- My friends, it is an honour to have the opportunity of
talking to you today.
- I and my colleagues of Neturei Karta attend occasions
such as this because we feel that we have both a religious and humanitarian
duty to publicize our message as much as possible. So I hope and pray that
with the Creator's help my words and our discussions here today may be
correct and true in their content and conclusions.
- As you have already been told, I am an orthodox Jew (that
is a Jew who endeavours to live his life completely in accordance with
the Jewish religion). I am involved in ecclesiastical duties within the
Jewish Community and am particularly involved in educating our youth and
in helping them to achieve healthy and correct attitudes. It is therefore
of particular interest to me to be able to talk to you, a student body,
- I have been asked to talk to you about Judaism and Zionism.
This subject is of course tremendously relevant in the light of the current
situation in Palestine, where you have - let's face it - one side, the
Zionists (who are also Jews), wishing to impose a 'sectarian' State over
the heads of an indigenous population, the Palestinians. A confrontation
which has resulted in horrific bloodshed and brutality with no end in sight
unless there is a very radical change.
- My qualification to talk on this subject is by virtue
of my being one of many orthodox Jews who absolutely sympathise with the
Palestinian cause, and we protest vehemently against the terrible wrongs
being perpetrated against the Palestinian People by the Zionist illegitimate
regime in Palestine.
- The spearhead group among us who are involved actively
in this matter on a regular basis are called Neturei Karta, which can be
loosely translated as Guardians of the Faith. We are not a separate party
or organisation but basically a philosophy representative of a large section
of orthodox Jewry.
- Let me firstly state quite categorically that Judaism
and Zionism are incompatible. They are diametrically opposed.
- The question must surely arise in the minds of many of
you here today that there appears to be a paradox. After all everyone knows
that Zionists are Jews and that Zionism is for the benefit of Jews. The
Palestinians are the enemies of the Zionists. How come then that I, a Jew,
can sympathise with the Palestinian cause.
- I would like to try to answer this question and to revert
to the subject of my talk - Judaism and Zionism - on two levels, religious
belief and humanitarianism. Bearing in mind that to be humanitarian is
also a basic religious requirement.
- Firstly from a Jewish religious belief point of view.
One has to take a look at some aspects of the history of the Jewish people
and at their basic belief in the Al-mighty's control of our destiny and
what the Al-mighty wants of us. All as set out in our Religious teachings,
our Toira, and as taught to us through the generations by our great religious
leaders. Against this we also have to look at the history of Zionism, how
it developed, what are its aims.
- Our religion is for us a total way of life. Showing us
how to live a life in the service of the Al-mighty. It affects every aspect
of our life from the cradle to the grave. We are taught that it was revealed
to us by Divine Revelation, as described in the Bible, some three and a
half thousand years ago, and that is when the Jewish People came in to
being. All of our religious requirements, practical and philosophical,
are set out in the Torah which comprises the Bible (the old testament)
and a vast code of Oral Teaching handed down to us through the generations.
- As mentioned, our religion is a total way of life covering
every aspect of our life. One area of our religion is that subject to certain
conditions is that we will be given a land, the Holy Land, now known as
Palestine, in which to live and carry out various parts of our service
of the Al-mighty.
- Now, before I go any further, I wish to point out something
which is very basic to understanding the difference between Judaism and
Zionism and that is that the orthodox Jewish concept of nationhood is very
different to the concept of nationhood held by most peoples. Most peoples
understand a nation to be a specific people living in a specific land.
The land is essential for the identity of the nation. They may or may not
have a religion, but the religion is immaterial to the national identity.
The orthodox Jewish concept of nationhood however, is a specific people
with a specific religion. It is the religion that establishes the national
identity. They may or may not have a land, the land is immaterial to the
Jewish national identity.
- This is borne out by the fact that the Jewish nation
has been without a land for 2000 years, but as long as they retained their
religion they retained their identity.
- Now I mentioned earlier that we were given a land but
under certain conditions. The conditions were basically that we had to
maintain the highest of moral, ethical and religious standards. The Jewish
People did have the land for approximately the first one thousand five
hundred years of their existence. However, regretfully, the conditions
were not fulfilled to the required degree and the Jews were exiled from
their land. For the last two thousand years or so the Jewish people have
been in a state of exile decreed by the A-lmighty because they did not
maintain the standards expected of them. This state of exile is the situation
that exists right up to the present day. It is a basic part of our belief
to accept willingly the Heavenly decree of exile and not to try and fight
against it or to end it by our own hands. To do so would constitute a rebellion
against the wishes of the A-lmighty.
- In practical terms, although we have maintained our Jewish
identity by virtue of our attachment to our religion, never the less exile
for us means firstly that Jews must be loyal subjects of the countries
in which they live and not attempt to rule over the established indigenous
populations of those countries.
- Secondly, that we may not attempt to set up a State of
our own in Palestine.
- This would apply even if the land would be unoccupied
and it certainly applies when, as is the case, there is an existing indigenous
population. This prohibition is a basic part of our teaching and we are
forsworn not to contravene it and we are warned of the dire consequences
of doing so.
- It follows, therefore, that Jews have no right to rule
today in Palestine.
- Now let us consider the Zionist movement. This was founded
approximately 100 years ago mostly by secular people who were discarding
their religion but still retained what they considered as the stigma of
being Jews in exile. They considered that our state of exile was due to
our own subservient attitude - 'the Golus (exile) mentality' - and not
by Divine Decree. They wanted to throw off the constraints of exile and
to try and establish a new form of Jewish identity. Not religion based
but land based. It was based on a typical, emotion driven, secular nationalistic
aim, similar to that of most other nations. Their policy had as its centre
pin the aim of setting up a Jewish State in Palestine. But they were forging
a new kind of Jew. In fact not a Jew at all- a Zionist.
