An Open Letter to President George Bush, from Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss
Neturei karta, 6 November 2001
Dear Honorable President Bush,
It has been brought to our attention that Agudath Israel of America has recently written a letter to you ( October 5, 2001 ) purporting to express the sentiments of "our constituency of Orthodox Jews all across the United States ." The letter first offers its support for your efforts against "radical terrorist groups." It then proceeds to a lengthy exhortation that you continue a "long and proud history" of "standing with" and "protecting" the state of Israel .
There is little doubt that American support of Israel has been well intentioned. However, we wish to bring to your attention that the Agudath Israel letter, in its assertion of Orthodox support of Israel, is to a significant degree a falsification of the public record and capable of causing much anguish if left uncorrected.
First, there is far from unanimity in Orthodox Jewish ranks in America on many of the matters touched in the Agudath Israel letter. Many Orthodox Jews are opposed to Israeli statehood and see its very existence as contrary to Torah principles. Jews are forbidden by their faith to have a state before the coming of the Messiah. These Jews, of which our organization, Neturei Karta International, is representative, believe that the state is fundamentally illegitimate on both religious and moral grounds. We are further convinced that its continued presence in the Middle East is a sure source of endless political and military agony for the Jews and Gentiles of the region and, indeed, around the world.
In fact, at the core of the letter you received, Mr. President, is the implicit assumption that Israel and world Jewry are, in some way, identical and that the state embodies Jewish values. Unfortunately, it is true that Zionist triumphalism has seduced many Jews into accepting the notion that Israel is a world representative of the Jewish people. However, it is clear from the most superficial perusal of the state's policies (both internal and external) that it in no way stands for or represents the faith of Jewry or its fairly considered best interests. In fact, the state consistently legislates and acts in violation of numerous Torah imperatives.
Zionism, a relatively recent arrival on the world scene, was, at its late nineteenth century inception, opposed by almost all of world Jewish leadership of whatever denomination and by the masses of believing Jews. This opposition has continued in many Orthodox Jews throughout this century. Frequently, voices were raised predicting endless suffering should the state become a reality. Those voices have sadly proven prophetic.
In sum, Mr. President, please do not feel constrained by your sincere desire to befriend the Jewish people, to likewise befriend the Israeli state. The name “ Israel ” or “Jewish State”, is simply a misnomer. Jews and the Zionist State , are not the same thing, in fact they are diametrically opposite.
All concerned have spent the past half a century searching in in vain for a settlement of the Israeli ? Palestinian impasse. It is our belief that all these efforts were metaphysically and practically doomed to failure. It is only through the non ? violent dismantling of the Israeli state that the peoples of the Middle East will finally live in peace.
May the Creator grant that all mankind worship Him together in brotherhood and harmony.
We thank you in advance for your kind consideration of our sentiments.
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss