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Italian PM and Pope Praised After Refusal to Meet Ahmadinejad

achm.jpgThe European Jewish Congress commended Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for his refusal to meet with President Ahmadinejad during his controversial stay in Rome.

Ahmadinejad arrived in the Italian capital on Tuesday to attend the UN food agency summit on world food security amid protests from Jewish groups and Italian activists.
The Iranian leader said he would be holding talks with “world leaders” on the sidelines of the FAO summit but did not specify which ones.

There has been speculation Ahmadinejad wanted meetings with Pope Benedict XVI and with the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi but these plans have been shelved because of the controversy around his visit.

The following press release was issued by the EJC:

The European Jewish Congress is deeply outraged and appalled that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be granted permission to attend the High-Level Conference on World Food Security : the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, opening today in Rome.

While the EJC acknowledges the importance of this issue, we are troubled by the attendance of Iranian President Ahmadinejad. We commend Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi for his refusal to meet with President Ahmadinejad and similarly applaud Pope Benedict XVI for his attitude towards the anti-Israeli, anti- Semitic Iranian leader.

Ever since his election, President Ahmadinejad has distinguished himself to be an anti-Semitic leader who has denied the Holocaust and the mass killing of the 6 million Jews of Europe. Moreover, Ahmadinejad has threatened on several occasions to erase Israel, a UN Member State, “off the world map” and declared that the State of Israel should not exist.

“Such an ill-advised decision by the United Nations Organization would be a complete dismissal of the historical realities wherein the very State of Israel was established on the ashes of the Second World War and following the mass murder of the Jews of Europe,” declared Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress.

To allow a national leader who so blatantly ignores that history to be given a public voice such as this is an affront to the memory of those millions of victims and the sensitivities of the survivors.

The United Nations therefore cannot and must not allow a leader of a country who calls for the destruction of another UN Member State to participate at its conferences. If it does, the UN cannot maintain its moral statute and will be the cause of its own self-destruction !

“The European Jewish Congress fears that this significant international conference will be used by the Iranian President as a platform for his anti-Semitic, Israel-bashing discourse” added Kantor.

Furthermore, allowing President Ahmadinejad to attend this conference is a damaging insult to the 90% of his people who live in poverty. The Iranian government spends billions of dollars in developing nuclear weapons, in defiance of the sanctions of the international community, while millions of Iranians are unable to receive proper nutrition and healthcare.

(Dov Gordon – YWN)

11 Responses

  1. I heard that Neturei Karta is actively seeking new members to protest the establishement of a JEWISH state in Palestine. Interested in joining Dovid?

    Althought the Satmar Rav was a Gadol B’torah, he is also a minority opinion, and there are alot of Rabbanim with greater expertise and Torah knowledge than you that have endorsed the state. Now, according to some of your previous posts, I am now a heretic. But that’s okay. See, I have my own Rabbanim whom I listen to and follow, and who have no problem with endorsing the concept of the Jewish state. Who are your Rabbanim, that you are so sure that you are right?

  2. #10,

    I’d be quite careful before making any statement about ”taller towers” than the Satmar Rebbe.

    The Rebbe’s opinion vis-vis Zionism is the accepted majority working opinion of the Torah world (whether you or any Baalei Batim accept or admit to it or not). I am not commenting on the various specific details of the differences between the Gedolim on how to interact and treat the Zionist entity now that it unfortunately is in (its pitiful) existance. The core issue of Zionism vis-a-vis Judaism is defined and accepted as enumerated, elaborated and presented by the Satmar Rebbe (and the Brisker Rav.)

  3. #12,

    Our conversation was focusing on peers of the Rebbe, not previous doros, therefore my comment should be taken in that context. In any event, none of the “taller towers” of the Rebbes previous doros had a more liberal approach towards Zionism.

    Those on the dole, as you put it, are not in line with the Rebbes approach, as the Rebbe strictly forbade any acceptance of Zionist funding in any manner. That is a hallmark of any of the Rebbe’s talmidim, that they will not accept any Israeli government funding, EVEN if entitled to it by law.

