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Background on Jews Not Zionists

a Zionism On The Web Special

Front Group for Neturei Karta

This is just a front group for Neturei Karta. It was documented as the site Neturei Karta members used for communicating with the public as far back as 2002. The Columbia News Service (University of Columbia student paper) in an article "They're Jewish, but not Zionists" reported on the 8th of May 2002 that "The highly insular Neturie Karta prefer to speak to the news media through Levine. The members share their anti-Israel message with the public on a Web site -- jewsnotzionists.com.-- co-sponsored by the Satmars, The ideology of both sects stems from a staunch belief that the banishment of the Jews from their ancestral homeland was part of a divine plan imposed by God."

The website also prominently links to the official Neturei Karta website. For more information see our section on Neturei Karta.

They're Jewish, but not Zionists

By Elizabeth Goldhirsh, 12 April 2002 (Syndication copy)
Source: Columbia News Service

The Satmar and Neturie Karta, both strict followers of Hasidic Judaism, are Jewish fringe sects that don't support the state of Israel.

With the conflict in the Middle East escalating by the day and the death toll mounting with each suicide bombing, there has been an increased chorus of calls for Jews around the world to stand with Israel.

But certain Jews have decided instead to stand apart. Far apart.

"There is a small fringe of Jews who don't recognize the State of Israel," said Rabbi Michael Paley, the head of religious affairs at the United Jewish Appeal organization in New York.

"It might sound bizarre, but it's fundamental to their theology."

That fringe consists of the Satmar and Neturie Karta sects -- both strict followers of Hasidic Judaism -- that trace their roots to turn-of-the-century Hungary. Based in Jerusalem and New York, the groups have an austere belief system that has barely changed over the last hundred years. That especially applies to their position on Israel, whose existence "attacks the center point of Judaism," said Rabbi Velvel Soloveitchik of the Neturie Karta sect.

"Israel is a difficult problem for us," said a Satmar woman, whose bright red hair peeked out from beneath a scarf. As she spoke, she kept a watchful eye on the five children playing on the sidewalk in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

"Of course we want to support our fellow Jews, but we don't think they have a right to establish a political state until the time of the Messiah," the woman said, preferring to remain nameless for religious reasons. "Our rabbis believe the Holy Land should be administered by the United Nations."

The Neturie Karta take an even more militant stand.

"The Neturie believe that the creation of Israel was a sin and they are trying to find ways to re-establish full Arab control and create a State of Palestine," said Rabbi Meir Levine, a close associate of the sect.

The highly insular Neturie Karta prefer to speak to the news media through Levine. The members share their anti-Israel message with the public on a Web site -- jewsnotzionists.com.-- co-sponsored by the Satmars, The ideology of both sects stems from a staunch belief that the banishment of the Jews from their ancestral homeland was part of a divine plan imposed by God.

These groups believe that the period between the Jews' exile from Judea in 70 A.D. and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 "occurred because we had sinned during the period of late antiquity and God's punishment was to disperse us throughout the world," said Rabbi Arnold Reshikoff, head of community affairs at the American Jewish Committee in New York.

Reshikoff added, "They feel that the Jewish people should not have their own state until the coming of the Messiah. In other words, it will only be brought about by divine will, not manmade design."

Indeed, Satmar and Neturie Karta members are often seen marching in anti-Israel rallies, an incongruous sight with their long beards and black hats as they step alongside thousands of chanting Muslim demonstrators, burn Israeli flags and bear signs with proclamations like "Palestine is for the Palestinians!"

On Feb. 12, for example, the groups gathered some 20,000 members in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York and blared on loudspeakers, "Jews mourn 53 years of existence of Israel."

David Nekrutman, the head of community affairs at the Israeli Consulate, said the sight of other Jews shouting hate-filled slogans about Israel "strange, to say the least," but he supported their right to express their opinions.

"Whether they're in Israel or the United States, these groups are free to say what they want," he said. "That's what it means to live in a democracy."

Last year, a delegation of Neturie Karta Jews paid a solidarity visit to the Orient House in Jerusalem, one of the Palestine Liberation Organization's headquarters, which has since been closed by Israel for security reasons. There, they pledged their allegiance to a State of Palestine, lambasted Israel and even presented Palestinian officials with a silver cup of Elijah to express their loyalty. Given that relationship, it's no surprise that since 1993 the PLO's Minister for Jewish Affairs has been a Neturie Karta member.

Such connections are regarded with concern by mainstream Jewish organizations, especially as tensions mount in the Middle East.

"We're very worried that these groups legitimize, or give a stamp of approval, to people who commit violence against Jews," said Susan Heller, director for Middle East affairs at the Anti-Defamation League in New York.

"People who support Hamas and other terrorist organizations can say, 'Look, we're not against Jews; there are some marching or meeting with us,' even though these same organizations are sending people to stand in front of synagogues in Jerusalem and blow themselves up."


Other featured articles on Zionism and Israel

Why I am a Zionist - The author takes stock of his feelings on Israel and Zionism on the occasion of Israel's 53rd Birthday

Do not treat Israel like apartheid South Africa - The comparison with South Africa is intellectually lazy, morally questionable, and possibly even mendacious

External Zionism Links

This site provides resources about Zionism and Israeli history, including links to source documents. We are not responsible for the information content of these sites. These links are NOT intended to be an exhaustive reference about Zionism, but the list will keep growing...

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Please link to our Sister Web sites - at  http://www.zionism-israel.com   Information about Israel and Zionism and http://www.zionism.netfirms.com The Zionism Pages

Wikipedia article about Zionism - A comprehensive article including the history of Zionism  as well as links to specific topics and articles about anti-Zionism.

Zionism - Table of contents at the Jewish Virtual Library

Zionism, Israel, Palestine Blog

Zionism article at Infoplease

Zionism - Definition and Brief History - A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs,  Jewish anti-Zionists.

Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.

The US Library of congress has a comprehensive and balanced set of articles about Zionism:

Zionist Precursors - US Library of Congress

Political Zionism - US Library of Congress

Cultural Zionism - US Library of Congress

Labor Zionism - US Library of Congress

Revisionist Zionism - US Library of Congress

Essential Texts of Zionism

Jewish Agency Zionism pages - Links to basic information about Zionism from the Jewish Agency

Ambassador Herzog explains Zionism in the UN


Active Zionism - A Zionist advocacy site with many useful links

Realistic Religious Zionism - moderate religious Zionist Web site

Zionism On The Web Directory

Learn more about this site at our main page. Comment and add your thoughts to our forums. See our special section on the Academic Boycotts of Israel. Learn more at our Zionism Commentary collection. Extend your learning through out collection of links or at our links directory