The Neturei Karta: a dangerous “Fifth Column”

By Lee Kaplan, senior analyst, communications director

17 January 2013: They can be seen at almost any large anti-Israel demonstration in the United States or the UK. Dressed up as Orthodox Hassidic Jews, they march with the pro-Hamas crowds calling for the demise of Israel. Just like dated communist sympathizers in the Jewish Voice for Peace, in reality, they  serve as a convenient front group to fool  “useful idiots” that the Jewish people do not support Israel, but prefer the goals of the  Arabs and Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East. Worse, seeming to validate one of the worst slurs on Jews, they take money do so. Although  their name is Neturei Karta, “Guardians of the City,” these are not “Watchers over Jerusalem” as the Bible mentions, but a Jewish fifth column. The NKs, as they are sometimes called, try to insinuate themselves at Jewish functions, where they call for the end of Israel, and refer to the Jewish homeland as an “abomination against God.”


Among a very small minority of Orthodox Jews originating from eastern Europe, these are a sect that believes a Jewish state should not exist until the Messiah comes based on their interpretation of scripture.   While some larger  Orthodox sects might believe this — and not all do — that Jews should wait for the Messiah to bring them to a  Jewish state, they nevertheless support the Jewish people and by extension Israel as a whole.

The Satmars, for instance, another Hassidic sect that believes this, want nothing to do with the Neturei Karta  – or with their anti-Semitic activities or their alliances.  At a meeting in Poland of all the Hassidic sects, the leader of one of the other Orthodox sects recently punched the leader of the Neturei Karta in the face for spreading his usual anti-Israel propaganda to the crowd there.

On their websites, NKs like to claim they represent over 100,000 Jews worldwide who are against the existence of Israel – possibly basing these unsubstantiated claims on the much larger Satmar and other ultra-Orthodox sects who dress the same way, but who otherwise have nothing to do with the NKs. The garb that makes the NK’s stand out is taken from a Jewish charismatic leader, the Bal Shem Tov, who dressed that way in the 19th century. The Bal Shem Tov would turn in his grave if he knew what the Neturei Karta do in the name of Judaism for the Arabs and Muslim fundamentalists.

The Neturei Karta number actually fewer than 1,500 people worldwide, about 150 of whom live inside Israel that they call for to be destroyed. The remainder live in Monsey, New York and some in London, England.  Even though it is written in the Old Testament, “No work, no bread,” the men generally do not work —  a reason they are always available to attend anti-Israel events: supporting  Jew-killers like the Hamas.

The NK’s worldwide spiritual leader, Moshe Hirsch, who recently passed away, was paid, $50,000 a year as proven by documents captured in Arafat’s headquarters in the Mukata after the Passover Massacre in 2002. He was a collaborator with Arafat, identified  as Arafat’s “Minister of Jewish Affairs.” Translate that to mean he was a “Jewish” figure designed to front and support the outspoken Arab and Muslim goals of destroying the State of Israel, and according to the Hamas charter, all other Jews as well.  In the U.S., their leader at demonstrations is Dovid Weiss, who has admitted he gets   income from Iran  and leads the group at anti-Jewish events, with  signs and directing people to a  website that reads, “Jews Not Zionists.” The NK’s and their leadership even meet with and encourage Holocaust deniers in their activities.

A little more  history of the Neturei Karta illuminates what and who they are:

Originally from Hungary, the Neturei Karta, were a small sect,  led by a rabbi who wielded personal control over his flock. Secular Jews who encouraged emigration to Palestine at that time were considered a threat to the Rabbi’s authority.

Prior to World War II, going back to the earliest movement to create a Jewish national homeland, there were indeed factions of Orthodox Jews who interpreted the Torah as saying that the Jews could not return to Israel after the Roman expulsion until the Messiah came and brought them there.  As such, these Jews opposed a Jewish state at the time of the British Mandate, which lasted from the 1920s, before which the land of Israel was part of the Ottoman Empire, as well as after 1948, when Israel became independent.  But majority of them back then also adhered to the edict in the Torah that required Jews to love the Jewish people.

