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Speech delivered at the

meeting on the crisis in the middle east

30 march 2004, house of commons, london, england

Mr. Yakov Konig, a spokesman for of Neturei Karta UK, delivered a speech at the event

Mr. Yakov Konig

Honourable friends,

I feel deeply privileged to have this opportunity of addressing you today.

It may come as a surprise to many of you to see an orthodox Jew on a public platform, indeed the Jewish people have not until recent years been involved in public debate neither about themselves nor about any topics in the public domain.

The reason being that we, as a people in a Divinely commanded exile are required to accept and live as exiles, not seeking any extra privileges nor wishing to influence the Governments of the Countries of our abode, who ever and where ever they may be. The only exception to this rule is where our religion or religious requisites were being threatened.

This exile was imposed upon us by the Almighty in his ultimate wisdom and mercy, as the most suitable way for us to regain our former glory as the Children of G-d the People of the Book, not as some would have it as a punishment for our sins, but rather as a medicine for our ailments.

Events of recent years have forced us to change in this respect, by speaking out, as we are being publicly ostracized, for the sins of others, who pretend to speak and act in our names, though without justification.

These people who falsely claim to represent us, “the idol worshipers of the golden calf” of modern history the Zionist organisations of the lands of our exile, and in particular of the Zionist state, have caused a great deal of anguish and pain for Jews the world over.

The power of the media being such, that the voice of the weak and the Just are ignored, and the actions of the wicked and the powerful are widely proclaimed as the Just and Righteous, so we are forced to protect our good name in the eyes of the people’s of the World, who have received us with open arms in our hour of the need, and those who have opened their lands to receive us in our exile.

I and my colleagues here today thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain what we as Orthodox Jews feel our duty as a religious people, to publicize this tragic misrepresentation. I hope and pray that with the Almighty’s help my words come over loud and clear, to convince you all of our sincerity, in wishing to see a world of Peace and Tranquillity for all Nations, and People.

A bit of history will help to clarify the Jewish point of view.

Firstly, Judaism is a nation unlike any other in the sense that our nationhood is based on a religion and a belief not on territory. This is borne out by the fact that the Jewish people have been without a land for 2000 years, but as long as they retain their religion they retain their identity.

Though the Promised Land was a part of the religious teachings in the sense that we were required to carry out many commandments that were tied with the land while we lived there, they were in no way required to maintain our religious existence as a people. G-d promised us the land under certain conditions. They were, that we had to maintain a high moral, ethical and religious standard.

Regretfully, these conditions were not fulfilled. For the last two thousand years or so the Jewish people have been in a state of exile, decreed by the Almighty because they did not maintain the standards expected of them. This situation exists right up to the present day. We accept willingly the Heavenly decree without question, and would not dream of rebelling against it, in order to end it by our human intervention. To do so would constitute a rebellion against the wishes of the Almighty.

In practical terms, although we have maintained our Jewish identity by virtue of our attachment to our religion and not maintaining close relations with others, never the less exile for us means that we must be loyal subjects of the countries in which we live and not attempt to rule over the established indigenous populations of these countries even if they would accept our rule willingly. We are sworn to keep our exile on the pain of death.

This is true of any land we live in, but more so of Palestine, and this would apply even if the land would be unoccupied and it certainly applies when, as is the current situation, 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 would perhaps help to try and understand what is Zionism, why do we speak out so strongly against. Are they not Jews the same way as we, why are Jews fighting Jews?

Let us consider the origins of the Zionist movement. Founded over a 100 years ago, mostly by secular people who had discarded their religion but still could not rid themselves of what they considered the stigma of being Jews in exile. They thought that our state of exile was due to our own subservient attitude – ‘the exile mentality’ - and not a Divine Decree. They wanted to throw off the constraints of exile establishing a new form of Jewish identity. Not religion based but land based. This was a typical, emotion driven, secular nationalistic view, similar to the aspirations of most other Stateless nations. Their policy had as its centre pin the aim of setting up a Jewish State (preferably in Palestine), and they were forging a new kind of Jew. In fact not a Jew at all, but a Zionist.

Zionism 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 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’.

Initially when Zionism reared its ugly head, all the Rabbi’s in the lands of their exile spoke out in no uncertain terms, and warned against the dangers of such acts, both in terms of the heavenly punishment that would follow such action, as well as the futility of trying to contravene the heavenly decree.

Unfortunately these people who were devoid of any religious feeling neither cared about lives of their fellow Jews in the lands of their exile, nor have they shown any human feelings to their fellow men, having achieved if we can call it an achievement, their aims in setting up a state, the cost in life and property was not allowed to stands in their way. Be they the Jews from the ghettos of hell, who were used as political ammunition, or be they the Palestinian people in their hundreds of thousands who were forced to flee from their homes and livelihood.

How can any sane person support such an existence?

Neturei Karta was set up to combat this unjust state of affairs, Religious Jews have organised themselves in order to decry the lie that they have some sympathy or G-d forbid direct support for this anti G-d state.

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.

We have problem in 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 to Zionism 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 upon thousands of lives both of Jews and Muslims. 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 our exile.

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, to the People of the World, and in particular to our Muslim neighbours, there is no hatred or animosity between Jew and Muslim or indeed any G-d fearing people. 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.

We pray for a solution to the terrible and tragic impasse, we hope there are Nations who see the immorality of the situation and have the courage to use political and economic pressures to bring it to a peaceful and just ending.

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 possibility of Jews dwelling in peace in the holy land under the rulership of the Palestinians, 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.


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