Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Ahmadinejad Meets Neturei Karta Rabbis

Originally published on 10/3/07, 11:57 AM, Eastern Daylight Time.
First, I invite you to view the video of Ahmadinejad's meeting with some Neturei Karta rabbis here.  You may find it somewhat disturbing but it is clearly something worth watching.

I have dealt before with the issue of members of Neturei Karta meeting with Ahmadinejad, specifically their attendance at that infamous conference at Tehran. My position is actually quite simple -- as far as I am concerned there is no justification for meeting with someone who wishes to attack Jews. Even if Neturei Karta has "all" the Torah arguments in the world to justify their theological positions including their view of Israel, in that the majority , the vast majority of Jews, even the vast majority of Torah Jews, do not share this view and those who oppose this mainstream Jewish view have declared a willingness to harm these Jews, there is no explanation for sitting with a sonei Yisrael, one committed to harming Jews.

Having said this, though, this video is the first time I have actually seem these members of Neturei Karta present their views, and opens new issues that demand investigation.

1) Eilu v'Eilu -- In the Sifkin Affair, people argued Eilu v'Eilu in the name of tolerance. Would these same people argue it in this case -- afterall are these NK people not making Torah arguments. But they do not invoke Eilu v'Eilu so why should we? Is that the way Eilu v'Eilu works? Do you know that Reform Judaism also invokes Eilu v'Eilu? Don't we still apply this concept in other cases while rejecting it in regard to Reform? Don't we apply and not apply Eilu v'Eilu? Is that not what these NK people are also doing? Eilu v'Eilu is a problematice concept and one cannot fully comprehend its depth and its difficulty until we confront situations like this one when we recognize that we have to be tolerant to other Torah positions but also understand that Torah tolerance still only works within certain parameters. Working out those parameters, and recognizing the possibility of arguments regarding those parameters For further insights on this topic see my various articles on the Slifkin Affair which are available in the Nishma website's Index to Commentaries.

2) Religion v.s. Nationalism -- If you follow the words of the NK spokesman, you truly see an aspect of the Jewish world that is often overlooked -- the difference between religiously motivated Jewish identity and nationally motivated Jewish identity. If you look at Islamic fundamentalists without a consideration of their anti-Israel stand, do you not find a group close to religious motivated Jewishness? There is a belief in One God. There is some semblance of a sexual morality albeit its actual manifestation is not in line with Jewish values even for the most right-wing Orthodox Jew (and more so for more liberal views within Orthodoxy). But think about this. In America, we are siding with the Christian fundamentalists against secularists but vis-a-vis Muslim fundamentalists we seem , to some extent, to find ourselves siding with secularists.
Israel is a major reason for our definitions of allegiance -- but think about what we would be thinking if Israel was not the issue. What you see in the video is one monotheist praising another monotheist against secularism. How do you respond to that? Is it not interesting that in so many ways we side with the secularists against monotheists? Is that not something to ponder? And what about this generic view of religion anyway? I find it also strange that Israel has drawn individuals closer to Christian fundamentalism. In any event viewing this video does also raise issues of our identity as well.

Questioning, investigating, analyzing should not be understood as in any way giving value. I find this video disturbing, period. But it is still worthwhile to contemplate.


Anonymous said...


Please note this is not a competition between faiths but an attempt to decipher fact from fiction.

Genesis 21:14 Contemporary English version se below link;&version=46;

Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar an animal skin full of water and some bread. Then he put the boy on her shoulder and sent them away.

And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ish’mael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ish’mael to Abram.

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

At Genesis 22 Abraham had only 2 sons others came later. The Quran mentions that it was Ishmael that was sacrificed hence the reference in genesis 22:2 your only son can only mean someone has substituted Ishmael names for Isaac!!

NOT ROMAN NUMERALS (I, II, III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X) NB no concept of zero in roman numerals.

100 years old – 86 years old = 14 ADD 3 YEARS FOR ISSAC’S WEANING


Carefully read several times the above passage and then tell me the mental picture you get between the mother child interactions what is the age of the child. If the mental picture is that of a 17 year old child being carried on the shoulder of his mother, being physically placed in the bush, crying like a baby, mother having to give him water to drink, than the Islamic viewpoint is null and void. Why is there no verbal communications between mother and (17 YEAR OLD) child?

