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Sunday, May 19, 2019 

Ultra-Orthodox in New York attended anti-vaccination rally

The Haredi communities in New York like the Satmar aren't improving their awful image by taking up anti-vaccination stances and attending a rally to that effect:
An ultra-Orthodox rabbi falsely described the measles outbreak among Jews as part of an elaborate plan concocted by Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York to deflect attention from “more serious” diseases brought by Central American migrants.

A pediatrician questioned whether Jews were being intentionally given “bad lots” of vaccines that ended up giving children a new strain of the virus. And Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor whose study linking measles vaccines with autism was widely discredited and condemned, appeared via Skype to offer an almost apocalyptic vision of a world in which vaccines were giving rise to deadlier immunization-resistant diseases.

“We Hasidim have been chosen as the target,” said the rabbi, Hillel Handler. “The campaign against us has been successful.”

Since the measles outbreak began last fall, the health authorities have embarked on a sweeping and exhaustive campaign, repeatedly urging people to get vaccinated and fighting the spread of misinformation. They have made special efforts in the ultra-Orthodox communities of Brooklyn and Rockland County, N.Y., where the disease has been spreading most quickly.
Sigh. While the illegal immigrants trying to penetrate the USA do have even more awful diseases, that's still no excuse for opposing health measures to protect against illnesses, and they shouldn't act like measles can't have terrible effects.
But the rally on Monday in Monsey, a Rockland County hamlet about 30 miles northwest of New York City, vividly illustrated how the anti-vaccine fervor is not only enduring, but may be growing: Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews packed a ballroom for a “vaccine symposium” with leaders of the anti-vaccination movement.

Organized by a Monsey-based Jewish group, the event also showed how the movement was gaining ground: Greg Mitchell, a Washington-based lobbyist who represents the Church of Scientology, attended the meeting and addressed the crowd, offering to be their “voice in the public-policy game.”

The gathering was denounced by local elected officials, health authorities and some ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who said the speakers were spreading propaganda that could cause the outbreak to deepen, risking the health of countless people.
Wow, those who organized this gathering sure did get hold of the worst possible movements to back them up.
The event was held in a large ballroom. As is customary at ultra-Orthodox gatherings, the men were separated by an improvised wall from the women. Speakers were introduced and applauded as if they were celebrities.

The remarks — and the rapt audience — illustrated how the anti-vaccination movement can exploit fear and anxiety within relatively insular communities, especially religious ones, to undercut scientifically sound warnings from health experts.

“They are doubling down and increasing their messaging — capitalizing on fear,” Dr. Jane Zucker, the assistant commissioner of immunization for the New York City health department, said in an interview. “Parents are afraid of who and what to believe.”

Rabbi Handler, a 77-year-old from Brooklyn who said he was a Holocaust survivor, set the tone for the night, claiming that Jews were being persecuted as disease carriers and were being attacked on the street in New York City for sneezing. (The Anti-Defamation League has strongly objected to the appropriation of Holocaust symbols by vaccine critics.)

Mr. de Blasio has issued a public health emergency for four ZIP codes in Brooklyn where ultra-Orthodox Jews live. That decision appeared to have earned him the ire of Rabbi Handler, who described Mr. de Blasio as a “sneaky fellow” and a closet German — “Wilhelm, his real name, was named after Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.”

(In fact, none of this is true. Mr. de Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm Jr., and later decided to take his mother’s last name as his own after becoming alienated from his father.)

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Rabbi Handler sought to soften his anti-vaccine remarks.

“I don’t mind if someone takes a vaccine. It’s not my business,” he said. “What am I, a fascist? Am I going to bring down the law?”
If he seeks to discourage vaccination even remotely, he is bringing down the law. His exploitation of the Holocaust and comparisons to a health-based issue are disgusting.
The pediatrician who spoke on Monday night, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, is regularly cited in pamphlets circulated in New York City that urge women not to get their children vaccinated. His views have no basis in science, experts said.

At the rally, he talked at length about mutating viruses and falsely claimed that failed vaccines were producing a new strain of measles. Women scribbled into notepads as he spoke. Others filmed his comments, sending them to their contacts on WhatsApp. Essentially, he said, there were no studies available to show how the vaccine affects the human body.

“Is it possible that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine that is somehow being given in this lot to communities in Williamsburg and Lakewood and Monsey, maybe in Borough Park, is it possible that these lots are bad?” he asked, referring to areas in New York and New Jersey with large ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.

“It’s fascinating because we’re told how contagious the disease is, but somehow it’s centered in the Jewish community.”

Dr. Palevsky could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Mr. Wakefield, who was stripped of his medical license in his native Britain some two decades ago for fraudulent claims linking vaccines to autism, accused the health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of misleading the public. But before doing that, he insisted on his own innocence.

