My task today is to speak about Judaism and
Zionism. Given the current assumptions of the mass
media that seems to be a redundant title. Aren’t the two
one and the same? Isn’t Judaism Zionism? Aren’t Jews
by definition Zionists? This is an impression which is, as
I hope will become absolutely clear by the end of this
talk, totally false. It is, however, an impression that is
today quite widespread, both among non – Jews as well
as misinformed Jews.
The correction of the historical record in the case of
any falsification is beneficial, for, as is well known, the
“seal of the Creator is truth.” In the case of Zionism it is
not merely an academic error. It is one that has caused
much death and destruction in the past and will only
continue to do so in the future, G-d forbid, if it is left
In fact, it is my hope and prayer that today’s talk will
be the first step of a process which may yet lead to a just
solution to the Middle East’s agony or, at least, a
significant easing of its people’s suffering.
Triumph of Falsity
But first we must ask a simple question. Why has the
lie, which equates Judaism and Zionism, triumphed?
Why, has what is so demonstrably false, captured the
citadels of Western public opinion? And, in the end,
what can we do about it?
History is invariably written by those who emerge
victorious from its struggles. In the case of the
Zionist/Palestinian struggle of the past century this
factor immediately places the Israeli state, its
propagandists and international apologists, in the
ideological driver’s seat.
Second, the suffering of the Jewish people in the
Second World War in Europe created extraordinary
sympathy among the peoples of the earth and it was this
sincere and commendable sympathy that has been
incessantly exploited by the Zionist propaganda machine
Last, Zionist propagandists are always given to
bullying tactics and censorship. It is very helpful in this
regard to read former Congressman Findley’s book,
They Dared to Speak Out. It is the sorry record of the
immense resources that the Zionist lobby invested in
destroying the careers of politicians all across the United
States who had voiced some qualms about this nation’s
subservience to Israel.
Of course, anti - Zionist Jews of all political and
religious orientations have long experienced the lash of
the Zionist movement. In 1924, a scholarly Dutch Jew,
Dr. Jacob Israel de Hahn, who functioned as a secretary
of Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849 - 1932 ) Chief
Rabbi of Palestine, (may their memories be blessed) was
murdered as he returned from evening prayers outside
Shaarui Zedek hospital in Jerusalem. His crime was that
he had been involved in discussions with Arab leaders
that offered an alternative to Zionist hegemony. His
murderers were members of the Haganah, a Zionist, so -
called “defense organization.” In fact, Dr. de Hahn may
well be described as the first victim of Zionist violence
in the Holy Land.
Yet, outside of a limited circle of anti - Zionist Jews,
this cowardly and cold blooded murder is completely
Equally unknown to the general public was the ease
with which Zionists turned on their fellow Jews, as in
the sinking of Jewish refugee ships calculated to elicit
world sympathy such as the S.S. Patria in 1940 and the
S. S. Struma in 1941 which cost the lives of 276
innocent Jews in the case of the former and 769 in the
case of the latter.
More is known about pre - state terror campaigns
against Arab and British innocents. Clearly, this was a
movement that found human life cheap and public
Fortunately, though, Zionism is missing the most
potent weapon in any ideology’s arsenal. It doesn’t have
the truth on its side.
Thus, we find that, today, despite the power of the
Zionist lobby and the subservience, until recently, of
most politicians, media outlets and educational settings
here in America, to its dictates, the historical blackout is
coming to an end.
More and more people are questioning the Zionist
version of history.
At the United Nations and throughout Europe the
questions have already been raised and largely answered.
The answers are a variety of criticisms of the Israeli
state. Some of these center on Israel’s practices. Others point to its underlying philosophy.
Neturei Karta International has always been in the
forefront of those voices that have been raised in
opposition to Zionism.
Our opposition has taken us around the world, to
Yemen and Iran, to South Africa and Geneva to attend
this past year’s UN Conference on Racism (and I believe
we have copies available of the talks delivered there).
Our supporters have stood up to Zionist censorship and
terror in the streets of Jerusalem, Manhattan, London,
Manchester, Montreal and wherever Orthodox Jewish
communities may be found.
But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. In order to
understand the sources of the current pain in the Middle
East, we must define our terms. What is Judaism and
what is Zionism?
Judaism is the faith of the Jewish people. It is rooted
in the revelation at Sinai where the Torah was given by
G-d to man. The doctrines and laws there revealed to the
Jewish people are forever binding. Throughout the
centuries Jewish scholars and saints have explained the
Law. Those explanations are also part of our tradition.
This definition of Judaism was universally accepted
by the Jewish people until the dawn of the so called
Enlightenment in Europe. In the wake of that mass
abandonment of G-d, many Jews, as well as many
Christians and Muslims around the world, came to reject
It was in the spirit of creating a man - made religion
that movements such as Reform, Conservative and
Reconstructionist Judaism were born. These movements
had in common that they rejected some, many or all the
basics of Torah faith.
