Ahmadinejad’s Yiddish sympathizers
Written by Bwog Staff
Crazy shit correspondent Armin Rosen happened by a rather unusual protest on Broadway this afternoon.
The 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.