Neturei Karta, an anti-Zionist sect of the Orthodox Jewish community

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at eircom.net
Tue Jul 23 11:51:39 MDT 2002


May be of interest to people on list

Sunday July 21, 2002
The Observer

It's a sunny Saturday in May, and Trafalgar Square is rammed. Thousands of
people have marched from Hyde Park Corner to show their support for the
Palestinians. For months, the Palestinian population of the West Bank and
Gaza have been living a shrunken existence, confined to their homes by
ever-tightening blockades and curfews imposed by the Israeli army. Ten days
earlier, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 15 Israelis in a snooker club
near Tel Aviv. But despite these signs that the Middle East conflict is
worse than ever, the protestors are in festive mood, waving the
demonstration's official placards which call for an end to the Israeli
occupation. The wall in front of the National Gallery blazes with the red,
green and black of a giant Palestinian flag.
>From the base of Nelson's Column, one speaker after another rallies the
crowd. There's maverick MPs George Galloway and Jeremy Corbyn, the
Palestinian delegate Afif Safieh and Palestinian QC Michel Massih and Iqbal
Sacranie from the Muslim Council of Great Britain. They call on Sharon, Bush
and Blair to support the Palestinian cause, and urge the protestors to
boycott Israeli goods. Beside them on the platform sit four Orthodox Jews in
long black coats, wide-brimmed hats and ringlets. They strike a surreal
note.

The group is part of Neturei Karta, an anti-Zionist sect of the Orthodox
Jewish community which is passionately opposed to the state of Israel and
its government's treatment of the Palestinian population. Since they are
forbidden to use transport on the Sabbath, a few of its younger, fitter
members have made the two-hour journey from Stamford Hill on foot in their
Saturday dress of prayer shawls and fur-rimmed hats. Despite their prominent
position in full view of the thousands below, they seem perfectly composed,
holding a Palestinian flag and a placard bearing the slogan 'End the
occupation'. They don't want to speak, so one of the organisers reads a
statement on their behalf. It condemns, in no uncertain terms, the
'atrocities committed by the Zionist regime', lamenting 'the plight of the
Palestinian people'.


http://www.observer.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,758997,00.html







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