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Virtual Talmud

On the surface, it would be hard to find any commonality between a group of long-bearded, black-hatted, cloistered members of the Orthodox Jewish, anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta and former President Jimmy Carter, a Nobel prize-winning Anglo-Saxon Protestant. But it seems that they share a penchant for inane publicity when it comes to Israel.

While Carter’s new book is not half as despicable as these Jews’ recent trip to Tehran, where they joined hands with Iranian President Ahmadinejad at his Holocaust denial conference, it is pathetic if for no reason other than its title, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

Alan Dershowitz has already written a lengthy review detailing the misinformation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict espoused by Carter, but for me what took the cake was watching Carter a few nights ago on “Larry King Live.” King pressed Carter about his views on Israel and his new book. Carter went on to say that both sides are to blame for the current crisis. King pushed back, asking him if that is so, why did he give his book the outlandish title “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” to which the past president and Nobel prize-winner responded:

“You know, when I write a book of this kind, with admittedly a provocative title… to provoke debate and to provoke discussion.”

How pathetic! I can understand why some struggling writer might need to be provocative, but a past president of the United States? A Nobel Prize winner? Give me a break!

Likewise, what on earth are members of Neturei Karta or any Jews doing in Tehran supporting a man who would wipe the Jewish people off the face of this earth!

Jimmy Carter has cheapened himself and his work. The Neturei Karta have not only cheapened themselves but, as some of my friends have said, they should perhaps as group be excommunicated. (There is great irony in the fact that there are many Orthodox Jews that still give more halakhic legitimacy to Neturei Karta members than they do to the Reform or Conservative movements.)

The rabbis of the Talmud liked to say that “wise people are those who are careful with their words.” I would like to just say that Jimmy Carter and the Jews of Neturei Karta are simply unwise people in need of attention, but my gut tells me they are something much worse and dangerous.

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