The Neturei Karta (“Guardians of the City” in Aramaic) is a relatively small movement within the milieu of anti‐Zionist haredim (singular: haredi) or strictly Orthodox Jews.
Although the millenarian idea that Zion – one of the Hebrew Bible’s names for Jerusalem – would be restored to the Jewish people is deeply ingrained in Jewish thought, the vast majority of religious Jews opposed the Zionist movement when it emerged in the late nineteenth century.They believed that the Jews would only return to their promised land by divine auspices and not through human intervention to “force the end”, which they considered sinful. The Neturei Karta was born within this backdrop of religious anti‐Zionism. Founded in 1938, Jerusalem, it is controversial for its extreme opposition to the existence of the state of Israel, including by supporting the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).
It is infamous for making common cause with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a notable Holocaust denier, and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam – an African American religious movement – who has often been accused of anti‐Semitism. Although usually dismissed as a fringe phenomenon, the Neturei Karta’s beliefs provide a valuable perspective on the notion of millenarianism within Judaism and how this influences intra‐Jewish politics.