Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Neturei Karta II

The Hisachdus Harabonim never approved of any rally with palestinians, nor were any of them involved in any capacity. Some Modern Orthodox Jews decided that all "non Zionist" Jews must be in the same boat and so they organized a boycott of the Hisachdus Harabbonim hechsheirim until the time that the Hisachdus Harabonim would condemn rallying with Palestinians.

The hisachdus never had anything to do with such a rally nor do they approve of the Neturei Karta. They have spoken out several times against them. One of the Hisachdus rabbis, Menashe Philip, has tapes available preaching how the Satmar Rav ZTL did not and would not approve of today’s NK. Nevertheless, even though the Hisachdus had no more to do with that rally than the OU or the RCA, the "cherem" was happily adhered to by many people, who refused to buy anything with their hechsher.


The NK of Rav Amaram Blau is not the NK that I am talking about - i.e. the one based in Monsey, NY. They have the same name, but they are two totally different organizations, and the Satmar Rav's support of Rav Amram Blau does not imply support of everyone who calls himself NK. Rav Amram Blau never joined protests with Palestinians. And the Satmar Rav never supported such a thing.

My point is not that no NK come from Satmar; merely that it is not a Satmar organization, branch or offshoot.

A talmid may be a Talmid but he does not represent his Rebbi. In fact, the Satmar Rebbe said this numerous times --- you cannot always judge a Rebbi's stance by that of the Talmidim. One of his oft-quoted vertlach is about Rav Yochana ben Zakai on his death bed, praying that "they" do not take him to gehinnom. He said this right when his talmidim entered the room. The reason: The "they" in his prayers referred to his talmidim. He was praying that they don't misrepresent him after he is gone.

Plenty of other talmidim of the Satmar Rav disagree with Rav Avrohom Letiner on this. They can have a machlokes, but you cannot say that because Rav Leitner holds this way that means the Satmar Rav did, too.


The Kashiu Rav is a supporter of the NK. In fact, he is their leading "daas torah" in all matters. I don't know the position of the Vishnitzer Rebbe.


I know that the Neturei Karta position is that since violating the Oaths is Yehoreg Val Yaavor, we should allow the Arabs to take over even if Jews will be killed. Well, I don't know if that's the "official" position but I've heard it from NK people as a given.

They are mistaken. Because Yehoreg Val Yaavor means it is better to die than to do the aveirah of violating the Oaths. But Yehoreg Val Yaavor does not mean that innocent people who did NOT do the Aveirah of violating the Oath and who would not c"v do the aveirah should die. And since those who would c"v die if the Arabs take over would not have violated the Oaths anyway, their deaths r"l have nothing to do with Yehoreg Val Yaavor.

In any case, the Satmar Rebbe ZTL writes clearly in 2 places that I know of --- Vayoel Moshe p.8 and Divrei Yoel Bo p. 250 -- that the only recourse we have is to pray for Moshiach to dismantle the Medinah, because political dismantling of the Medinah by the nations would c"v lead to Jewish deaths, which is contrary to the NK position


The NK definitely do have their problems - there is no justification to protesting together with Arabs who currently - yes, even though it is due to the Zionists - want to kill Jews. This is a violation of hischabrus im reshayim and chilul Hashem. The Satmar Rebbe never did such a thing and never would do such a thing. He did organize protests against Israel, but never were Arabs invited and never did he join an Arab protest.

As a matter of fact, it is one of the tenets of Satmar Hashkafa that Hischabrus im reshayim is prohibited even if the cause itself you are joining with them for is a good and just cause (as per the Alchich in Mishle ch. 1).

However, their efforts to tell the world that the Zionists do not represent world Jewry, that the State of Israel does not represent world Jewry, that the Zionist leaders have no right to represent world Jewry, and that it was Zionism, not Judaism, that they have a fight with -- that is a good thing. In that they are following the Hashkafa of the Satmar Rebbe who stated, orally and in writing, that it is a great Mitzvah to tell the non-Jews of the world all of those things.

And in the case of the Iranian Jews, the judge said that the reason he is sparing their lives is because he has learned that they are Jews but not Zionists.

It is a good thing to counteract the propaganda of the Zionists that try to frame the issue as Arabs vs. Jews. Unfortunately, their propaganda has become a self-fulfilling prophecy and the Arab world, as well as the world at large, believe it. That is the other half of the NK's mistakes - they believe that in the current environment it is possible to undo the misimpression that the world has to the point where we can be at peace with the Arabs. That is not possible. We can of course try to do hatzolah purtah, but we should not think that in the current environment, the Arabs in general are anything but deadly enemies. That is not going to be undone so quickly.

And you are also correct that to save Jewish lives you hug and kiss your enemy or bow or do whatever you can. Yaakov did that when he met Esav, and R. Yochanan ben Zakai did that when he met Aspasyanus. Our seforim say that this is the key to reducing anti-semitism.

However, neither Yaakov nor RYB"Z ever protested or joined together with the enemy. That is crossing the line, and is not justified at all.


The problem with the Neturei Karta is not that they are anti-zionist. And the problem is not that they tell that to the nations of the world. The problems are: (a) they profess giving back eretz yisroel to the arabs which is a danger to the Jews living there, and an idea which their own recognized Godol Hador, the Satmar Rav zt"l said himself in writing to be unacceptable, and (b) they join with Arabs which constitutes hischabrus im reshayim, which is prohibited especially according to Satmar Hashkafa, even for a good cause.

