Opinion: Enough Editorializing About Neturei Karta; It’s Time for Action

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neturei-karta-small1By Rabbi Avrohom Rotter

I was somewhat amused to read the “editorial comment” of a chareidi publication in response to the Yerushalayim resident – a member of the so-called “Neturei Karta” group – who was charged with offering himself as a spy to the Iranian government.

The man had contacted the Iranian government and offered his services as a spy back in January 2011, when he visited the Iranian embassy in Berlin. The man said at the time that he aims to replace the current Israeli government with one controlled by non-Jews and then offered the Iranians to gather information about Israel for them.

The editorial showed to me, called “Remove Your Disguise,” referred to the “fringe group Neturei Karta,” stating that there is no point to appeal to the conscience of those who have shown to have no conscience, and that the truly tragic part of all this is that these men insist on dressing like and claiming to be religious Jews. The editorial goes on to state that they and they actions have been condemned by chareidi leadership for decades, and since they repeatedly express disdain for daas Torah, it is impossible for chareidi Jewry to stop them from being mechalel Sheim Shomayim.

With all due respect, I believe a few points are in order.

Firstly, can we stop calling them “a fringe group”? They are not “fringe.” They are rodfim. If there was a Sanhedrin today, they’d probably be brought to justice as rodfim. They aren’t mere “fringe.” They are out and out rodfim.

If a group of thieves, abusers or murderers were roaming our streets, we wouldn’t be writing about “fringe groups” posing a danger to us. We would call them what they are – dangerous, villainous, wicked people.

Enough with giving the so-called Neturei Karta crooks the courtesy of being called “fringe.” They are not “fringe.” They are wicked, depraved, heinous people.

Secondly, true, there is no point to appeal to the conscience of those who have shown to have no conscience, but the truly tragic part of all this is not merely that these men insist on dressing like and claiming to be religious Jews. The tragic part is that our response to these crazies has not been as strong as it should be. In fact, I will make a statement that may not sit well with some people, but as long as we allow some “chareidim” to disgrace gedolei hador whose view of Eretz Yisroel and the proper approach in dealing with the State of Israel is different than theirs, we are allowing the breeding of extremism.

I once entered a bais medrash (name and location are not important) and saw a sign on the wall that shook me to my core. That someone could write such disgusting words about my manhig, about my Torah leader, was one thing to swallow. But that no one else tore down the sign was even more painful to me.

If we allow this type of disgusting behavior to go on, then let us not be surprised when the extremism reaches levels that were previously unthinkable. If we tolerate the teaching of such hatred, or curriculums that seem to tolerate and feed into such ideologies, then we are at fault for allowing this form of rodef to be grown, nurtured and raised in our communities. (I understand that the man convicted of offering to spy for Iran recently became religious and was not raised in this environment. My point is being made on a more general level.)

So no, the true tragedy is not that the people who have hijacked the Neturei Karta name are dressing like and claiming to be religious Jews. The tragedy is that we allow them to live where they do and walk our streets.

I am not advocating violence, but somehow, when we need to, we know how to protect our turf and maintain the purity of our communities. We should be doing no less when it comes to these dangerous – yes, dangerous, not just crazy – radicals, rather than editorializing how, “Oh my. We can’t do anything about it because they won’t listen to daas Torah.”

If they were missionaries, we would expunge them.

If they were thieves, we would drive them out.

If they were spreading immorality, we would do everything in our power to drive them from our midst. In this case, we should be doing no less.

In the past, some people said, “They are small. They are insignificant. Ignore them.” Whether that was the right approach at any time is debatable. But it is clearly not a viable approach at the current time. And no, it is not “impossible for chareidi Jewry to stop them from being mechalel Sheim Shomayim.” It is possible – if we want to.

Instead of editorializing, we should be focused on throwing these people out of our communities. Yes, I am advocating making their lives miserable and intolerable until they leave us alone. I am advocating doing everything – everything – within the law to ruin their lives until they stop ruining ours.

