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How Many Lives?

Talk presented by Rabbi Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta Int. at the “Evening for Peace with Justice for the Palestinian & Iraqi People”, in the Cooper Union Great Hall, New York City , on February 23, 2002 . Hosted by the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act New to Stop War & End Racism)

With G-d’s help, may my words find favor in His eyes and increase the Glory of Heaven.

A popular song of some decades past, asked the question, “How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?’

Judging by recent events in the Holy Land , indeed, judging by the ongoing events of the last century, the answer is “More than anyone could ever imagine.”

There is an image that is sadly fading from human consciousness. It is the picture of the Torah Jew, steadfast in his loyalty to the Creator and His Torah, moral and humble in his dealings with all men. His integrity is impeccable and his sense of empathy encompasses all mankind.

We believe that it is this Jew, following the dictates of Sinai, whose life is a sanctification of the Divine Name and who will ultimately figure prominently in the ushering of the Messianic utopia, of peace and brotherhood among all men, solely through his Divine worship.

Zionism and the Zionist State , is a massive rejection of this holy image.

By seeking to end Jewish exile by this - worldly means, it denies the Divine source of our exile and final redemption and is expressly and totally forbidden by the Torah.

At root it is denial of the spiritual essence of Jewish history.

The vast majority of Zionism’s early ideologues and supporters, were almost uniformly recruited from the Torah ignorant elements of eastern European society.

Would time and format permit, we could spend much time analyzing the philosophy and history of the Zionist movement. Suffice it to say, that it has always evoked passionate opposition, from throughout the ranks of Orthodox Jewry.

Now, please keep in mind, that one should not confuse the deep love and reverence for the Holy Land itself, with the Zionist movement,. The movement sought to seize political sovereignty from the land’s inhabitants, by driving out many of them and subjecting those that stayed to persecution and second class citizenship. This again, is a terrible sin and crime, expressly and totally forbidden by the Torah.

Conversely Torah Jews have always loved the Land but never sought to rule it politically.

Over the centuries, many pious souls settled there. And, this is a most important point, those pious Jewish souls were never persecuted by their Islamic, Palestinian neighbors. They lived side by side, baby sat each other’s children and were both persecuted by assorted foreign powers.

This peaceful existence was shattered when the Zionist immigration began and sought to deprive the indigenous people of their basic dignity as human beings.

Following the Second World War, the suffering of the Jewish people led many nations to erroneously conclude, that Zionist sovereignty over the Holy Land would help alleviate anti-Semitism, by creating a “safe haven” for the wandering Jew.

The decision to create the Israeli state, has over the past half century led to a seemingly endless river of bloodshed. Palestinians and Jews have died and continue to die. Instead of alleviating anti-Semitism and the Jewish suffering, they have only exacerbated it both in Palestine and throughout the world.

Let us be clear about the source of the suffering of both Palestinian and Jewish people. It is the Zionist insistence on the dispossession of the Palestinian people.

The only Torah sanctioned and moral solution to this problem; the only solution sure to yield peace, is to return sovereignty over the entire Holy Land to the Palestinian people. This would of course obviously include returning Al-Aksa, Jerusalem , the right of return and adequate compensation thereof, to the Palestinian individuals who so desire.

This, would finally end the suffering of the Palestinian people.

And, as far as Jewry is concerned, it would allow us to return to our Divine calling, of Torah observance, prayer, kindness and study. We would once again be able to pursue our Torah centered lives, to serve as a source of inspiration and consolation to all men.

The Jewish people are required to be loyal citizens is every country wherein they reside, whether it is us in the United States , or our brethren in Iran , or our brethren in Palestine . In Palestine , the Jewish people must be loyal to the indigenous Palestinian populace.

The Jewish people were not made to act as persecutors of the Other. They are to be a “kingdom of priests” ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of suffering mankind.

Zionism’s end, will be the first step towards Jewish rebirth.

A rebirth, which will hopefully be the first phase in the Messianic redemption of all mankind, in brotherhood, where we all will recognize the One G-d and serve Him in peace, speedily in our days. – Amen


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