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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Britain: Fury Over Rabbi's Iran Visit

Fury Over Rabbi's Iran Visit
By Joy Wolfe - Wednesday 13th of December 2006
One of the most senior members of religious anti-zionist sect Neturei Karta was this week facing total isolation from the Jewish community after attending Iran's Holocaust conference.
Manchester-based Rabbi Ahron Cohen has long courted controversy as the mouthpiece of the British arm of Neturei Karta, appearing alongside controversial figures considered to be enemies of the Jewish people.
But anger in Manchester reached fever pitch this week after it emerged he had visited the internationally-condemned meeting in Tehran.
Indeed, feelings were running so high that the Manchester Beth Din issued a statement on Tuesday condemning Rabbi Cohen's involvement and questioning his status as a rabbi.
The statement said: "'Rabbi' Ahron Cohen has for a long time been ostracised by the vast majority of Jews for associating with and thus giving support and legitimacy to the enemies of Israel and the Jewish nation. He represents an insignificant minority and even amongst zealots is considered to have crossed the threshold which divides rational viewpoint from fanaticism.
"By attending a conference called to promote the denial of the Holocaust at which many of the most virulent deniers are present, he is guilty by association whatever gloss he may wish to put on participation. His involvement is a stab in the heart of the Jewish Community and of all decent law-abiding people and coming from one who styles himself 'rabbi', it brings disgrace on our Community and desecrates all that Judaism stands for."
Rabbi Cohen recently clashed with Zionist leaders at a Palestine Solidarity Meeting in the Quaker Friends Meeting House in Manchester, when they challenged him for giving his support at such an anti-Israel event.
Addressing those criticising him, who included Lucille Cohen, President of Manchester Zionist Central Council and Vice President Herzl Hamburger, he repeatedly shouted: "You are not Jewish, Zionists are not Jewish"
Following a recent attack on his Salford home when it was pelted with an estimated 1,000 eggs, Rabbi Cohen sought police protection.
Meanwhile, local Holocaust survivors expressed disgust at his behaviour.
"It is one thing to be anti Israel and support the Palestinians but it is quite another to deny the Holocaust," said Gisela Feldman, who escaped from Germany on the St. Louis. "We need to make our feelings known and let this so-called rabbi know what we think of him."
Among those condemning the conference was London Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford.
Baroness Ludford, European justice spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "I am appalled by the convening of this conference, the main goal of which appears to be providing a platform for anti-Semitic propaganda."
"When the list of invitees includes former leader of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke and well-known international Holocaust deniers such as Georges Thiel, the claim that this conference is about 'objectively examining historical fact' rings utterly hollow."
"On one level Holocaust denial is farcical and absurd since the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against 6 million Jews is so well-documented that no sane person could deny it. But on another level, it is very dangerous when a member state of the United Nations wraps anti-Semitism in a spurious cloak of anti-Zionism in order to stir up mischief and hate."

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