The above is on posters being held by some of the protesters in these videos.
Many of the ultra-Orthodox zealots in this video are funded by American Jewish counterparts. These are people who believe, from a fundamental perspective, in the destruction of the State of Israel. And, as the birth rate within the ultra-Orthodox community grows exponentially when compared to secular birth rates, once must wonder what happens when a majority of Israel’s Jews are opposed to the existence of the very state in which they live.
To the American supporters of these radical Jewish groups, who characterize every criticism as anti-Semitism, unwilling to stand up and say that this is not Judaism but something altogether foreign, you will have the inevitable destruction of the Jewish state as we know it today, sitting on your collective shoulders.
Protesters like those above are destructive to all Jewish identity, whether religious or secular. They are not tolerant of anything or anyone and yet, as American Jewish organizations fight anti-Semitism they refuse to question the integrity of the version of Judaism depicted above.
Mainstream Judaism does not support the view that “Judaism and Zionism are Absolute Antonyms.” Sadly, it might be time for organizations like Agudath Israel, the American Jewish Congress, the Jewish National Fund and others to speak out against the expression of “Judaism” in this video.
If you report fraud against a group that just so happens to be Jewish, you are labeled an anti-Semite. Entire sites have been removed from social medial for their reporting. If you create an episode of a popular show depicting a Haredi Jew denying his son medical treatment on religious grounds, it is labeled anti-Semitic and the episode gets removed from circulation. The accuracy of the episode, notwithstanding, it was anti-Semitic, why? Had they been Mormons or LDS would the episode have been cut?
Yet, when it comes to clearly drawn lines of anti-Semitic behavior, the US State Department cannot remove a diplomat from his position for openly anti-Semitic rants against Jews? Is there not some sort of “moral turpitude” clause in his employment agreement?
A State Department official for several years has been publicly calling for the establishment of Christian nation-states, warning that white people face “elimination” and railing against Jews as well as Black Lives Matter and other social movements.
Fritz Berggren, a mid-ranking Foreign Service officer, openly uses his name and image as he espouses these and other controversial views, according to a review of his online postings. Current and former State Department officials noted the connection to POLITICO in recent days.
“Jesus Christ came to save the whole world from the Jews — the founders of the original Anti-Christ religion, they who are the seed of the Serpent, that brood of vipers,” states an Oct. 4 blog post signed “Fritz Berggren, PhD” and titled “Jews are Not God’s Chosen People. Judeo-Christian is Anti-Christ.”
“They murdered Jesus Christ,” the 5,300-word post continues, “How then can they be God’s chosen?”
Berggren’s voluminous output dates back to at least September 2017, according to the archives of his website, Bloodandfaith.com. An about page for the site, also signed “Fritz Berggren, PhD,” offers what appears to be a manifesto of sorts. Like several of his other posts, it includes a video of Berggren expanding on his views.
The goal of the Left is to destroy blood and faith so that (Marxist) religion alone becomes master and enslaver of all,” Berggren writes. “Europeans must reclaim their blood and faith, just as Blacks are proud and hispanics have very strong blood identity organizations.”
Two days after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, another post signed by Berggren declared: “Notes on the events of January 6. The illusion of a participatory democracy has been burst. You already live in a cult/theocracy — I offer you Christian liberty in a Christian nation.”
President Joe Biden has made diversity a priority for his administration and has sharply criticized anything that smacks of white supremacy and anti-Semitism. The Pentagon already has launched a campaign to root out white nationalists and other extremists in the military. While there’s no similar effort underway in Foggy Bottom, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced he is creating a new position, chief diversity and inclusion officer, to promote that ideal.
An ultra-Orthodox health pioneer has expressed intense frustration at coronavirus disobedience, and said it’s bringing hatred on his community and fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.
Yehuda Meshi-Zahav hauls body bags of the COVID-19 deceased, but even the warnings he delivers after carrying out this gory work fall on deaf ears, he said.
His organization ZAKA, a medical aid and rescue nonprofit, has helped some 1,800 God-fearing Diaspora Jews killed by the coronavirus to fulfill their dying wish, transferring them from planes for eternal rest in Israel’s sacred soil, he said. He also personally retrieves bodies of Israelis who have died.
