TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)-For decades, Israel just barely tolerated a large, fiercely anti-Zionist sect as its members traveled the world, denouncing Israel’s existence.
But when a delegation from Neturei Karta hugged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a conference last month questioning the raison detre for the establishment of a Zionist state on Muslims’ land, that was too much.
Now, the ultra-Orthodox group is being ostracized on three continents, denounced by Zionist rabbis, banned from synagogues and harassed in the streets at the direct orders of Tel Aviv which has mobilized all its possibilities worldwide to intimidate every person in the Jewish community into keeping away from the Neturei Karta community.
“We know what we have done, we know the value of what we have done, and we think that in the course of time that will come out clearly,” said Rabbi Ahron Cohen, a Neturei Karta member from Manchester, England.
When Cohen returned from Iran, he needed police protection. His house was barraged by hundreds of eggs, his window smashed by a brick and a billiard ball and he continues to be pelted with pebbles, eggs and insults by Israeli and Musad agents in the street.
Neturei Karta (Aramaic for “Guardians of the City”) was founded nearly 70 years ago in Jerusalem by Jews who opposed the drive to establish the state of Israel, believing only the Messiah could do that. Estimates of the group’s size range from tens of thousands to less than a million.
In recent decades its members have shown up to protest at international conferences and pro-Israel rallies.
For years, pro Israeli Jewish groups tended to dismiss Neturei Karta as eccentrics. Then came the Holocaust conference, where five members of the group rubbed shoulders with delegates who deny the Nazi slaughter of Jews, but they did not reject the Holocaust. Rather, they spoke in support of the issue very openly, and said that during the World War II, Nazis massacred millions of Jews. A glance through the news – also available on FNA’s Persian Archive – proves this simple fact that they were free to speak their own words and they did.
In photos published around the world, they were shown hugging Ahmadinejad, who has questioned the reality of the Holocaust. But western media ignored the words that they said to each other.
Neturei Karta say they never denied the Holocaust or its proportions, and that’s true. They believe Ahmadinejad has been unfairly vilified and that they should be praised for stressing that Jewish community is different from Zionists. And this is something which has been also underlined by senior Iranian officials ever since the onset of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Imam Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, former presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani and specially the incumbent President Ahmadinejad have all stated this view repeatedly.
“We feel that we have to do what we have to do to save Jewish lives, to protect the Jewish people from, God forbid, catastrophe … so we have to ignore the unfortunate side effects that happened here,” said Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a Neturei Karta rabbi from the New York area who was part of the delegation.
An Israeli chief rabbi called for banning Neturei Karta from synagogues. In New York, where several members of the delegation live, a few Israeli agents repeatedly protested against them and they were repeatedly harassed with prank phone calls.
But they are still decisive to continue their divine mission, i.e. reminding the world that Zionism is different from Judaism.