Deeply Religious Hasidic Jews Protest Zionism
Abe Foxman says yes….Others Jews Say No
More and more these days one hears Jews of many political and religious views complain of a experiencing a growing hostility toward them as a result of the policies of the Israeli government. One has only to witness the random attacks on Jews by Arabs on the streets of Paris recently to recognize why they feel that this the most dangerous threat faced by all Jews everywhere. This sad state of affairs results from the fact that so many people are convinced Zionism and Judaism are synonymous, that they are one and the same. But as Rabbi’s and Judaic scholars point out: “Judaism is thousands of years old, while Zionism is barely a hundred!”
This conflation is especially troubling to anti-Zionist Jews and others who oppose the policies of the Israeli government. Although you wouldn’t know it from watching the major media….such oppositional Jews are everywhere. Yet they are seldom seen or heard, fostering the impression that Jews are in lockstep regarding Israeli government policies, and this belief is fostering hatred toward all Jews. This is true even in a city like New York, a center of world Jewish power.
In an article titled “Convergence of Hate,” published in the July 31 edition of The Jewish Daily Forward, Jane Eisner, a liberal middle class Jew living on the affluent Upper West Side of Manhattan was shocked to discover anti-Jewish graffiti scrawled on her sidewalk.
“Since the letters were written in white chalk and were upside down from where I stood, it took a moment to decipher their meaning, and another moment to get over the shock. This was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the epicenter of the liberal American shtetl, a place so ubiquitously Jewish that even the smallest grocery store posts Friday night candle-lighting times each week. So to see even this mildly anti-Israel graffiti was a surprise. For the first time since we moved to the neighborhood a couple of years ago, we felt uncomfortable, targeted, as people who care about Israel and as Jews.”
Mrs. Eisner tells us that she and her husband wondered “whether that scrawled sidewalk sentiment was a legitimate criticism of American policy or rank anti-Zionism. And when does anti-Zionism bleed into simple hatred of Jews?” That’s a good question, because to the extent that this happens it is largely due to the fact that these people believe that the policies of the Israeli government reflects the religious beliefs of the Jewish faith held by all Jews. How did they get this mistaken idea? Ironically the main purveyors of the idea that Judaism and Zionism represent a single world view, and are thus inseparable, has been the major media and the leaders of pro-Israel Jewish Organizations in the US. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League heads the list.
However there is a growing legion of anti-Zionist Jewish secular intellectuals, Rabbi’s and theologians who vehemently disagree with this view on secular and sacred Grounds. These increasingly vocal opponents of Israeli government policies overwhelmingly believe that those supporters of Israel who conflate Judaism and Zionism employ this strategy in order to silence opponents of Israel by dishonestly accusing them of being anti-Semitic – “a Jew hater.” And while it has worked very well in silencing criticism of Israel among the Goyim, it has proved useless when the critics are Jewish. Hence the defenders of Israel coined a special term for them: “Self-Hating Jews.”
But that’s not the worst of it. The Jewish establishment, led by Abraham Foxman and the ADL, has attacked them in myriad ways. I have heard stories from Jewish academics and Journalists about the trials and tribulations they have suffered at the hands of pro-Zionist organizations – including getting them fired from their jobs and even murder. As was the case with the prolific Jewish theologian Dr. Mark Ellis, and the great investigative journalist Robert I. Freedman. However, because the Zionist claims are based on Scripture, let us begin this discussion of anti-Zionist Jews with the critique of Orthodox Rabbi’s.
Anti-Zionist religious Jews are ridiculed and threatened in America, beaten down on the streets in Israel by the police and soldiers, even imprisoned when they demonstrate for peace with the Palestinians. One of the reasons that the Israeli government considers these Orthodox Jews so dangerous is that they reject the Zionist master narrative for Israel’s raison d’etre, especially the claim that Jews were the constant victims of violent oppression when they lived in Muslim countries before the establishment of Israel.
The Rabbi’s Visit Iran
And were warmly received by the Ayatollah!