- This Zionist movement was a complete abandonment of our
religious teachings and faith - in general - and in particular an abandonment
of our approach to our state of exile and our attitude to the peoples among
whom we live.
- The practical outcome of Zionism in the form of the State
known as 'Israel' is completely alien to Judaism and the Jewish Faith.
The very name "Israel" which originally meant what are known
as the Children of Israel i.e. the Jewish People was usurped by the Zionists.
For this reason many orthodox Jews avoid referring to the Zionist State
by the name 'Israel'.
- The ideology of Zionism is not to rely on divine providence
but to take the law into ones own hands and to try to force the outcome
in the form of a State. This is completely contrary to the approach to
the matter of exile which our Toira requires us to adopt, as handed down
to us by our great religious teachers.
- I have spoken till now from the religious belief point
of view. But let us consider the humanitarian point of view (and to do
so is also a religious requirement as I mentioned earlier).The Zionist
ideology was and is to force the aim of a State irrespective of the cost
in life and property to anyone who stands in the way. The Palestinians
stood in the way. We have a fact that in order to achieve an ill conceived
nationalistic ambition, a shocking contravention of natural justice was
committed by the Zionists in setting up an illegitimate regime in Palestine
completely against the wishes of the established population, the Palestinians,
which inevitably had to be based on loss of life, killing and stealing.
- Most Orthodox Jews accept the Neturei Karta view to the
extent that they do not agree in principle to the existence of the Zionist
State and would not 'shed a tear' if it came to an end. There are however
a range of opinions as to how to deal with the fact that for the time being
the Zionist State exists. These opinions range from positive cooperation
to pragmatic acceptance to total opposition in every way. The latter being
the Neturei Karta approach.
- There was and is however, an additional Zionist phenomenon
which confuses the picture. That is the Religious Zionists. These are people
who claim to be faithful to the Jewish Religion but they have been influenced
by the Zionist secular nationalistic philosophy and have added a new dimension
to Judaism - Zionism, the aim of setting up now and expanding a Jewish
state in Palestine. This they try to fulfil with great fervour. (I call
it Judaism-plus) They claim that this is inherent in the Jewish religion.
But the fact is as explained earlier that this is absolutely contrary to
the teachings of our great religious teachers.
- Furthermore, from a humanitarian point of view, their
ideology too was and is to force their aim irrespective of the cost in
life and property to anyone who stands in the way. The Palestinians are
standing in the way. This is all the more shocking as it is done in the
name of religion. Whereas in reality there is a totally contrary requirement
of our religion and that is to treat all peoples with compassion
- To sum up. According to the Torah and Jewish faith, the
present Palestinian > Arab claim to rule in Palestine is right and just.
The Zionist claim is wrong and criminal. Our attitude to Israel is that
the whole concept is flawed and illegitimate.
- We have another problem and that is that the Zionists
have made themselves to appear as the representatives and spokespeople
of all Jews thus, with their actions, arousing animosity against the Jews.
Those who harbour this animosity are accused of anti-Semitism. However,
what has to be made abundantly clear is that Zionism is not Judaism. Zionists
cannot speak in the name of Jews. Zionists may have been born as Jews,
but to be a Jew also requires adherence to the Jewish belief and religion.
So what becomes abundantly clear is that opposition to Zionism and its
crimes does not imply hatred of Jews or 'anti-Semitism'. On the contrary
Zionism itself and its deeds are the biggest threat to Jews and Judaism.
- The strife between Arab and Jew in Palestine only began
when the first Zionist pioneers came to Palestine with the express aim
of forming a State over the heads of the indigenous Arab population. That
strife has continued until this very day and has cost and continues to
cost thousands and thousands of lives. The oppression, abuse and murder
in Palestine is a tragedy not only for the Palestinians but for the Jewish
people as well. And is in fact part of the dire consequences of which we
are warned if we transgress our religious requirement not to rebel against
- I wish to add that the connection between Muslims and
Jews goes right back into ancient history Mostly the relationship was friendly
and mutually beneficial. Historically, the situation frequently was that
when Jews were being persecuted in Europe they found refuge in the various
Muslim countries. Our attitude to Muslims and Arabs can only be one of
friendliness and respect.
- I would like to finish with the following words. We want
to tell the world, especially our Muslim neighbours, that there is no hatred
or animosity between Jew and Muslim. We wish to live together as friends
and neighbours as we have done mostly over hundreds even thousands of years
in all the Arab countries. It was only the advent of the Zionists and Zionism
which upset this age old relationship.
- We consider the Palestinians as the people with the right
to govern in Palestine.
- The Zionist State known as "Israel" is a regime
that has no right to exist. Its continuing existence is the underlying
cause of the strife in Palestine. 33. We pray for a solution to the terrible
and tragic impasse that exists. Hopefully based on results brought about
by moral, political and economic pressures imposed by the nations of the
- We pray for an end to bloodshed and an end to the suffering
of all innocent people - Jew and non-Jew alike - worldwide.
- We are waiting for the annulment of Zionism and the dismantling
of the Zionist regime, which will bring about an end to the suffering of
the Palestinian people. We would welcome the opportunity to dwell in peace
in the holy land under a rule which is entirely in accordance with the
wishes and aspirations of the Palestinian People.
- May we soon merit the time when all mankind will be at
peace with each other.