And when they go to meet with politicians and they hold rallies, we should be right there, on their tail, hunting them down, drowning them out and letting the media know who and what they are. Somehow, whenever they are given a news reporter’s microphone, there is no one in sight to respond to their claims and expose them for the charlatans they are.

Let’s stop making nice, shaking our heads or laughing it off. Let’s stop with pointless commentary that does nothing but regurgitate the same rhetoric about how sad it is that these fools are wearing Chassidic garb and how if only they’d “remove their disguise” all would be well.

Enough talking. It is time for action. Throw them out of shul. Throw them out of school. Throw them out of your community mikvah and grocery. And if they aren’t in your community, but in another one, or in their own, track them down anyway. Don’t let them walk in peace. Treat them as the rodfim they are. Hound them and don’t let them rest. Don’t let them sleep at night peacefully and don’t let them walk the streets without incident. And be there, every step of the way, to counter their dangerous activities. Enough is enough.

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  1. I truly hope Rabbi Rotter took his pills today. He sounds more like Rav Mayer Kahane. As a lawyer, i can tell you that much of what he is saying in this rant is bordering on being illegal as well as stalking.

    Regardless of the idealogy whether he is correct or not, he is advocating dangerous stuff (Remember!Zimmerman from Florida).

    Yes this guy is a dangerous kook, a nut case who offered to be a spy, but was not accepted by Iran because he had nothing and saw through him as a weird person.

  2. With all due respect you are probably unaware that within Neturei Karta there are factions and disagreements.While all; do not vote in elections, take money from the Medina and speak strongly against those who do,a majority would never embrace Ahmedenijad,spy for Iran or insult our Gadol Hador.The same way that resonable people understand that not every Christian bombs abortion clinics so too not everyone against the Medina is a rodef.

  3. like neturei karta is our biggest enemy!!!
    what about the tzionim who are making gezeira after gezeira?
    we know they look at all of us as one chareidi group- if they aren’t mechalek why should we be/ disassociation doesn’t help- so it is unnecessary
    anyways this guy was a kook and they say he is not stable so you can’t condemn all of neturei karta based on that. they have plenty of ehrlich/ condemning all of them is like what the tzionim do by condemning all chareidim on a few peoples corruption or the world at large does that to condemn israel based on the masseh of yechidim.
    of course the yechidim need to be taken care of but what is wrong with neturei karta?

  4. ALL THE TRUE GEDOLI YISROAEL ,must unite in the name of HASHEM and do something about this ANIMALS and any MAN that does NOT want to give his wife a GET .

  5. so full of hate i couldn’t get very far. if you believe they are very misguided, that doe3s not justify your hate. it is ridiculous to claim they hve a goal to hurt people and are rodfim. at most they are misguided in their tacticts. furthermore, there is no reason to believe any actual harm has come to anyone because of them.

  6. Why didn’t the Iranians take him up on the offer? It is most likely because they saw he is a lunitic. I don’t think we have to be more foolish. Anyone who gets to meet these people in person sees this right away. This doesn’t mean we have to ignore thier actions, but you deal with a lunitic differently than with a criminal. I don’t think people realize this.

  7. The best opinion post I have read on this site.

    But I have to disagree with this statement: “If they were spreading immorality, we would do everything in our power to drive them from our midst.”

    It appears that nothing was down to prevent the Toeiva parade in Yerushalyim. Where was the outrage by the Orthodox parties? Is fighting the draft of chareidim more important issue than the disgraceful display of these sickos in eretz Hakodesh? What a shame!

  8. I completely disagree with large parts of this article. I feel that Neturei Karta are a necessary extreme element against zionism. it is a fact in political theory that presence of an extreme ideology shifts the entire spectrum towards that extreme. This moves the center as well. So too the existence of an extreme anti zionist element will move the spectrum of Jewish position towards zionism shift more towards anti zionism which I fully support. Lemoshul, PETA, a whackjob extreme group in animal rights, but thier presence adds towards the public conscience re the treatment of animals.

