denial conference 224.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Natorei Karta spokesman Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss on Tuesday called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "an advocate of peace," prior to the group's meeting with the controversial leader in New York.
Weiss said in a statement that "this will be the third time we're meeting with [Ahmadinejad]. â€¦ Every time, we stressed to the Iranian leadership that despite â€¦ the declarations by Jews who don't understand the essence of the matter, we have found the Iranian people and their leaders friendly and respectful."
He added that Natorei Karta members believed Ahmadinejad was a very religious man who was dedicated to world peace based on mutual respect and dialogue.
Regarding Israel's relations with Iran, Weiss said that "Judaism seeks peace. Unfortunately, many Jews who are influenced by Zionism - a philosophy less than 100 years old - feel that the proper response to their enemies, be they real or imagined, is aggression. They call for violence and, to our great misfortune, try to drag other nations into war."
Weiss expressed chagrin that few world officials had tried to talk with Ahmadinejad or to follow the real opinion of Iranian Jews, who, he said, live peacefully in the country.
"We want to meet with the man who has proven again and again that he is interested in the welfare of the Iranian Jewish community and that he has a deep respect for the Jewish world ... The Zionist attempt to isolate this man and his people is immoral and tragic," he said.
Ahmadinejad's visit to New York as part of the UN General Assembly has garnered harsh criticism from Jewish groups due to his frequent calls to "wipe Israel off the map."