Al Mayadeen

Exclusive: Rabbi says Judaism opposes Gaza war, calls it unjustified

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss has challenged the prevailing narrative surrounding the Palestinian struggle and advocated for a return to the authentic principles of Judaism.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a prominent figure within the Neturei Karta Orthodox Jewish movement in America, emphasized in an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen the importance of conveying the message of true Judaism to the world. He highlighted that the core principles of Judaism, rooted in compassion and adherence to God’s commandments, stand in stark contrast to the ideology of Zionism.

Rabbi Weiss clarified that the fundamental tenets of Judaism advocate for subservience to God and compassionate behavior, which are incompatible with the nationalist ideology of Zionism.

He criticized Zionism as a movement driven by secularism and devoid of spiritual values, emphasizing that it was established by individuals who rejected traditional Jewish teachings.

Rabbi Weiss further underscored that the Zionist movement’s claim to the land of Palestine under the guise of religious entitlement is false and misleading.

He condemned Zionism’s manipulation of religious symbols, such as the name “Israel” and the Star of David, to justify its actions and garner international support, labeling this approach as deceitful, reprehensible, and tantamount to a Nakba, or catastrophe, for the Palestinian people.

“The people confuse Judaism, the Jewish people, with Zionism and the state of Israel, so they think that if you say that the state of Israel should be dismantled, it should end, that it means, God forbid, a tragedy for the Jewish people, or for the Jewish nation, or for Judaism. But that’s not true,” he said.

“On the contrary, Jewish people have been living together with Muslim people for hundreds and hundreds of years. The Muslim countries and the Arab countries are the ones who took in the Jews by the Crusades, the Inquisition, and throughout these hundreds of years of Jewish suffering, they embraced Jews,” the Jewish Rabbi added.

Rabbi Weiss emphasizes Jewish-Muslim harmony in history
Weiss highlighted the historical respect between Arab and Muslim leaders and the Jewish community. He underscored the significant contributions of Jewish scholars, including Maimonides and Abu Hatsira, who flourished in Arab and Muslim lands, particularly under the Ottoman Empire in Palestine.

He lamented the emergence of Zionism and its impact on relations between Jewish and Palestinian communities. He pointed to the Balfour Declaration as a turning point, leading to the Zionist colonization of Palestine and the displacement of its indigenous population. Weiss emphasized that Palestinian opposition to Zionist actions does not stem from anti-Semitism but from a desire to protect their land and homes from theft and oppression.

“The question is, when you remove this occupation, is there a problem of Jews living together with Muslims? No! “

In Rabbi Weiss’ view, Zionism’s most potent tool is its conflation of Judaism with nationalist agendas, allowing it to label opposition to its policies as anti-Semitic. He asserts that Palestinians, historically living harmoniously alongside Jews, have borne the brunt of Zionism’s violence and displacement.

“They’ve been demonstrating. Children, old men, and they, these people don’t carry guns. You can’t say that they’re militant. Yet they stand up and demonstrate against the occupation. What happens to them? They get attacked, brutally attacked. They get assassinated. Many of our rabbis get assassinated. Here you see they’re treading on with horses,” he said.

“The Jewish children refuse to go to the army so they get arrested. So, what happens is… Here we see they’re being sprayed with stink water to discourage any demonstration. So what happens… these are these Zionists who are supposedly not anti-Semitic but against anti-Semitism while they’re destroying, they’re killing the rabbis, and so forth. And then, when anybody wants to say anything, they say, well, they’re a very distinguished country of Jewish leadership,” he added.

In a fervent declaration before the courts, prominent religious figures have called for the immediate recognition of what they label as the “Zionist entity” as nothing short of a den of criminals, Rabbi Weiss contended.

Citing historical pleas from Sephardic and Ashkenazic chief Rabbis, they argue that the establishment of “Israel” in 1948 was not only a grave error but a criminal act, he further stressed. These leaders, representing longstanding Jewish communities, vehemently opposed the notion of a “Jewish state” in Palestine.

Especially now, what’s happening in Gaza, that it’s, there’s no justification, it’s beyond, beyond any moral concept. So this, in a manner, this way, it’s bringing other people to be awakened to see that they’re being forces, they’re being conned and misled in Zionists. So, both the Jewish community and the other communities are beginning to accept what the rabbinical authorities have said from day one, that this is dead wrong.

It’s totally criminal. It’s a Nakba and we oppose it because we are Jewish.

Rabbi Weiis stands firm: Unwavering support for Palestine
In a resolute statement, Rabbi Weiss underscored unwavering support for the people of Palestine and urged Jewish individuals not to succumb to the intimidation tactics of “Israel”.

Emphasizing his stance against drafting in the Israeli army, which he labeled as the armed wing of the Zionist state, Rabbi Weiss stressed the imperative of withholding support and refraining from military service. He highlighted efforts to offer assistance to those who feel coerced into joining the IOF, providing legal aid to prevent their enlistment.

In his exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen, Rabbi Weiss expressed concern over the influence wielded by organizations such as AIPAC (“American Israel Political Alliance Committee”), suggesting that many individuals may refrain from speaking out against Israeli actions due to fear of being labeled as anti-Semitic.

He urged Jewish representatives not to succumb to external pressures and to act by what he viewed as moral imperatives dictated by God and humanity.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he condemned the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the occupation of Palestinian territories, asserting that such actions lack legitimacy both in terms of religious principles and universal human values.

But, they are under tremendous pressure, because if they stand up against “Israel”, they’re committing political suicide, a lot of them. Today, maybe because it is so blatant, the criminality, what’s happening in Gaza, that they’re getting a little leeway to stand up. Maybe and take a different position for the people of Palestine.

In heartfelt solidarity, Rabbi Weiss stated that members of Jewish communities, including those from al-Quds and beyond, express their deep empathy for the people of Palestine.

They eagerly anticipate international action, urging the United Nations to recognize their anguish and plight, he added.

Drawing parallels to their historical suffering, notably the horrors of Auschwitz and the Nazi regime, he stressed that Jews empathize with the Palestinian struggle, affirming their belief in eventual justice and resolution.

Amid their plea for divine intervention and a peaceful resolution, these Jewish voices extend a profound apology for the actions conducted purportedly in their name, he further highlighted. They envision a future where Palestine regains sovereignty over its land, offering their support and willingness to coexist as citizens under Palestinian rule, Rabbi Weiss said.

“If not, we have to go to other countries. No question. It’s their land. It’s Palestine. It’s Palestine. It belongs to the people of Palestine and their children and offspring,” he concluded by saying.

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