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The Torah’s ways are peace

Talk Presented by Rabbi Dovid Weiss Outside the Israeli Consulate At Rally Cosponsored by Islamic Center of Jersey City, Islamic Educational Center of North Hudson, Islamic Center of Monmounth County, Islamic Center of Passaic and the Educational Foundation Muslim American Society on October 12, 2000

With the Creator’s help, may my words and those of all the speakers today help sanctify the name of G-d.

It is a distinct privilege for me to speak to this august gathering.

Since having spoken repeatedly in favor of Palestinian rights and claims I have been criticized in some quarters. There are those who have asked me why I choose to give support to the so called enemies of my people.

The essence of my response, which I’d like to share with all of you, I do not consider the Arab peoples in general and the Palestinian people in particular to be in any way, enemies of my people, the Jewish people, the people of the Torah

The Jewish people are commanded by Almighty God to live in peace with all peoples and nations on the face of the globe. Our national agenda is simple – It is to humbly worship the Creator at all times.

As Torah Jews we are called upon to feel and express our sense of compassion when any person or group of human beings suffers. In the words of King David, the Psalmist, “And His Mercy is upon all His creatures.” All men are created in the image of G-d.

As Torah Jews our prime imperatives in dealing with our non-Jewish brethren -- and certainly our cousins the Arab peoples -- are peace, respect, mutual understanding and empathy.

Thus, it is obvious that the Jewish people has no quarrel whatsoever with any Arab nation.

And, of greatest importance today we wish to publicly state that the Jewish people never has had and does not have any quarrel with the Palestinian people – anywhere on the face of the earth

When we look at the cauldron of suffering which the Middle East has become for the Palestinian people we stand back aghast – homes and lives lost, family suffering, the list goes on and on.

Why have the tragic events of last 52 years come to pass?

The answer lies in one word – Zionism.

Zionism has misled some Jews into thinking that there exists a need to pursue aggressive policies against the Palestinian people to steal their land and persecute their people.

This is hardly surprising as it is a creed in direct opposition to the basics of our Torah faith.

The justice of the current situation lies entirely with the Palestinian people. They have been dispossessed. Political control over the land belongs to them.

This is the position of the G-d fearing Jewish people. They have opposed Zionism from its inception over one hundred years ago. Zionism is an embarrassment to the Torah Jew.

Our prayers for the Messianic era are centered on the future – a future when G-d alone, without any human involvement, will redeem all mankind, who will then worship Him together in peace.

Of course, we are saddened by the loss of Jewish life today in the Holy Land as well.

But we must not let our sense of personal loss as Jews blind us to the true right and wrong of the moral drama before our eyes.

My friends, for 52 years the world has ignored the just claims and rights of the Palestinian people.

And, yes, for that same amount of time, some people, blinded by the dogmas of militant Zionism, have first created and then perpetuated this horrible abuse of an entire people.

We are here to proclaim that the crimes committed against the Palestinian people when they were exiled from their homes in 1948 and deprived of their basic human rights, first as refugees and later as persecuted subjects in the West Bank and Gaza were not done in the name of Torah or of Torah believing Jews

They were the deeds of Jews far from the letter and spirit of their ancestral faith.

We condemn their actions these past weeks, and for the last 52 years and for the entire past century when Zionism has steadily pursued the policy of the ethnic cleansing of a land that had a large and cultured indigenous population.

To our Islamic brethren gathered here today and around the world –

Let the message of Torah Jewry go out from this day and forevermore –

The Torah’s ways are peace.

G-d’s seal is truth.

The path to peace is Palestinian sovereignty over the Holy Land.

We cry for your suffering.

We apologize for the suffering created by those led astray by Zionism.

We pray that Zionism, the sole cause of your suffering, can be eradicated with no further loss of life to anyone.

And so I conclude, my friends, Palestinians and Arabs of all nations, may G-d’s peace and blessing be upon you all.

Thank you Salem Aleikem and G-d’s mercies upon you.

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