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The rabbi who's pro Palestine.

Byline: George Galloway

CAIRO, Sunday: They have seen nothing like it. People are openmouthed, as if they have wandered into a film set. And no wonder.

Here's an Orthodox Jewish rabbi wandering through the streets, all beard and curls, head to toe in black, warmly greeting Arabs and pledging his commitment to a free and independent Palestine.

People are looking around for the hidden cameras. But it's real and Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss is the star of the show.

Think a younger, hairier Woody Allen, with the rat-a-tat New Yoik drawl and delivery and you've got it. He's an anti-Zionist Jew and he's here with the Viva Palestina convoy as we collect humanitarian goods and the vehicles to transport us to Gaza.

He's going to be a riot in Gaza City. Zionism and Judaism are extreme opposites, says the rabbi, and quotes the Torah at length as to why it's expressly forbidden to expel Palestinians from their lands.

Jews and Palestinians got along for hundreds of years together without human rights groups to protect them, he goes on, and can do so again, given the chance.

Rabbi Weiss is just the most colourful of the hundreds of US citizens who are on this convoy, and it's saying something to upstage my co-leader, Ron Kovic, played by Tom Cruise in the movie Born On The Fourth Of July. (Note to potential producers: the rabbi must play himself.) We left New York on July 4, Independence Day, and arrived in Cairo, nearly 300-strong, carrying millions of dollars to be spent in Cairo on aid for Gaza.

We'll collect it all in the next couple of days and set out for the Rafah border where, we hope and believe, the blockade will be lifted to allow us to deliver the tons of medicines. We're blessed, of course, by the rabbi.


A RIOT: Rabbi Weiss
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 6, 2009
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