There was also a preconceived resentment that secular Jews would run such a Jewish state, thereby curtailing the Rabbi’s power over his followers even further. At that time in Europe there were secular Jewish communists, equally opposed to a Jewish state, although they were divided. The early “kibbutzniks” were, in fact, often communists who nevertheless held onto their Jewishness. The majority of Jewish followers  with communist leanings, however, actually abandoned their Judaism for the new “god” of communism —  ideas now referred to in some circles as liberal or progressive — and also opposed a Jewish state. WIthin Israel today, there are still some Jews who belong to the communist party and voice support for Arab calls to destroy the Jewish state. Their philosophy follows the party line put out by Josef Stalin. As detailed in my earlier report,  this being  is in large part the basis behind Jewish Voice for Peace that emerged decades later as an Arab front group.

The Holocaust, however, polarized everything: the Nazis exterminated all Jews, regardless of their affiliations or even non-affiliations. Someone might abandon being a Jew, as in the Spanish Inquisition, but that retraction would not save him from the gas chambers.

The end of the war and the results of the Holocaust saw those Jews who had been opposed to a Jewish state, whether for religious or political reasons, fleeing to Israel to live in a “safe” new Jewish state. For members of the Neturei Karta, the move may have felt like sour grapes: they were against the state but at least, they hoped, they would be safe.

For Satmars and other Orthodox Jews who say Jews should have waited for the Messiah, their love of the Jewish people, as well as their survival, took precedence. Among the Jewish population as a whole, in the nascent state of Israel, there was some animosity between secular Jews and the Orthodox. The Orthodox did not serve in the Army and managed to exempt themselves as part of special interest legislation (today Israel actually has some Haredi volunteer units in the IDF who serve with distinction, even in combat).

The interpretation that Jews should await the Messiah was in no way an edict in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), that pious Jews should aid enemies of the Jewish people who would destroy a Jewish national homeland set up by international law and the UN in 1948. Nor has it ever been acceptable for Jews to help those who would destroy the Jewish people.

But under the leadership of the likes of Moshe Hirsch for the NKs this precept became a business.  NK’s may claim to be pious Jews, but among NK leadership, it appears more an instance of power and payoffs.

A significant example of NKs  no longer representing any kind of real Judaism or Jewish interests is their participation in promoting the Boycott and Divestment Movement (BDS) against Israel (as does another front group NEIN exposed earlier, Jewish Voice for Peace), and, in fact, promoting any activity that seeks to destroy the Jews in Israel.

Orthodox Jews, above all other Jews, do not work on Saturday.  But the NKs can be found en masse working with the Arabs on Saturdays at anti-Israel rallies in the U.S. and U. K. They pass out literature calling for boycotts and the dismantling of Israel, interview with the press and sometimes even pass out tracts that are blatantly anti-Semitic.  They attend conferences put on by the International Solidarity Movement, also on Saturday,  the Jewish Sabbath, that contains ways on how to destroy Israel .

And they attend, with Jewish Voice for Peace, conclaves with the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, an anti-Israel propaganda and lobby group set up by former U.S. State Department hacks that is funded by Saudi Arabia. All manner of anti-Semites attend and are welcome at functions put on by the WRMEA.

Few are aware that their two major websites, such as NKUSA.org and JewsNotZioninsts.org , are both paid for by the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce. This is hidden in their domain registration today after I wrote articles about them earlier exposing this.

The Arabs enjoy using the NKs as a front group of Jewish stooges who, even if they cannot fool the rest of the Jewish world that they are the “real Jews,” at least provide a helpful cover for non-Jews who wish to end the Jewish state.  The NKs, for money, seem more than willing to fill this role and to promote their twisted view of the Bible. They are subsidized by the Arabs who fly them all over the U.S. from Monsey, New York, to demonstrations against Israel, particularly at American colleges.

