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Orthodox Jews Welcome Ahmadinejad

By       Message Mark E. Smith     Permalink
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I'd heard of these ultra-Orthodox Jews before, but I didn't realize that they had three synagogues in New York along with a presence in Israel and in other places around the world.

The first thing I saw at their website was a picture of their meeting with Ahmadinejad:

http://www.nkusa.org/index.cfm

Looking further, I found their statement welcoming the Iranian President:

http://www.nkusa.org/activities/statements/2006sept20.cfm

By this point I was intrigued, so I looked at the section of the website labeled "About Us:"
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http://www.nkusa.org/aboutus/index.cfm

Without going much further, it seems that there really is a difference between Judaism and Zionism, and that not all who are anti-Zionist are anti-Semitic. Although I am no advocate of Orthodox Judaism, I found myself in agreement with some of their arguments.

As an American, freedom of religion is important to me, and I've never had much respect for theocracies. Since I believe that both Israel and Iran are theocracies, I can't say I'm particularly enthused about either one. But when Orthodox Jews oppose the existence of the State of Israel, and yet cannot be called anti-Semitic, it seems to me that those who merely oppose the policies of the State of Israel should not automatically be deemed anti-Semites.

Personally, I am opposed to some of the policies of the State of Israel, such as the Palestinian Occupation and the invasion of Lebanon, but I hadn't thought to oppose the existence of the State of Israel. Nor do I oppose the existence of Iran, although I wouldn't want to live in either country. Still, I found the Neturei Karta website to be extremely interesting and quite possibly useful in clarifying the difference between Judaism and Zionism.

I've also heard Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called anti-Semitic because he has befriended Ahmadinejad. Since I have Jewish relatives living in Venezuela who don't think that Chavez is anti-Semitic, I had to question that label as well.

As an atheist and a feminist, I'm not sure either Israel or Iran are capable of bringing out positive social change, but I do think that President Hugo Chavez is doing so in Venezuela. I certainly don't want to see my country nuke or invade Iran, no matter how much I dislike theocracies, but nor would I particularly like to see Israel wiped off the map. What I'd like is for people to learn to live in peace and to treat others with the same respect that they would want. I've never been sure that this is possible in the Middle East, but I can no longer say that my own country is setting an example of religious tolerance and enlightened foreign policy.

So this is just food for thought, something that I found to be of interest and that others may too. I have a fondness for math and sometimes, just when I think I've solved a problem, it turns out that I haven't and I have to start all over again. International affairs may be similar, in that sometimes, just when I think I've understood something, it turns out that I haven't and I have to rethink the entire thing. This may be one of those times.
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I'm an anti-civilizationist and election boycott advocate in San Diego. For reasons not to vote in faith-based elections with secret vote counts for candidates you cannot hold accountable if they fail to represent you, check out the discussions, (more...)
 

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