If they were to protest against both innocent Jewish AND Arab deaths, that would be OK - nobody can object to protesting against innocents being killed, no matter what nation they are from. But the fact that they only protest against innocent Arab deaths while omitting the fact that innocent Jews are being killed as well, sends a frightfully wrong message to the public.


Whatever objections there are to the Neturei Karta, and they are described on the site clearly, the NK do NOT want Jews to be killed; they do NOT want the Arabs to win the wars; they do NOT celebrate when suicide bombers attack. No Jews does. All this is part of the smear campaign that Zionists use in order to discredit the more conspicuous, if extreme, elements of their opposition.


The NK are wrong for carrying Palestinian flags, as I mentioned, and one of the reasons is, the message that they want to convey is not the message that is being received. The message received is that they are on the side of the Palestinians and want Jews to be killed, and I don’t blame people for understanding it that way. But unfortunately they have a serious communication problem. Because in fact they do not want Jews to be killed, they only want peace, and they believe that by doing what they are doing, they are going to calm down the Arabs. Their problem is one of politics and communications - where those things are concerned, they are way, way off. And their tactics therefore are very wrong. But their problem is not a Judaism problem.


When identifying "deviant sects" it's important to know not merely what a person is doing wrong but why. When we talk about Reform, Conservative, Zionism, or Lubavitch, for instance, the problem with all those are that their religious beliefs are different than those that they should be. The problem with the Neturei Karta, on the other hand, is that their political views are different than they should be.

So you can have let's say a Yeshiva guy from Bnei Brak, who will retain his Yeshivishe Bnei Brak Hashkofos, but if he believes that by waving a Palestinian Flag in public, he will show the world that he is for peace, and that what the Arabs are teaching their children in school, that is, that Jews want to kill them all, is not true, and that doing so is the way to politically prevent suicide bombers and terrorism, you may say he's crazy, but his problem is not a religious one. His religious beliefs are the same as yours - his political beliefs are driving him.

And so, Neturei Karta are basically people with Satmar Hashkofos but their own political world view. The Satmar Rav himself said that handing Eretz Yisroel back to the Palestinians is not a good idea - halvai it would be! - and they somehow try to avoid that reality. But their problems are not the result of different religious beliefs.

So if you want you can say their viewpoint is meshuga, but since its not a religious viewpoint that you would be criticizing but rather a secular, political one, you are not calling them a deviant religious movement.


There are many factions even among the small Neturei Karta, some more extreme than the next. Some are even fringe NK's, which means a fringe of a fringe, Hashem yishmerienu. And even these fringed believe since the Arabs are obviously just fine people who would gladly be nice to us if we would only give them back Israel, thus, anybody who says differently, who talks against the Arabs or who thinks that we should not give back Israel, is obviously a Zionist, because why else would anybody NOT want to give it back to them? Why else, they say, would anybody say such bad things about suicide bombers?

The most vocal faction in the NK follows a rabbi named Moshe Ber Beck of Monsey; their "daas torah" is primarily the Kashiu Rav. Rabbi Beck has written several seforim about Zionism. Rabbi Weiss, who is the most prominent of the NK's (because he speaks English well. Sigh.) is one of his people.

There is another faction within them, a break off from the above group, consisting of a few young men who disagree with Rabbi Beck regarding "strategy." I am not sure which are more extreme.

Then there is a group who follow a rabbi currently in Montreal named Helfand (he was in the news many years ago when he was put in jail because he was teaching Judaism to a young Russian boy, whose mother objected to this and nailed Rabbi Helfand on kidnapping charges. Legally, if you have a minor in your home against his parents' wishes you are a kidnapper. He went to jail for a while.) His group is considered "too wild" by the other groups above. He also wrote a book about Zionism. I think it is called "derech hatazlah", or something like that.

There are other little groups as well. None of the above groups are affiliated with the NK in Eretz Yisroel, and in fact the EY NK and the American NK are always fighting with each other. Moshe Hirsch, the man you always see in the pictures with Arafat, is considered "crazy" by the American factions.

I think that kind of describes the situation. Bizarre, but true.

In any case, the strangeness of their beliefs comes from their misguided notion that the Arabs would simply take back Israel, and peace would reign. Because they believe that, the only reason they can attribute to someone who says differently, is that he is a Zionist.

Of course, that would make the Satmar Rebbe a Zionist, too, but they are in denial. They won't see past their own distorted perception of reality.


Although the NK do say that their mission is merely to convince the Arabs that we want peace, they do a lot more than that - and their actions speak a lot louder than their words. They protest specifically and only for the side for the Arabs against the Zionists. Unfortunately, neither the Zionists side nor the Arab side is worthy of our support. If they want peace, which is worthy of our efforts, and they want to protest, let them become peaceniks and protest for peace, and if they want to protest the loss of innocent Arab lives, that's fine, but let them protest at least with a much vigor the loss of innocent Jewish lives as well. The fact that they do not means that they are the confused and misguided ones - not Rav Shach and Rav Yaakov.

There is nothing wrong with wanting peace - and there is nothing wrong with wanting to get rid of Zionism - but peace does not mean siding, or even appearing to side, with people who want to kill Jews.


The NK in Monsey today are not Talmidim of R. Amram Blau. With the exception of Rabbi Beck, they aren’t even old enough to have ever met him. The name "Neturei Karta" is not an official name of any organization or group, but rather anyone can call himself Neturei Karta.




Post a Comment

<< Home