Orthodox Jews side with Palestinians in protest against Israel

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

Nakba (Arabic for „catastrophe”), the day that commemorates the massive Palestinian exodus after the institution of the state of Israel, was marked in London by a small rally of about one hundred people. Israel was born on 14th of May 1948, when the Declaration of Independence was issued. The 15th of May is marked since then each year in remembrance of the Palestinian tragedy, just like 27 January is the international day of commemoration for the Holocaust. (Which is marked in various countries at about 8 different times of the year; US marks it through a week of commemoration each year.)

During Nakba, about 700.000 Palestinians were forced to abandon their homes to become refugees in the neighboring countries. Today, the community of Palestinians living around their former country numbers 5.000.000 people, who, if they were allowed to return, would change the proportion of majority and minority inside Israel.

The rally was held in Kensington, an expensive residential area of London. On the other side of the boulevard, a group of about 10 supporters of Israel unfolded a blue and white flag, yelling at the pro-Palestinian crowd. They shouted „Nazy”, „terrorists” and „gay killers” towards the Arabs, over the two rows of Police officers.

On the other sidewalk, the group in support of Palestine was not only larger, but much more diverse. Though the majority of attendants were Muslim women and young men, there were also British activists who confessed they support the Palestinian cause for moral reasons. They called for an end to what they see as an oppression by Israel through policies they find similar to the Apartheid in past South Africa. They called Israel a „terrorist state” because of the bombings carried in West Bank.

The most striking presence on the side of the Palestinians was a group of traditional Jews, dressed with they typical Orthodox black garments, with long curly sideburns and fur hats. They are not part of Chabad, but of a smaller sect called Naturei Karta. (Which means „guardians of the city” – referring to Jerusalem).

Members of this group are strict observants of Jewish dietary and behavioural rules. And they regard Jews as the chosen people, but consider that a secular state should not exist until the coming of a mesiah. Thus, they oppose Zionism, which is a nationalist line that was initiated mainly by atheistic Jews. In 1975, 72 countries voted a resolution by United Nations that condemned Zionism as a form of racism. In 1991, that resolution was amended by the UN to not consider Zionism discriminatory.

 Members of Naturei Karta are wrongly called „Torah Jews” by some. But they are as well believers in the Talmud like mainstream Judaism of today. Their mystical belief is that Jews were punished for their sins to experience exile, therefor should not attempt to change that fate but rather their actions.

(pictures from May 2015)

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