GENESIS: 21:14 - 21
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the (17 YEAR OLD) child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the (17 YEAR OLD) child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the (17 YEAR OLD) child.” And as she sat over against him, the (17 YEAR OLD) child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad where he is. Arise, lift up the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the (17 YEAR OLD) lad a drink. And God was with the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 than the JUDEO/CHRISTIAN point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions.

This makes the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac and there descendants a work of fiction. I would strongly suggest it is clear cut case of racial discrimination and nothing to do with god almighty. The scribes have deliberately tried to make Isaac the only son and legitimate heir to the throne of Abraham??

Please can you rationally explain this anomaly?

I have asked many persons including my nephews and nieces - unbiased minds with no religious backgrounds but with reasonable command of the English language about this passage and they all agree that the child in the passage is an infant.

For background info on the future religion of mankind see the following websites:




HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 37 verses 101 - 122

101. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.

102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!"

103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),

104. We called out to him "O Abraham!

105. "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

106. For this was obviously a trial-

107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:

108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:

109. "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"

110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

111. For he was one of our believing Servants.

112. And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous.

113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.

114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,

115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;

116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);

117. And We gave them the Book which helps to make things clear;

118. And We guided them to the Straight Way.

119. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times:

120. "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!"

121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

122. For they were two of our believing Servants.

Therefore the claim that god gave the land to Israel is destroyed without the need of any WMD’s.

Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka'ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael's mother followed him saying, "O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us," and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka'ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:
'O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.' (14.37) Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had).
When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times."
The Prophet said, "This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."
The Prophet added, "May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael's mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth." The Prophet further added, "Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, 'Don't be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.' The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada'. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, 'This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.' They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water)." The Prophet added, "Ishmael's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, 'Do you allow us to stay with you?" She replied, 'Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.' They agreed to that." The Prophet further said, "Ishmael's mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.

Anonymous said...

Biblical chronology is riddled with inconsistencies. Don't read too much into them; you'll drive yourself crazy.

Anonymous said...

TV News report on last year's meeting between Ahmadinejad and NK, which led to their invitation to Teheran.

Anonymous said...

Below is an excerpt from the Neturei Karta USA web page:

Neturei Karta International is dedicated to the propagation and clarification of Torah Judaism.

Its only loyalty is to G-d and His revelation.

One of the basics of Judaism is that we are a people in exile due to Divine decree.

Accordingly, we are opposed to the ideology of Zionism, a recent innovation, which seeks to force the end of exile. Our banishment from the Holy Land will end miraculously at a time when all mankind will unite in the brotherly service of the Creator.

In addition to condemning the central heresy of Zionism, we also reject its policy of aggression against all peoples. Today this cruelty manifests itself primarily in the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. We proclaim that this inhuman policy is in violation of the Torah.

NKI seeks peace and reconciliation with all peoples and nations. This is especially needed in our relations towards the Islamic world where Zionism has for 53 years done so much to ruin Jewish - Muslim understanding.

We welcome the assistance of all men of good will and stand ready to assist all whose agenda coincides with ours.

A more detailed position is outlined here:

Watch the police response to the NK's demonstration at Regavim in 2005. Nasty. Reminiscent of Amona.

NK's report on it here

Note: Though the above video is an Israeli TV news report, the added music and added graphics look like the work of antisemitic skinheads using this event for their own ends. Nonetheless, to appreciate the nature of the situation here, it needs to be seen (unless you can find a version of this report without the music, etc.)
Also, in watching this, people should understand that just because the police are insane doesn't mean that the NK are any less insane.

Rabbi Richard Wolpoe said...

I found the video appalling.

The only possible rationale I could fathom is that somehow the NK/Satmar Rabbis thought they could mitigate the suffering of Iranian Jews by "brown nosing" that latest in Persian Hamans. I'm not sure if sucking up to the "Hitlers" of the world ever works but I can understand that approach.

Again, I am not even certain that this was their motivation; I just cannot even process what I saw.


Anonymous said...

Too much thinking again.

