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New York - Radical Right-Wing Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Friedman Discusses His New-Found Direction In An Exclusive Interview With VIN

Published on: February 2, 2009 12:23 PM
By: VIN News By David Gold
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Rabbi Moshe Arie FridemanRabbi Moshe Arie Frideman

New York - It’s been months since anyone in the Jewish or Muslim world heard from Austrian Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Friedman, he of the Ahmadinejad-embracing, Neturei Karta-enabling crowd—and for good reason.  In past years, the self-described “fighter” attracted and almost relished a noxious notoriety in the international Jewish community for his public appearances with sworn Muslim enemies of the State of Israel.

But today, he’s a new man: He has by and large renounced his dubious past work.  And nuts he ain’t—at least not in the nearly-two-hour conversation the soft-spoken, bearded Satmarer Chosid from Vienna conducts with VIN’s staff.  His words reveal an Ahavas Yisroel that was there all along, putting the lie to the persona of a terror-sympathizing sellout and vindicating the Sages’ teachings on kaf zechus.

Still, considering his record, Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Friedman has a lot of explaining to do, both of his past and his present paths.  And for 107 minutes last week on a Tuesday night in Austria, explain he does.

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RABBI MOSHE ARYEH Friedman downplays his authentic Satmar bona fides, dismissing his childhood in the rigorously Chasidic upstate New York enclave of Kiryat Joel as it were a bungalow colony his family once enjoyed.  “I left there when I was 13,” he insists, obviously preferring to not discuss his ideological roots in the officially anti-Zionistic soil of the tzadik Reb Yoilish Teitelbaum’s Satmar colony.  “It’s not fair to put me in that corner.  I am not associated with that group.  I have been in Europe for many years.” 

Neturi Karta attending at the Holocaust denial conference in Iran in 2007Neturi Karta attending at the Holocaust denial conference in Iran in 2007

However, there’s no denying that the man’s thinking is shaped—or at least was—by Reb Yoilish’s platform of theological opposition to a politically independent Jewish state of any sort, and by a community that continues to subscribe, at least on paper, to that basic premise.  Friedman’s own uncle was a gabbai to the Beirach Moshe, Reb Yoilish’s successor Reb Moshe Teitelbaum, zecher tzadik livrachah.  And Satmar Chasidim largely make up the infamous Neturei Karta movement, which perpetuates the old battle over whether a secular Jewish state ought exist by ostensibly trying to explain to Israel’s foes the “true” Jewish-community position.

Viennese Rabbi Moishe Arye Friedman, fourth from right, receives Iranian Jewish visitors during his December 2006 trip to Iran for a Holocaust denial conference.Viennese Rabbi Moishe Arye Friedman, fourth from right, receives Iranian Jewish visitors during his December 2006 trip to Iran for a Holocaust denial conference.

With that kind of baggage, it’s no wonder Friedman was a fiercely vilified pariah to virtually the entire Jewish community, from the staunchly secular to the entire Orthodox camp.  But conversely, he was a veritable hero to the Muslim world, especially in the political, media and academic circles in which he freely moved.

However, Friedman repeatedly clarifies that he is not a member of Neturei Karta—and never was. “Ninety to 95% of Jewish reports said that I was the leader of Neturei Karta.  It’s not true.”

Friedman saw and sees himself as an independent activist for Torah and Klal Yisroel, at least his version of said—and, he explains, it was Neturei Karta that used his trailblazing if not dubious Muslim-world contacts to pull off many of its distasteful publicity stunts, not the reverse.

Rabbi Friedman in Iran meeting Iranian president on SabbathRabbi Friedman in Iran meeting Iranian president on Sabbath

So why did he do it?  Why did an otherwise respectable frum Yid embrace—sometimes literally—Muslim leaders who casually expressed wishes to annihilate Israel’s population, as well as repeatedly appear at anti-Israel rallies and in Al Jazeera interviews?

The truest answer may lie in the treatise Vayoel Moshe, penned by the sainted Reb Yoilish Teitelbaum—as well as in a brief look at the history of the frum community’s reaction to Zionism.

OVER THE ROUGHLY 50 years from the turn of the century until the 1948 creation of the State, and for years following, many gedolim opposed the political goal of Zionism. They argued that a State of Israel in the midst of the Middle East would only anger the Arab world.  Chief among them was Reb Yoilish, whose opposition to the State, most importantly, was based on the Talmud in Kesubos, which forbids the exiled Jewish People from organized return to the Holy Land before the coming of Moshiach.

the notorious photo of Rabbi Freidman hugging and passionately kissing Iranian president at the Holocaust denial conference caused uproar  in the Jewish community, and gained international media attentionthe notorious photo of Rabbi Freidman hugging and passionately kissing Iranian president at the Holocaust denial conference caused uproar in the Jewish community, and gained international media attention

In short, the opposition of Satmar and other frum demographics to Zionism is faith-based.  In their view, the State is seen as a denial of Torah-based faith in redemption as well as a rejection of numerous mitzvos.

And while virtually the entire world that can be called “Orthodox” today maintains an acceptance of Israel ranging from begrudging to smitten, much of that same world still rejects the secularism of modern Israeli society while benefiting from the State’s existence one way or another.  Indeed, many actively engage in kiruv activities towards Israel’s millions of ignorant tinokos shenishbeu—witness the dozens of organizations driving 40-plus years of the baal teshuvah revolution. 

But some still want to have nothing to do with anything even remotely related to the organized secular Jewish phenomenon that is Zionism; they still long for the classic exile community model of Jewish history.  Chief among them are Neturei Karta—“Defenders of the City,” self-appointed champions of the glorious and spiritually rich Jewish shtetls and cities that were Europe and Yemen still are Mea Shearim and Bnei Brak.

Apparently then, Friedman and his like-minded colleagues sincerely if not naively believed that the classic hishtadlus of the ages—reaching out to the declared and red-handed haters of the Jews—would somehow better the overall situation for the Jews.

in 2008 Rabbi Friedman with his family stayed in Iran for 2 months in 2008 Rabbi Friedman with his family stayed in Iran for 2 months

Thus is explained the actions of the Neturei Karta group, which at most consists of several dozen active members worldwide, in appearing at pro- (and anti-) Israel events brandishing “Judaism, Not Zionism” propaganda, as well as meeting with top Muslim religious and terror leaders, including Yasser Arafat, yimach shmo v’zichro—and milking every such action for as much publicity as possible, particularly in the Arab media.

IN HINDSIGHT, THE uniformed Jewish observer may be forgiven for failing to distinguish the lone wolf that was Rabbi Friedman against the pack in the background.  His reputation, cemented by years of ostracism, only became more extreme as each new public appearance again ignited Jewish passions.

But perhaps the biggest insult to his co-religionists came when Friedman, together with several Neturei Karta members, attended a Holocaust-denial conference in Teheran in December of 2006 which he physically hugged the man who had more than once denied the facts of Churban Europe and declared his intention to “wipe Israel off the map.”

The backlash against NK was epic.  Hundreds protested outside a Neturei Karta-affiliated Monsey synagogue in January of 2007.  In March, the shul mysteriously burned down.  And in April, while visiting Poland, Friedman was beaten by fellow Jews, including ZAKA co-founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav of Jerusalem.

However, something took root in Rabbi Friedman’s mind between now and then—primarily most recently.  “It was more than the last several days or weeks; I think that the last recent weeks and months led me to a different environment and got me to a different conclusion based on facts and figures.  I started thinking based on facts and knowledge I had gained over the past year.  Mumbai was an important part.”

Prompted to introspection by the tragedy in Mumbai, and, most significantly, inspired by a persistent Jewish radio personality Zev Brenner, who apparently played a critical role in his turnaround, Friedman came to the quiet resolution that he had been wrong.
You can listen to the interview with Rabbi Fridman on Zev Brennr show 2 weeks ago by clicking below

Friedman, never at a loss for words, is speaking from the heart now.  We can feel it.  For the next 90 minutes, he covers a huge amount of ground.

Were there threats to life and limb, perhaps even from the Israeli government, which prompted his turnaround?  “No one ever threatened me,” he claims with a chuckle in his throat.

Asked if he regrets hugging Ahmadinejad, Friedman seems to be aware that for too many, words will never be good enough.  Still, he sounds level-headed and far from defensive as he matter-of-factly explains that “I was an independent activist and thought I was doing Hatzolas Yisroel.”

Rabbi Moshe Arye Friedman of Vienna holding a candle  in front of the Percy military hospital in Clamart, south of Paris, where Arafat was being treated befoe he died in 2004Rabbi Moshe Arye Friedman of Vienna holding a candle in front of the Percy military hospital in Clamart, south of Paris, where Arafat was being treated befoe he died in 2004

“There are two elements of my change in position: One, the way Jews saw it, and they were deeply offended [at the Ahmadinejad debacle], and two, how far it could help Jews,” he explains.  “I should have been sensitive to my Jewish brothers, and should have been in contact with Jews before I was in contact with non-Jews.  I do regret attending.  I do regret the way it was received.  I should have taken [Jewish] feelings into consideration.  I’m sure that now what I’m doing will help relieve the situation.”

On the community reaction to his shenanigans, Friedman believes that while he was wrong, the inherently emotional nature of the issue only blew it completely out hand.  “The frum media made awful reports about me without getting the facts.”  He doesn’t want to talk about what actually happened at the Holocaust-denial conference, saying that he is under legal advice to keep mum.  “I can tell you there were a lot of lies and false reports as to my comments there.”

Of all people in the world to now be taking on Neturei Karta, Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Friedman is perhaps the best equipped.  But will he verbally denounce Neturei Karta?  “Yes, absolutely.”  And he does not fear a backlash from them.  “I am very much independent.  You can’t pressure me in any way; I’m not subject to any type of pressure.  They know perfectly well who brought them into the international arena.”

Speaking of the notion of working with the Muslim world to establish the Jewish record, Friedman says of Neturei Karta, “I think they are not straightforward.  I have been receiving information that they are disrespected in diplomatic circles.  Working with a half-million Palestinians is not in compliance with the Three Oaths.  There’s also [the issue of] ‘lo saamod al dam rayecha.’ ”  He adds that NK’s work creates anti-Semitism.

“I am in the position to reverse things and appear before the Umos Ha’olam… I stand very much behind my words.”

Austria politician Rightist John Gudenus, who denied the Holocaust left, joined a bar mitzvah dance with orthodox rabbi Arye Friedman, second right, in downtown Vienna in this photo from April 2005.Austria politician Rightist John Gudenus, who denied the Holocaust left, joined a bar mitzvah dance with orthodox rabbi Arye Friedman, second right, in downtown Vienna in this photo from April 2005.

And the reformed Rabbi Friedman has some strong words for practical anti-Zionism.  He says that those who preach it say one thing but do quite another with the commercial interests they have in modern Israel, not to mention the benefits they receive from the State.

