The Jewish Religion and its Opposition to Zionism

Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck

Spiritual Leader, Neturei Karta International

The Jewish Religion and its Opposition to Zionism A speech given by Rabbi Moshe Dov Beck at the “Israel Day Parade” in New York City, May 31, 2015

May the Almighty help me by placing the right words in my mouth, the right thoughts, in an organized way. May it come out well, may it be a sanctification of the Almighty’s name, and may my words be heard and penetrate the minds of the listeners.

With the help of the Almighty, we have come here to express the outcry of authentic Jews around the world against this parade, which the Zionists make to celebrate the existence of their heresy, their forced conversion of the Jewish people to another religion, and their desecration of the Almighty’s name. Over this, they make a big parade, a big celebration.

So we come here to express the pain of the true Jewish people from all over the world.

The Satmar Rebbe writes in Vayoel Moshe that the sin of the Golden Calf was a terrible sin, but the celebration that they made the following day, as the Torah says, “And the people sat down to eat and drink, and they got up to celebrate,” – was a much worse sin. Just as when it comes to serving the Almighty, if one serves Him with joy, it is 100 times more valuable, so too if one commits a sin with joy, with a big parade, the severity of the sin is 100 times worse. Therefore, the sin and the desecration of G-d’s name that the Zionists celebrate today with their heresy, with their rebellion against G-d, since they do it with a celebration, the sin is much worse than it would have been without the celebration.

Unfortunately, there are some religious Jews here at the parade too, wearing small yarmulkas to demonstrate that they are at least nominally observant. This makes the pain and desecration of G-d’s name much worse. So we came to express our pain, and the opposition of the authentic Jewish people around the world.

We came to cry out loudly and bitterly against the Zionists’ use of the name Israel, which implies that they are the true Jewish people. They claim to represent Jews, and whatever they do, they want it to be considered as if the Jewish people is doing it. We come to cry out that this is a falsehood, a lie! They are not the Jewish people! They don’t have the right to speak in the name of the Jewish people. Their use of the name “Israel” is a lie, a stolen identity. The Zionists are the opposite of the fundamental essence of the Jewish people. First of all, they are unabashedly atheistic. Their anti-religious ideology is the worst among the nations, worse than the idolaters. They deny every principle of Judaism, and they commit every sin in the Torah.

Besides, they have gathered together millions of Jews from around the world, put them straight into their secularist crematoria and made them into atheists and irreligious Jews. They turned their bodies and souls into piles of ashes. Everyone knows it. And on top of that, they built their country on the foundation that “Israel” denies G-d.

The true Israel is the Jewish people: as long as the people of Israel has existed in the world, they have always been ready to give up their lives for G-d’s sake, for their beliefs and for Torah. They have preferred to die rather than to make even the smallest move implying denial of the Torah.

But the Zionists stood up with audacity in the face of the whole world and built themselves a state where the entire Jewish belief system, the entire Torah, is discarded. It’s their law. And when something becomes a law, it’s much worse than when the same people merely commit the sin privately, without making it the official law. The very fact that they established their heresy as law is a terrible, terrible tragedy.

And that is a tremendous desecration of G-d’s name before the entire world: that the Jewish people, who had been famous in the world for their tenacious belief and observance of the Torah, are now denying G-d and His Torah. The desecration of G-d’s name is frightening. Such a thing has never happened before in all of Jewish history.

But our pain is much greater. If they would all be unabashed atheists, the problem would be as I have described it until now. But religious Jews also joined the movement, Jews who study Torah, Jews who otherwise keep every commandment, Jews who are active in outreach, people who spread Judaism with zeal – they became part of the whole project, making it seem like they are indeed the real Israel. They give credence to the idea that Zionism really does represent the true Israel, and that makes the desecration of G-d’s name complete: they declare that the Jewish people has denied G-d.

So the world sees that Zionism is not just pork-eaters, but also truly observant Jews, Torah personalities, rabbis teaching true Judaism. They give a stamp of approval to show that the State of Israel is the real Israel. So the desecration of G-d’s name is immeasurably greater. It is terrifying, inestimable.

