Anti-Semitism? Might be Time for Our Jewish Brethren to Look in the Mirror

“Judaism and Zionism are Absolute Antonyms”

Posted 5.10.21 4:17pm

Dear Reader:

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.

Anti-Fraud Websites Labeled as Anti-Semitism Removed from Social Media but Openly Anti-Semitic Diplomat Keeps His Job?

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?

U.S. diplomat openly calls for Christian nation-states, rails against Jews

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, 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.

To continue reading in Politico

Why Orthodox Rabbis Should NOT be Supporting Trump [opinion]

Dear Reader:

The following is an Opinion that was posted in Haaretz. It is posted behind a paywall so we will only post a few excerpts. It is worth the read.

The inevitable conclusion of the Opinion is that Donald Trump shares no values at all with Orthodox Jews (and we would comment he shares none with secular Jews either). To support him is to support, if not be complicit with the many atrocities of Donald Trump. The author maintains that as Jews, we should know this.

Please read further.

Donald Trump and Orthodox Jews Share No Values at All

Backing Trump is a morally disastrous decision for Orthodox Jews, and for Orthodox rabbis in particular. He stands against everything we believe in   

Daniel Landes

A ‘rediscovered’ student of many years past caught me recently in a chance encounter. “As an Orthodox rabbi living in Israel – I imagine that you are supporting President Trump,” he stated.

But no, I immediately responded: as an Orthodox rabbi, I am compelled to vote him out. He stands against everything we believe in.

As a covenanted people, our theological DNA affirms the holiness of all human beings, while Trump makes common cause with racists and white supremacists; we have always allied ourselves with the best findings of scientific investigation and Trump ridicules that process and the scientists behind it; we believe in the preciousness of human life, while Trump indicates that as long as he is healthy, the rest of the country be damned.

The list goes on. I do not like to identify myself as a rabbi in political matters. I have seen both in the U.S. and in Israel the terrible damage of theocrats who push their religious agendas into every aspect of social and personal life. But facing the potential of four more years of terrible social strife and climactic cataclysm, we all need to speak from the deepest part of our knowledge.

In this case it is not only the holy books that speak to us, but our experience as a people. We know what it means and what can happen when democracy is eroded: public rallies based on hate; the deriding of a free press; the effort to deny voting; the imputation of wild conspiracies; and the refusal to accept a peaceful transfer of power when one loses an election.

Orthodox rabbis know all this, so why are they silent, or even complicit?

To continue reading in Haaretz, click here.

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Medical Pioneer, Covid-19 Defiance, Anti-Semitism

Yehuda Mesh-Zahav (Courtesy of Zaka to The Times of Israel)

Haredi health pioneer: COVID-19 defiance fuels anti-Semitism, sullies God’s name

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.”

The Times of Israel, click here.

Disobedience born of poor leadership

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.

The Times of Israel, click here.


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)

Fueling anti-Semitism

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.

Jewish Pilgrims to Uman, Kanievsky, Covid-19, a Jewish Public Relations Catastrophe

Kiev closed its borders for most of the month of September citing a growing number of coronavirus infections, but the pilgrims attempted to bypass the restrictions by travelling through Belarus / © TUT.BY/AFP/File

OPINIONAs Jews, we are confronted not only with divisions within the Jewish community but vastly differing viewpoints within sub-divisions of the different Jewish sects. We are confronted with bigotry and racism, anti-Semitism and hate, yet we ourselves are not really the shining example of tolerance and consideration, obedience and lawfulness.

The lip service paid by many Jewish organizations is really just that, a nod to other organizations hoping to conquer hate as a global problem. For most Jewish organizations, bigotry is a Jewish problem and anti-Semitism is rampant and of course, unjustified.

With that thought in mind and with Israel now reeling from a rapidly uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 within the ultra-Orthodox community, albeit hidden at the behest of many ultra-Orthodox rabbis instructing their followers to avoid reporting, who really speaks for worldwide Jewry? Shuls in the US and elsewhere will be packed with Jews for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and the holidays that follow without any regard for the dangers presented by the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing. The spread from within the ultra-Orthodox communities will inevitably spread to the secular communities in Israel and elsewhere and with so many who traveled to Uman, despite warnings that they would not be granted entry due in large part to Covid-19, what is it that we want to be the face of Judaism?

Setting aside the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Uman and the strife that tragedy has caused to international relations between Belarus and Ukraine, the ultra-Orthodox Jews that made that journey have, in their own unique way, put every Jew worldwide in danger. This entire affair has risked a worldwide increase in anti-Semitism that should be understood but requires careful damage control.

The photographs and videos of openly religious Jews tearing down gates in an airport speaks volumes to a selfish and harrowing lawlessness. The filth at the checkpoints due to a situation that was foreseeable speaks to an inability of the Jews there to manage the human context of their pilgrimage. And the entire notion of openly religious Jews being told not to travel in light of Covid-19 who disregarded, if not obliterated a reasonable request, reflects an inherent lack of consideration for the ramifications of that travel. It reflects a decision to choose ritual over religious virtue which is not Judaism.

When we consider the “public face of Judaism” it should not be that of the Pilgrims of Uman who attempted to enter the Ukraine after being told multiple times not to come. The face of world Jewry should not be Rabbi Kanievsky of Israel who has told his religious followers that it is all in G-d’s hands and yeshiva students should not be tested. G-d gave us brains, we should really be using them.

Anti-Semitism and Bigotry, Should Protesters and Party-Goers be Compliant? KJ Wedding and Covid-19

kj wedding

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.