Several friends have written asking how I felt about the wide publicity given to the Neturei Karta "Rabbis" who attended Iran's Holocaust denial conference. Frankly, these people are so marginal that (as one Rabbi interviewed on army radio here put it) "they don't even represent their own wives". They should just be ignored. But I guess they got so much publicity that it's hard to dismiss them. As Joel Stein
said in the LA times in another context: "That controversy never would have happened if Gentiles simply realized that absolutely no one ever listens to rabbis. If we did, kids who went to Hebrew school would actually speak Hebrew."
Friend Joy Wolfe reported
her community's reaction to one of the notorious "Rabbis" who went to shake Ahmadinejad's hand in Iran. The Manchester community has branded Ahron Cohen a persona non grata
. The burial society even returned Cohen's dues, refusing to guarantee him a Jewish burial. A demonstration outside his home brought together Jews from all walks of life. A historic day, with the Zionist Federation waving Israeli flags and singing Hatikva, while standing next to anti-Zionist Satmar Hassidim who were equally appalled by the antics of their offspring sect. The Satmar community have made it clear that he is no longer welcome in the Synagogue he used to attend, and the local shopkeepers won't serve him.
Joy reports that Cohen is seeking refuge overseas - and is considering Israel. It's probably the only country where Cohen, now in his 80's, will be able to get a Jewish burial when the time comes. Ironic, eh?