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The People Speak, January 12, 2016

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The People Speak
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Guest, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss

The People Speak with host Alison Weir and special guest Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss

Guest, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss

Guest Name
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss
Guest Occupation
Rabbi/Human Rights Activist
Guest Biography

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss is a spokesman of Neturei Karta, a controversial anti-Zionist grouping of Haredi Jews. Based in New York, he believes that observant Jews should peacefully oppose the existence of the Israeli state: “It would be forbidden for us to have a State, even if it would be in a land that is desolate and uninhabited.” In late 2006 Weiss was condemned by other anti-Zionists, such the Edah HaChareidis and Satmar, for attending a Holocaust conference in Tehran.

Rabbi Weiss is the son of Hungarian Jewish holocaust survivors, who were active in anti-Zionist activities even before the establishment of the State of Israel. His father spent the period of Nazi occupation hiding in a cellar, and survived to immigrate to America. His grandparents and all of his aunts and uncles were lost in the war. Weiss describes his current religious position as Associate Rabbi with Neturei Karta International, an organization that also uses the name Jews United Against Zionism.

Rabbi Weiss often speaks at rallies and conferences in the United States and internationally, criticising Israel and Zionism. In 2001 he attended the UN-organized World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa as part of the Islamic Human Rights Commission delegation. During the conference, US and Israeli delegates walked out over an unsuccessful attempt to condemn Israel for racism. In December 2006 Weiss spoke at the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, held by the Iranian government in Tehran.

During Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York this past week, Rabbi Weiss was part of a delegation of Rabbis who met with him. The President along with a distinguished entourage, which included the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, warmly received the delegation. Both parties then conferred for approximately one half hour.

The President honored the head of the delegation, Senior Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck, a holocaust survivor, to open the meeting. The Rabbi spoke in Yiddish while his colleague, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss translated into English.

The Rabbi began by greeting the President and thanking him for giving of his precious time, which, the Rabbi noted, is a symbol of his warmth the Jewish people, not only in his county but also abroad.

The Rabbi remarked: “the Torah teaches us to make a blessing when one encounters a king: “Blessed is the Almighty who gave of His honor to a human being”.

“We are impressed with Your Excellency’s concern and care for the Jewish community, a fact that we personally have experienced during our visits in Iran. We have visited the Jewish old-age home, the Jewish hospital and we have seen the Matzo bakery which is a necessity for Jewish people. Also it is well-known that the Jewish community is represented by its own member of parliament, despite the fact that the Jewish community does not have the number of constituents required to have a parliament representative” the rabbi said.

Amongst the issues discussed, the Rabbi mentioned that: “There are many many Jews worldwide including in occupied Palestine, who are against the whole concept of Zionism and totally in opposition to the State of Israel”.

The rabbi praised the President for his understanding the difference between Judaism and Zionism.

“We would like to laud Your Excellency for understanding to differentiate between Judaism and Zionism, between good and evil. Far and few between, understand this fundamental difference, Your Excellency is one of the blessed people who understands the difference between the two” the Rabbi said.

In conclusion the rabbi offered his blessings: “May the Almighty help that Your Excellency should have much success to accomplish tremendous amounts of good for the country of Iran, for the world and for the Jewish people amongst them.

On his part, the President responded by expressing his respect and friendship for Judaism and the Jewish people. On a personal level the President expressed his deep friendship for the rabbis. “Now we have been friends for only 7 or 8 years, but our friendship runs very deep, it is as deep as history itself” the President said.

The President responded also to the issue of Judaism and Zionism. “There is today a lot of oppression, which a large portion of this is due to the Zionist. The occupying of Palestine is just a part of this injustice. But the bigger wrong is that they are calling themselves Jews and they justify their horrendous actions in the name of Judaism”.

The President elaborated also on the future:

“We all share the view that the world has to change for the better”.

“We can build a world in which only G-d Almighty is worshiped, in which justice rules supreme and at the same time, everyone can practice their own religion. We can be brothers to each other, and at the same time all of us can practice their own belief freely”.

“We can build a world in which nobody will be oppressing anyone else, a world in which there is no deception and no lies, in which there is no aggression, no discrimination, no invasion and no murder. A world in which everybody is equal with everybody else and everybody is respected. We can build a world in which there is no place for hatred or misbehavior, a world in which there is no poverty and no selfishness”.

“But to have this be materialized, we need the followers of all religions to join hands and become united. It is high time that all believers join hands and try to build a better world”.

At the end of the meeting the delegation presented the President with a pair of two heavy silver candlesticks. Rabbi Beck said: “this is a gift from our hearts to Your Excellency and a symbol of blessing, that the Almighty should continue in the future to brighten the path of Your Excellency.

In response, the staff of protocol of the President, presented each of the delegation with an Iranian made gift.

The People Speak

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The People Speak has evolved over the years with many great guests who have been interviewed by some very fine hosts.

We are a 55 minute show airing every other Sunday between 5-6pm Pacific/8-9pm Eastern. The show features a guest interview from any number of realms of interest (entertainment, science, philosophy, healing, spirituality, activism, politics, literature, etc.).

The guests share their stories, lives, strategies, books, philosophy, films, music, or whatever it is they use as a vehicle for making a difference for the better.

The radio show name, The People Speak, is based on the idea of allowing our audience - the People - a chance to interact with the guests during the hour, and we take phone or text questions from them during the interview.

Past guests include such notables as Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Howard Zinn, Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Kathryn Najimy, Oliver Stone, Jesse Ventura, Richard Belzer, Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, Scott Horton, Joan Jett, Willie Nelson, George Galloway, Roseanne Barr, Ed Asner, Chevy Chase, as well as various reps from Amnesty International, UN World Food Programme, and many others.

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