Orthodox Jewish Group to Demonstrate Outside NY City Hall During Hearing on Anti-Semitism: Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism

When: Thursday June 30, 9:00 AM

Where: City Hall Park, New York City
At City Hall tomorrow morning, June 30, 2022, a meeting of City Council members will be held to address what they call “anti-Semitism on college campuses.” This move comes in response to a recent rise in pro-Palestinian activism on CUNY campuses, where student organizations have been spreading awareness of Israeli war crimes of the past and present.

Pro-Israel council members are calling for people to show their solidarity with the State of Israel by demonstrating on the steps of City Hall. In response, traditional Orthodox Jews organized by Neturei Karta International will stand in City Hall Park to deliver the message that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and that peaceful activists for Palestine should not be silenced.

“It’s true that there is, and for a long time has been anti-Semitism in the world,” said Rabbi Dovid Feldman, a spokesman for the group. “But when someone criticizes a Jew for a crime he committed, it doesn’t become anti-Semitic. When someone complains that he was robbed, it is not because he has hatred to the nation to which the perpetrator belongs. When a victim refuses to accept the occupation of his land, it doesn’t make him anti-Semitic.”

Pro-Palestinian activism is an attempt to bring justice to an oppressed people. This activism is not at all a threat to Jews. It is confronting crimes committed by individuals who happen to be mainly of Jewish descent. Many of these activists and their organizations make it clear that they don’t have anything against Jews or Judaism.

On the contrary, those who portray all Jews as supporters of Israel, and thereby claim that these pro-Palestinian activists are against Jews, are provoking anti-Semitism. Dragging all Jews into the conflict is selfish, untrue and unjust. They are trying to use the Jewish religion as a shield, sullying the name of the religion and desecrating G-d’s name.

Having a Jewish state is forbidden according to the Torah, as likewise it is forbidden to oppress, occupy, etc. another people. The disregard of these Torah commandments with the creation of the State of Israel has resulted in the tragic loss of thousands of Arab and Jewish lives. The ongoing crimes of the Israeli government only serve to pour fuel upon the fires of conflict in the Holy Land.
Activism for the benefit of oppressed people is a righteous cause, and should be admired and encouraged, not denounced as hate.

Yes, pro-Israeli students on university campuses may have been criticized for waving an Israeli flag, because by doing so they are identifying with Israeli actions. But they are not criticized, for wearing a kippah, which is a religious symbol.

There is no present threat on campuses against Jews because they were born Jewish, or because of the religion they practice. But there is a threat that Zionism is losing its credibility in public opinion. That is the real reason why the pro-Israel council members called this hearing today.

But further oppressing the oppressed, by taking away their right to speak up, does not address hate; it induces hate.

We call on City Council members not to conflate Judaism with Zionism, which is an unjust insult to pro-Palestinians activists, and is harmful for Jews.