Members of the Neturei Karta sect demonstrated in Brooklyn on Monday, mourning the deaths of Palestinian terrorists.
Members of the sect marched carrying a banner, “Honor the martyrs of Palestine” while others carried signs with the slogan “Globalize the Intifada”.
Martyr, referring to Arabs killed in hostilities against Israel, is a mistranslation of the Arabic word shahid which literally means ’witness’. It is a term used in Islam for Muslims who died while fulfilling a religious commandment, including violent jihad.
Intifada is an armed uprising by Palestinians that targets Jewish Israelis.
One member of the sect carried a sign declaring, “Condemn the aggression in Al Aqsa and the occupation of all Palestine.”
Al Aqsa is the grey-domed mosque on the Temple Mount. Al Aqsa refers to a story in the Koran in which Mohammad made a miraculous night journey to the “further mosque” (al Aqsa Mosque). Most Sunni identify Al Aqsa as being located in Al Juraana near Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Jews who believe in Biblical accounts identify the location as the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit).
The protest was held in conjunction with Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network which supports Palestinians in Israeli prisons who are guilty of acts of terrorism against Jews. In February 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense designated Samidoun a terrorist organization and “a subsidiary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” NGO Monitor reported that Samidoun was founded in 2012 by “members of PFLP, and is “involved with establishing militant cells and motivating terrorist activity in Judea & Samaria and abroad.”
Earlier this month, a delegation of the radical anti-Zionist faction visited the city of Jenin in Samaria, where they met with a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group where they declared, “We are Palestinian Jews, we want to live under the Palestinian flag and not the Israeli flag, in one country which is the Palestinian state.” Yet another carried a sign saying, “The Torah demands all Palestine be returned to Palestinian sovereignty.”
The Israeli police responded by arresting several members of the sect who met with the terrorist organizations.
Founded in 1938, “Neturei Karta” (Aramaic for “Guardians of the Gates”) opposes the contemporary State of Israel because it does not believe that the Jewish people have the right to self-determination and because only God can restore Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel by bringing the Messiah.
This is based on an obscure Midrash brought in the Talmud (Ketubot 111a) which comes to explain why the verse “I have bound you in oath, O daughters of Jerusalem” is repeated three times in Song of Songs (2:7, 3:5, 8:4). The Talmud quotes Jewish sage Rabbi Yossi, the son of Rabbi Chanina, who interprets the repetition to mean that God bound Israel with three oaths:
That the Jews would not forcibly re-enter the land of Israel.
The Jews should not rebel against the nations.
The nations of the world should not oppress the nation of Israel too much over the course of the exile.
The former Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum wrote in his book “Vayoel Moshe” in 1961 that God brought about the Holocaust because the secular Zionist movement violated the oath by forcefully resettling the Land of Israel en masse. His conclusion was that the exile of the nation of Israel from the land of Israel was God’s decision and any attempt to unilaterally obviate the Diaspora goes against the will of God. While Rabbi Teitelbaum rules that it is permissible for individual Jews to live in Israel, adherence to the oaths precludes a mass aliya and a Jewish government or army until the Messiah comes.
Satmar is the largest Hassidic sect with over 100,000 followers worldwide. They strictly adhere to his teachings and, to this day, vehemently oppose the State of Israel.
Rabbi Teitelbaum’s application of that section of the Talmud to the modern State of Israel is rejected by the vast majority of Jewish scholars and leaders outside of the Satmar movement.
The anti-Israel fringe element of the Neturei Karta sect has made itself quite visible by siding with the most extreme antisemitic groups such as the one led by Louis Farrakhan. Neturei Karta leaders have called on the Jewish community to dialogue with Hamas and apologize for “stealing their land.” Their protests in America are usually attended by, at most, a few dozen people. In Israel, the group’s protests typically attract several hundred participants, depending on the nature of the protest and its location.
The group openly associates with the most violent anti-Israel figures. In 2004, a large contingent of Neturei Karta attended Arafat’s funeral in Ramallah.In 2013, one of their members was arrested by the Shin Bet (the Israeli secret service) on charges of spying for Iran. Another served in Yasser Arafat’s cabinet as Minister for Jewish Affairs. In 2020, a delegation of Neturei Karta attended the funeral of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and even met with Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister. In 2006, a delegation from Neturei Karta attended the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, a gathering in Tehran of Holocaust deniers from around the world. While in Iran, they visited President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The spokesmen commented that they shared Ahmadinejad’s aspiration for “a disintegration of the Israeli government”