    Though I myself disagree with NK practices, they DO NOT hurt anyone and they cant be called rodfim. I agree that there needs to be more censure of NK and attempt to pull them back into the normal fold. However NK, as an extreme element, naturally attracts off balanced people who sometimes do end up besmirching the name of Neturei Karta and Torah Jewry.

    It is ridiculous and emotional to try and guess what the author writes when he attempts to guess what the Sanhedrin would do.

    I dont think he wrote with seichel, rather he wrote with ragsha.

  9. Does anyone belive that this Idiot had any valuble information to offer the Iranians, these NK nuts just love seing their picture in the media, they will do evrything to get attention, they represent only themselves who number less than 100 from the US,UK and Israel

  10. Why stop with the N.K.
    Those people who take every opportunity
    to bash anything and everything Israelie
    deserve your condemnation as well!

  11. While the author is very well-intentioned, the problem is that antizionism is not just the philosophy of a few kooks
    The only difference between NK and the rest, is that NK act on their ideology, while the rest keep it bottled up.

  12. Excuse me, but what’s fair is fair. What you are advocating is harassment and ostracism. This is actually INCITEMENT and will surely be directed to the authorities. Incitement is a criminal offense and is subject to lawsuits under the Constitution of the United States. Where do you think you live? In Egypt?

  13. Rotter speaks with the assumed authority of all Jews, of ‘Daas Torah’ even Sanhedrin.

    Shall anyone claiming such sweeping authority be given a pulpit ? Shall his words be allowed in to the discussions of level headed people ?

  14. I rarely comment because I feel that most “letters to the editor” and the like are only there for people to rant. Almost never (or never) is any action taken based upon one of these letters.
    The writer is concerned with a tiny, almost unheard of, group of people. In my daily life (and I live in a large Frum community in the NY area) I almost never come across NK. They are so tiny, if you wouldn’t visit news websites, you would never hear about them. The Major Jewish newspapers don’t cover their activity and its questionable whether they are a threat at all to normal Jews. I would think that in order to claim that the Sanhedrin would punish them as rodfim, you should ask a major Halachic authority. Ranting that they are nuts, almost makes you seem extreme.
    What is a real issue, is the millions of Jews who pose a real spiritual threat to the Jewish nation. Today in the USA, 90% of all Jews, are completely irreligious.
    90% of Jews send their kids to public schools. 90% of kids growing up today, don’t have any clue of the meaning of ‘Shma Yisroel”. For thousands of years, we would rather have been killed than give up on any of our precious Torah (and millions did die in such a fashion). Today we are giving it up for Haagen Daaz and MacDonalds.
    Every four minutes, one of our brothers and sisters will marry a non Jew. We are losing about 100,000 Jews every year. Almost two million Jews who were documented 40 years, have vanished without a trace, their children lost among the Christians and others. Millions of Jews have never seen and will never see their mother lighting Shabbos candles. Millions of Jewish children will never read the Aleph Bais. Millions of our Jewish brothers will never learn a Blat Gemoro, and millions of our sisters will feed their Jewish children pork. But what do we care about? A bunch of nutcases? How does that make sense.
    Let us worry and care for the most important thing in our lives, and share that with those that are far away from Hashem. Let us invite them into out homes, and share a Shabbos meal with them, show them our beautiful families, and draw them close to our everlasting Torah.
    Almost any other issue pales in comparison to losing 90% of the Jewish people.

  15. 1. Well there is a lot to do with our nation. WHERE DO WE START?

    2. Did you check NK site? It’s more than hilarious.
    (They ask you to donate to buy things for the arabs!!!)

    TRUST ME. ALL NK ARE WORKING FOR THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT! – Thats the money they live off.

    4. At this point I think we should ignore all this nonsense!


  16. Rotter, you are a fool. What you have been doing to others for a generation is now being done to you. You don’t like it? Too bad. You dished it out for long enough, now you have to take it.

  17. The NK need to be treated on the same level as the members of CHOVAVEY. They are more michutz lamachaneh and do way more harm to clal yisroel.

