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
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
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."