Rabbi Yisrael Meir Hirsch, a leader of Neturei Karta, was asked about Zionism by the semi-official Iranian website Fars News.
“To say Israel is a Jewish state is like saying pork is a Jewish food, or atheism is a Jewish belief. When something is done by Jews, that does not make it Jewish. Jewish is defined by what Torah commands. Making our own state, or oppressing other people, is forbidden by Judaism and cannot be considered ‘Jewish,’” Hirsch said.
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The interview was published on Al-Quds Day, marked by Iran since the start of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran — which arms terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which are sworn to Israel’s destruction — says the day is an occasion to express support for the Palestinians, a sentiment echoed by Hirsch.
“Nakba Day and Al-Quds Day are important opportunities to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and to show the world the true position of Orthodox Judaism,” he claimed. “It is an opportunity to clarify that opposition to Zionism and the state of Israel has nothing to do with a religious conflict or anti-Semitism.”
Neturei Karta is a fringe group that rejects Zionism and the State of Israel on religious grounds. Citing Talmudic sources, the sect argues that Jews have no right to political sovereignty in the Holy Land before the coming of the messiah. Rather, they believe that Jews must patiently wait for divine redemption and, in the meantime, they advocate for the dismantling of the State of Israel.
The group, which has small followings in Israel, the UK, Belgium and the New York region, is known for staging vocal protests against Israel and for submissive and respectful visits to its enemies. In 2006, for instance, Neturei Karta leaders participated in a government-sponsored Holocaust denial conference in Tehran.
Hirsch’s comments came as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday said Israel’s establishment was an unequaled “crime against humanity,” repeated his characterization of the Jewish state as “a cancerous tumor” and said it was the creation of “Westerners and Jewish corporation owners.”
Citing the coronavirus pandemic, he likened Zionism to “a virus” that “must be eliminated as soon as possible.”
Khamenei also posted on his website an anti-Israel poster that invoked the term “final solution,” which is usually associated with Nazi Germany’s efforts to eliminate all Jews.
The poster showed people celebrating at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem after apparently capturing it from Israel as a Palestinian flag is raised over the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Palestine Will Be Free. The final solution: Resistance until referendum,” the text on the poster says.
The poster later appeared to have been deleted from the website.
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