Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum. a convicted swindler with a 30 year track record of shady dealings, is the director of Igud HaRabbonim, a haredi rabbinic organization. Rabbi Tannenbaum writes a regular column for the Jewish Press which, like Igud, seems not to care about Rabbi Tannenbaum's lack of honesty. In this week's column, Rabbi Tannenbaum documents the visit of Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, himself a shifty character with a track record of alleged extortion at weddings and other misbehavior. Rabbi Metger found time to visit Igud HaRabbonim, as Rabbi Tannenbaum reports:
…Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht [president of Igud HaRabbonim] warmly greeted Rabbi Metzger, highlighting Torah and Halachah leadership of the present rabbinate in Israel. Rabbi Hecht stressed the impressive resolve of the chief rabbi to carry the message of that leadership to all corners of the world, praising his participation in raising morality wherever possible.
Rabbi Hecht presented Rabbi Metzger with the Igud’s latest Torah publication, Natrona D’Oreisa, a compendium of Torah insights by Igud member rabbis, and with My Spiritual Journey, Rabbi Hecht’s autobiography. On behalf of the entire Igud membership, Rabbi Hecht committed the support of the Igud to the Torah efforts being conducted by the offices of the chief rabbis.
He conveyed the pain caused by the threatened march in Jerusalem by anthropological misfits. Rabbi Yehuda Levin, [former co-chair of Pat Buchannan's presidential campaign] rav of Khal Mevakshei Hashem in Flatbush, [read this and this] represented the Igud in the to-date successful battle against this effort. Rabbi Hecht implored the chief rabbi to employ all the moral power and international prestige of the Chief Rabbinate to stop the march. A resolution on behalf of the Igud against the immoral parade was presented by Rabbi Hecht to Rabbi Metzger.…
Who is Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht? A Lubavitcher who was very close to the late Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Rabbi Hecht infamously argued, based on the late Rebbe's works, that territorial concessions made to Palestinians amounted to mesira, informing, turning Jews over to non-Jews, and that Israel's leaders – then-Prime Minister Ytzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and others – were halakhicly informers. He then argued that, since Maimonides ruled that informers should be killed before they can inform, Rabin, et all, should be killed before they turn over any land. Rabbi Hecht said this on June 19, 1995. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated 4 and 1/2 months later, by a religious Jew who used the same argument Rabbi Hecht made to justify his act. In the wake of the Rabbi Hecht was banned from Israel and faced widespread censure. The travel ban was later lifted after Rabbi Hecht "apologized."
Why is Rabbi Metzger visiting a group led by this man? A group also directed by a swindler? So much for loyalty to the State or to halakha.
And then we have the Jerusalem Gay Pride March. It is unclear whether Metzger used the term "anthropological misfits" or if this is simply an Tannenbaum's phrasing. Either way, this type of discourse is wrong and should be shunned by people who fancy themselves "religious leaders."
Rabbi Metzger raised the issue of the Naturei Karta members who went to Iran and participated in the Holocaust denial conference there. Metzger has been instrumental in having these deviants banned from Israel and expelled from their home Jewish communities.
Rabbi Tannenbaum, however, parses the issue this way:
…The misanthropes, who posed as members of Neturei Karta and attended the conference of Holocaust denial in Tehran…
What more needs to be said? These men were the leaders of Neturei Karta. Tannenbaum implies that there are 'good' Neturei Karta members and ideologues who simply hate the State of Israel and burn an occasional Israeli flag. They may wish for Arab conquest of Jerusalem and the dejudafication of Tel Aviv, Netanya and Qiryat Gat. Oh, but they are 'good' NK members. It's just those over the top NK leaders, those poseurs, who we need to reject. That's right – burn your Israeli flags in peace. March with Hamas. Ask Syria to attack Israel. That's all fine. Just do not go to Iran and embarrass the rest of us.
This is sick stuff, and it carries the imprimatur of the Chief Rabbinate. Truly frightening.