While the Jewish community may embrace Rabbi Friedman’s change of heart, the same cannot necessarily be said for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Friedman won’t say whether the Iranian president knows of his new course.  “What I can reveal is that the Iranian government, particularly a certain department inside it, follows the Jewish media, including VIN—especially you and Zev Brenner.”

On the subject of Iran, he negates the rumor that Ahmadinejad was provided with a copy of Vayoel Moshe translated to Farsi.  “I can confirm that it’s not true.  No diplomat or university type ever asked me about an anti-Zionist community.”

But the Iranians and others probably got a whiff of what had occurred with the recent hostilities in Israel.  “They were very interested in war of Gaza, Jewish voices and my appearances,” he says.  “I was sent many interview requests over the Gaza War and I’m sure they were not pleased.  They asked me to join demonstrations but I didn’t, and then they tried to get any comments.”

last year Rabbi Freidmans his kids were not welcomeed in the local Frum Jewish school. since his kids have been granted permsion and are part of the Jewish community schoollast year Rabbi Freidmans his kids were not welcomeed in the local Frum Jewish school. since his kids have been granted permsion and are part of the Jewish community school

Friedman refuses to comment on Israel’s right to defend itself, labeling such questions as “political” and focusing instead putting the issue in Jewish religious and spiritual context.  “Your question has been asked to me in many ways over the past months,” he offers, simply stating: “I have to love my Jewish brethren.”

So what road does the fearless activist plan to take now?

He still believes in reaching out to Muslim leaders—only to say markedly different things.  “Say that Jews must be protected.  Represent Jewish feelings.  Don’t go with anti-Zionism, but with a practical-pro Zionism, and not in the theological/biblical sense.”

Doing otherwise, Friedman now believes, is “disrespectful of Jewish feelings with regards to the Mumbai attacks.  There have been so many double standards on the backs of Jewish blood, so much disrespect of Chabad, so much disrespect of Satmar’s very strong involvement in kashrus with the Israeli rabbinate and Israel’s kashrus industry.”

As an Orthodox Jew, Friedman maintains an unrivaled level of access to the Muslim world from his past misadventures, particularly Iran, but he does not feel he can use his unique contacts to further American diplomatic interests in that country.  “Since I am here [in Vienna], I want to not be involved in U.S. politics,” adding that if he could help rescue his “Jewish brethren”—a phrase he uses repeatedly, “I would.”

Rabbi Friedman in 2005 at his sons Bar Mitzvah in Vienna where many Rabbis and politicians attendedRabbi Friedman in 2005 at his sons Bar Mitzvah in Vienna where many Rabbis and politicians attended

In his opinion, why or why not, is Muslim hatred of the State of Israel the same as hatred of Jews?  “I am much more hesitant to answer this question now, a neutral answer is difficult to give.  I hesitate to give a clear answer because I have to be more sensitive,” he hems and haws.  “For example, if I raise the issue of Palestinian refugees, people will think I’m a sympathizer, and that’s not the case.”

Finally, he repeats a theme he has stressed throughout our fascinating conversation: The notion that the Muslim community’s primary problem with Israel/Zionists/Jews is that said does not present a united front to the world around it.  “Reb Yehuda Hachasid wrote 800 years ago that the goyim will save Jews only if the Jews don’t harm each other,” he points out.  “There are even elements in the Koran [that support this], but the first element is to be straightforward.  They have to believe that Jews do not say one thing and do another.  There should not be divisions and Jewish blood spilled, such as using anti-Zionism against other Jews.  For example, in Antwerp there were shuls fighting with each other [over this issue].  The moment they see you are not two-faced they respect it.  There needs to be unity on the ground with regards to Jewish feelings—and it will have an immediate positive effect.”


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Read Comments (70)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:31 AM Anonymous Says:

Thnaks to him, I have stopped giving money to chasidishe schnoreres who come to my shul. Since I cant know who is Neturei Karts (and cant ask as I am in middle of davening - not that they care and start bothering you anyways), no chasideshe get.

2

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:30 AM Anonymous Says:

Very confusing-all I got out of this is this guy is an attention seeker,nothing more.

3

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:29 AM Big Masmid Says:

Why do you honor this meshugener with the title Rabbi he belongs in a insane
asylum

4

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:29 AM Anonymous Says:

He can say wahtever he wants now, but he better be careful if I ever see him on the street. He is a rotzeiach and he has to be dealt with harshly.

5

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:39 AM Roman Says:

Congratulations Rabbi Friendman,

While your past misdeeds have obviously been very damaging to the brotherhood of Klal Yisrael, as a community which adheres to Torah values, we should wholeheartedly accept your teshuva to our community. I only hope that you will remain consistant in your newfound beliefs.

Also I would be very interested to know what exactly caused this turnaround

6

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:55 AM Anonymous Says:

well if - and thats a big if - he truly is doing teshuva then we should accept him back into the Jewish community.

7

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:54 AM Anonymous Says:

if he's american, how come he has such a weird accent?

8

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:52 AM Disturbed Says:

I find it interesting that he says there are elements inside the Iranian govt that read VIN. So all our dirty laundry (and snarky comments) are being read by people in the Iranian government?? That's weird. Really weird.

9

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:00 PM Satmar Man Says:

Thank you Moshe Aryeh Friedman, for stopping your horrible behavior. It was a disgrace to the memory of the Heilige Satmar Rov who plainly taught us to NEVER help or give any aid to the enemies of the Jewish People. We may be halachakly against the Medina, but that never meant, in any way, shape or form, that we should every do anything to hurt the safety of our brother Jews residing in Eretz Yisroel.

