Sep

24

Ahmadinejad’s Yiddish sympathizers

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Crazy shit correspondent Armin Rosen happened by a rather unusual protest on Broadway this afternoon.

kjhThe Tanach teaches that the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed because of the “groundless hatred” Jews harbored towards their fellow Jews. Fuck it, say the Neturai Karta. The anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox sect whose views on Israel and the Holocaust are in almost lock-step with those of a certain Iranian president don’t shy away from antagonizing their coreligionists. And while the mere possibility of Jews coming out “in support of the President of Iran,” as Rabbi Mordechai Weberman’s group of protestors did today, is enough to plunge our small yet combustible faith community into ugly scenes of internecine rage, the NK’s belief that Zionism is religiously prohibited make them a dependable presence at any major Israel-related event.

Which is why their protest in front of the 116th St. station was a little puzzling—after all, it isn’t Ehud Olmert who spoke at Roone this afternoon. A besieged Rabbi Weberman explained all: “I spoke to him this morning,” Weberman said of Ahmadinejad. “These Zionists,” he added, “this Zionist robber state…they collaborated with the Nazis.” Which might not have been a cardinal offense in the rabbi’s mind: I overheard some of his followers referring to the Holocaust as a “myth perpetuated by Europe.”

The Satmars were decked out in traditional Hasidic garb, and apparently ready for anything. It was impressive that they remained silent during Yavneh president Jon Berliner’s heartfelt rebuke: “I’d like to thank you for making out lives so much harder,” Berliner explained to a stock-still and indifferent protestor. “Thanks for making orthodox Jews look like idiots.” Yet the Israel-hating Yeshivabuchers began to cringe when a woman in her early 60s offered a rather illustrative description of what the NKs can go do to themselves—and offered it in perfect Yiddish.

Why give them the time of day, I asked her? She told me that her parents were Holocaust survivors, which was, on a day like this one, explanation enough for me. But questions remained: why would the NKs give Ahmadinejad their time of day? I was suddenly interested in what sociologists call “life trajectories”—in other words, what kind of people schlep to Morningside Heights just to get incense a community that’s on edge enough as it is?

It was a hard question to get answered, largely because the NKs are not the best of English speakers. The community is so isolated that most of the protestors could only communicate in a garbled English, and would probably prefer speaking their native Yiddish. But then, they wouldn’t have won many hearts and minds anyway.

kk

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17 Comments

  1. firstpost  

    They're a fucking lunatic fringe minority who everyone hates. I mean, they even hate themselves.

  2. I feel bad for the  

    kid on the left of the picture. That's too bad.

  3. Why yes  

    Mr. Rosen is a shit correspondent.

  4. why  

    "She told me that her parents were Holocaust survivors, which was, on a day like this one, explanation enough for me."

    why is bwog lowering its reporting standards with this sort of ideological drivel?

  5. Anonymous  

    I ended the heart-felt rebuke with: "It never occurred to you why your kids get pelted with eggs and rocks on their way to school and you are banned from every ultra-orthodox synagogue..."

  6. how

    different are they from evangelical american christians who are among the most fervent supporters of Israel because it meshes with their messianic narrative?

  7. invisible_hand

    actually, the talmud says that the second Temple was destroyed for that reason, not the Tanakh (bible).

  8. ignore them

    These idiots show up at these sorts of events all the time. Most people say that there are only a few thousand of them all around the world.

    And to clarify a common misconception, NK are not a break-away or subgroup of Satmar Hasidim. Though both groups are anti-zionist, NK are actual Lithuanian based Hareidim that just dress similar to Hasidim. Rav Elyashiv dress like that too, even though he's the litvak Gadol HaDor.

  9. Borat  

    Throw the Jew down the well!
    So my country can be free!
    You must grab him by his horns,
    Then we have big party.

  10. unfortunately  

    all of you bigots, not all NK are holocaust deniers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neturei_Karta

    these people illustrate perfectly what MA was articulating and i think rather correctly: it is not anti-semitic to call for the destruction of a state. it would of course be anti-semitic to say that the Jews in Israel should die, but these are two different things. why do jews always freak out over this?

    • agreed  

      thank you for saying what i have been trying to express to those around me throughout this whole controversy... just because the jews (which is the identity i was born into, i suppose, though i don't myself identify with it) are a historically persecuted people does not mean that their situation demands a territorially sovereign state. particularly on land where people already live. creating a nation-state around judaism isn't the only way to end persecution of jews; in fact, the entire history of israel has proved that it's a pretty inadequate fix. jews would probably be better off without an established state of israel, and palestinians certainly would. the world's tolerance for abuses of human rights such as are occurring in israel shouldn't be justified by zionism. i don't think this is particularly the point these people are making, but in light of it, we should consider the approach they are taking.

      • YES  

        I agree completely. I would think that it's obvious to more people, but nearly all Jews get so emotional about this that their logic takes a backseat, and just about everyone else feels bad to disagree with them.

  11. sorry  

    most* Jews (especially the ones sitting next to me today...gah get over it: israel isn't fucking perfect.)

  12. whats interesting

    is how a community like that (not even speaking english) can survive and thrive so walled off from the outside world in New York

    its like Amish in Manhattan or something

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