The JTA reports:
A fervently Orthodox Austrian Jew who embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly was assaulted by a group of Israelis in Poland. Ma'ariv reported Monday that Moshe Aryeh Friedman, who attended the Holocaust denial conference hosted by Ahmadinejad in Tehran in December, was spotted while visiting the former Auschwitz and Birkenau camps over the weekend. A group of fervently Orthodox Jews from Israel also touring the sites set upon Friedman, who was born and raised in Monsey, N.Y.
"We gave him a good beating, the kind we have not given in a long time," a member of the Israeli group, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, told Ma'ariv. "We took off his coat and hat, so he would not look like a Jew." According to the newspaper, Meshi-Zahav, who is one of the founders of the Israeli volunteer emergency service ZAKA, was later honored with a special Torah reading in the synagogue.
Well, there are two ways to look at this, both troubling. The first, quite simply, he deserved it. He really did. Going to Auschwitz after covorting with Iran's Hitler-wannabe at a conference denying the Holocaust is too much for most of us to take.
But is street thuggery and violence the answer to NK's vile theology? I don't think so.
The second is to look at who did the beating – a group, led, it seems, by notorious Israeli haredi street thug Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. These are the same thugs who beat dissenters on the streets of Mea Shearim and Beitar Illit.
Haredi society is violence prone in large part because it has no formula for dissent, no way to express, debate and reason through divergent views – even views far milder and much less reprehensible than those expressed by Neturei Karta. Perhaps that is the lesson to learn from this disgusting affair.
Professor Menachem Friedman wrote a paper on contemporary haredi violence. Here it is as a pdf download: