THE GREAT GULF BETWEEN ZIONISM AND JUDAISM
Paper delivered by G. J. Neuberger a member of Neturei Karta at the Tripoli Conference on Zionism and Racism
Where the Torah tells about the creation of the first human being, the most prominent Jewish commentator, Rashi, explains that the earth from which Adam was formed was not taken from one spot but from various parts of the globe. Thus human dignity does not depend on the place of one's birth nor is it limited to one region. The greatness or worth of a person is not measured by his or her outward appearance. Jews believe that Adam was created in G-d's image and that he is the common ancestor of all mankind. At this stage in human history, there is no room for privileged people who can do with others as they please. Human life is sacred and human rights are not to be denied by those who would subvert them for "national security" or for any other reason. No one knows this better than the Jews, who have been second-class citizens so often and for so long. Zionists, however, may differ. This is understandable because Judaism and Zionism are by no means the same. Indeed they are incompatible and irreconcilable: If one is a good Jew, one cannot be a Zionist; if one is a Zionist, one cannot be a good Jew.
The Treason of Zionism
A conference such as this is long overdue, and I wish to thank those who made it possible to hold it. For over 60 years I have fought Zionism, as did my father before me, and I am therefore quite familiar with it. For those who have been in this fight for only the last ten or twenty years, what I have to say may be surprising or even shocking. Nevertheless these matters must be stated clearly and openly, because unless the disease of Zionism is diagnosed accurately, it cannot be cured. Too long have those opposed to Zionism engaged in daydreaming and wishful thinking. In order to recognize Zionism for what it is, one has to know about Judaism, about Zionism -- the opposite and negation of Judaism, and about Jewish history. In the time allotted to me, I am not going to talk about the actions of the Zionists; they will be adequately dealt with by other speakers. As a Jew, I plan to discuss Zionism, which is rebellion against G-d and treason to the Jewish people.
To begin with, a few definitions: Who is a Jew? A Jew is anyone who has a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism in conformity with Halacha, Jewish religious law. This definition alone excludes racism. Judaism does not seek converts, but those who do convert are accepted on a basis of equality. Let us see how far this goes. Some of the most eminent and respected rabbis were converts to Judaism. Jewish parents throughout the world bless their children every Sabbath and holiday eve, and they have done it in the same way for millennia. If the children are girls, the blessing is, "May G-d let you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah." Not one of these matriarchs was born a Jewess; they were all converts to Judaism. If the children are boys, the blessing is, "May G-d let you be like Ephraim and Manasseh." The mother of these two was an Egyptian woman who became Jewish and had married Joseph. Moses himself, the greatest Jew who ever lived, married a Midianite woman who became Jewish. Finally, the Tanach, the holy writings of the Jew, contains the book of Ruth. This woman was not only not Jewish by birth, but she came from the Moabites, traditional enemies of the Jewish people. This book describes Ruth's conversion to Judaism and is read annually on the holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah, the "Law," i.e. the Pentateuch. At its very end, the book of Ruth traces the ancestry of King David, the greatest king the Jews ever had, to Ruth, his great-grandmother.
Apart from the Zionists, the only ones who consistently considered the Jews a race were the Nazis. And they only served to prove the stupidity and irrationality of racism. There was no way to prove racially whether a Mrs. Muller or a Mr. Meyer were Jews or Aryans. The only way to decide whether a person was Jewish was to trace the religious affiliation of the parents or grandparents. So much for the this racial nonsense.
Racial pride has been the downfall of those Jews in the past who were blinded by their own narrow-minded chauvinism. This brings us to a second definition. Is there a Jewish people? If so, what is its mission? Let us make this completely clear: The Jewish nation was not born or reconstituted a generation ago by some Zionist politicians. The Jewish nation was born on Mount Sinai when the Jews by their response, "let us do and let us hear," adopted the Torah given to them by G-d for all future generations. `This day you become a people," though valid still today, was spoken thousands of years ago.
