Yisroel Dovid Weiss greeting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
On May 4, Neturei Karta Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss capped off the annual anti-Israel week of events at UC Irvine by speaking on the topic, "The difference between and anti-Zionism and antisemitism". at least that was what he was supposed to speak about. This appearance was sponsored by the Muslim Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine, the American Indian Student Association, and Jewish Voice for Peace. Weiss's audience consisted of about fifty people, mostly students and mostly Muslim Student Union members. There was a handful of Jewish people in the audience including one local rabbi. I was also present and videotaped it.
Neturei Karta is a fringe sect that is not even recognized by mainstream Judaism. It consists of a few thousand members. They believe that Jews are mandated by the Torah not to return to the Land of Israel until the Messiah appears. As a result, they are against the modern day state of Israel. Going to the extreme, Weiss has aligned himself with anti-Israel activists the world over including the Iranian regime and its former head of state Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-people who want to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth..
Weiss spoke for an hour and basically gave us a history of Judaism 101. His basic theme was that Zionism is against what Jews believe. Describing how "well" Muslims had protected Jews over the centuries, he stated that Anti-Jewish feeling among Muslims only began with Zionism, a very dubious claim. After about 30 minutes, he began to lose his audience, which he never seems to notice as he drones on and on in his usual speaking style. (His first words at the podium were to ask the moderator how much time he had to speak.) In spite of that obvious lack of preparation, Weiss spoke without notes, which meant he rambled on without any organization.
After his talk, a break was called before Q and A. During that time, two Jewish members of the audience asked Weiss questions which are also on video. Weiss took exception to both questioners. His typical response to critical questions is to accuse the "Zionists" of creating diversions to avoid the real topic (Israel's "mistreatment" of the "suffering Palestinians").
After the break, I got the first question of the Q and A (next to last tape segment at the start). I reminded him of his last appearance at UCI in 2011 when I pinned him down on his association with Iran and their treatment of gays and Baha'i. Since he didn't answer the question then, I asked him to address it now. What I got was the same long-winded non response. I had received five years previous. After he finished his non-answer, I told him that was two times that he had failed to answer my question.
Then UCI Chabad rabbi Zevi Tenenbaum asked Weiss if he would condemn Hamas and the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar, a Jewish settlement in 2011. That drew a loud guffaw from one of the Muslim Student Union members in the back of the room. Again, Weiss refused to deal with the question preferring to give a wandering non-answer.
Another audience member, a Muslim cleric, gave us a lesson in how well Muslims and Jews had gotten along over the centuries (which Weiss himself said repeatedly.) and asked me why I was videotaping. I answered because I had a right to. He continued that Muslims had always protected the Jews, and things "only went sour when the Jews broke the Covenant". In response to the cleric, one of the Jewish community members reminded him of how Mohammad had executed Jews at Medina and made a reference to taquiiya (Islamic misinformation).
About five minutes before Weiss mercifully finished, my video camera ran out of battery. They have yet to invent a battery that can outlast Yisroel Dovid Weiss. As for my question, I guess I will have to wait another five years to ask it again.
For those masochists who want to listen to Weiss' presentation, here it is.