To give credibility to Iran or to the Palestsinians or to ANY group out to kill a Jew was always spoken of harshly by the Satmar Rov. The world has learned to misunderstand what Satmar stood for due to your behavior, and that other dozen or two who were misguided and lead astray.

Thank you for returning to "normal." I am not sure if you are still unwelcome here or not, but I am willing to listen to you and hear you out.
But never again should ANY Jew do or say anything which strengthens the enemies of the Jewjs.

10

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:58 AM consfused Says:

so what exactly makes this dude "right wing"? - last i checked "right wing" is supposed to mean conservative.

11

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Thnaks to him, I have stopped giving money to chasidishe schnoreres who come to my shul. Since I cant know who is Neturei Karts (and cant ask as I am in middle of davening - not that they care and start bothering you anyways), no chasideshe get.

I promise you Jew-hater never gave money in the first place. This is just an excuse

12

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Roman Says:

Congratulations Rabbi Friendman,

While your past misdeeds have obviously been very damaging to the brotherhood of Klal Yisrael, as a community which adheres to Torah values, we should wholeheartedly accept your teshuva to our community. I only hope that you will remain consistant in your newfound beliefs.

Also I would be very interested to know what exactly caused this turnaround

Dont be fooled by this man.
To VIN,
This man is mechuyav Misa and i dont know why you are listening to his shtisim!!!

13

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:03 PM normal ??? Says:

I really can't understand V.I.N. (1) why have an interview with this friedman ? I'ts below your & your reader's diginity to discuss issues with him ..... who is he biklal ? what's a diffrence what his stupid views are ? this way or that way (2) why call him RABBI ? it's a shame for juduism that this a person (?) should be called the way you gedolei yisruel poskim etc. after all he's E. D. P.. YESTERDAY THIS.....TODAY THAT... TOMMOROW WE DON'T KNOW WHAT ,MAYBE ROME H"Y give him a good M.D. PH. to prescribe him some good medication (shock ?) maybe ???? he'll get better ..and let him him sit in the side & be silent

14

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

if he's american, how come he has such a weird accent?

He left the US very young, and have lived in Austria.

15

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:01 PM Anonymous Says:

He was and is nothing more than a mentally unstable individual. The value of his former anti-Zionism is as low as the value of his newly-acquired ideas.

16

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Kol Hakovod to VIN for sharing this interview. I understand that many will scream that we should not give Friedman more visibility or a platform to air his views. To the contrary.

What makes VIN special is the open discussion of topics that may not be addressed in other yiddeshe forums. I personally think that the interview is too willing to accept his new view as his acting in the name of "Hatzolas Yisroel. I strongly disagree. I think this man has yiddshe blood on his hands by providing a degree of legitimacy and political cover to the biggest enemies of EY and Klal Yisroel throughout the world. His efforts to rationalize his positions whether it be Iran or Hamas are pathetic and lacking in credibility. Now that VIN has given him his chance to speak, we should not give him further attention. Hashem yarachem on his mispacaha for the pain and suffering he has caused to them and to the rest of us.

17

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:07 PM Conservative One Says:

If you believe this guy's turnaround then I guess you also believe in the tooth fairy. He did it for strategic expediancy similar to that other phony Hussein Obama whose love for Israel lasted until he conned enough liberal Jews to vote for him and now he selected the most anti-Israel people to be his Middle East team. The only one missing from that miserable group of Holbrook, Mitchell, Ross, Iddyk, et al is Jimmy the Peanut Carter.

18

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:04 PM normal ??? Says:

I really can't understand V.I.N. (1) why have an interview with this friedman ? I'ts below your & your reader's diginity to discuss issues with him ..... who is he biklal ? what's a diffrence what his stupid views are ? this way or that way (2) why call him RABBI ? it's a shame for juduism that this a person (?) should be called the way you gedolei yisruel poskim etc. after all he's E. D. P.. YESTERDAY THIS.....TODAY THAT... TOMMOROW WE DON'T KNOW WHAT ,MAYBE ROME H"Y give him a good M.D. PH. to prescribe him some good medication (shock ?) maybe ???? he'll get better ..and let him him sit in the side & be silent

19

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:10 PM Brenner Says:

Rabbi Friedman is like to Goy who ran out before "Shulchen Orech". As it seems now President Obama will sit down with Ahmadinejad very shortly, if he stayed course he would be in a good position as a power broker, but now he since he changed his mind he lost the opportunity.

20

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Disturbed Says:

I find it interesting that he says there are elements inside the Iranian govt that read VIN. So all our dirty laundry (and snarky comments) are being read by people in the Iranian government?? That's weird. Really weird.

DUH!!

Many people read this, including people we wish would not.

That is why some of us were so outspoken here and seemed to be "against" some of our fellow Jews. It was not that we hated someone, it was because we did not want the non-Jews reading this and other blogs to believe that "Jews condone that kind of behavior."

When we blindly support someone just because he is a Jew, and do not speak out against the action he/she is accused of, it looks like we think that behavior is okay.

I know. I was attacked from both side. Some said I hated a person who was on these blogs a lot lately. While others, non Jews, who read it said, "Did you read all those comments. It looks like your fellow Jews think XXXXX was doing a good thing with his company. Is that really the Jewish way of doing business?"

21

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Thnaks to him, I have stopped giving money to chasidishe schnoreres who come to my shul. Since I cant know who is Neturei Karts (and cant ask as I am in middle of davening - not that they care and start bothering you anyways), no chasideshe get.

how much do you give to the others???????????????

22

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:15 PM Anonymous Says:

B"H, for having done Teshuva! Perhaps Cherem still works a little bit.