The other advantage for the Arabs and Islamists is that they can claim to an American audience not attuned to classic Middle Eastern anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred that the anti-Israel movement is not anti-Jewish. After all, the Arabs and Islamists seem glad to rub elbows and work with any Jews abroad who will help them kill and displace all the Jews in the Middle East, and there is no shortage of Saudi, Iranian, or other funding for these activities for the NK leadership, particularly Dovid Weiss, the NK leader in the U..S.

Jewish Voice for Peace, for secular people of marginal Jewish descent, is yet another front group to be used by the Jews’ own adversaries to stir up a new Holocaust in the Middle East, but the NKs serve to try and dispel  even the idea that the Orthodox Jews want Israel to survive among the ultra-religious. After all if non-Jews  and secular naïve Jews see these people, the Arabs and Islamists hope that the “divisiveness”might convince the majority of Americans to stop supporting Israel.

During the Holocaust, the Nazis employed similar tactics to murder six million Jews. There was the Jewish Police in the Warsaw Ghetto, there were “jew catchers” in Berlin —  and some Jews, called Kapos,  made themselves available to entrap those Jews seeking to escape the genocide, or to enforce their compliant behavior while in concentrations camps. Most at the time did this to save themselves and their families, or, in the camps, for small favors such as more food or a less vicious work details. For some, there was no other solution. The difference with the Jewish Voice for Peace and Neturei Karta is they do not face immediate extermination or starvation; they do the work willingly with the enemies of the Jewish and even Christian people,  and, reinforcing at least one of the ugliest Jewish stereotypes, accept money for it, whether under the table or through tax deductible non-profit donations funneled to them from Arab and Islamist interests.

The depravity of the Neturei Karta extended to their meeting with Ahmadinajad in Iran after he not only denied that the Holocaust had ever taken place, but also called for Israel to be wiped off the map. The meeting in the news media of NK leaders, mostly from the UK, but also the U.S., to show support for the next Hitler out to exterminate Jews in Israel calls into question the quality of their Jewishness. Their sole focus is on helping to destroy the Jewish state because it was set up before the coming of the Messiah, but they ignore  any concept of helping the Jewish people as a whole.

The NK leadership has also voiced support for Hezbollah and Hamas. Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has stated he wished all the Jews in the world would move to Israel so he could kill them all in one place. The Hamas Charter, goes a step farther –  dispelling anyone’s illusion that hating “just” the Israelis,” or  “Zionists,” is  different from hating all the Jews–true anti-Semitism –   openly calling not only for the extermination and supplanting of all Jews inside Israel, but the killing of every Jew in the world. The NKs demonstrate in support of these anti-Semitic organizations and leadership all the time. It is doubtful the Jewish Messiah would ever consider this conduct appropriate for Jews.

Jewish Voice for Peace, the  secular “Jewish” anti-Semite and mostly pro-Marxist crowd, has associated with and supported the same people. Noam Chomsky of JVP also met with Hezbollah and encouraged their destruction of Israel. Then again, Chomsky makes money other ways:  as a Jew who supports the genocide of the Jewish people., presumably including himself – or does he imagine that his outspokenness against his own people would exempt him?  He once supported Pol Pot’s genocide — both men are ardent communists, although apparently Chomsky isn’t quite communist enough to live in a communist state; he merely encourages communist hegemony  over America.

Another faction of the anti-Israel campaign that works with the NKs and the likes of JVP  is the International Solidarity Movement  [ISM[. It professes to have in its membership about 20% who are Jews. However, on many occasions the ISM  even has people claiming they are “Jewish” who aren’t – presumably  to fool non-Jews and audiences abroad that many more Jews are against Israel’s existence as a Jewish state than those who feel that way.

No one, however, compares to the phonies in Orthodox garb like the Netueri Karta. It is important that American citizens, non –Jews and secular Jews alike, understand what and who these people are, and how they are being used by the Arab and Islamist world of outspoken anti-Semitism to try to convince people, particularly the young in our colleges, that the pan-Arab, Iranian and Islamist world has noble human rights goals in attacking the Jews and Israel when it is just the opposite—they are theocratic bullies seeking ultimately to destroy the democratic state of Israel on their way to later bringing down the democratic United States.