Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 23:09 PM EDT, 19 March 2012
As one of our readers reminded us, Jon Stewart, who is Jewish, has a syndicated program called “The Daily Show,” and he is the rare exception in the American media landscape, because he has built a significant audience using political satire, which often pillories Israel’s policies.
Also, there are a number of American Jews, Israelis, and NGOs established to lobby for the Rights of Palestinians and Ethiopian Jews, but these voices of moderation are often drowned out by the cacophonous clamor of politicians and military strategists.
Unlike Islam and Christianity, and because of the Holocaust, any dissension by a Jew is tantamount to treason, viewed as a great betrayal, and the dissenters branded as anti-Semitic. This is particularly the case when a Jew speaks out against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in particular, and its military policies in general.
This is not to say that there aren’t contentious factions in Islam, which has seen a great deal of blood shed between the Sunni and Shiites.
The rift centers primarily around the rule of succession and the belief that the Mahdi, “the rightly-guided one” whose role is to bring a just global caliphate into being has already been here according to the Shiites, but has yet to emerge for the Sunnis.
The Sunni branch believes that the first four caliphs–Mohammed’s successors–rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims. They recognize the heirs of the four caliphs as legitimate religious leaders. These heirs ruled continuously in the Arab world until the break-up of the Ottoman Empire following the end of the First World War.
Shiites, in contrast, believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate successors of Mohammed. In 931 the Twelfth Imam disappeared. This was a seminal event in the history of Shiite Muslims.
According to R. Scott Appleby, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, ‘Shiite Muslims, who are concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, [believe they] had suffered the loss of divinely guided political leadership” at the time of the Imam’s disappearance.
Not until the ascendancy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1978 did they believe that they had once again begun to live under the authority of a legitimate religious figure.” (Source: George Mason University, History News Network)
By contrast, at the turn of the millennium, “Global Christianity had 33,820 denominations with 3,445,000 congregations/churches composed of 1,888 million affiliated Christians.” (Source: World Christian Encyclopedia)
Though there have been some key issues like Gay Marriage and Abortion, which has split Christendom across denomination, the conversations often heated and sometimes contention are not as shocking as the antithetical position Neturei Karta takes against Zionism, which is mistakenly believed to be synonymous with Judaism.
Rabbi Dovid Yisroel Weiss, 56, Orthodox Jew, activist, and spokesman for Neturei Karta, believes that the State of Israel is not legitimate. Based in Monsey, New York, Weiss believes that observant Jews should peacefully oppose the existence of the Israeli state.
“It would be forbidden for us to have a State, even if it would be in a land that is desolate and uninhabited. This is against the will of the Almighty and this is not what it means to be a Jew.” He says that Zionists have hijacked Judaism which is a spiritual movement, and in its place has created “rivers of blood in trying to maintain its ascendancy.” He is also vociferous in his opposition to the occupation of Palestine.
In 2001 he attended the UN-organized World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, as part of the Islamic Human Rights Commission delegation. During the conference, US and Israeli delegates walked out in an unsuccessful attempt to silence condemnation of alleged institutional racism in Israel.
View his interviews below and decide for yourself if he makes a valid argument.
- Zionist Hypocricy: Vociferous on Sudan, But Silent on Israel (desertpeace.wordpress.com)
- Rare Video of Israeli Rabbi in Iran (iamiranaware.wordpress.com)
- New Hampshire gets the Neturei Karta treatment (blogs.jta.org)
- Zionism is Illegitimate: Rabbi Weiss (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Neturei Karta International: An Urgent Appeal from Jewish Rabbis, to the Candidates Running for the Presidency of the United States of America (prnewswire.com)