Religious and Political Figures from Israel Meet Turkish Creationist

Back in 2009, I wrote about a meeting between members of the self-proclaimed Israeli “Sanhedrin” and Adnan Oktar, the Turkish creationist who writes under the name “Harun Yahya”. Otkar is a prolific author of religious books, although he is most famous for his Atlas of Creation, which declares that “Darwinism and materialism”, rather than extremist religion, is responsible for contemporary terrorism. The book was sent to thousands of scientists, including Richard Dawkins (who gave his assessment here).

Oktar’s purpose in meeting the Sanhedrin members, along with Rabbi Menachem Froman (who is not himself a member), was to form an alliance against the theory of evolution and to discuss peace. There has now been a follow-up event; the Jerusalem Post reports:

A delegation from Israel comprised of rabbis, sheikhs and a priest resolved in Istanbul on Thursday to form an interfaith convention – along with their Turkish hosts – that will arbitrate disputes in the Middle East and Muslim world to counter religious extremism and promote peace.

The Israeli group arrived in Istanbul on Wednesday at the beckoning of Adnan Oktar, known also as Harun Yahya, a philosopher and theologian with a large following in the Muslim world. The delegation was led by Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, Ayoob Kara.

Also taking part in it were Holon’s Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef, who is the son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and part of the Chief Rabbinical Council; Rabbi Avraham Sherman of the Supreme Rabbinic Court; Chief Rabbi of Ohr Yehuda and Sha’ar Hanegev, Zion Cohen; Secretary of the Shas party, Rabbi Zvi Jacobson; the Vatican’s representative to the Middle East, Fr. Giries Mansoer; and Druse Sheikh, Yusuf Hirbawi.

An assistant to Oktar named Seda Aral has placed some photos and a few details on Facebook. Also listed as having attended are Rabbi Yeshayahu HaKohen Hollander (“leading justice of the Sanhedrin Rabbinic Court and the Jerusalem Court for B’nai Noah”[1]); Rabbi Ben Abrahamson (“consultant for Sanhedrin Rabbinic Court on Islamic matters”); Sheikh Atef Greeanawi (“leader in the Negev Bedouin , and adviser to the Prime Minister Netanyahu for Bedouin community in Israel”); Mr. Salman Hino (“chairman of the Druze mayors in Israel”); and Mr. Fredi Malek (“head of the unit between the administration and minority communities in municipal in Israel”)

The previous meeting, in 2009, caught the imagination of Joel Richardson, who is today famous as Glenn Beck’s “End-Times Prophet”. Richardson is the author of a book (endorsed by Robert Spencer) about how the Muslim world will come under the control of a Muslim Anti-Christ, but he’s also congenial (he’s left a few comments on this blog) and he was happy to interview the man who may be facilitating this development:

JOEL RICHARDSON: Final question: I was also fascinated to learn that you have been in dialogue with the Sanhedrin Rabbis of Jerusalem, of Israel. That you have been in contact with Rabbi Menachem Froman. And that you have a very warm relationship with these Rabbis and that they seem to be endorsing and comm[e]nding your call for a Turkish led Islamic union. Could you tell us a little bit about that? I was also interested to learn just before I came that this very influential Rabbi Menachem Froman had spoken with George Mitchel the Middle East envoy from the Obama administration and that he had personally appealed to Mr. Mitchel to utilize you as a significant peace negotiator for the Middle East. Would you be willing to share a few of those things?

ADNAN OKTAR: …Of course the Rabbis love me, that is the truth. They do love me a lot. They regard me as a good Muslim, as a good Muslim leader. But I do not regard myself as a future leader of the region in that sense, not as a Muslim leader with such a mission….In other words, I will never accept any political role, but if spiritual support or service is needed I will happily provide it. That is the purpose of my life, and I will do it even if they do not want me. However they love me and I love them back, to say the truth I have a profound affection for them. We have also Christian brothers here and I love them, too. There are Orthodox and Catholics and Evangelicals, and we sometimes dine together, and I love them very deeply. They are entrusted to us by Allah, so there is no reason for us not to love them. Of course we will love them.

At the time, I pointed out that this alliance was somewhat strange given the existence of a Holocaust-denialist book in Oktar’s name entitled Holocaust Deception. However, I then received correspondence from Otkar’s vigilant lawyer explaining that this book had been created in error by a research assistant: the assistant was supposed to have prepared materials for a book on how the theory of evolution had caused the Holocaust, but he had misinterpreted his task. The correct book was published as Holocaust Violence. The covers of the two books are very similar, and there is some overlap of content. Chapter One of Holocaust Deception is entitled “The Untold Story of the Nazi-Zionist Collaboration”, while Chapter One of Holocaust Violence is “The Untold Story of the Nazi-Radical Zionist Collaboration”; most of the sub-headings are the same, although “Zionism” has throughout become “Radical Zionism”, and some other sections are the same. Presumably that’s all fine with Shas and the “Sanhedrin”.


[1] The “B’nai Noah” refers to the Noahide Movement, non-Jews who wish to follow ethical precepts for Gentiles given in the Bible; it mostly attracts ex-Christians, and its most famous member was the late pseudo-archaeologist Vendyl Jones. Jones was also a member of the “Sanhedrin”, which was proclaimed in 2005 and praised by apocalyptic-paperback author Hal Lindsey as “extremely relevant to students of Bible prophecy”.  Since its creation, I’ve noted that the group has declared that police who provide security for gay rights marches in Israel are criminals, and that Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh – who signed adminstrative orders hindering right-wing extremists in the West Bank – is a traitor. It has also denounced the Israeli Supreme Court as “anti-Jewish”, demanding “an alternative legal system based on Jewish sources”. One early priority was a call for monarchy, with Rabbi Yosef Dayan – known for having performed a “death curse” against Ariel Sharon – as lead candidate for the job.