Exile and Redemption
One of the central tenets of Torah is that the Creator
rewards and punishes mankind.
Through many of the Prophetic books in the Old
Testament the Jewish people were warned that a serious
rebellion against the Will of G-d would result in the
most severe of punishments. Unchecked it could lead to
the ruin of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the exile
of the entirety of the Jewish nation.
And, it is here, my friends, in those Old Testament
prophesies, that the quarrel between Judaism and
Eventually the horrors foretold by the Prophets came
to pass. Jewry was exiled from the Land. The first exile,
also known as the Babylonian captivity, lasted only 70
years. By a series of miraculous events the people were
returned to the land. This second entry into the land led
to the rebuilding of the Temple. The Second Temple
stood from about 2500 years ago until about 1900 years
ago, then it too was destroyed. This time the cause was
once again the backsliding of the people who were, as
always, held to a very demanding Divine standard.
But the prophecies of doom were accompanied with
promises of consolation. The exile would not be forever.
There would be years of dispersion, many of them
endured under persecution. Yet, there was the promise
that the people would yet return to the Land. But this
return was not to be under human control. It would be
heralded by the advent of Elijah the Prophet and
accompanied with many miracles. And, this time, the
redemption would not just be for the Jewish people but,
rather for all men. All nations would cease to practice
war. All would rejoice together in the Creator’s care.
There would be no want or physical deprivation. It
would be a time of spiritual brotherhood, all men united
in Divine service.
Thus, at the burning of the Second Temple, the
Jewish people were sent into an exile which extends till
today. For two thousand years Jews have prayed for the
end of their exile and the accompanying redemption of
the entire world. They were taught by the Prophets and
subsequent Sages that their exile was an expiation of
their sins. This meant that the only reasonable and
permissible path to end the exile were repentance and
To suggest that one could use political or military
means to escape the Creator’s decree was seen as heresy,
as a denial of the Divine stewardship over sin and
forgiveness. And, so, as the centuries rolled by the
Jewish people prayed and awaited the miraculous events
Throughout these long years no Jew anywhere
suggested – and this among a people that studied its
sacred texts constantly and wrote about them
voluminously – that exile could be ended by human
The Holy Land was always venerated, of course, and
small colonies, almost uniformly devoted to prayer,
contemplation and study were established there.
It was only towards the end of the nineteenth
century, among Jews far estranged from their faith that
the notion began to be put forth that exile was the result
of Jewish weakness. Theodore Herzl and a handful of others, all ignorant or non observant of Torah began to
set the process in motion that by the end of the next
century would have produced untold suffering for Jews
These early Zionists were immediately opposed by
the Rabbinic Leadership of that era.
The opposition was based on four assumptions.
The very concept of Zionism was a refutation of the
traditional Torah belief in exile as punishment and
redemption and as dependant on penitence and Divine
2) The Zionists were overwhelmingly
irreligious. There claim to represent the Jewish people
before the world was preposterous. How can those who
reject Judaism be Jewish leaders? Their natural instincts
were to uproot Torah and its observance.
3) Zionism was
woefully unconcerned about non – Jews in general and
the Palestinian people already living in the land. Its
heavy - handed policies were sure to cause much pain
and suffering and lead world Jewry into needless conflict
with the nations of the world.
4) Zionism would cause
Jews to be less than loyal to the governments under
whose auspices they lived in exile. This might weaken
Jewish patriotism and exacerbate Jewish – Gentile
Throughout the world Zionists were a minority.
Even those Jews who had lost touch with Torah tradition
were able to see that Zionism was a recipe for disaster.
Within the Zionist movement itself a tiny faction
constantly criticized both the Labor and Revisionist
mainstreams. This small group, associated with the Brit
Shalom movement, advocated a bi – national democratic
state and was willing to accept Jewish minority status
therein. In the words of one of its foremost thinkers,
Judah Magnes, Chancellor of Hebrew University, “If we
cannot find ways of peace and understanding (with the
indigenous population), if we can only establish
ourselves upon the force of bayonets, then our whole
enterprise is not worthwhile and it is better that the
eternal people should remain patient and wait.”
These were the words of a non – believer but of
essential decency. His ideas and those of his small band
of followers were cast aside by the Zionist mainstream.
Of course, in the Torah view the very notion of
Jewish sovereignty of any kind over the Holy Land is
forbidden. We note that even those who desired some
degree of Jewish return – saw this – provided they had
some basic decency, as something that had to be worked
out with the approval of the native Palestinian people.
Zionist immigration poured into Palestine during the
twenties and thirties. The British government tried to be
all things to all men but their efforts failed. At times the
Zionist conquest via immigration became an actual
shooting conquest with acts of terror against
Palestinians, British and other Jews becoming the order
of the day.
But, despite Zionist machinations, if not for the
tragic fate of the Jews in the Second World War the state
of Israel probably would never have come into existence.
As stated before, after the Holocaust, the world took its
sense of pity for the Jewish people and bestowed it on
Little if any thought was given to the deep and just
desire of Palestinians to be a sovereign people in their
own land or to the anti – Zionist Jews living therein.
