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When Israel haters are Jews, it’s far more deadly

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The Israel-Hamas war has brought me significantly closer to the Neturei Karta. It’s even possible that I have more photos of it on my phone than I do of my own family.

This isn’t because I have any relationship with it, not because I follow it on social media, and not because of understanding in terms of its ideology. But rather, because I have been sent more images, messages, and photos of its members than I care for.

For Israel haters, it’s the golden goose of opportunity that never seems to tire of providing useful eggs. For those not on social media, the Neturei Karta is a small ultra-Orthodox Jewish group that opposes the existence of the state of Israel. It’s estimated to have a membership in the low thousands, and it’s known for its anti-Zionist beliefs.

However, it’s important to note that the exact number of Neturei Karta members in Israel isn’t publicly available or easily verifiable due to the group’s relatively small size and closed nature.

And yet, given its media presence, one could easily think that it made up a significant percentage of the global Jewish community.

Although he would probably find it upsetting, the Neturei Karta is no different to the likes of Ronnie Kasrils. It might not share the same dress code, and Ronnie might have lost his taste for gefilte fish, but when it comes to Israel hatred and the desire to see harm to Israel, they are closely aligned.

No different as well to “Jews for Something or Other” or to movie director Jonathan Glazer, who admittedly I hadn’t heard of until this week. But whose image and Oscar acceptance speech now floods my social media feeds in equal measure to the Neturei Karta.

Although I love film, I haven’t watched the Oscars for some years. The virtue signalling, faux humanity, and performance empathy is nauseating to me. I’m happy to celebrate my own shallowness, and just wish that the industry would own and celebrate its own rather than pretend that the problems of the world lie heavily on its botoxed brow. But when Glazer accepted his award and denigrated fellow Jews while speaking of the Holocaust, he brought sharp focus to the event.

“Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza,” he added to applause and cheers. “All the victims of this dehumanisation. How do we resist?” More applause.

This was the “as a Jew” moment for Glazer who, like the Neturei Karta, like the Jews for Something or Other, and like the Ronnie Kasrils-es, uses their “faith” to claim legitimacy before turning the worded weapon on members of that faith. Ably assisted by those who hate Jews and Israel, and who are happy to utilise the utterings.

Jews have always valued diverse opinion and debate. But much like free speech doesn’t allow someone to scream “fire” in a crowded room, there are limits when it comes to conversation around the Hamas war. To celebrate the attacks, as Kasrils did, to call for Israel’s demise, like Neturei Karta does, and to demonise Israel like others do, isn’t debate. It’s incitement. And it’s dangerous.

Worse than that, it’s a loaded weapon in the hands of those who wish us harm and who will cynically and gleefully use the words of Jews to destroy other members of the faith. And whereas the result is the same, there’s no doubt that the pain is significantly worse.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Shaun

    Mar 20, 2024 at 10:41 am

    Norman Finkelstein is another one, unfortunately the list has grown = there are even more on YouTube

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