Extremist Jewish Sect Opposed To Gays Embraces Iran Anti-Holocaust Conference

365Gay.com/December 13, 2006

Jerusalem -- Members of an ultra Orthodox Jewish sect that staged nightly riots last month in Jerusalem to pressure the government into canceling a gay pride march were front and center this week at an Iranian government forum sitting side by side with holocaust deniers.

The Haredi believe only in the strict interpretation of the Bible, dispute the authority of the Israeli government and disavow Zionism as anti-Jewish.

This week leaders and members of the sect flew to Tehran to take part in the holocaust conference set up by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who claims that the holocaust is a Zionist invention.

The Haredi delegation was given seats in the front row where the group with its traditional hats and long beards could not be missed by TV cameras. The group applauded when Ahmadinejad declared that Israel will one day be "wiped out" as the Soviet Union was.

The conference drew holocaust deniers from around the world, including former KKK leader David Duke.

A Haredi spokesperson in Jerusalem defended the group's participation in the conference.

"They wanted to make it clear in Tehran that Zionism uses the Holocaust as an excuse for the existence of the Zionist state in the Land of Israel," said Israel Hirsch.

When Jerusalem's LGBT community Center Open House announced plans for a gay pride parade last month conservative wings of the major world religions denounced the parade but the Haredi turned violent.

For a week members of the sect took to the streets nightly, overturning garbage cans and setting them on fire. More than a dozen people were injured and the sect warned that if the parade went forward there would be bloodshed.

In the end the march was scrapped because of unrest in Gaza. Instead of a parade gays rallied at Hebrew University's sports stadium. Still there was a high police presence and several members of the sect were arrested trying to enter the area.

Last year members of the Haredi sect lined streets and threw bottles, stones and bags containing feces at gay marchers. One young Haredi member, Shai Schlissel, rushed into the marchers on Ben Yehuda Street stabbing a man and a woman.

Others in the parade attempted to subdue him. The third victim was a marcher who went to the aid of the other two victims.

Schlissel is in prison for the attack.

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