To: The Jewish Students of Columbia, Rutgers and New
Re: Our Presence on Campus Today
It is difficult and, perhaps, impudent to ask a stranger to question
assumptions that have always been part-and-parcel of one’s
We ask, though, that you open your mind and heart for a few moments
to rethink some old dogmas.
The Jewish people figure prominently in world headlines. Much of
this publicity is negative. Jews in Israel are in danger. Palestinians
are killed daily. We need to ask ourselves – Is all this simply
A true analysis of the following points will take much time and
considerable emotional effort. It is our prayer that you will eventually
find the time and exert the effort.
1) The state of Israel and the Zionist movement are clearly in
the throes of yet another crisis. One might expect this crisis would
elicit a firm and courageous response. Yet, recent years have witnessed
much weariness within the state itself and among its supporters
world wide. Few are those who would seriously suggest today that
they see a clear way out of ceaseless conflicts between Israel and
the Palestinians. Likewise few are those who foresee a quickening
of patriotic enthusiasm within the state.
2) Zionism was greeted with staunch and passionate opposition by
the vast majority of Torah leaders at the time of its inception.
3) This opposition was rooted not merely in a fear of the irreligiosity
of, almost all, early Zionist leaders but due to the movement’s
desire to bring about a political and military end to Jewish exile.
4) The traditional Jewish view, held throughout the centuries,
was that exile is a punishment for Jewish sin. Only by penance and
faith could the exile be ended, thus, bringing about national redemption.
5) In the Prophetic vision, though, this redemption would be one
that would reconcile all mankind and usher in a utopia of universal
brotherhood and worship of the Creator.
6) The Talmud demands that we, as a people, accept our exile and
only try to alleviate it by heightened piety, good deeds, Torah
study, prayer and kindness.
7) The Talmud foretells that a violation of exile; any attempt
to artificially end it, will lead to horrible suffering for Jews
and other peoples.
8) It is fairly clear that the Zionist claim that Israel is a safe
haven has never been fulfilled. In reality the reverse is true.
9) Perhaps, it is time to rethink our assumptions and question
whether Israel has been a blessing for the Jewish people?
10) The existence of the state has cast us in the role of denying
self determination and basic human rights to others.
11) We have been forced to resort to brutality in order to maintain
this oppressive state of affairs.
12) Our calling is to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation.” We are to set an example and standard of faith and
piety to all men. Our summons is to be a paragon of kindness and
empathy to all who suffer of whatever nationality or faith. Zionism
and the state of Israel make all this totally impossible.
13) Perhaps, the likes of Reb Chaim Soloveichik, Reb Chaim Ozer
Grodzenski, Reb Elchonan Wasserman, the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rashab),
and Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (may their memories be blessed) were
right? Perhaps, Zionism itself is the problem?
14) Perhaps, true peace will not come to the Middle East so long
as Zionism violates the letter and spirit of exile?
15) Perhaps, we will never know peace as a people until the waging
of war and attendant atrocities are ended forever?
16) Perhaps, we should rededicate ourselves to the holy task of
our people “to walk humbly with G-d” and serve as a
“light unto the nations”?
Has not the time come to rethink the whole Zionist enterprise?
In the Holy Days of introspection, which we are now in the midst
of, perhaps we should rethink our role and image as a people?
We of Neturei Karta International seek to provoke no ill will today
on this campus. It is our concern for our fellow Jews as well as
the suffering of the Palestinians which has brought us.
We have come here to offer an alternative image – one that
we believe is a kiddush Hashem (a sanctification of G-d’s
We believe that, in the long run, our path offers real safety and
security for all our Jewish brethren in the Holy Land and around
Please take the time to read our literature. Maybe order some further
readings through the mail. Think again and think fearlessly.
Jews, believers in G-d and lovers of mankind, should not be reduced
to shooting a 12 year old in his father’s embrace.
May the New Year see all of you blessed with goodness and may we
all merit true peace and redemption.