23

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:22 PM Askipeh Hanidreses Says:

He comes across sincere. It takes a lot of guts to make such a change, and is as much as I loathed him before, he got a little respect from me now. I know very well what it means being on both sides of the shitah, and it takes a lot og courage to admit making a mistake. It is true that in the NK some like him, think that they are doing it out of Ahavas Yisroel/Hatzolas yisroel, but my encounters with some convinced me that most there have a leftist agenda. For example on NK member is a member of Green Peace and feels for leftist causes.

24

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:21 PM ELI Says:

I MET THIS GOY FRIDMAN at a wedding and some people wlaked over to him and started beating him up before fleeing like a chicken.. i wish i could have punched him tooo...

i fell very bad for his wife and kids nebach

25

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:15 PM Anonymous Says:

I met him and knew him. He always meant well, he was only really misguided.

26

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:14 PM Anonymous Says:

I DO believe him.

27

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Thnaks to him, I have stopped giving money to chasidishe schnoreres who come to my shul. Since I cant know who is Neturei Karts (and cant ask as I am in middle of davening - not that they care and start bothering you anyways), no chasideshe get.

nobody needs your dime!

28

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:40 PM Mrs Fisch Says:

I'd like to see him beg forgiveness of the 6 million noshomos that we lost in the Holocaust - for not only attending the Conference that denied this Churban of Yiddishkeit in Europe that took their innocent lives but for showing meaning of what of why we have the issur of "Al Ta'amod Al Dam Reicha"

This man has a long, long way for any kind of TIkun - this interview just doesn't cut it.

29

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:57 PM esther Says:

the horrible chilul Hasem and pain he caused can not be wiped away by an apology even if he. means-it,s hard to believe anyone could be so stupid not to have any idea of the damage his behavior would cause.

30

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:00 PM friedman is still a jew hater Says:

This man is full of garbage!!! Not once did he come out clearly stating that what he did was wrong, or admit that he was wrong!!!!!!!

31

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Has anyone else thought he might be Mossad?

32

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:08 PM Anonymous Says:

BS"D

And Satmar Chasidim largely make up the infamous Neturei Karta movement, which perpetuates the old battle over whether a secular Jewish state ought exist by ostensibly trying to explain to Israel’s foes the “true” Jewish-community position.
------------------------
Maybe FORMER Satmar Chassidim. Satmar roundly condemns NK.

As for Friedman, we must wait and see if he just decides to lead a quiet life or if this was an attempt to pull himself out of cherem. We should give him the benefit of the doubt as he is a Yid, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

33

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:14 PM Anonymous Says:

He is an attention seeker, period. When he will see that he will get more attention the other way he will grab it. The best way with these maniacks is by simply ignoring them. No interviews, No publicity, No nothing!!! Let him change his views every day. No one cares about him. The damage was done and can not be changed so fast!!

34

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:45 PM Shloimy Says:

Every member of klal Yisroel has an obligation to be dan l'kav schus. If Friedman loudly and publicly renounces his former activities, we must give him the benefit of the doubt. You want to be a bit cautious about it? Fine. But to say "No forgiveness! etc., is incorrect. Would we want HaShem, k'vayochl, to be unforgiving with us?

I listened to the interview. He sounds like he is severly bothered by his past and wants to do teshuva. Who are we to judge him?

35

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:46 PM Shidduch Time? Says:

Are any of his children approaching Shidduch age? And if, so, is this impeding the process..

Something tells me that this change of heart is not all that sincere. In my eyes, he is still a ridiculous clown.....

36

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:42 PM George Says:

One point that NK right: Zionism has caused anti-Semitism. Points they are wrong: 1) There was no anti Semitism by Muslims before Zionism. False! The Arabs always hated us. You probably could fill a book with all the problems they caused us even before Zionism existed. Zionism has increased their hatred but certainly did not create it. Besides I don’t think that is the only factor that has caused them to increase their hatred of us in the last century or so. The other factor is our population growth in Israel. Even if we did not establish a state, the mere fact that we are the majority is also a cause for their hatred. (The Rambam says that that in the times before moshiach they will cause us suffering more than anyone else). They mistakenly believe that when our Chachamim tell us that Esav will always hate Yaakov, it refers only Christians who come from Esav, but not to the Arabs who come from Yishmael (They also apparently do not know that Esav married Yishmaels daughter). Rabbi Chaim Kaniefsky disagrees with this in one of his sforim, and says that itis actually referring to all gentiles. 2) By reverting back to how it was before Zionism, this will remove the anti Semitism that Zionism has caused, since this is only a political and not a religious fight. False! When goyim hate us it’s always turns into religious hatred, whatever their original reason was. The gentiles are always looking for excuses to hate us, but even when the excuse is gone their hatred won't decrease. This is like saying that if you destroy the matches, you will extinguish the fire it started. They are living in lala land thinking that all we need to do is to give Israel back to the Arabs and everything will be honky dory. Ironically, they have the same mistaken beliefs as the present secular Zionist who think that we just need to give them back the land that we captured in 1967 and everything will be great. They fail to see that reality is the opposite the more we give, the more they interpret that as weakness and fight us more.

When the State of Israel was founded there were two primary schools of thought amongst the religious. One was to boycott the state as much as possible. Not to vote in elections and not accept funding from the government. Others felt that it was important to participate in elections and government to keep the state as Jewish as possible, fight for the rights of the religious and to obtain funding for religious institutions. These fellows have taken the first way of thinking but have taken it to an extreme which all sane people have rejected.

