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Annual Al-Quds Day, London, UK
Sunday 30 October 2005

Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews joined a pro-Palestinian rally that assembled at Marble Arch, London, then marched to the rally at Trafalgar Square. Amongst the speakers was Rabbi Ahron Cohen.

The Annual Al-Quds Day is a day of solidarity of the oppression of Palestine and the Palestinian struggle for justice.

 

Approximate Transcript of speech given by Rabbi Ahron Cohen in Trafalgar Square London in connection with the Al Quds demonstration march in support of the Palestinian cause 30th October 2005

My Friends

  • We are here today to protest against the terrible wrongs which have been perpetrated and continue to be perpetrated against the Palestinian People by the Zionist illegitimate regime (known as Israel) in Palestine.
  • My colleagues and I here today come under the banner of Neturei Karta which is the name of the opposition philosophy to Zionism held by Orthodox Jews.
  • You may well ask, how come we Jews are here protesting in support of Palestinians - who many would think of as enemies of the Jews.
  • The answer, my friends, is that the Palestinian dispute is with the Zionists and not with the Jews. Zionism and Judaism are two completely different and opposing ideas.
  • Orthodox Jews sympathise entirely with the Palestinian cause.
  • Jewish Orthodox teaching is totally opposed to Zionism on grounds of religious belief and on grounds of Jewish religious values of humanitarianism.
  • Our belief going back thousands of years teaches us that the Jewish People are and have been for the last two thousand years or so in a state of exile decreed by the A-lmighty because they did not maintain certain high standards expected of them. We have been dispersed around the world and our duty is to live as loyal subjects of which ever country we are in. Furthermore, we are forbidden to attempt to form our own regime in Palestine. And we are warned of dire consequences if we attempt to override this prohibition. To do so is considered a rebellion against the A-lmighty.
  • So on grounds of religious belief we have no right today to form a regime in Palestine.
  • The Zionist philosophy formed about 100 years ago by irreligious non-believers is that the Jewish People have to fight their own way out of exile . They do not accept in any way the religious prohibition of this action and their approach to the matter of exile is diametrically opposite to the religious passive approach.
  • But perhaps what is more understandable to the non-Jewish world in the opposition of Judaism to Zionism is the fact that the Zionist ideology was to take over a country with an existing indigenous population and to form a sectarian State irrespective of the consequences to that indigenous people . Depriving them of their homes and country.
  • This was a shocking contravention of humanitarian justice. Humanitarian justice is also a tremendously important element in Jewish Religious values. The Zionists have thrown this completely overboard in their nationalistic quest for a State of their own. On these grounds too Orthodox Judaism opposes them entirely.
  • Because of the above the whole idea of a Zionist State is a flawed concept and is the underlying cause of the strife in the Middle East.
  • As Jews we are ashamed of our brethren who have followed the Zionist path and we wish to state that Zionists do not in any way represent the Jewish People as they would like to have the world believe.
  • Therefore anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. On the contrary the Zionists themselves cause anti-Jewish feeling by their deeds.
  • The general strife between Arab and Jew in Palestine only began when thefirst 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 to this very day and has cost and continues to cost thousands and thousands of lives.
  • My friends, the connection between Arab and Jew 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 Arab countries. Our attitude to Arabs can only be one of friendliness and respect.
  • We consider the Palestinians as the people with the right to govern in Palestine.
  • It constantly amazes me how countries like the United States and the United Kingdom can consider the Zionist regime as democratic when this is patently not so when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. It could be that they consider their support of the Zionist State as a means of salving their consciences for not doing enough to help the Jewish People in the period of the Second World War Holocaust. Whether they are obliged to salve their consciences or not is not a matter for discussion today. However one thing is certain and that is that helping the Zionist regime does not help the Jewish People.
  • We pray for an end to bloodshed and an end to the suffering of all innocent people - Jew and non-Jew alike - worldwide.
  • I would like to finish with the following words. We want to tell the world, especially our Arab neighbours, that there is no hatred or animosity between Arab and Jew. We would 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.
  • Some of my Jewish brethren accuse Neturei Karta of being treacherous to the Jewish People, but we say, on the contrary, it is we who have the interests of the Jewish People at heart. The Zionist ideology and its abuse and oppression of the Palestinians is a tragedy for everyone in the Holy Land, Jew and Arab, and true peace will not be achieved until we have the total (but, we pray, peaceful) annulment of Zionism and the peaceful dismantling of the Zionist regime. Hopefully based on results brought about by moral, political and economic pressures imposed by the nations of the world. This 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.
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