These anti-Zionist Jews say the Zionist claim is a lie calculated to manufacture hostility toward the Arabs among their powerful Christian benefactors, and represents a historical slander against the very people among whom they found refuge over the centuries of fleeing oppression and death in Europe. To demonstrate their point Rabbi Israel Dovid Weiss visited Iran and met both the Ayatollah and Prime Minister Ahmadinejad.
In a January 15, 2007 article in the New York Times – “New York Rabbi Finds Friends in Iraq and Enemies at Home” – we are told that In a March 2006 broadcast on Iran’s IRIB radio, the official government station, Rabbi Weiss declared that “it is a dangerous deviation to pretend that the Iranian president is anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic. He is extremely friendly and he understands the difference between the Zionists and the Jews who do not embrace the state of Israel… We don’t look at him as an enemy.”
Rabbi and Ahmadinejad
Jew and Persian Embrace
Rabbi Weiss, along with what he insists are hundreds of thousands of religious Jews around the world view the state of Israel as a sacrilege, a violation of the will of God. There is no shame in their game regarding the matter and they put their position bluntly and without apology, convinced that it is they that are doing the will of God and are the true peacemakers. Their argument against Israel is that is that the Torah expressly states that the New Israel can only be established by the Messiah upon his return. And that the Torah expressly forbids men from trying to “hasten” the end times by human agency.
They also claim that the Zionist founders of Israel were not religious but political men, Jewish nationalists with imperial ambitions, swine eaters and wine drinkers, who dispossessed the Palestinian people of their land by naked aggression. Hence they contend that the Zionists “high-jacked” Judaism and its symbols for a nefarious political scheme that they believe sully the moral principles of Judaism. And for this they have called for the death of the Zionist state of Israel; even embarking on a mission to meet with Muslim leaders to personally talk with them and state their position: Zionism is the enemy of Judiasm. This belief is what compelled the Rabbi’s to visit Iran.
When he attended “The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust” in Iran, Rabbi Weiss’ many enemies accused him of being in league with holocaust deniers. But, alas, we have the record of the Rabbi’s speech to the gathering. He said in part:
“Now maybe I can say that at the discussion of the holocaust, I may be the representative, the voice of the people who died in the holocaust because my grandparents died there. They were killed in Auschwitz. My parents were from Hungary. My father escaped and his parents remained. He wasn’t able to get them out of Hungary and they died in Auschwitz as were other relatives and all the communities that they knew. So to say that they didn’t die, to me you cannot say that. I am the living remnant of the people who died in the holocaust and I am here, I believe sent by God, to humbly say, simply to speak to the people here and say, ‘You should know that the Jewish people died, and do not try to say that it did not happen. They did die!’ There are people throughout the Jewish communities, still alive in their seventies and eighties and every one of them will tell you their stories. It is something which you can not refute, but that being said, it doesn’t mean that the holocaust is a tool to use to oppress other people”
Rabbi Weiss went on to elaborate on the last point regarding the tendency of the Zionists to invoke the memory of the holocaust in order to evoke feelings of guilt and use it to raise political support and money for their nationalist cause. He explicitly rejects this tactic “
“The Zionists use the Holocaust issue to their benefit. We, Jews who perished in the Holocaust, do not use it to advance our interests. We stress that there are hundreds of thousands Jews around the world who identify with our opposition to the Zionist ideology and who feel that Zionism is not Jewish, but a political agenda…What we want is not a withdrawal to the ’67 borders, but to everything included in it, so the country can go back to the Palestinians and we could live with them.”
The Orthodox Rabbis also take the position that the Zionist militarists in Israel are the real danger to peace in the Middle-East not Iran…and they have said so in massive demonstrations! This is a grave blow to the Israeli narrative, which casts Iran as the war mongers, despite the fact that they have engaged in all manner of aggressions against Iran including sabotague and assasssination of Iranian scientists. As a consequence of taking this position Rabbi Weiss, along with his followers in the Neutari Karta and the Satmar Hassidim, have been denied service at Kosher stores in New York, had his Synagogue picketed, and threatened with bodily harm on the streets. But the Rabbi and his followers are like the apocryphal trees planted by the “rivers of waters” They shall not be moved!