A large crowd of ultra-Orthodox Jews rallied Tuesday in front of the Israeli consulate in New York to protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial visit in Washington and his speech to Congress.
Approximately 1,000 dark-clothed demonstrators stood behind police barricades that stretched for five city blocks on to protest the speech Netanyahu delivered to Congress earlier in the day.
"We are here today to proclaim that the state of Israel cannot talk in the name of Jews," said Rabbi Aron Jacobowitz, spokesperson for the Central Rabbinical Congress, the coalition that organized the gathering.
Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he urged lawmakers to oppose a nuclear deal with Iran, saying, “This is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it."
Jacobowitz said Netanyahu's remarks were aimed at "igniting war and fueling fire" and that his policies were destructive for Jewish people and the world.
The prime minister’s address to Congress, which was organized without consulting the White House, was seen as an affront to the Obama administration.
Rabbi Jacob Kellmer, one of the protesters, said Netanyahu outraged millions of Jews by "avoiding" Obama and "going to the Congress to instigate it against the president."
"We, millions of Jews, were hurt by what he just said in the Congress. We came out to protest to say he cannot talk in the name of all the Jews," he said.
Referring to the Israeli legislative election scheduled for March 17, Kellmer said the visit was part of an election campaign for Netanyahu.
The Orthodox Jews represent Judaism's most strictly-observant denomination. It has resisted modern pressures to modify its observance, emphasizing the following of the Torah's laws and ethics as legislated in scripture.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.