Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the UK Labour Party in September 2015, news and stories have surfaced regarding both Labour and Corbyn’s antisemitic attitudes and long standing support and affiliation with Islamists groups and leaders.
On September 5th, 2018, large signs in bus stops across London, Westminster, Waterloo and Bloomsbury have appeared with the words: “Israel is a racist endeavour.” This was in reaction to Labour finally adopting the IHRA definition, which states that “claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” equates to anti-Semitism. The initial refusal by Corbyn and party was met with much grief and pain by the British Jewish community along with many revelations regarding Corbyn’s past antisemitic statements.
Channel 4 news saw it fit to go out and talk to a group of Orthodox Jews holding signs in support of Corbyn and against Israel. This is not a new technic designed to shore up support for explicit antisemitic views utilizing Jews and virulent anti Israel rehtoric. See a previous post on Hejo Meyer here.
Who are Neturei Karta, what are their goals, and who funds their endeavours?
As a swift summary, if you detest the state of Israel, Neturei Karta are right there for you. They went to Iran to participate in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust Denial conference. They claimed to do so not because they deny the Holocaust but because they object to using it as justification for the existence of Israel. During a protest outside the Iranian Mission to the United Nations in NY, on Holocaust Memorial day, they came to counter protest by burning an Israeli flag and claimed: “I Pray for Israel’s Destruction ‘In Peaceful Ways”, holding signs claiming zionists collaborated with the Nazis. They regularly disrupt Holocaust Day in Israel and clash with the locals. The NK activists drew a swastika on a flag of Israel and set it on fire during the two-minute siren honoring the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. They view the holocaust as a punishment for not following true and one and only Judaism: “The Holocaust came as a punishment from God because of our sins”, said Rabbi Dovid Feldman, a London activist who regularly travels with these and more messages of hate.
They met with Louis Farrakhan, the antisemitic anti LGBT leader of the Nation of Islam. They march hand in hand with people waving Hezbollah flags while calling for the death of Jews at regular Al Quds day parades. They obtain funding from Arab groups and possibly even Arab governments (in the past they have had cordial relations with Yemen and Iran). Documents indicating that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat supplied Neturei Karta with more than $50,000 in late 2002 were obtained by the IDF and reported to the media.
“The Zionists are not Jews.” Neturei Karta see themselves as the only true Jews. Unlike the accepted religious pluralism well accepted amongst vast majority of Jews around the world, they do not accept any other form of belief or worship. Neturei Karta stress that because of their sins, the Jewish people went into exile from the Land of Israel (“umipnei chatoeinu golinu meiartzeinu”). Additionally, they maintain the view — based on the Babylonian Talmud — that any form of forceful recapture of the Land of Israel is a violation of divine will. They believe that the restoration of the Land of Israel to the Jews should happen only with the coming of the Messiah, not by self-determination.
Neturei Karta activists are quick to endorse anyone who opposes Zionism, and have publicly embraced such groups and movements as Al-Awda, a grass-roots organization that advocates on behalf of the Palestinian cause, the anti-war protest group ANSWER, the virulently anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, Willis Carto and his Holocaust-denying Barnes Review Conference.
Current day, Neturei Karta make about 5000 of the Orthodox community and are largely reviled, rejected, and criticized even amongst other orthodox anti zionist organizations and groups. To see a reporter and other vocal anti zionists use Netuire Karta can be excused by ignorance, but cannot be passed silently. Anti Zionist groups showcase Neturei Karta’s approval as a way of justifying or disguising their own anti-Semitism. Saying otherwise, renders the term anti zionist as hollow as it always was and a dark and sinister cloak for a long and documented history of Jew hate.