But he is astounded that nothing he can say or do — whether talk of the body bags, Israel’s dizzying coronavirus stats shared in Yiddish, or personal stories of those who died — can convince the slice of the Haredi community that is insistently noncooperative in the battle against the coronavirus to change its ways.
Meshi-Zahav spoke to The Times of Israel on Sunday, at the end of the Jewish holiday season, amid numerous reports that mass gatherings had taken place among Israeli Haredim in defiance of coronavirus rules.
These included celebrations for Saturday’s Simhat Torah festival, held despite statistics indicating that ultra-Orthodox Israelis, around 12 percent of the population, are catching the virus out of proportion to others. Hospitals are heavily populated by Haredim, while some members of the community are being treated by a program to give breathing support at home, without knowledge of the authorities.
“I explain to people that others are looking at them, and saying that we’re in this situation because of Haredim, and that the 12 percent is infecting the 80-plus percent, and that ‘you’ are ‘stealing’ the breathing machines,” Meshi-Zahav said. “And I say that this hatred is terrible, but what people see is the continuation of singing, dancing, public prayers, and simchas [celebrations] — as well as continuation of protests.”
It’s a misconception to assume that Haredi refusal to follow virus rules is driven by disrespect to others, he said, arguing that it stems from a misguided desire to retain religious routine at all costs. In his view, strong and determined leadership could fix this with a clarion call insisting that the religious imperative to save life comes above all, but there is no such leadership on the horizon.
He said there are large parts of the Haredi community where coronavirus rules are carefully followed, and there are rabbis who encourage this. And he stressed that disproportionately high virus rates among Haredim don’t reflect disobedience alone, but to a large extent also circumstances, like large families and cramped conditions.
Yet he is worried that a notable minority is breaking rules, which causes infection to spread, and lamented: “People don’t understand we’re all in the same boat. It’s like the story of the people who drill a hole under their seat in boat, saying it’ll only affect them, but of course, it affects everyone.”
Meshi-Zahav is particularly concerned by the fact that Haredi disobedience has an international element. In New York’s Haredi community, where virus rates have been high, there have been some very visible expressions of disdain for restrictions, including angry protests against coronavirus shutdowns.
Groups of protesters gather in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park to denounce lockdowns of their neighborhood due to a spike in COVID-19 cases on October 7, 2020 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
And he believes that the situation in Israel and New York is playing into the hands of anti-Semites. “If Jews are saying the things I mentioned about each other, of course others will say them,” he said. “They will take the symbol of a man in Jewish dress, and connect it to the coronavirus
To Continue Reading the Times of Israel in its entirety click here.
Kiryas Joel wedding calls into question state’s order on large gatherings, religion
A high-profile wedding celebration is calling into question the state’s executive order when it comes to large gatherings and religion.
Thousands of people packed inside the Village of Kiryas Joel’s main synagogue on Garfield Road last Tuesday.
Video of the event given exclusively to News 12 shows people sitting shoulder to shoulder and without masks, on rows of bleachers and on the floor, during a Hasidic custom called a mitzvah dance, following the wedding of Grand Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s granddaughter.
Catering halls statewide have not yet reopened, causing many people to postpone their weddings, but Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin says the event was held at a synagogue and falls under Phase 2 guidelines, allowing houses of worship to reopen.
Szegedin also compared the event’s size to recent protests saying, “Sometimes social gatherings are unavoidable and spontaneous as we’ve seen the multiple large protests all over the streets of the U.S.”
According to the New York state website, whether protesting or at a wedding, New Yorkers are required to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance in public.
Places of worship are permitted to reopen – but at 25% occupancy – with all social distancing protocols in place.
Village officials say despite the turnout, the synagogue was at 25% capacity and that masks – whether worn or not – were made available to everyone.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said it’s up to local officials to enforce the executive order, which can include misdemeanor charges and fines up to $10,000.
County officials say it’s up to state police to investigate and that the governor has been notified of the apparent loopholes.
News 12’s calls to state police have not been returned.
The unlawful killing of George Floyd was a tragedy for the black community. But as the trauma of recent days has shown, it psychologically scarred people of all colours. Something snapped in us all. As the Chief Rabbi wrote last week: “This is an essential wake up call for each and every one of us.”