That is why we are here to cry out in the bitter situation where we find ourselves, that the whole project calling itself “Israel” is false. We proclaim it in front of Jews, in front of non-Jews, in any way possible: that they are not Israel. They are false. They are a group of deniers of the Torah who took power by force. Nobody elected them.

But this is not the whole story. Unfortunately, this heresy under the name “Israel” has become disguised with all sorts of holiness. They settled in the Holy Land, in Jerusalem the holy city. They use all the holy sites of Judaism for their purposes. They exploit the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. They exploit Meiron, the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. They exploit all the gravesites of righteous individuals. They exploit many Jewish concepts, like the mitzvah to save lives, and the mitzvah to love one’s fellow Jew. They have dressed their movement up with other important Jewish concepts, making it look like these ideas are synonymous with the false Israel. They exploit the yeshivas. They exploit Torah schools for boys and for girls. They exploit the idea of serving G-d in the Holy Land. They manipulate everything to give themselves a Jewish appearance – to convince people that they are Israel. Their political state and all these Jewish concepts become mixed together in one stew, to make it seem like they are the real Israel.

Another thing the Zionists do is present themselves as the rescuers of the Jewish people. They say it every day, again and again – that they save the Jewish people from danger – while the truth is that as long as their movement has existed, they have been causing all the tragedies from which the Jewish people has suffered over the last 80 years. When Zionism began, they proclaimed that they were going to rescue the Jews and keep them safe, but the fact was that from the very start, they caused danger. Orthodox rabbis from 150 years ago, and even further back, when they saw the rise of Zionism, warned that the movement would only lead to bloodshed, only trouble. They said, “We can’t even imagine what kind of tragedies and anti-Semitism it will bring.” And they warned the Jewish people not to follow the movement, because it would only lead to misfortune.

I can’t go on at length now. Zionism started in 1896, and Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin heard about it just before his passing in 1898. He wrote to several rabbis saying, “I see a black cloud on the horizon of the Jewish people. There is only one way to stop this. We must excommunicate them from the Jewish people, as the rabbis of past centuries did to the Sadducees, the Karaites and other heretical sects.” Unfortunately, the other rabbis replied that they did not agree to the idea. They argued, “If we make a big deal out of the new movement, it will only gain strength, but if we ignore them they will be forgotten.” Rabbi Yehoshua Leib heaved a sigh, and unfortunately Zionism went on to become what we see today.

All the true great rabbis of the past fought against Zionism, and especially against the Mizrachi and Agudah movements who joined Zionism and helped give the movement a Jewish appearance. The Satmar Rebbe writes in Vayoel Moshe that the Holocaust came because of the sin of violating the Three Oaths that the Talmud says G-d placed upon the Jewish people: not to go to the Holy Land in force, not to throw off the yoke of exile and rebel against the nations under whom we live, and not to push for the end of exile. And if we don’t keep the Three Oaths, say the Talmud sages, G-d will declare Jewish flesh ownerless like the animals in the forest. We don’t find such a punishment anywhere else in the Torah, even for the worst sins. So why do the Three Oaths carry this terrible punishment? We have to spend time explaining that, and there’s not enough time now because we have to deal with another issue.

Unfortunately, the punishment came true. Other great rabbis said it too: that the Holocaust came because of the sin of transgressing the Three Oaths. That’s what Rabbi Michael Ber Weissmandl wrote. Before the war, almost all of the Jews of Europe denied the coming of the messiah. Not that they denied it openly, but Zionism represented a deficiency in their belief in the messiah and the true redemption. It would take too much time to describe the true redemption, but this much is clear: that the idea of casting off the yoke of exile is a fundamental heresy, a fundamental rebellion against G-d. And because of that the punishment came.

