioning synagogues solely because Ayatollah Khomeini viewed the Jews as a legitimate minority and allowed them representation in the Iranian Parliament.
Persian Jews have lived in the region for 3,000 years and contrary to the Zionist ideal do not wish to leave. There are pockets of Jewish communities that range from a few thousand to just one or two individuals in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and just about every other Arab country as well.
They speak Arabic as a mother-tongue and are fiercely proud Arab Jews. Why should they now be persecuted by the Jews in the UK ?
Neturei Karta is about the only Jewish organisation freely allowed into these countries and it takes with it supplies such as religious texts much needed by these communities which will end forever were it not for Neturei Karta.
Whatever one may think of this organisation it was their intervention which saved Jews in Iran from the rope and like it or not they do represent an increasing under-current in Orthodox circles that is extremely anti-Zionist and which recognises the State of Israel as yet just another secular state which has no part and little interest to play in our spiritual redemption. The only difference between Tel-Aviv and Majorca at night is that every square inch of Tel-Aviv is holy but one would not believe this to be the case even by the most fleeting visit.
And my what a chutzpah it is to attack from our dralon suites in the UK a group of people who actually live in Jerusalem and who seek to support Arab Jews. Have we gone mad?
Every one of us knows the reality of the Holocaust. Most of my wife’s family was wiped out by the Nazis and their local “Helpers” in Konin, Poland, a village that was until recently completely wiped from the map. Are you seriously considering that Rabbi Cohen, who has concentration camp survivors among his supporters really thinks that this did not take place? Likewise can you deny that the whole issue of this sacrifice of six million Jews has been airbrushed by Hollywood or used as a stick by which to beat Arabs, who incidentally did not push one canister of Zyklon B into any gas chamber?
Actually the unpalatable truth is that in its early years the State of Israel actually discriminated against Arab and Sephardi Jews and only with time came to accept the reality that they were not inferior to the Ashkenazi Jews who took all senior posts in Government and Administration. It was a hard and painful lesson that has not yet been fully learned.
As for the egg-throwers and insulters, I am sorry that you feel so ashamed of Arab, Jewish people simply because they do not fit into your stereotype of a people who would flee to Israel at the first opportunity but decided to stay where they were born. If you are reading this in England you are the same! But you do not face the daily challenges of Arab Jews who are keeping a beacon of Torah glowing throughout the Middle East.
You have until the last day of Chanukah to repent.
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