In their hatred of Zionism they have become buddies with our worst enemies. Just because they feel that the Zionist should not have established a state does not justify their kissing up to tyrants. They are always looking for publicity. They have no Gidolim behind them. And have been denounced by gedolim going back many years. Even Satmar criticized them for going to Iran.

We can’t let ourselves fall into the same trap they have fallen into. They hate the Zionist more than our mortal enemies. We can’t let ourselves hate them more than our mortal enemies. Although I think the Zionist deserve a good dose of our hatred too for their efforts of attempting to brainwash religious people to abandon their religion. Making someone go against Hashem is equivalent to killing him.

The only thing I'm not sure about is this: The leaders of Zionism and the State of Israel in the world’s eyes represent Judaism to the world. Because of this when they publicly go against the torah this is a great Chillul Hashem. They themselves have are aware of this and try for the most part to keep Shabbos in public. Should anything be done to change the perspective of the goyim and tell them that these people don't represent authentic Judaism, and if yes, in what manner should it be done?

Anti Semitism will always exist, but there are things we can do to avoid giving them excuses to increase their animosity towards us. 1. Keep a low profile, especially to avoid flaunting our wealth. 2. Avoid imitating them and their ways. I heard a sharp line once in the name of Reb chaim of Brisk. If we make Havdalla on the goyim, meaning we separate from them, they will make Kiddush on us, meaning they will realize that we are holy people. But, if we make Kiddush on them, meaning we admire them, they will, G-d forbid, make havdalla on us, meaning they will separate themselves from us. 3. Keep high moral standard and certainly not to cheap or rob them.

MAY MORE OF US SEE THE LIGHT!

37

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:51 PM Obomination Says:

when all of u go to shule yumkipper would u like if god says about u what u say about this guy?? imagin telling hashem i'm doing tshuva, and god says "I DONT BELIEVE YOU"!!!!! AD YUM MOISO T'CHOKEH, IEM YUSHIV MEYAD T'KOBLOI

38

 Feb 02, 2009 at 01:31 PM Yossi Says:

Reply to #5  
Roman Says:

Congratulations Rabbi Friendman,

While your past misdeeds have obviously been very damaging to the brotherhood of Klal Yisrael, as a community which adheres to Torah values, we should wholeheartedly accept your teshuva to our community. I only hope that you will remain consistant in your newfound beliefs.

Also I would be very interested to know what exactly caused this turnaround

I believe this has to be approached very cautiously, and the only teshuva will be when we physically see a consistent behavior; a reversal of the horrible misdeeds of his past.

39

 Feb 02, 2009 at 02:15 PM lou bob Says:

Reply to #35  
Shidduch Time? Says:

Are any of his children approaching Shidduch age? And if, so, is this impeding the process..

Something tells me that this change of heart is not all that sincere. In my eyes, he is still a ridiculous clown.....

whats your problem? why dont u accept tshuva if its sincere?

40

 Feb 02, 2009 at 02:05 PM Williamsburg resident Says:

Reply to #32  
Anonymous Says:

BS"D

And Satmar Chasidim largely make up the infamous Neturei Karta movement, which perpetuates the old battle over whether a secular Jewish state ought exist by ostensibly trying to explain to Israel’s foes the “true” Jewish-community position.
------------------------
Maybe FORMER Satmar Chassidim. Satmar roundly condemns NK.

As for Friedman, we must wait and see if he just decides to lead a quiet life or if this was an attempt to pull himself out of cherem. We should give him the benefit of the doubt as he is a Yid, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

Not true. Satmar still supports the NK. Posters were hanging in Satmar Rodney Street a whole Shabbos calling to come to the protest in Manhattan where the demonstrators were cheering Iran at the expense of America. The logic goes like this: Satmar is against the Medina because of Hisgarus Be-imos, and at the same time supports Iran against the United States and throws “Hisgarus be-omos” into the garbage can.

41

 Feb 02, 2009 at 03:26 PM Anonymous Says:

For the sake of argument let's say that his shitas against Zionism are (or were) all correct. Now shouldn't we assume that he was so dedicated to his beliefs and had internalized them so far, that there would be nothing that could make him change his beliefs? And if he HAS, then should we assume that he is a person who has not been able to internalize his beliefs but simply flies with the wind, so to speak? I am being dead serious. Thus, could it be argued that he holds no fixed beliefs ONE WAY OR THE OTHER? In other words, when he's pro-Zionist (whatever that means) he doesn't really believe it, and when he is anti-Zionist (whatever that means) he doesn't really believe it? So WHERE does that leave him? No friends among anti-Zionists or Iranians or Arabs, etc. No friends among those who have been against him. AND if he lives in Vienna, WHY would he appear TWICE on the Zev Brenner program in NEW YORK?! Is it all simply a matter of PUBLICITY??

42

 Feb 02, 2009 at 03:41 PM Askipeh Hanidreses Says:

Reply to #41  
Anonymous Says:

For the sake of argument let's say that his shitas against Zionism are (or were) all correct. Now shouldn't we assume that he was so dedicated to his beliefs and had internalized them so far, that there would be nothing that could make him change his beliefs? And if he HAS, then should we assume that he is a person who has not been able to internalize his beliefs but simply flies with the wind, so to speak? I am being dead serious. Thus, could it be argued that he holds no fixed beliefs ONE WAY OR THE OTHER? In other words, when he's pro-Zionist (whatever that means) he doesn't really believe it, and when he is anti-Zionist (whatever that means) he doesn't really believe it? So WHERE does that leave him? No friends among anti-Zionists or Iranians or Arabs, etc. No friends among those who have been against him. AND if he lives in Vienna, WHY would he appear TWICE on the Zev Brenner program in NEW YORK?! Is it all simply a matter of PUBLICITY??

