Rabbis Call to Excommunicate Neturei Karta Members in Iran
15:34 Dec 14, '06 / 23 Kislev 5767
by Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel
Israelâ€™s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and the Save the Nation and Land rabbinic organization have called for members of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect to be excommunicated.
The unusal calls follow the visit to Iran by a group of senior officials of the small sect to take part in a conference aiming to present evidence that the Holocaust never took place. Photographs of the hareidi-looking Jews happily embracing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been widely circulated in many countries.
Chief Rabbi Metzger called on all rabbis and communities in Israel and around the world to honor the memory of the Holocaust victims by adhering to the cherem call against the Neturei Karta members.
Rabbis of the Save the Nation and Land also made a similar call to "shun those who visited Iran, and they may not take part in communal events." The organization plans to place ads in the religious press, with the pictures and addresses of the men to be excommunicated.
The organization issued this statement:
"While the entire world is shocked at the provocative threats to destroy the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, Jews dressed as hareidim come to identify and show solidarity with the leader of Iran, may his name be erased. Aside from the terrible desecration of G-d's Name before the whole world, this is also aid and cooperation for the plans of enemies of Israel to carry out another Holocaust, may G-d save us, upon millions of Jews. These despicable people must be excommunicated, and every Jew is forbidden to have contact with them and certainly not to include them in prayers and the like."
Rabbi Metzger said in his statement to Jewish leaders around the globe, â€œThey [those who embraced Ahmadinajad] betrayed the Jewish people and their heritage and particularly disgraced and desecrated the memory of the Holocaust. With their shameful behavior, they tried to stain the Jewish people, who shy away from this low conduct.â€
Former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a child Holocaust survivor who is currently the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, also condemned the Neturei Karta group. "It is something completely insane," he said flatly. â€œIs it conceivable that any Jew, for whatever reason, would support a Holocaust denier in a generation when people with numbers tattooed on their arms are still among us? It is an insanity that has no justification and no explanation.â€
The hareidi religious Eida Hareidit, an anti-Zionist Jerusalem-based council of Hassidic courts and other hareidi religious groups - including the Neturei Karta - was equally harsh in its response to the groupâ€™s actions.
In a sharply-worded editorial published Thursday, the Haâ€™Eida newspaper said, â€œThat tiny group of wierdos is liable to incite hatred against hareidim.â€
Editor Shmuel Popenheim wrote in his piece, â€œThose peopleâ€™s distorted anti-Zionist zealotry, which is sanctified in their eyes above and beyond the opinion of our Torah sages, brought them to that conference.â€
He stopped short of endorsing the call for a cherem on the group, and estimated there were no more than ten people in all of Israel who supported the groupâ€™s actions and perhaps some 25 others worldwide.
In 2002, an American umbrella hareidi-religious group comprised of Satmar, Bobov, Belz, Vizhnitz, Munkacz, Kiryas Joel, Monroe, and other anti-Zionist communities, issued a statement sharply condemning those who openly sympathized with the PLO.
"It is with shame, sadness and outrage," the statement read, "that we publicly condemn the irresponsible and dangerous actions of a small group of individuals [known generally as Neturei Karta] who have taken upon themselves to endanger the interests of the Jewish Nation, and especially our brethren in Zion, by their reprehensible actions in joining the enemies... Their depiction in the local and international media in religious garb and prayer shawls marching arm-in-arm with Palestinian Jew-haters has besmirched the reputations of hundreds of thousands of decent Orthodox, hareidi and Hassidic Jews worldwide. Unfortunately this despicable minuscule group, who were ejected decades ago from our synagogues and communities for similar activities, do not accept or listen to the rulings of the leaders of our communities... They should under no circumstances, Heaven forbid, be associated with any recognized hareidi or Hassidic community..."
Israel Hirsch, one of the Neturei Karta participants of the conference, said his group â€œshares a common platform with Ahmadinejad when it comes to the so-called myth the Zionist movement created around the Holocaust.â€ A resident of Jerusalemâ€™s Meah She'arim neighborhood, he said he "wanted to make it clear in Teheran that Zionism uses the Holocaust as an excuse for the existence of the Zionist state in the Land of Israel.â€
Hirsch went on to say that the Iranian claim is logical. â€œThey arenâ€™t saying that there wasnâ€™t a Holocaust,â€ he insisted. â€œBut who perpetrated the Holocaust? The Nazis, the Germans. So they should at least pay compensation to the Jewish nation and establish a Jewish state within Germany and not within the land of Israel, which belongs to the Palestinians.â€
This same group kissed and hugged Ahmadinejad when he appeared in New York to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in September. They also exhorted Jews to pray for a Hizbullah victory during the second war with Lebanon after two IDF reservists were captured by the terror organization in a cross-border raid this summer.
They attended the funeral of former Palestine Liberation Organization chairman and chief terrorist Yasser Arafat, and have been funded by Palestinian Authority terrorist organizations.
Documents discosed by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and the Center for Special Studies (CSS) reveal that Arafat paid more than $50,000 to Hirsch, considered the â€œforeign ministerâ€ of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect.
CSS stated that the documents uncovered during Operation Defense Shield carried out in Jenin by the IDF in April 2002 showed that Arafat paid $25,000 and $30,000 in January and February of that year for â€œexpenses for activities.â€ The investigators noted that Neturei Karta frequently supported Arafat and served as a propaganda tool for him.
Bolton: Charge Ahmadinejad With Inciting Genocide
Meanwhile, the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton is backing a call for the president of Iran to be charged with inciting genocide because of his speeches advocating the destruction of the State of Israel.
Bolton is set to appear in New York Thursday among a panel of diplomats and lawyers calling for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be prosecuted. The panel will be convened by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The call for legal action came as Ahmadinejad repeated his onslaught against Israel at the gathering in Teheran, where he promised participants that the State of Israeli would soon be wiped out.