According to Jewish tradition, there are seven Noahide laws which apply to all human beings. Then there are the Ten Commandments which form basic standard of morality and conduct for adherents of all monotheistic religions. In addition to these, there are 613 laws obligatory for Jews, and every Jew has to observe those which are applicable to him or her according to Halacha. It is the carrying out of these mitzvoth, "commandments," which constitutes the essence of being Jewish, and therefore of the Jewish people and their covenant with G-d.
In what way are the Jews a "chosen people"? Every Jewish man anywhere and at any time when called to the reading of the Torah says, "Who has chosen us from all the peoples and gave us His Torah." This is the way in which the Jews are chosen. The Jewish people are chosen not for domination over others, not for conquest or warfare, but to serve G-d and thus to serve mankind. "And the hands are the hands of Esau," has been traditionally interpreted to mean that while "the voice is Jacob's," the hands- - symbolizing violence - are Esau's. Thus physical violence is not a tradition or a value of the Jews. The task for which the Jewish people were chosen is not to set an example of military superiority or technical achievements, but to seek perfection in moral behavior and spiritual purity. Of all the crimes of political Zionism, the worst and most basic, and which explains all its other misdeeds, is that from its beginning Zionism has sought to separate the Jewish people from their G-d, to render the divine covenant null and void, and to substitute a "modern" statehood and fraudulent sovereignty for the lofty ideals of the Jewish people.
Hypocrisy and Perversion
One means of misleading many Jews and all too many non-Jews is the Zionist misuse of names and symbols sacred in Judaism. They use the holy name Israel for their Zionist state. They have named their land acquisition fund with a term that traditionally implies the reward for piety, good deeds, and charitable work. They have adopted as a state symbol the menorah (candlebrum). What hypocrisy, what perversion it is to have the Israeli army fight under an emblem, the meaning of which is explained in the Tenach (on the occasion of a previous return to the Holy Land) as, "not with armed force and not with power, but in My spirit says the Lord of Hosts."
The infamous founder of political Zionism, may his name be cursed, who only discovered his own Jewishness because of anti-Semitism displayed at the Dreyfus trial in France, proposed various solutions to what he called the "Jewish problem." At one point he proposed to resettle the Jews in Uganda. At another he proposed to convert them to Catholicism. He finally hit on the idea of a Judenstaat, an exclusive Jewish state. Thus from its very beginning Zionism was a result of Anti-Semitism and indeed is completely compatible with it, because Zionists and anti-Semites had (and have) a common goal: To bring all Jews from their places of domicile to the Zionist state, thus uprooting Jewish communities that had existed for hundreds and even thousands of years. Loyalty to the Zionist state was substituted for loyalty to G-d, and the state was made into the modern "golden calf". Belief in the Torah and fulfillment of religious obligations in Zionist eyes became a private matter and not a duty for every Jew or for the Jewish people. The Zionists made divine law subject to party or parliamentary votes, and they set their own standards of conduct and ethics.
Neither the founder of political Zionism nor any of the prime ministers of the Zionist state believed in the divine origin of the Torah nor even in the existence of G-d. All prime ministers were members of a party that opposed religion in principle and that considered the Bible a document of ancient folklore, devoid of any religious meaning. And yet these same Zionists base their claim to the Holy Land on this same Bible, the divine origin of which they deny. At the same time they conveniently forget the Jewish holiday prayer "and for our sins have we been exiled from our land," and ignore the fact that the present exile of the Jewish people is divinely decreed and that the Jewish people are neither commanded nor permitted to conquer or rule the Holy Land before the coming of the Messiah. The Jewish people do, of course, recognize special spiritual ties to that land they call it Eretz Yisrael. Every morning, afternoon, and evening, and night they mention it and Zion and Jerusalem in their prayers, and indeed a Jew does not sit down to a meal without doing likewise. To the Jew, the very soil of the Holy Land is different from that of any other spot on this globe, and wherever he is he turns his face toward Jerusalem during prayers. To live in the Holy Land or even to be buried there was always considered to be of high merit.
This love of the land and the Jewish longing for a return to it and for the coming of the Messiah have been exploited innumerable times during the past 2,000 years. Zionism has had many precursors and each has been a curse for the Jews. Individuals who proclaimed themselves the Messiah and messianic movements have sprung up from time to time, from the Roman era through the Middle Ages and down to the modern Zionists. Many of these pseudo-Messiahs posed as rabbis or as national leaders, though some of them eventually professed other faiths; many temporarily - some for longer periods - succeeded in misleading Jews, rabbis, and entire Jewish communities. All were in due course exposed and recognized as frauds, and those who had set their hope on them found only disappointment and all too often disaster.
In the early stages of the development of modern Zionism, the Mizrachi was founded, an organization of so-called religious Zionists who tried to combine their faith with political Zionism. This led to constant conflict between the dictates of divine law and the demands of Jewish nationalism. Most of the time, the Mizrachi was outvoted at Zionist congresses and served only to give the Zionist movement a false religious aura. Whenever expediency called for it, these "religious" Zionist fellow-travelers have been used by the Zionist government to underpin national claims with "religious" authority. The National Religious Party in the Zionist state has been well rewarded for giving its stamp of approval to nationalistic measures and enactments, whether these rewards were of financial nature or in the form of cabinet or other government posts. The chauvinism of these religious Zionists frequently exceeded that of other Zionists, and it was always couched in religious terms - a prime example of the abuse of religion. The fraudulence of these "religious" Zionists was demonstrated during the past year when it was revealed that two of their world leaders had committed million-dollar thefts.
A Jewish world organization was founded in 1912 on the German-Polish border with the specific purpose of fighting Zionism. This organization, Agudath Israel, "Union of Israel," was to represent the true Jewish people in the world and to unmask the unwarranted and unjust claims of the Zionists. Rabbis everywhere joined Agudath Israel, as did masses of observant Jews. Anti-Zionist congresses were convened in Vienna and in Marienbad. In countries such as Poland, Agudists were members of parliament. Under Agudah leadership more than 50 years ago, Jews in the Holy Land opposed to Zionism obtained permission from Britain, the mandatory power in Palestine, to declare in writing that they did not wish to be represented by the Zionists or any of their groups, particularly not by the Zionist quasi-governmental organizations such as the Va'ad Leumi, "National Council."
Shortly thereafter, Jacob de Haan, a former distinguished Dutch diplomat who was then leader of Agudath Israel in Palestine, initiated talks with Arab leaders with a view toward the eventual establishments of a state there in which Jews and Arabs would have equal rights. In this way he hoped to forestall the creation of a Zionist state. Despite threats to his life, de Haan, fully aware of the ultimate dangers of a Zionist state, continued his talks and negotiations. On the eve of his departure in 1924 for Britain to meet with authorities there, he was assassinated by the Haganah, the Zionist paramilitary force, in the center of Jerusalem as he came from evening prayers. More than a half a century ago, this devout and visionary Jew gave his life in a fight that he considered paramount, at a time when the world at large was still blind and deaf to the difficulties and problems that a future Zionist state would entail.
As a result of such terrorism and increasing Zionist pressure, Agudath Israel gradually began to weaken and to compromise. During the Nazi period, it entered indo deals and arrangements with the Zionists, despite the fact that its fundamental aim had been to combat Zionism. After the Zionist state was established, Agudath Israel broke off with its past, participated in the Zionist government on the cabinet level and elected Agudists to the Zionist parliament. Still professing a nominal anti-Zionism, Agudath Israel established a network of "independent" schools in the Holy Land, but today the overwhelming part of the budget of these schools comes from the Zionist government.
In view of these developments, those Jews who wanted to continue the fight against Zionism without any compromise left Agudath Israel and constituted themselves as the Neturei Karta, an Aramaic phrase meaning "Guardians of the City," i.e. the city of Jerusalem. The Neturei Karta in turn became a worldwide movement, known in some places as "Friends of Jerusalem."
The greatest leader of the Neturei Karta was Rabbi Amram Blau, an inspired and dedicated leader whose compassion equaled his courage. He could not keep silent in the face of injustice, immorality, or hypocrisy. He was beloved by Jews and respected by Christians and Muslims. Born in Jerusalem, he never left the Holy Land during his entire life. In his writings he stressed many times that Jews and Arabs had lived in harmony until the advent of political Zionism. Rabbi Blau was imprisoned in Jerusalem, not by the Ottoman authorities, not by the British, and not by the Arabs, but by the Zionists. What was his crime? He defended with vigor and honesty, without regard for his own safety, the holy character of Jerusalem against the "innovations" and encroachments of the Zionists. He fought for the sanctity of the Sabbath and actively opposed the inroads of indecency and immorality made under the Zionist regime.
Unceasingly Rabbi Blau denounced the establishment of a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah as an act of infamy and blasphemy. Under his leadership, the Neturei Karta declared year after year that they did not recognize the legitimacy of the Zionist state or the validity of its laws.
During the first period of fighting between the Zionist state and the Arabs, the rabbis of the Neturei Karta went toward the combat lines, carrying a white flag, and stated that they wanted no part in this war and that they were absolutely opposed to the creation of a Zionist state. In his last proclamation, Rabbi Blau deplored the actions of the Zionists against the Muslim and Christian Palestinians and the grievous harm done by the Zionists to the Jewish people in endeavoring to change them from "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" to a modern state, devoid of spiritual foundation, based on chauvinism, built on conquest, and relying on military prowess. "The number of your cities constitute your gods," the prophet Jeremiah had thundered to the chauvinist and idolatrous Jewish government of this day. Like it, the Zionists are now establishing a new status quo and expanding their position by founding new settlements in he territories occupied since 1967.
Rabbi Blau in his last statement severely condemned the UN for recognizing and accepting as a member the Zionist state, thus giving the Zionists unprecedented prestige and power. It is high time that the anti-Zionist nations listen to him, heed his plea, and undo this great wrong and correct this fatal error. It is well known that no action was taken concerning the expulsion of the Zionist state because of the fear that financial support for the UN would be withdrawn. Let those states, opposed to Zionism, who have become affluent during the past generation, show that they mean what they say by offering to replace any financial loss the UN may suffer as a consequence, and let the member states vote their conscience without fear and regardless of any intimidation.
There has been times before in Jewish history, as related in the Bible, when the masses were misled and only a minority of Jews clung to the true mission of the Jewish people. One of the first such of the occasions was the worship of the golden calf; today we unfortunately see a repetition of this, with the Zionist state now being the object of worship. Until the appearance and growing influence of political Zionism, Jewish leaders were chosen on the basis of their piety, decency, learning, and their love of justice and mercy. Today only too often so-called Jewish leaders, completely unqualified under Jewish law and traditional concepts, make pronouncements and decisions in the name and on behalf of the Jewish people. This is particularly true in the USA where there is the largest Jewish community in our time. I can never forget the remark of a woman in Oklahoma: "Isn't today's Judaism wonderful! All you have to do is give money."
Even at his death Rabbi Blau refuted the Zionists who had often claimed that the Neturei Karta was nothing but an insignificant sect of a few hundred souls. Yet when Rabbi Blau died in Jerusalem on a Friday morning two years ago, a few hours later no fewer than 22,000 men attended his funeral.
At all times in the past, the misleaders of the Jews have sooner or later fallen by the wayside, and only those who upheld the validity of the Torah and the Talmud (the written and oral law) and of Halachah, and who resisted the demagogues, prevailed. The Neturei Karta follow in this tradition. They continue as a living rebuke to Zionism and speak in our time for the true Jewish people, those who have not been misled by Zionism.