There is one scenario that you didn't take into account, and that is that he is sincere.

43

 Feb 02, 2009 at 04:14 PM Anonymous Says:

if people can forgive this clow surely they can forgive hillary clinton!

44

 Feb 02, 2009 at 04:23 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Roman Says:

Congratulations Rabbi Friendman,

While your past misdeeds have obviously been very damaging to the brotherhood of Klal Yisrael, as a community which adheres to Torah values, we should wholeheartedly accept your teshuva to our community. I only hope that you will remain consistant in your newfound beliefs.

Also I would be very interested to know what exactly caused this turnaround

Are u stupid?! The only reason he changed his mind was because he was rejected from the jewish community in Vienne! His kids were thrown out of school etc.

He's already done the damage!! Hopefully not to much!

45

 Feb 02, 2009 at 05:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Whilst I applaud sincere Teshuva, forgive me for being skeptical. I want to see the same effort put into making things right that he put in to destroying our people.

46

 Feb 02, 2009 at 05:22 PM Anonymous Says:

On second thoughts, having read the article again, this time more slowly, I believe this man is a liar. He is out for his own ends & he hasn't really changed his idealogy. He still hates us & believes the Holocaust never happened. He visited Arafat's hole in the ground & looked on him with such kovod. Did he visit the Kevurim of the Holtzbergs & the other Kaddoshim of Mumbai (he dares to drag their Neshamas into this stink!) I hope not, to do so would be to desecrate their true Ahavas Yisrael.

This lowlife just wants mainstream acceptance. Shidduch, anyone? His kids are getting older.

47

 Feb 02, 2009 at 05:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #44  
Anonymous Says:

Are u stupid?! The only reason he changed his mind was because he was rejected from the jewish community in Vienne! His kids were thrown out of school etc.

He's already done the damage!! Hopefully not to much!

Maybe, just maybe, his rejection by Satmar and other communities have been the cause of his turn around. They don't need to be the cause of his being fake. They could be the cause of his being genuine. You know, some Jews ARE sincere ....

48

 Feb 02, 2009 at 05:50 PM Anonymous Says:

All these other issues have nothing to do with this matter.

Anyone who has the courage, and it sure takes a lot, to make such a 180 degree turn around, apologize in public as he has done, and publicly admit being wrong, deserves the benefit of the doubt.

At least he is admitting he was wrong!

Some others lately have refused to admit their mistakes and wrong doing, and are still blaming others.

Give this man, this JEWISH man, the benefit of doubt. I do.

Last week I would have spit on him. Today, I would invite him for Shabbos.

49

 Feb 02, 2009 at 06:07 PM WHAT!? Says:

an open Denier of the holocaust turning around? Doesn't sit well...

50

 Feb 02, 2009 at 05:42 PM robroy560 Says:

#44 & #45 you nailed it.

I don't believe this guy either, but we are not the judges of his teshuva whether he is or is not sincere. That's the RSO's job and for this guy to answer after 120.

I know various people who fell of the derech and returned, whether it was eating treif, violating Shabbat, getting tattoos, marrying a shiksa, etc. Many of them are completely sincere and have fully returned. May G-d forgive me, but I cannot forgive a Jew who supports those who murder Jews and deny the Shoah.

51

 Feb 02, 2009 at 07:52 PM KOOLCHOSSID Says:

if he did teshuvah, we accept him back
he is sincere

52

 Feb 02, 2009 at 07:43 PM ezras nashim Says:

read, read, read, Yidden: this man has evaded statement each time the interviewer asked a direct question. Just keeps repeating his "can't hurt Yidden" mantra. Who's counseling him? Svengali? Or maybe some Arabic agency put him on the payroll as "liaison." He sounds like a wind-up doll. Scary!!

53

 Feb 02, 2009 at 07:04 PM LESKid Says:

Is this Friedman's Yom Kippur or is he pulling a Purim prank?

54

 Feb 02, 2009 at 09:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #50  
robroy560 Says:

#44 & #45 you nailed it.

I don't believe this guy either, but we are not the judges of his teshuva whether he is or is not sincere. That's the RSO's job and for this guy to answer after 120.

I know various people who fell of the derech and returned, whether it was eating treif, violating Shabbat, getting tattoos, marrying a shiksa, etc. Many of them are completely sincere and have fully returned. May G-d forgive me, but I cannot forgive a Jew who supports those who murder Jews and deny the Shoah.

I do not believe he actually denied the Holocaust. He just was moron enough to kiss up to those who did, for other foolish reasons. That in itself is bad enough, but not the same as if he himself said it. Foolishly supporting our enemy is not the same as being one.
I do believe he has done teshuva. His motives may be only 90% pure, and he may be nervous as could be, but all that is normal in the path back.

I am far from perfect myself, and can not dare judge another who is a baal teshuva.

55

 Feb 02, 2009 at 09:32 PM Anonymous Says:

now that i know that the iranian gov monitors this site i would like to tell you a message that you should send to your despicable leaders ayatollah Khamenei and ahmadinejad:
if you continue in your efforts to threaten the jewish people g-d will crush you and your regime like he crushed every single enemy of ours. and you should know that i pray every day for your demise

56

 Feb 02, 2009 at 10:33 PM Anonymous Says:

For all you out there in support...I constantly l get hate mail on my YouTube account..from Arab Muslims claiming all anti-Semite calls/ curses mostly based on these few individuals ...especially that moron..(rabbi)Yisrael Weiss.his views have been uploaded and viewed by thousands of Arabs through out the world just 'search" on You Tube and read the comments... just see for yourself ...and get back....and then lets see your position!! I still have no idea how that guy stands himself...

