Thank you very much. Asalam Aleikem.
I appreciate the Muslim Students for Justice for organizing
of this event, especially brother Borna Danesh for inviting
me to speak in front of you here today.
We have gathered here today on the International Al Quds
Day. This is the day that many communities observe, to show
solidarity with the suffering Palestinian people. This is
a day to remember Al Quds, Jerusalem, a city which is referred
to, as the city of peace; to remember the land of Palestine,
which is referred to, as the Holy Land; and to remember the
Palestinian people who have a long history as a peace-loving
The land of Palestine is just one example of many other Muslim
and Arab countries, where a beautiful coexistence took place,
between the Muslim majority and the G-d-fearing Jewish minority.
Those Jews were loyal citizens within the Muslim population,
they were respected by their peace- loving neighbors and
lived in total brotherhood.
This reality of history proves wrong today's propaganda and
the mainstream media, which tries to show an image of Muslims
as having an ingrained hatred towards Jews, just because
they are Jews, that they have always hated Jews, and that
the conflict that we see today in the Middle East is a religious
conflict, rooted in the differences of our religions. This
all leads to the conclusion that all Muslims, and whoever
else opposes the State of Israel, are anti-Semites.
But nothing could be farther from the truth. They are many
people from the older generation that still remember the
old history. I personally meet on many occasions elders from
the Muslim community who tell stories of the peaceful coexistence
between the Arabs and the Jews in many Muslim countries,
including Palestine. There are older Rabbis still in the
Jewish communities who remember how they would even trust
the Arab neighbors to babysit their children, and how their
neighbors used to help them on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.
Now the question is, when did this history change? When
was this peace destroyed?Â What change took place to that
disrupted this coexistence, and why do we find today a rift
and mistrust between our peoples, Jews and Arabs?
All of this began only with the invention of the philosophy
of Zionism, and later on when it became a reality with the
construction of the state of "Israel".
It began with Zionism's plan to create a "Jewish Homeland" on
the land and on the properties of others. Â The Zionists in
those days claimed that Palestine was "a land without a people,
for a people without a land."Â At that time the mistrust
arose and the conflict began, which unfortunately led to
what we see today, this unfortunate bloody conflict.
But people think that the philosophy of Zionism and the actions
of the state of "Israel" are supported by all
Jews and justified by the Torah, the Jewish religion. Many
people don't know the history of Orthodox Jewish opposition
to Zionism. From the very outset of Zionism, almost all
Jewish Rabbis in Europe and in Palestine stood up in vehement
opposition to it and later to the creation of the state of "Israel".
The Rabbis, already in those days, foresaw what most Jews
did not foresee. They warned that this new philosophy would
only lead to catastrophe, since it was a rebellion against
the Almighty and evil in its essence.
According to Jewish teachings, at the time of the destruction
of the Second Temple 2000 years ago, Jews were placed in
exile by Divine decree. At that time, Jews were warned by
G-d not to create their own sovereign state. Jews are forbidden
to fight against any of the nations among which they live.
Jews are required to be loyal citizens in the countries
where they reside, to practice their religion and serve
the Almighty, without having political aspirations or building
any political movements. -- When Zionism came, it transformed
Judaism from a religion to serve the One G-d, into a nationalism,
void of G-dliness, a movement oriented solely toward political
Therefore, the philosophy of Zionism and the state of "Israel" are
forbidden according to Judaism, even if the state had truly
been created in a land without a people. But the fact that
the state was created in an inhabited land, the land belonging
to the Palestinian people, and it was accomplished by killing,
oppressing, subjugating and expelling the indigenous inhabitants
of the land, makes the crime much worse.
Because, in addition to violating the theological principles
of Judaism, it transgresses all the other laws of the Torah.
It says in the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not kill," and
"Thou shalt not steal." Judaism teaches, "What
you don't want done to yourself, don't do unto others."
Therefore, due to all of the above, Jews true to Judaism
in many lands and communities throughout the world, even
today, oppose the philosophy of Zionism and the State of
Israel. They condemn the brutal occupation of Palestine for
decades, the atrocities in Gaza for almost 2 years and the
vicious attack on the Freedom Flotilla just recently.
Aside from the fact that these are crimes against human rights
and violations of international law, crimes that should pain
and disturb every righteous human being, this pains us as
Jews especially because all of this is being committed in
our name. This causes us great embarrassment. We have sent
twice delegations to visit the Gaza Strip, - to bring medical
aid and crucially needed material to this terribly suffering
people, and we sent a delegation to visit the wounded of
the Flotilla in the hospital in Ankara, Turkey, to bring
to the suffering people the message of sympathy from many
communities worldwide, and to clarify that the Zionists with
their crimes cannot claim to act in the name of the entire
We all need to feel the suffering and the pain of the people
of Palestine. Why? Because we are human beings and we have
to feel for our fellow human beings. Jewish people especially
should feel this because Judaism teaches us to have compassion
for suffering people.
Jews unfortunately know what suffering is. Our Jewish community
comes from Europe. It is our grandparents, our relatives,
who were murdered and tortured in the Holocaust. We know
what suffering means and we don't want anyone else to experience
And there is another point. We stand with the Palestinian
people because we are victims of Zionism as well. Our people,
our anti-Zionist communities in the Holy Land, suffer at
the hands of the Israeli government for their vocal opposition
to them. These Jews are oppressed, brutally beaten, imprisoned
and interrogated in prison. This is not only today; this
has been going on since 1948. Rabbis who are no longer with
us sat in prison the previous generations, and we have people
sitting in prison today, as we speak.
We are embarrassed over what is happening in Palestine because
it is being done in the name of Â the entire Jewish community,
with the power of the media which presents it in this light.Â
But we are even more ashamed and embarrassed when the impression
is given that our religion, the holy Torah, supports the
most extreme form of Zionism. Lately we have seen radical
so-called rabbis, paid puppets of the State of Israel, stand
up and spread messages of hate: so-called Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef
and so-called Rabbi Yitzchak Shapiro, to legitimize the evils
of Zionism according to the Torah. But in no way do they
speak in the name of all Jews, nor in the name of the Jewish
religion. They speak only for themselves and perhaps some
of their followers.
According to Judaism, since the state of Israel and the philosophy
of Zionism are totally evil and unjust, against humanity,
against G-d and against religion, we believe that no lasting
peace can be achieved as long as the state of "Israel" continues
to exist in any part of Palestine.
Today, as we stand here on International Al-Quds day, we
need to remember the occupied people in Palestine in general,
the suffering people in Gaza in particular, and also the
oppressed religious Jewish community in Jerusalem. And at
the same time we also need to remember the past history of
the peaceful coexistence between the Jewish community and
the Muslim community in every Muslim country, including Palestine,
a coexistence that is unfortunately now destroyed, due to
Zionism. But we need to understand that Zionism is only a
political movement, and once this political movement is set
aside, there is hope for a nicer future and a lasting peace.
We need to remember that the State of Israel and all its
actions do not represent world Jewry, and certainly not
the Jewish religion and the Holy Torah. Traditional Jews
are peace-loving people and so are the Palestinian people
and the Muslim people in general.
In conclusion, we should all pray to the Almighty for the
speedy and peaceful dismantlement of the entire state of "Israel." We
pray that this should take place peacefully without any more
suffering of any people. Once the political movement of
Zionism no longer exists, Jews and Muslims will be able to
enjoy the old historic harmonic coexistence, without any
more suffering or bloodshed, as they lived in the past.
Ultimately, let us pray to the Almighty for the day when
the glory of the Almighty will be revealed to the entire
universe, when all people recognize the One G-d and serve
him together in peace and harmony.
Thank you very much.