  18. I’m puzzled by something the author mentions, and it has bothered me many times in the past.
    Why is it that the manner of dress if these very very few individuals is somehow considered ‘evil’ yet the way a huge percentage of frum women dress in direct violation of the Torah’s dress code.
    NK are a tiny group. Hardly throwing up shuls all over the place. Most people wouldn’t know who they are or what they look like. The way they dress is hardly evil. Maybe crazy or over the top. But that’s it. Wearing a skirt that in no way hides the knees damages the neshomo of the wearer, those that see and who knows the effect on her children.
    So lets call a stone, a stone.

  19. We’ve seen them meet, hug, embrace, and kiss the enemies of Israel (Ahmadinejad, Arafat, Farakhan, etc). We’ve seen their acts of moral turpitude and we looked the other way and shook our heads in disgust. We’ve seen them publicly burn Israeli Flags at our demonstrations.
    We’ve labeled them ‘crazy’ and we discounted them because we said they were a fringe group.
    We were wrong. Dead wrong.

    Cherems are not enough. They are merely good starts. Public statements condemning them are not enough. They are merely step one.
    Neturei Karta must be put out of business – legally.

    The time has come to take drastic legal measures to respond to the Naturei Karta chillul hashem. I have come up with a few ideas and welcome your thoughts.

    1. For each member of NK: get their picture, and complete contact information (name, address, telephone) for public dissemination. Create a “wanted” poster of their identities. People must know who they are and where they live. We can then pressure their respective communities but only if we know who they are. We must know exactly what Chassidic denomination they belong to. If they dare enter our Shuls, we will throw them out. When they come to our communities to speak we will find out where they are staying and who their hosts are and will protest accordingly. When they eat at our Kosher restaurants we will inform the proprietors that we will boycott their establishments unless the NK patrons are asked to leave. We will pressure their Yeshivas to kick their children out of their schools. We will discourage Shidduchim with their families. We will not attend their Simchas and we will tell them why. Again, we must know who they are. Further, we must learn who supports them financially. They are getting money from somewhere. Who is funding them. Whoever that is, we will boycott them.

    2. Challenge their IRS tax exempt status. Someone is funding their travel and speaking engagements to anti-Israel and hostile arab groups, and is getting the benefits of a charitable deduction in the process. We need to alert the IRS of NK’s terrorist affiliations jeopardize their tax exempt status. This will chill charitable donations to their cause. Let’s bankrupt them and put them out of business. Someone is paying NK money. Every week they are flying all across the globe, staying at hotels, etc. Who is funding them? Cut them off at the source.

    3. Lobby our political leaders to have them demand that the United States State Department brand the NK organization (and its members) as a terrorist organization or as a supporter of terrorism and render it illegal (like the State Department did to JDL/KACH). An aggressive politician who is eager to make a name for himself can open Congressional inquiries into the activities of NK and challenge their tax-exempt status. NK’s records could be subpoenaed. Most importantly, the Israeli government must brand them illegal like it did to JDL/KACH.

    4. Publish all of the Cherems that are out against NK. The Chief Rabbi of Israel has called for a new Cherem against NK.

    5. Encourage our Rabbonim and Jewish leaders to stop disregarding them as insignificant. Acknowledge that they are dangerous. Discredit them.

    6. Collect pictures of them posing with arab leaders and place them on one screen for everyone to see their atrocious bedfellows: ie., Arafat, Ahmadinejad, Farakhan (below), and their horrific protest placards. The more pictures, the more horrific the outrage.

    7. Prosecute NK in the International Criminal Courts. Follow my logic here: If Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s stated objective of “wiping Israel off the map” (his consistent denial of the Holocaust, and his country’s pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile capacity) violates the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, then wouldn’t NK be guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy (Iran’s Ahmadinejad)? I’m not an expert in this area of law, but what about treason (the crime of disloyalty to one’s nation or state. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor. Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: “…[a]… citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].” In many nations, it is also often considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aided or involved by such an endeavor)?

    8. If the NK members live in Israel, and they have publicly supported an enemy of the State of Israel, would that not make them “traitors” and they should be tried as such by the Israeli government? Again, Israeli Knesset members have the right to conduct inquiries into the NK as enemies of the state. How do we know that they are not undermining our security by providing information to Arabs?