57

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Nobody needs him he is saying all this garbage because he was out of the spot light for so long (and we should keep it that way) and he needs the attention so he can do more damage that the whole world should see let him go back to his Arab friend and hopefully they finish him off

58

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Thnaks to him, I have stopped giving money to chasidishe schnoreres who come to my shul. Since I cant know who is Neturei Karts (and cant ask as I am in middle of davening - not that they care and start bothering you anyways), no chasideshe get.

BTW Neturei Karta has nothing to do with Chasidus, never did, never will. In fact most of the original Neturei Karta were Nusach Ashkenaz davening, Non-Chasidic Yerushalmi Perushim.

59

 Feb 02, 2009 at 11:41 PM Viennese Says:

i'm from vienna and this guy is never friedman !!! the guy has a strong austrian accent and friedman doesnt !!!

60

 Feb 03, 2009 at 04:22 AM Another Viennese Says:

It IS Friedman, and he does NOT have an Austrian accent, but rather a 'yiddisher'- listen to his 'r's!

61

 Feb 03, 2009 at 12:20 AM April Fools Says:

I'ts almost there, We should have wated with this story for April Fools day

62

 Feb 02, 2009 at 10:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Conservative One Says:

If you believe this guy's turnaround then I guess you also believe in the tooth fairy. He did it for strategic expediancy similar to that other phony Hussein Obama whose love for Israel lasted until he conned enough liberal Jews to vote for him and now he selected the most anti-Israel people to be his Middle East team. The only one missing from that miserable group of Holbrook, Mitchell, Ross, Iddyk, et al is Jimmy the Peanut Carter.

you skipped one other name thats missing in his cabinet.
Moishe Arye Friedman. I believe Mr. Friedman is the same antisemite he always was.

63

 Feb 03, 2009 at 11:01 AM yoli london Says:

א אפגעפילקטע צידרייטער גולם

א מענטש אן קיין שכל
אן געפילען
אן שכל

ווער האט איהם געפרעגט
יא נטורי קרתא
נישט סאטמער

איין פלאץ איז דא פאר איהם
אין בית המשוגאים

64

 Feb 03, 2009 at 12:07 PM Anonymous Says:

I listened to the interview. Anti-Zionist or not, he's still a snake.

65

 Feb 03, 2009 at 01:32 PM Vay is ins!!!! Says:

Reply to #35  
Shidduch Time? Says:

Are any of his children approaching Shidduch age? And if, so, is this impeding the process..

Something tells me that this change of heart is not all that sincere. In my eyes, he is still a ridiculous clown.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-GTZrxGGlI

67

 Feb 03, 2009 at 06:26 PM thinker Says:

can sombody explain me why by the attack in mumbay a chabad man was alowed to talk to the terorist and nobody is alout to talk to the plestinan aut or to iran

68

 Feb 04, 2009 at 08:12 AM kb Says:

Although I don't condone what NK does and its deplorable remember that every Yid can do Teshuva Shleima after a life of aveiros and go straight to Gan Eden so let's give this guy a chance and see what he does from now on and by his actions and words we will see if he's sincere or not.

69

 Feb 07, 2009 at 09:26 PM Anonymous Says:

He is so manipulative anyone out there who actually believes any of this teshuvah stuff is just being gullible he is just laying it out so that he can move to N.Y. without getting beaten in the streets. He's also having a seriously hard time renting an apartment here and I guess he's using the media to help him back into the good graces of our ever willing hearts and not so crooked minds to accept a person saying sorry, give me a break and don't fall for it!

70

 Feb 08, 2009 at 11:00 PM Tzvi Says:

Reply to #34  
Shloimy Says:

Every member of klal Yisroel has an obligation to be dan l'kav schus. If Friedman loudly and publicly renounces his former activities, we must give him the benefit of the doubt. You want to be a bit cautious about it? Fine. But to say "No forgiveness! etc., is incorrect. Would we want HaShem, k'vayochl, to be unforgiving with us?

I listened to the interview. He sounds like he is severly bothered by his past and wants to do teshuva. Who are we to judge him?

I do not believe there is a chiyuv to dan l'kaf zchus when we are certain of the crime committed, i.e., his sinas yisrael was publicly displayed for all the world to see and hear. However, if I am incorrect, then I am willing to reconsider.

Additionally, Hashem will (hopefully) forgive us our for our transgressions against Him; Friedman's transgressions however were against others (bein adam lechaveiro) and therefore forgiveness must come from those who were harmed, us--klal yisrael. This is why before Yom Kippur we ask mechilah from our fellow man because teshuvah and Yom Kippur are not mechaper for offenses against our fellow Jew.

Also, it is worth pointing out that messirah (colluding with the enemy) has historically been considered extremely severe with a punishment of misah, which from my understanding has even been carried out after the churban bais hamikdash.

71

 Oct 20, 2009 at 02:37 PM Ezra Says:

About "Rabbi" Fridman on interview on the Zev Brennr show. I listened to most of the interview and it was extremely boring. Fridman is a windbag and just likes to talk about all the important people he meets and the conferences he in invited to. He can't answer a simple question without droning on and on. I didn't hear much repentance from him and any change of heart had to dragged out of him by the interviewer. Still it's better that he now says he is no longer helping the NK. I think being ostracised had the biggest effect on him.

72

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