That’s why I was determined to put George Floyd on the front page of last week’s Jewish News, the first non-Jewish news story to lead the newspaper since 9/11. The question was, how? How should a Jewish newspaper contribute to a painful debate on racism that isn’t about antisemitism?
We are posting a notice circulated by UJA Federation of New York’s CEO, Eric S. Goldstein. We have mixed feelings. It is very well-intentioned. We are thankful that a decision was made to postpone the virtual “Celebrate Israel” parade. However, we take issue with the very fact that it took the brutal, racist and synchronized killing of George Floyd to compel UJA Federation to rise to the challenge of confronting racism against others.
We have posted about the savage beatings of black men in New York’s neighborhoods at the hands of our own, the Shomrim, (a/k/a Williamsburg Safety Patrol) several times. It is nothing short of police brutality when they don police gear and drive police vehicles. Consider Taj Patterson, a gay black man who was savagely beaten at the hands of Brooklyn’s Shomrim. He case against them was nixed.
Taj Patterson, now 28, was attacked by roughly 20 members of the WSP as he was walking home from a party on December 1, 2013. He sued the WSP, members of the patrol, and the city in the federal and state courts. His argument is that because the city funds the patrol and has given the patrol other benefits, the WSP is effectively an adjunct of the NYPD but its members have never been adequately trained. Given the political power of the Orthodox Jewish community, which established the patrol, the patrol is allowed to operate outside the law with impunity, Patterson has argued.
We failed to get traction from any Jewish organization. We have posted about the corruption within the Shomrim organization for the last nearly 4 and 1/2 years; and organizations like UJA Federation have ignored our pleas for Jews to take some responsibility. Crickets.
We are well aware that Goldstein is in a tough position as he must be sensitive to the needs of a Jewish community he represents in some dignified fashion. Walking a fine line of language and its limitations is not easy. We, however, believe that the death of George Floyd, is long past the time to take notice of racism when our own Shomrim, not just in New York but in other areas of the country, take legal liberties with black lives. Taj Patterson is but one example.
We offer our condolences to George Floyd’s family for the tragedy that befell him. A country that is drowning in hate will hopefully be transformed by the resulting peaceful protests and discussions like those suggested by Goldstein. We, as Jews, only hope it is not simple lip service.
We recognize that most Jews live a life of white privilege; and we will thus never be able to step into the shoes of a person of color, nor should we be blind to the hypocrisy.
We are at a loss to express how deeply sorry we are for the role we play in our own brand of racism and hope this sparks change.
Two weeks ago, it would have been hard to imagine anything but Covid-19 dominating the headlines. Yet after 11 days of protests for the horrific killing of George Floyd, protests that have spread to all 50 states and to cities across the globe, we’re reminded of our collective need to deal with a virus of another strain.
George Floyd, an unarmed black man, spent 8 minutes and 46 seconds held down by a police officer while three other officers watched. Pleading for his life, he said, “I can’t breathe.” Those words were a cry for help, and they’ve since become a call to action for all of us.
As a society, we’re still grappling with the consequences of racism and injustice that have cast a long, harsh shadow on this country since its earliest days. Covid-19 has also laid painfully bare the systemic healthcare, housing, and economic inequity that has resulted in communities of color being disproportionately affected by the virus.
There’s no easy solution to the problems we’ve faced for centuries. But there is a way forward, beginning with an internal reckoning we all need to do, each within our own communities. For us, as a first step, we must work to make Jews of Color feel more comfortable at our own communal tables. Well beyond that, our Jewish community must be more present in addressing the state of racial inequality in our country.
Last January, when UJA and our partner JCRC-NY organized the 25,000 person “No Hate. No Fear.” march to fight anti-Semitism, we asked neighbors of all colors and faiths to join us. And they did. We can do no less — our obligation now is to stand with the black community in peaceful protest, calling out racism and bigotry.
This Sunday, JCRC-NY had been planning to hold a virtual Celebrate Israel parade, which has been postponed. Instead, together with JCRC-NY, we’re convening a virtual conversation on June 7 at 1:00 pm with black community leaders on racism in America. You can register here.
We invite you to listen and to learn so that our community can be part of the solution, and take real and long-overdue steps toward ending racial injustice.