    9. Call into radio and TV shows that present NK and express your rage. Discredit them wherever they appear. Because of this email (an earlier version), I was invited to comment (not debate) NK on Radio Spain http://www.rem.fm, and as some blogs put it: I ripped them to shreds.

    10. I am eager to take them on in any media interview. I have a very comprehensive file on them and know how to effectively discredit them. If you know in advance that NK will be appearing on a show, let the host know that I am able to debate them and that I’m always ready to do so. Forward the radio/TV host this email.

    Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
    Law Office of Baruch C. Cohen, APLC
    4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 940
    Los Angeles, CA 90010
    e-mail: BCC4929@gmail.com

  20. A Call to excommunicate the “Neturei Karta” by
    Major Orthodox Organizations and Institutions

    WE THE UNDERSIGNED call upon all Orthodox institutions: Yeshivos, Organizations, Hasidic Sects and Synagogues to immediately place all members of the so-called Neturei Karta in cherem, thereby excommunicating them from the Jewish People or reaffirm the ban already in place.

    The most recent act of the so-called Neturei Karta was participating in a conference in Tehran, Iran which seeks to disprove the Holocaust and the slaughter of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

    Their true agenda is finally clear: they do not just oppose Zionism. They oppose Judaism and the Jewish Nation.

    Since they embrace our enemies, they must be counted among our enemies. It is time that all Torah observing and G-d fearing Jews place these people and their financial supporters in cherem, thereby severing them from the Jewish Nation until they publicly recant their views and repent for their heinous actions.

    For those groups that have enacted the ban already (see below), WE THE UNDERSIGNED ask them to reaffirm the ban publicly and make sure it is carried out to the fullest extent.

    The following is from the United Orthodox Communities of New York (2002)


    Further to our public announcement dated 21 April 2002 [9th Iyar 5762], we hereby reiterate and declare that Charedi/Chassidic/Orthodox Jews everywhere absolutely reject the treacherous and contemptible conduct of that insignificant and irrelevant group of misfits and Mechalelei Hashem, desecraters of G-ds Name, who have again raised their ugly heads and besmirched and blackened the reputations of observant Jews worldwide.

    Their joining in vigils and prayers for the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat [may his name be blotted out] with Jew-haters of all manner, is an outrage that we cannot ignore and will not forgive. We again demand that rabbis and community leaders of all communities ensure that members of this group are refused entry to all houses of prayer.

    These nefarious associates of Jewrys enemies have unfortunately again succeeded in their crazed hunger for publicity and are being depicted in local and international media-outfitted in their religious attire-bewailing the impending demise of a mass-murderer-side-by side with Palestinian Jew-haters. The shame and embarrassment to decent religious Jews worldwide is unbearable.

    We repeat: this contemptible and minuscule gang of traitors to Judaism, were decades ago barred from our Synagogues and communities. Their refusal to abide by the pronouncements of religious and lay leaders of our communities has made them persona non grata.

    Under no circumstances should the media insinuate that ANY of their actions are associated with the Charedi or Chassidic community

    We urgently request all media outlets to highlight this fact in any report on this groups actions and to clearly state that the Neturei Karta and their advocates have been excommunicated by virtually the entire spectrum of Jewry.



    Anshei Sfard, Satmar, Bobov, Emunas Yisroel, Ger, Belz, Bnei Yehuda, Nitra, Viznitz, Munkacz, Vien, Klausenburg, Torah Vodaas, Novominsk, Torah Temimah, Chasan Sofer, Kiryas, Joel-Monroe, Pupa, Young Israel of Brooklyn, Cong. Shomrei Shabbos, United Lubavitch, Organizations of Crown Heights, Kamenitz, Agudath Israel 14th Avenue, United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, Boro Park Jewish Council, Debrecin, US Friends of the Edah Charedis, Lakewood Yeshiva

    Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
    Law Office of Baruch C. Cohen, APLC
    4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 940
    Los Angeles, CA 90010
    e-mail: BCC4929@gmail.com


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