And through whom did it come? Indeed, it came through the Zionists themselves. The Zionists published newspaper articles and books full of anti-Semitic venom, arousing the hatred of all the non-Jews, until what happened, happened. They provoked that mad dog, that evil man to anger, until he threw himself on the floor and bit the carpet and screamed, “Now I will destroy them!” And he said to his people, “The Zionists have declared war against you. Can they stand up against me? They don’t even have any weapons. What do they think, that when they find a German they will kill him? So kill them before they kill you.” And he was the most powerful speaker in the world. With terrifying speeches he roused the people to hate Jews and persecute Jews. This was all the work of the Zionists. They made a boycott in America, and maybe in England too, and that aroused Germany’s hatred to the highest level – until they did what they did. So the punishment indeed came through the Zionists themselves.

And there were people in the world at that time, non-Jews, who were inspired to save Jews (for example, Roosevelt proposed to let 150,000 Jews into the United States; the British parliament proposed to bring Jews to its colony in Mauritius). But the Zionists blocked their efforts (because they wanted Jews to go only to Palestine). They literally stopped them. This is aside from the handful of cases when the Zionists killed Jews with their own hands (such as the sinking of the Patria). And this is aside from the infamous statements made by the Zionist leaders at that time. For example, the wicked Weizmann said, “The most important part of the Jewish people is already in the Land of Israel.” He was referring to the Zionist pioneers, the young men and women, anti-religious pork-eaters, outcasts from Jewish homes. He said, “The old ones will pass. They will bear their fate or they will not. They were dust, economic and moral dust in a cruel world…Only the branch of the young shall survive…They have to accept it.” In the same way, the wicked Itzhak Gruenbaum said, “One cow in Palestine is worth more than many Jews in Poland.”

I want to spend a little time explaining this more. To this day, the Zionists never cease to say, “The Jews went through the Holocaust, but now we will save the Jews from another Holocaust. We won’t let it happen again. We will save the Jewish people, Jews will stand up on their feet and that’s how the Jewish people will survive.” First of all, this is an open denial of G-d. They are denying the fact that the tragedies of the Jewish people come from G-d as a punishment for their sins. They are denying reward and punishment. When G-d brings a punishment, there is no way to avoid it. But Zionism comes along and denies that, and says, “We will save the Jewish people. Never again!” That is heresy. Yet good Jews ask, “What do you mean, heresy?!” The idea of “never again” has already taken root in the minds of Jews. You can hear this heresy repeated in synagogues: “We need a state to prevent a second Holocaust.”

So the Zionists – both secular and religious – are constantly saying “Holocaust, Holocaust.” Whoever listens to them is hearing it day and night.

But the truth is, history shows that 70 years have already gone by since the Holocaust, and all Jews around the world have been living safely, thank G-d, and may G-d continue to help. Of course, once in a while there are problems here or there, but in general, the Jewish people are safe. The only place where tragedies have been happening in one long chain, every so often, with bloodshed again and again, is there, in their state. They are in a perpetual state of war. It’s not normal. The nations, the UN and others have been trying the whole time to broker a peace agreement, to calm things down. They have been trying to reach an arrangement as long as the Zionist state has been in existence. For all that time, they have been embroiled in conflicts with their neighbors. The world powers have been trying to make peace, but it doesn’t work. They are so stubborn in so many ways. They don’t want to bend. They must have the land. Why do they need it so much? Because they present themselves as pitiful before the world. They are the victims, surrounded by attackers. They bring danger upon themselves, and then expect the world to have pity on them. And so many Jews are taken in by this illusion. They really think it’s true. They are the victims, and we have to help them. Donations come pouring in. So many people have stumbled into the Zionist heresy. Wealthy Jews around the world pour their money upon them. So they have to maintain a constant state of warfare, in order to be able to say that the Arabs want to kill them, and we have to help them. If they didn’t say that, they wouldn’t be able to raise any money.