The NK's are a bunch of hatred-obsessed SOB's. Their so-called Torah viewpoints are simplistic, easily oveturned and not worth arguing against in the first place. They should be treated the same way rabid dogs are. There is no sense in granting them any more dignity than that.

As for the first post, please! Maybe Islam will be the future religion of the world when it
a) stops slaughtering its own adherent faster than it has managed to kill its enemies in the last few decades
b) stops genital mutliation of its women
c) achieves a literary rate in the double digits
d) realizes that oil money doesn't a civilized people make.

Anonymous said...

The NK people are clearly very silly, self-destructive, and don't understand the effects of their actions.
Nonetheless, they are Jews, and they seem to be nonviolent ones at that. Thus, I object to the Anonymous user who suggests that they be treated as rabid dogs.
It is appropriate to address crazy talk with rebuke, but not to advocate violence as a remedy for these people.

Second, the failings you point out about Islam are not so clearly attributable to Islam itself as to the cultural failings of a less civilised part of the world.

If Christianity had not had to deal with the reformation, counter-reformation, the Enlightenment, and the separation of Church and State, they would be just as dangerous as they were during the Inquisition. The Islamic world is at an earlier stage of development, and we live in a time that is affected by this. Judging by how things normally happen, it will be centuries of war and blood before undemocratic unenlightened societies mature to the point that we have in the West, at least in terms of the role of religion in political affairs. (And here, too, there is still a long way to go.)

Today, we have only a few examples of good statemanship in the Muslim world, but over time, b"h, this will improve. Muslims have yet to really begin computing the interactions between religion and politics and culture, and I think that what we are seeing here may be the growing pains of their own version of the Enlightenment.

One way or another, we'll know in a few hundred years.

Anonymous said...

Just found a video of the 2005 cemetary protest without the dubbed metal music.

See also: this video of police arresting suspect in Satmar shul.
The NK's version of events is here.

A different version of events, at, is here. The timeline of who did what when is unclear, though. A lot of the news pages from 2 years ago seem to be gone. Google seems to have reduced their storehouse of free cached versions of old news stories.

The main thing, though, is that we can see that there's not a lot of love between these groups. And the Satmar are not exactly pacifists, simply making the classic errors of the pacifist, as I had previously assumed.

These past conflicts between Satmar and the state of Israel are critical to understanding their reaching out to make friends with Ahmadinejad.

I believe that Satmar Jews no longer feel that they are part of the Jewish world, and this has impacted their sense of allegiance to other Jews. The increasing strain in relations between Satmar (and other haredim) and the State has served only to isolate and essentially reject them from the corpus of Am Yisroel. The only way to mend this rift and stop the destructive behaviour is to reach out to them and bring them back, rather than treating them like "rabid dogs".

Perhaps we need a Kiruv movement designed specifically for Satmar.

Anonymous said...

There are so many errors in your postings, I hardly know where to begin.

Yes, there's theold canard: Christianisty had a reformation but Islam didn't. But it's not true. In fact, Islam's reformation came very early on. While Christian Europe was still wallowing in the Dark Ages, the Muslims were giving the world algebra, geometry, philosophy, medicine and science.

What some people don't realize, however, is that its been all downhill since then.

Cultural failings of a less civilized part of the world? Then explain why the majority of rapes reported in the last few years in civilized Denmark were committed by Muslims? Why did Muslim youths riot for days on the outskirts of civilized Paris not so long ago? Frankly, why is that part of the world a cultural failure and less civilized in the first place? It isn't because of the water, sir. It's because of the inhabitants.

Finally, you should know the Satmars and Neturei Karta are not the same and any Satmar will be happy to confirm that. Satmars, while they do hate the State of Israel and its supporters, quietly feel a connection to the rest of Am Yisrael, although they think most of us are either retarded or completely off the derech.

The Neturei Karta, on the other hand, are a violent bunch given to rioting, throwing stones at cars on Shabbos and assualting women who wander near their neighbourhoods wearing "inappropriate" dress. And as for being cut off from the Jewish people, they think they are the Jew people and we're the goyim.

Good luck with your kiruv shack. Bring a book to read. You'll need something to pass the time.