FREE Subscription to our
just enter your email address
View Previous Issues


lecture by
Massoud Shadjareh, Chairman
Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
7 October 2001


IHRC sent a team to attend the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban (Aug-Sept 2001). Three out of the team of twelve were anti-zionist Orthodox Rabbis from the Neuteri Karta. In this lecture Massoud Shadjareh describes what happened and how the NGO conference managed to achieve its historic declaration condemning zionism as racism and Israel for genocide, resulting in a US/Israel walkout. The lecture is in two parts (to accommodate prayer time in between), each part is about 25 minutes long.


Rabbi Mordecai Weberman (R) and Massoud Shadjareh (L)
(REUTERS/Mike Hutchings



IHRC team at a press-conference


"We were standing with the Rabbis with placards, each holding the others shoulders and walking through the NGO campus and saying that we have come united shoulder to shoulder united against zionism.

We were giving 30-35 interviews a day... And the message we were giving was very clear, both ourselves and the Rabbis were giving the same exact message:

We were saying that the way you got rid of apartheid and black and white could start living together, if you get rid of zionism then we have no problem living together either here or anywhere else, we don't have anything inherently against each other, we have lived together for generations in the past and there is no reason why we cannot live for generations together in the future, but its the evil of zionism which is actually preventing this.

The Rabbis were giving talks on that, we were giving talks on that. Every single night we didn't get to our home and able to go to bed before 12:30 - 1:30 because we were giving talks all everywhere...

And I think in many ways this was the turning point in the whole conference because the one thing we went down there to remove is the fear that the minute you stand against zionism you are going to be accused of being anti-Semitic and we wanted to remove this fear and we felt if we remove this fear and expose this then ordinary NGOs will stand up on the right side and this is exactly what happened...

The NGO declaration included : zionism is racism, Israel is an apartheid state, and Israel has committed 'genocide'... At this point the Americans and Israelis decided its too much for them and got up and left..."

50,000 people in Durban demonstrate against zionism

Photos of Muslims and Jews united against zionism
appeared all around the world.



South Africans demonstrating against racist Israel


"There were many press conferences and interview that we took with the Rabbis, on one of those occasions they asked the Rabbi:

What is the solution for Palestine?, he replied - the total dismantlement of the state of Israel and every inch of land to be given back to the Palestinians,

and the reporter said how can you say that, don't you think they will massacre you?

He said no, we lived together for generations it was only the zionists that created this conflict between us. And those hard-core zionists have to leave, they come as trouble makers, they have to go and I am sure the Palestinians will allow the rest of us to stay and live with them as they have in the past.

One of the reporters was being very hostile and said "these guys are Muslim fundamentalists, they promote Islamic State, you have come with them - do you also want an Islamic State in Palestine or in Israel?".

The Rabbi turned around and said "We don't want to choose any state except that we are saying that it shouldn't be a Jewish state - it should be a Palestinian state, we don't want to have a choice - its up to them what sort of state they want but if its an Islamic State we would prefer it than if its a secular state.

That annoyed many of the reporters. Afterwards I was talking to the Rabbi, you said this why? how come?

He said the concept of morality, the concept of justice, we don't want to live in a secular state.

You know in many way they were like us, for example going to BBC, CNN giving interviews ladies were coming to shake hands and the Rabbi was saying no I'm sorry we don't shake hands with ladies, same as us - we found they were very similar in many many ways.

We became very good friends to the extent that when I got back here [England] and two days later this thing happened [sept-11] in the United States I actually phoned the Rabbis, because they live in New York, first to find out if they and their families were fine and then I phoned my own family living in the States. I was wondering why I called the Rabbis first - its because we became so close to each other, and really the whole thing was a testimony that there isn't anything inherently between us and them, the Jewish community, except those that are zionists"


Rabbi Dovid Feldman, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss & Massoud Shadjareh


Orthodox Jews and pro-Palestinian supporters united in a protest march against zionism in Durban, South Africa, Friday Aug. 31, 2001 to coincide with the opening of the UN Racism Conference. The series of photographs on the banner show Mohammed al-Dura, 12, crouching behind his father Jamal al-Dura with Israeli forces shooting at them (September 2000). Mohammed was shot dead by the Israelis, the murder was captured on video. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)

"On one occasion when me and the Rabbi were giving a talk, the host announced that there is someone special who is going to come in a few minutes time. The I saw, the brother came, it was the father of Mohammed al-Dura, the little child who was shot and killed and he himself was shot and wounded badly. He came in and gave a very moving talk, and then Rabbi Weiss actually got up and took the mic by force and said I want you to translate this for the brother and he said to Jamal al-Dura:

I want to apologise to you, not because we were involved in the atrocities that were committed against you and your son but because those that committed these were people who have gone astray from our religion and have done this in the name of our religion. I also like to apologise, knowing that my apology will mean nothing to you in comparison to the atrocities and things you have had to go through and you have faced but I still have to do it for my own sanity.

And that was translated - it was really moving, the two came together and shook hands and they embraced each other and they hugged each other..."


anti-zionist Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss warmly embraced Jamal al-Dura


zionism is racism


Additional Resources on Durban Conference

The Race Against Racism: A report of IHRC’s work at the UN World Conference Against Racism [source IHRC]
Judaism - An Alternative to Zionism, by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss (PDF), 11pgs (145Kb) [source IHRC]
Apartheid in the Holy Land, by Nafeez Ahmed (PDF)
[source IHRC]
The Race Against Racism, by Imam Achmad Cassiem (PDF), 14pgs (214Kb) [source IHRC]
Official Website: UN World Conference Against Racism