    Finally, the entire mainstream Torah velt (misnagid, chasidic, sefardic), despite the Zionist sympathizers yelling to the contrary, were opposed to the establishment of the Zionist entity, as the Rebbe strongly held. That was the core Torah approach towards zionism, whose entire basis was the establishment of the State. How to treat the entity once it came into existence, is almost a secondary issue. On that there are many differences and approaches. But that is just a matter what to do about the bitter facts.

    Even today the Torah world does not find acceptable the Zionist State, retrospectively speaking of course. That does not mean of course everyone refuses to interact or work within its framework.

  4. His opinion opposing the creating of the State was by far the majority. That is what I am referring to. Yes, even Agudah opposed the creation. Post-creation is a separate issue and another (worthwhile) discussion.

    Please explain what you are referencing in #15. On what issue are you saying the Rebbe took on Gedolim from previous generations (that there were no previous generation Gedolim that took the same position as the Rebbe)?

  5. My original comment on this thread was that the Rebbe was a majority opinion, and he was. The conversation afterwards drifted. As far as his post-State positions, I don’t know the statistics sufficiently nor all the opinions adequately to comment. And there are many different aspects and questions what to do about the States existence. What the majority/minority is in each of them may be interesting, but in contemporary times a majority does not halacha (or right) make.

    Who do you refer to as “greater than himself”, and how do you judge greatship?

    In any event you and I seem to agree on the facts. As far as opinion, I still do not know what yours is.

  6. I’ll concede English perfection on blog comments to others. But you stated in #17 AFTER the state was formed, he took on MANY people greater than himself. So I am wondering, since it was after the State these MANY people are his peers. Since, in fact, he had FEW peers of his caliber, let alone greater than him, whom do you refer to as the MANY people (that are of his post-State generation) that are greater than him and disagreed with him? I would also be interested in knowing how YOU determined who is the greater of the men (or angels perhaps.)

    We have to deal with the issues now, but on how we do so certainly it matters “what the opinion was BEFORE”. So it surely does not “matter close to zero.”

  7. Mr. sammygol you have failed to answer how YOU determined these men are greater than the Rebbe.

    Per your insistence, I won’t further refute you (as you put it) that these tzadikim you mention were hardly choilek on the Rebbe’s position on zionism in any meaningful way, but were rather mere subtleties of differences.

    I certainly will not attempt (as you are) to rate (or debate) one tzadik over another. But what I will tell you is that the Rebbe, along with only a handful of others such as Rav Ahron Kotler, were the leaders of Klal Yisroel.

  8. To vote or not, is not a core disagreement vis-a-vis Zionism. Sorry for your disappointment at the lack of serious disagreement.

    I never offered a comprehensive list of leaders. Indeed I stated there were a handful. Nor do I subscribe to an “it” leader, and I hadn’t attempted to name one. Read prior to responding.

    The list above YOU named. YOU named in Reuven is bigger than Shimon. (And then attempted to pass on the blame to myself.) None of the Gedolim in any way indicated, by statement or action, who they “rated” in any sort of pecking order.

  9. Sammy,

    You and Joseph are talking apples to oranges, and amusingly, you agree on the apples and agree on the oranges (I’ll be waiting for a “fruity” related comment- just make it a juicy one! :))

    Your gift with phraseology notwithstanding, I think it’s time to extricate yourself from this one, and concede that you have become just a bit embroiled in this ongoing spiel. You are having a hard time letting go.

    Joseph’s comments on the issue are quite logical, although you are probably a lot closer to Satmar than I am…

    The Zionism issue is ideology-centered, and on that, the Satmar Rebbe was in the majority.

    In regards to the Torah community’s hashkafic perspectives, the Zionist entity (as opposed to Eretz Yisrael) and ideals ARE foreign concepts to many.

    The ideologically secondary issue involving addressing the facts on the ground may currently involve more time, resources, and discussion on all fronts, but from an ideological perspective, that does not enshrine the secondary issue with primacy status.

    With that, I will bow out of this interchange. Apologies for disrupting such an intriguing dialogue :).

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