Maybe you've seen them in videos of palestinian protests and gatherings. It's quite jarring to see men (always men) at these gatherings dressed in traditional black suits, black hats, beards and payos (side curls). You'll see them holding palestinian flags, holding signs that claim Judaism opposes Zionism. They are also frequently photographed and filmed burning the Israeli flag. So who are these Jews who so openly despise Israel? (Well, besides the dolts at Jewish Voice for Peace).
Disclaimer: While I am going to be severely critical of this group of Jews, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am in no way asserting that these are not Jews. None of what follows is intended to delegitimize their Jewish identity.
Allow me to introduce the Neturei Karta (NK). The most frequently tokenized Jews of the anti Zionist movement. I first became aware of them when the loathsome former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmenidijad held a conference on Holocaust Denial in Tehran in 2006. Anti-Zionism (and anti-Semitism) makes for very strange bedfellows. In this case the NK were there not so much to deny the Holocaust, but to remind everyone that the Holocaust should not be used as a tool to oppress other people ie. the creation of Israel. I highly doubt that Mr. Ahmenidijad minded the fact that the NK were not completely on board with the conference's odious purpose of denying the factual record of what occurred during the Holocaust. After all, he was provided with token Jews who provided some photo ops for him to continue claiming to everyone that he doesn't really hate Jews.
It is worth mentioning that Holocaust Denial is anti-Semitism. Pseudo intellectuals like Ahmenidijad and the vile Steven Salaita like to pretend that Jews cry anti-Semitism whenever we are upset, and use claims of anti-Semitism to deflect academic freedom and critical study and thought. People who use this argument are akin to Young Earth Creationists who claim that geology and natural selection are not well understood sciences. Study of the Holocaust is at least as conclusive as carbon dating. 6 million Jews were murdered with assembly line style efficiency. Millions of other innocents were murdered as well. No reasonable person can dispute this. Only anti-Semites with an agenda do.
The NK are quite small in number. Some estimates say they have only 5000 members worldwide. The Anti Defamation League estimates that only about 100 members of the community are active in anti-Israel activism. The NK are also regressive religious fundamentalists. Their entire reason for being so adamantly against the state of Israel comes from the Talmud. Specifically a portion called the Three Oaths. This passage contends that the Jews would not rebel against the gentile world that gave them sanctuary in exile. Furthermore that Jews would agree not to immigrate en masse to Israel, and supposedly in return the gentile nations promised not to persecute the Jews. The NK see Israel as rebelling against this pact made with G-d.
It feels a little silly to say this, but I think any objective observer can conclude that this pact hasn't worked out particularly well for we Jews. The above referenced Holocaust, the pogroms of the 18th, 19th, 20th Centuries, hundreds of years of blood libels and scapegoating for every crime imaginable from throughout the world are all pretty good evidence of this. In fact, every single atrocity perpetrated against Jews throughout the world is further evidence of Israel's need to exist. Jews are still persecuted throughout the world today. the IDF covertly rescued the last of Syria's Jews last summer. a three thousand year old Jewish community in Yemen was told to convert or die mere months ago. Fundamentalists of all stripes are not known for their critical thought. In fact that is probably the common ground the NK could find with someone as despicable as Ahmenidijad. In addition to draconian views on homosexuals and women.
The anti-Zionists are a good place for the NK to fester. Like the rest of their compatriots they rest on misunderstood concepts and ideology as opposed to reality. It consistently amazes me that the Left is often anti-Israel when Israel embraces many policies that are domestically more progressive than those in the US. Tel Aviv is one of the most gay friendly cities in the world. (how's the pride parade in Gaza City?). Israel has women in government, (and a former Prime Minister!), Arabs in government, Muslims in government, Christians in government; and the Druze, those guys are awesome. These are not tokens to try to produce good optics. These are realities of life in Israel, and no other nation in the Middle East. And yet the anti-Israel gaggle despises a nation that practices the ideals they would otherwise be proud to see. "Oh but it's not anti-Semitism" they will say, "just look, we have some totally Jew-y looking guys over there."
The NK are not the only Jews who obnoxiously fight against other Jews about Israel. In fact there's a group of more modern Jews who do so with less visual tokenizing. They are called Jewish Voice for Peace. In the immortal styling of Linda Richman they are barely Jewish, not a voice and not for peace. More to come on them next time....