During the Roman conquest of the Holy Land, there were Jews who on the basis of nationalism and racial pride were sure that they could not lose a war. They, like the Zionists of our day, were opposed to any compromise or settlement; there were determined to fight to the end. At that time, however almost 2,000 years ago, the fore most rabbi, Rabbi Yochanan ben Sakkai, chose a different way. The military adventurers prevented him from leaving beleaguered Jerusalem to negotiate with the Romans, so the rabbi had himself carried out in a coffin by his disciples to the Roman headquarters. He said to the Romans that the Jews need neither an army nor weapons and asked for permission to establish a yeshiva, a Jewish religious school, at Yavneh. It was this religious school, and not the militarists or generals of the time, that helped to perpetuate Judaism and the identity of the Jewish people.
It must be stated explicitly that while not all Jews are Zionists, not all Zionists are Jews. The motives of some of these non-Jewish Zionists, e.g. Lord Balfour and General Smuts, are at least open to question. From the beginning of the Zionist movement, some of the most articulate and fervent Zionists have been Christian clergymen, especially "fundamentalists," who hail Zionism as an important "religious" movement and welcome it as a fulfillment of prophecy. They also, and significantly, serve the cause of Zionism.
One of the basic aims of Zionism is aliyah, the immigration to the Zionist state of Jews from all countries. Nevertheless, during the past few years hundreds of thousands of Israelis have outgathered themselves from the Zionist paradise, and American Jews have "voted with their feet" and have chosen not to be ingathered. These Jews recognize that the Zionist state is in fact nothing but a giant ghetto.
Instead of being able to render assistance to Jewish communities in other countries, American Jews have been mobilized to concentrate on helping the Zionist state, making the USA the real and major source of Zionist power and influence. The Zionists, true to the nature of their movement, rely on technical superiority and on a forbidding military deterrent - provided largely by the USA - for their security.
Nothing could be further from the true ideals of the Jewish people. The Jewish people were chosen in the first place "for you are the leas of all nations." As the Psalm says, "they rely on vehicles and horsepower, but we invoke the name of the Eternal, our G-d."
One most vital point deserves mention. A former president of the World Zionist Organization has stated explicitly that a Zionist owes unqualified loyalty to the Zionist state and that, in the case of a conflict, the first loyalty of a Zionist must be to the Zionist state. According to Jewish law, however, a Jew owes allegiance and loyalty to the country of which he is a citizen, and, of course, no faithful Jews owes any loyalty or allegiance to the Zionist state which has been condemned by the foremost rabbis of our age.
It is not my purpose to detail how Zionism should be dealt with. Let me state, however, that isolated or spontaneous acts against individuals or the mere adoption of resolutions in the UN or elsewhere are not effective means of bringing an end to Zionism. Let me state also that the battle against Zionism must be waged first, not on the shores of the Mediterranean, but in Zionism's most powerful bastion the USA.
As an American citizen, I deplore that our government and our politicians have adopted an attitude that is in complete contradiction to the advice of the father of our country George Washington. Instead of shying away from foreign entanglements and permanent alliances with foreign powers, the establishment in Washington has embraced Zionism so wholeheartedly that in the eyes any criticism of the Zionist state and any opposition to political Zionism in the UN by any nation has become a punishable offense. And the American media do not dare to speak out against such an absurdity.
Unfortunately, thus far, each year sees still further gains in influence by American Zionists. This fact has made possible events and developments that were unthinkable even ten years ago. It takes a lot of courage to be opposed to Zionism in the USA today. It also took a lot of courage during the Second World War to be anti-Fascist in Italy or anti-Nazi in Germany. In the long run Zionism is nothing but a passing aberration in the long history of the Jewish people and of the world.
Let us take faith and hope in the certainty that eventually prejudice, hatred, and injustice will disappear, and that the prophecy will come true that all nations of the world will participate in the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, "For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
The Great Gulf Between Zionism and Judaism