Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weaving a deceitful web: Neturei Karta a Jewish sect & the freedom of Iranian Jews

Recently as though to enlarge on their deception in the booklet Zionism Unsettled, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), re-tweeted a link to this video which asserts that it is “Jews protesting IDF [Israel Defense Force] dinner in NYC:

There are several things to notice in the video. First the protesters are all male. Secondly there are few protesters. Thirdly they appear, slightly, to be a part of the Hasidic movement although they are not. If you listen to the very end of the video, (and it is rather boring because the main speaker keeps repeating himself) you will find that they are of the Neturei Karta sect, a group of probably no more than 5000 who believe that the Jews should not have a state at all until the coming of the Messiah.
Now there are other ultra-religious Jews who also do not believe that there should be a Jewish state, but they have rejected the Neturei Karta for several reasons including their activism. Probably the main reason is their friendship with several terrorist and anti-Semites. The full story can be found at where the list includes Louis Farrakhan, Yasser Arafat and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They are the sect which attended Ahmadinejad’s conference meant to deny the Holocaust. As the author Discoverthenetworks states:

In December 2006, eight Neturei Karta rabbis traveled to Tehran to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier, embracing him and endorsing his stance that Israel has no right to exist. "We tried to appease them [the Iranians]," Rabbi Dovid Weiss told the New York Daily News. "We explained how the Holocaust is used to intimidate people who want to speak against the unjust Zionist regime."

This was not Neturei Karta's first visit to Tehran. In March 2006 the organization had also sent a delegation to meet with senior Iranian officials and express support for Ahmadinejad's calls to eliminate Israel. In a statement to Iran's official IRIB radio, the group called for "the disintegration of the Zionist regime" and said that it "is a dangerous deviation to pretend that the Iranian president is an anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic personality." Neturei Karta added that it was "upset about the recent ploys, propaganda and tensions which have been created by the West regarding the statements of the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about a world free of Zionism, since this is nothing more than wishing for a better world dominated by peace and calm."

This is not the first time that the IPMN has linked to the pronouncements of the Neturei Karta sect. And to add to this travesty in their book Zionism Unsettled they imply that the Jews of Iran live a relative free existence and that any destabilization was caused by the inroads of Zionism. This combination of promoting the anti-Zionism of a small Jewish sect and informing readers that all is well for the Jews living in Iran is deceptive.
An Iranian Jewish journalist, Karmel Melamed, has written an excellent piece concerning the lies told about the Iranian Jewish community in the IPMN publication. The title is, “Presbyterian Church USA’s guide is dead wrong about Iranian Jewry,”

Some of Melamed’s information includes:

If the Presbyterian Church (USA) thinks “Jewish life is alive and well in Iran” today, then why have Iranian Jews faced more executions, more imprisonments, more torture and been driven out of Iran in large numbers by the current Iranian regime since 1979? According to a 2004 report prepared by Frank Nikbakht, an Iranian Jewish activist who heads the Committee for Minority Rights in Iran, based in Los Angeles, the Jewish community in Iran lives in constant fear for its security amid threats from terrorist Islamic factions. Since 1979, at least 14 Jews have been murdered or assassinated by the regime’s agents, at least two Jews have died while in custody and 11 Jews have been officially executed by the regime. According to the report, Fayzollah Mekhubabt, a 78-year-old cantor in a Tehran synagogue was the last Jew to be executed by the Iranian regime in 1995. He was imprisoned, tortured and his eyes were gouged out before he was executed. Mekhubabt was buried in a Muslim cemetery and his family was forced to disinter his remains in order to bury him in a Jewish cemetery.

Additionally Melamed writes:

According to Nikbakht’s research of Iran’s Islamic based laws, not only does the current Iranian Constitution clearly indicate that all non-Muslims have inferior status to Muslims, but all non-Muslims must be humiliated and confined to prevent them from gaining any advantage over Muslims. A Jew’s life is worth half of that of a Muslim according to Iran’s current Shari’a law. According to a recent U.S. State Department report, the “Islamization” of Iran has brought about strict control over Jewish educational institutions. Nikbakht’s 2004 report indicates that before the Iranian revolution, there were some 20 Jewish schools functioning throughout Iran, but in recent years most of these have been closed down. In the remaining schools, Jewish principals have been replaced by Muslims. In Tehran there are still three schools in which Jewish pupils constitute a majority, but the curriculum is Islamic and Persian is forbidden as the language of instruction for Jewish studies. Again how on earth can the Presbyterian Church (USA) or anyone in their right mind consider living under such an unjust system of laws for Jews in Iran as humane and fair environments to live in?

The truth is that since the rise of Islam, there have been times of relative peace for Persian Jews and there have been times of great persecution. One extremely interesting article and video (it is just a fragment) is about the “Jews of Iran” filmed by a Muslim, Ramin Farahani who lives in the Netherlands.

The article, “Jewish Eye Film Festival / Truths, half-truths and documentaries,” is a well done review and the video is just right for ending this posting. Farahani who lives as a minority in a western country wanted to investigate the lives of minorities in Iran. He intended to look at Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians. The difficulties of filming a documentary on the Jews caused him to forgo the latter minorities. He states that he was dealing with a minority that was afraid to always speak the truth except for one:

  In the film, the only person who dares to speak directly about anti-Semitism is a girl named Farandis. Once, when she still attended public school, she left class for a drink of water, she relates. When she returned, she felt the students were looking at her strangely. Later, a friend told her that when she had stepped out, the teacher told the other students that because it was raining outside, Farandis had gotten wet and had therefore been contaminated. The teacher told them that anyone who touched her would also be infected, because the girl was now impure. As a result of this incident, Farandis transferred to a Jewish school and eventually left Iran. This, of course, made it easier for her to tell her story.

Farahani says he met other Jews who described problems, insults and discrimination at the hands of Muslims, but says they were unwilling to repeat their stories for the camera. He says he realized there was no point in pressuring them to talk. Even though he could have narrated their attacks himself, he chose instead to conceal this information from his viewers. Perhaps his subjects' fear infected him as well. Instead, he says, he tried to find ways to convey this message indirectly.
Farahani, who is Iranian, in the end says that the Jewish community has equality in the Iranian constitution. But his words and his film do not portray that equality in the personal lives of the Jewish community.


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