Opinion: ‘The Time has Come for American Jews to go on a Strictly Non-Kosher Diet’

Even as the movement to boycott products from Israel in protest of that nation’s treatment of Palestinians gathers steam, The Jewish Daily Forward drew attention to another call to boycott Israeli products — this one from within the Jewish community, and for very different reasons.

Shmarya Rosenberg writes in the Forward that consumers who do not want to support a hard-line anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox movement should avoid foods that bear the seal of the Badatz Yerushalayim kosher supervision, as well as that of the Brooklyn-based Central Rabbinical Congress. “When it comes to buying products carrying the Badatz Yeryshalayim or CRC kosher seals,” he writes, “the time has come for American Jews to go on a strictly nonkosher diet.” He explains:

Badatz Yerushalayim is part of Edah HaCharedis, Israel’s old-line, stridently anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox community, based in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. Edah considers itself to be the continuation of the fervently Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews who moved to Palestine from Eastern Europe in the late 1700s and founded Jerusalem’s Ashkenazi community.

Although some other groups share Edah’s anti-Zionist views, Rosenberg explains, few others take such an extreme stance. “Edah groups do not vote,” he writes. “They treat the State of Israel as a foreign interloper and the police as an invading army.” Furthermore, Rosenberg cites some evidence that money has flowed from Edah to the Sicarii, which he describes as “the violent ultra-Orthodox thugs who lead riots against police and who extort non-Edah businesses.”

The Sicarii also serve as Edah’s unofficial modesty police, attacking women and girls whom they deem to be immodestly dressed or who refuse to move to the back of the bus. Laundered money was allegedly given to the gang to pay for the logistics of violent street demonstrations and attacks on stores and other businesses that did not meet with Edah’s approval. Edah also allegedly paid the living expenses of Sicarii members and their families.

Rosenberg also singles out a Brooklyn-based kosher supervision, Williamsburg’s Central Rabbinical Congress.

Like Edah HaCharedis, the Williamsburg-based, Satmar-founded and controlled Central Rabbinical Congress is also in the kosher supervision business. While the money trail to the Sicarii thugs from the CRC is not clear, Satmar’s support for and membership in the organization that Israeli police say is funding the Sicarii is, as is the CRC’s decades-long support for anti-Zionist causes. According to Israeli police, some of the money laundered by those five senior Edah activists came from the Diaspora. It’s almost certain much of it came from Satmar-controlled organizations in Williamsburg.

Rosenber urges those who buy kosher products to avoid those that bear the seals of these two kosher supervisions.

Most of us do not want our money to be used to pay the stipends of men who stone Israeli police, vandalize Israeli buses, spit on “immodest” little girls and attack “immodest” women. One way to ensure it won’t be is to stop buying products that carry the Badatz Yerushalayim and CRC kosher seals.

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