It was as if a man having been chased from his home
by a mob comes upon someone else’s else home and
decides to chase out its inhabitants and take it over.
Surely the suffering the man has endured at the hands of
the mob is not enough for another family to be evicted
from their centuries old place of residence.
I have little doubt that if a Palestinian people,
sovereign in its own land, would have been asked after
the Holocaust, along with the other nations of the world,
to take in Jewish refugees that they would have easily
agreed. But they could not be expected to abandon, their
homes and property and their very identity to make way
for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees whose goal
was to dispossess them and rule over them.
Throughout the twentieth century a large segment of
Orthodox Jews has remained immune to Zionist
temptation. Unfortunately, during this same period,
some orthodox Jews actually embraced Zionism while
others attempted to co – exist with it.
Those who have maintained our faith as it was
handed down to us over the centuries have fought
Zionism in the Holy Land and throughout the world.
These Jews, many of whose descendants live in
Jerusalem to this day, have refused to recognize the
Zionist state. They do not vote in its elections or serve in
its army. They do not accept any financial support from
the government for their schools, thus plunging their
schools into a never ending fund raising crisis.
In their view the state of Israel exists in violation of
Torah basics. In its daily policies it wars against Torah
practice. Its claim to represent the Jewish people is vile
and ludicrous. By positing non - believers as Jewish
leaders it desecrates G-d’s Great and Holy Name in
public, a very grave sin in the eyes of the Torah.
The pious Jews of whom Neturei Karta is only one
of many are seasoned veterans in the anti - Zionist
struggle. We, of all people know how hard it is to break
through the media black out, especially in the United
Yet, we must break through if there is to be any real
peace in the Middle East. We have been informed by our
Talmudic sages that any premature attempt to end exile
will result in massive bloodshed.
The bloodshed is here. Israel has caused more
bloodshed than anyone could have possibly imagined.
Decades before the state the Zionist desire to rule over
the land led to riots, assassinations and endless death and
To this day the death toll mounts. Both hardliners
and soft liners have had their hopes dashed. They have
both been behind the wheels of government. And both
have failed utterly.
Friends, there will be no peace in the Middle East
until their is no state of Israel.
The Torah cannot be violated. Our task in exile
cannot be fulfilled by trying to end exile by human
agitations. Nor can our hopes for redemption be realized
in the Israeli state.
Of course immediately part of the solution is, we’d
like to see the West Bank and Gaza settlements
dismantled. The people living there must leave as soon
as is humanly possible.
But, this is only one part of the solution. Yes, the
immediate decision in keeping with common sense, is to
begin a Palestinian state. But these solutions are only for
the interim and only a part of the solution.
The true Torah solution, the key to peace is the
immediate return of Palestine to the Palestinians in its
entirety including the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.
This would, of course, include a full right of return for
all Palestinian refuges
That is what elementary justice demands. This is the
path of the Torah and of common sense.
The Jewish people have many mitzvos
(commandments) to pursue in their exile. Fighting and
killing Palestinian children are not among them.
Of course, today, millions of Jews reside in
Palestine. Whether some, all or none of them might stay
under Palestinian rule is, of course, up to the land’s
rightful rulers, the Palestinians.
This will inevitably begin the process of true peace
with justice and healing between the Palestinian people
and the Jewish people.
In the meantime, though, given that at present many
Jews living in the Holy Land are victims of Zionist
propaganda what path should be pursued?
For our part the obligation remains steady. It is to
educate the Jewish community about the doctrinal errors
and practical evils of Zionism.
It is to join our Palestinian cousins in protest against
the evils of Zionism. It is to pursue peace with all men
and all nations. It is to practice our faith. It is to worship
the Creator with humility, with modesty and piety.
But let us go a step further and examine what the
impact of Jewish anti Zionism might be on the Islamic
world. First, it is important both practically and morally
that Palestinian and general Islamic ideology not confuse
Zionism and Judaism and by so doing leave themselves
vulnerable to the charge of anti - Semitism.
Further, it could well prove beneficial to the
Palestinian cause if they would publicize thier good
relations with anti Zionist Jews thus undercutting the
stereotype of them in the Zionist dominated media as
bigots and baseless haters.
This coalition of anti - Zionist Jews and Palestinians
who see the inhumanity of Zionism might well become
quite a moral force for good in the world.
In any event, let us resolve to leave here this evening
with our mutual moral compasses set right. Let us
understand that Torah Jewry is in no way an antagonist
of the Palestinian people in particular or of the Islamic
world in general.
The hour is late. The civilian death toll mounts daily.
Innocents on all sides suffer.
May it be the Creator’s Will that the state of Israel
be peacefully dismantled speedily in our days, that Jew
and Palestinian live yet in peace with each other around
the world and in the Holy Land and that speedily in our
days all mankind may merit the advent of Divine
Redemption where G-d’s Kingdom will be accepted.