So the world pours money on them. The world sees them as the victims. Not only the Jewish world, but the non-Jewish world as well. It was very hard for the world leaders to change their minds and realize that actually, the Israelis were not the victims, but the troublemakers. They are the ones who started the conflict. They see that it’s impossible to get them to back down, however hard they try. That’s when they realized that they are the ones causing the trouble, not the victims. It’s entirely the opposite: they came and knowingly settled in the Palestinians’ land. The slogan of Zionism was, “A land without a people for a people without a land.” In other words, the Jews are the people without a land, and the world should give them a land that has no people. Palestine is a land that has no people. In other words, the Palestinians who live there are nothing. They are just dirt. We aren’t taking them into account at all. This, at a time when the entire land was settled with Palestinians. In Jaffa there lived 70,000 Arabs. The Zionists expelled them. Four hundred Arab villages existed in Palestine, and the Zionists expelled them all, while destroying their property, humiliating them and killing them in the process. In one night 70,000 Arabs left Jaffa and fled over the water, because the Zionists ordered them out.

So the Zionists displaced the Palestinians and made themselves a state. So naturally – it could be no other way – there had to be bloodshed. Imagine if France were to come here to America, to New York, and declare it part of France. Of course there would be bloodshed. Nobody would expect anything else. Obviously, if someone else walks into my house and says, “This is my house,” there will be a bloody fight. So that’s what happened there. The Palestinians were treated unjustly, expelled and murdered, treated cruelly, and the Zionists moved in and took their place.

So it’s clear, the truth is that the Zionists are not the rescuers of the Jewish people. They are the ones who started the whole conflict. Yet they shout, “Holocaust, Holocaust.” They don’t really want to save the Jews in countries around the world. They want the Jews around the world to come running to them. That’s why they brought the Yemenite Jews fleeing to them, 80,000 Jews, by actually committing murder. The Zionists orchestrated pogroms in Yemen, and then airlifted the Yemenite Jews, in order to increase their state’s population and settle their country. They did the same in Morocco, in Tunisia, Algeria, countries of North Africa – Egypt too. The same thing happened in Iran, in Iraq. I still remember how the Zionists threw a bomb into a synagogue in Iraq, killing 14 Jews. The Iraqi Jews were stricken with fear, and they came running to the Zionists. The same thing happened in Iran. The Zionists upset the situation. Jews had been living there peacefully, but they upset the situation, and hundreds of thousands of them came running to the Zionist state. They don’t want to save the Jewish communities around the world. On the contrary, they create danger in other countries so that Jews should be forced to flee to their state. Today’s Zionists didn’t think up this idea; their founder Herzl thought of it long ago. He wrote it in his diary that we have to burn a fire under the feet of the Jewish people so that they should have to flee to their “Judenstat” that they would build. That has always been the Zionist game plan. So when they shout, “Never again” it’s the exact opposite – they’re not even interested in saving Jews in other countries. They are only interested in Jews from other countries immigrating to them.

It just became known now that they created trouble in France and other countries so that it should appear that there is anti-Semitism in those countries. And their prime minister proclaimed that all the Jews in those countries were welcome to immigrate to his state. The French government was offended by that. They were embarrassed that in their countries there is anti-Semitism. They held a meeting of world leaders – this just happened recently – and made a declaration against anti-Semitism. And they proclaimed that Jews could live safely in their countries, no need to run away. And that is really the truth. If there is any trouble there, it’s the Zionists who cause it.

And forget about saving the Jews in other countries. They can’t even protect themselves from attacks. Over the past 70 years, it has been pure trouble, pure bloodshed. And it’s clear that they caused it, because the Palestinians are the victims, and they have the spirit of vengeance. So there is bloodshed, and the Zionists are responsible for it. So not only don’t they want to save the Jews in other countries – they can’t even protect the Jews in their own country. What can they do? But in other countries, they want the opposite. There must be trouble there so that Jews have to come running to their state.

We are believing Jews. We have no connection to the Zionists. The Torah teaches Jews how they must behave, both at the time when they have their own country, and at the time when they are in exile. What the Torah teaches is the opposite of what the Zionists do and say, and most importantly of their thoughts and ideas. Jews follow the Torah, Jews follow their beliefs, and the Torah teaches that today, while we are in exile, we must believe that G-d sent us into this exile. We believe in reward and punishment, and we believe that we can’t free ourselves from exile. We are not allowed to free ourselves from exile. As we said earlier, we have instructions in the Torah for how to interact with the non-Jews. The prophet Jeremiah says that we must pray for the peace of the country where we live. “Seek its peace, for with its peace you will have peace.” That is what the Torah teaches. It means that we must act humbly, not revolt, treat our neighbors kindly, obey the laws of the land – unless they attempt to force us to abandon our faith. In that case we must risk our lives; in that aspect we are not in exile. But otherwise, the Torah commands that we live humbly, seek peace and pray for the welfare of our country. The Mishnah says (Avos 3:2), “Pray for the welfare of your government, for if not for the fear of the government, one man would swallow the other alive.” Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner explains that the Sages said this regarding the Roman government. Yes, the Romans, who did so much harm to the Jews – that’s who they said we should pray for, because their peace means our peace.

The Torah tells the story of Jacob’s encounter with Esau, and the Ramban says that the story is a lesson for all generations for how Jews should behave toward the non-Jews in exile. The Sages say we should greet the non-Jews. Rabban Gamliel was always the first to greet every non-Jew he met in the street. There are many laws for how to live peacefully with others, written in the Code of Jewish Law. We have to visit a sick non-Jew, give charity to their poor, and so on. That is the way Jews are supposed to behave humbly in exile.

The Sages say (Midrash Rabbah, Deuteronomy 2:3) that if we see the non-Jews coming to attack us, we should not stand up to them; rather, we must run and hide. We are not allowed to stand up or revolt. We have to humble ourselves, bow down to them. And what about their attack? Repentance, prayer and charity annul the evil decree. We believe that their attack is really a decree of G-d in disguise, as the Bible says (Isaiah 10:5), “Assyria is the rod of My anger.” They are G-d’s rod. If the non-Jews make a decree against Jews, it is really G-d’s decree, and we must turn to G-d. We must repent. Repentance, prayer and charity annul the evil decree. That is the path that the Torah teaches. If, G-d forbid, we do the opposite of what the Torah commands, the punishment is that G-d will declare our flesh ownerless. This is how it is for Jews who believe in G-d, who believe in exile, who believe in reward and punishment.

But Zionism teaches the opposite. They say we must lift up our heads, as I explained before. It would take a long time to explain the Zionist philosophy, but let’s be brief. Zionism denies the principle of reward and punishment. They say we can stand up against G-d. When G-d sends danger, we can stand up against it with our own power. So that is denial of reward and punishment. Zionism is a denial of the holiness of the Jewish people. And therefore they say that it’s humiliating for Jews to bow down to the non-Jews, it’s not befitting to the Jewish people’s honor. What is honorable from their point of view? When Jews lift up their heads against the non-Jews. Humbling ourselves is humiliating.

Thank G-d, many Jews have already begun to hear the voice of truth, the voices of Jews who oppose Zionism. And many Jews in the world agree with the viewpoint that they call Neturei Karta. Really, it doesn’t need a name because there is no such thing as Neturei Karta. There are only Jews who believe in G-d alone. But the world gave it the name Neturei Karta. In any case, many Jews are slowly coming back to the traditional faith, the faith that we received by tradition from all the greatest rabbis throughout the 2000 years of exile. All of them agreed that we must act humbly in exile, as I explained earlier. Regarding that there was never any dispute. It made no difference if they were Misnagdim or Chassidim, Sephardim or Ashkenazim – it was undisputed. It was only when Zionism began that the confusion started. So we say, how can we abandon the traditions we have had for 2000 years from all the greatest rabbis, the way every religious Jew always thought, and adopt instead a different philosophy? But today Jews are beginning to hear us, and non-Jews are beginning to hear us too. They are saying, “This is a different story that Zionism doesn’t tell us.” May G-d help that all Jews should return to their faith, cast away the idolatry and philosophy of Zionism, the idea of standing up and fighting for ourselves against the non-Jews, and in the merit of this repentance, may we be privileged to see soon the revelation of G-d’s glory in the world, speedily in our days, amen.