“I wanted to reassure you that I have never been involved in scientific fraud,” he said via Skype from a darkened room, his face appearing eerily white as it was projected onto two large overhead screens. “What happened to me is what happens to doctors who threatened the bottom line of the pharmaceutical companies.”

Rockland County has the highest number of recorded cases after New York City. But there are other pockets of large outbreaks as well, and not all of them in are in religious communities.
Point: depending on the circumstances involved, one community may have transferred the illnesses they enabled to another. And the reliance they have on fraudulent doctors is disturbing.

Here's another article telling even Israel's Haredi communities have been affected:
What do Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Safed, Beitar Illit and Bnei Brak have in common? They are all ultra-Orthodox cities, and all hold the Israeli record for measles outbreaks. Other cities with a large Haredi majority— Tiberias and Modi'in Ilit — are also at the top of the chart.

While it's clear the ultra-Orthodox public leads the anti-vaccination trend, Dr. Menahem Chaim Breier, vice chair at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, is certain there is nothing ideological about Haredi people choosing not to vaccinate their children.

According to Breier, a sense of naivety and a belief that "God will stop diseases and not vaccines" are outdated perceptions of the ultra-Orthodox public.

The members of the community are keen to look after themselves, says Breier, referring to the religious law that states one must "take care of his life."

So what is it that makes the ultra-Orthodox public susceptible to anti-vaccine propaganda?

The lifestyle of the ultra-Orthodox community, says Dr. Breier, is behind the measles epidemic.

The fact that the community keeps to itself and doesn't mix with other sectors of the population makes fake news a lot easier to spread, and the truth much more difficult to expose.

This is backed by some evidence: the more a Haredi community is cut off from national media, the more measles cases it has suffered in the recent outbreak.

For instance, the extremely insular Satmar Hassidic community in New York has a higher rate of measles outbreaks than other Haredi communities.

"This sect of bastards (who preach against vaccinations) can have a field day in such communities, since the ultra-Orthodox are far less exposed to the media," says Breier.

"They feed lies to the rabbis and the public and distribute ridiculous pamphlets. These are people with mental issues, they're officially mental."
I already knew they were anti-Israel in their own way. Now we know they're anti-health responsibility too. I figure this argument has some logic to it, and explains another reason why insularity is so dangerous. And now, in the Satmar enclaves, that insularity's taken a toll. A pure disgrace.

Labels: , , , ,

First, the phrase “ultra-Orthodox” is unfortunate,
because it falsely implies that Orthodox Jews
who wear crazy costumes from 300 years ago
are somehow more Orthodox than Orthodox Jews
who wear normal American clothes.

Second, most Orthodox Jews get vaccinated
every year, and will continue to do so.

Third, the anti-vaxxers are making fools
of themselves in front of the entire world.

I believe that in Yiddish, this kind
of disgraceful behavior is called a
"shonder for the goyim”.

In Hebrew, this kind of disgraceful behavior
is called “Chillul HaShem”.

Fourth, the anti-vaxxers DO NOT
represent Orthodox Judaism; on the contrary,
they MIS-represent Orthodox Judaism!


“If one or more of the parties knows that peace
implies the end of its existence, it has no motive
to return to peace. That is how the radical Islamists
of Hamas view the future of Muslim society.

A wealthy and successful Jewish state next to
a poor and dysfunctional Palestinian state
may imply the end of the moral authority of Islam,
and some Palestinians would rather fight to
the death than embrace such an outcome.

Rather than consign their children to the
Western milieu of personal freedom and sexual
license, radical Muslims will fight to the death.”

SOURCE: How Civilizations Die
(chapter Introduction, page xiv) by David P. Goldman,
year 2011 CE, Regnery Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59698-273-4


“Europe tends toward pacifism because
it knows it has nothing to gain from aggression.

Iran tends towards belligerence because
it knows it has nothing to lose.”

SOURCE: How Civilizations Die
(chapter 1, page 7) by David P. Goldman, year 2011 CE,
Regnery Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59698-273-4


“[Swiss Muslim Tariq] Ramadan is the grandson
of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna,
whom he praised without mention of al-Banna’s
allegiance to the Nazis during the 1930s and 1940s.”

SOURCE: How Civilizations Die
(chapter 3, page 35) by David P. Goldman, year 2011 CE,
Regnery Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59698-273-4


As Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian Nobel Peace
Prize winner, said after the January uprising,
his country “is on the list of failed states,”
and the Arab world is “a collection of failed states
who add nothing to humanity or science”…

SOURCE 1: Thomas Friedman, “Up with Egypt”,
New York Times, 2011 February 10

SOURCE 2: How Civilizations Die
(chapter 3, page 35) by David P. Goldman, year 2011 CE,
Regnery Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59698-273-4


“Today’s cultures are dying of apathy,
not by the swords of their enemies.”

SOURCE 2: How Civilizations Die
(chapter Introduction, page xiii) by David P. Goldman,
year 2011 CE, Regnery Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59698-273-4

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