The Jews who fight Israel: guardians of the City

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Catherine Shakdam

Safar 08, 1436 2014-12-01


by Catherine Shakdam (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 10, Safar, 1436)

Not all Jews are Zionists nor are all Zionists Jews. There are Jews that reject the Zionist State and are not afraid to speak out.

Remember the days of old; understand the years of past generations. Ask your father and he will relate it to you, your elders and they will tell you (Deuteronomy 32:7).
Israel is set on a collision course with not just the Palestinians but Muslims in general over its decades-long attempt to usurp al-Masjid al-Aqsa — one of Islam’s holiest sites after Makkah and Madinah. Tensions in Jerusalem have reached an all-time high.

Latent anger against Israeli occupation and its brutal clampdown exploded in late October after the Zionist regime ordered closure of al-Aqsa Masjid citing “security” concerns.

The already tense situation became explosive when police forced entry into the masjid, a violation that had not occurred since 1967 when the Zionists first occupied the holy precincts. Outrage among the Palestinian community quickly spread, prompting angry calls for retribution.

Shocked by Israel’s brutal tactics against Muslims that surpassed even its previous conduct, Jordan, which administers al-Haram al-Sharif under a 1967 agreement, recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv. This was an unusual move for a regime that has historically pandered to Israeli whims.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he would maintain the status quo in Jerusalem in order to deflect international anger, there are others in his cabinet who are much more extreme and not so diplomatic. Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin have called for construction of the “Third Temple” on the grounds of al-Aqsa. Such calls have fuelled deep anxiety among Muslims throughout the region.

Once more, al-Aqsa finds itself in the eye of a furious religious storm as Jewish extremists vow to lay waste to the sacred masjid, claiming it stands in the way of the reconstruction of Prophet Sulayman’s (a) long lost temple. Al-Aqsa is built at the place where the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) led all the other Prophets in prayer on his journey of Isra’ and Mi‘raj. Solomon’s Temple had already been destroyed, not once but twice, and there was no trace of it nor has there been ever since. But nothing can compete with mythology especially one invested with religious fervour and flavour.

Considered sacred by all three monotheist religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — the Noble Sanctuary carries great significance for Muslims because it was toward al-Masjid al-Aqsa that Muslims prayed before turning toward the Ka‘bah in Makkah. While the Temple was built and destroyed twice, first by the Babylonians and then by the Romans, when Muslims liberated Jerusalem in 638ce, there was no temple there. Under Rabbinical law, Jews are prohibited from setting foot on the sacred sanctuary for fear of polluting its sacred soil. It was also from there that the Prophet Muhammad (a) ascended to Heaven during his mi‘raj.

As warned by the Palestinian writer, Ramzy Baroud, PhD scholar in People’s History at the University of Exeter and managing editor of Middle East Eye, in his report for Foreign Policy Journal, this new attack against Islam and Palestinians’ religious freedom could lead once more to an uprising, whose fury will be fed by decades of systematic oppression and humiliations, at a time of acute regional instability.

But if Israeli state officials such as MP Moshe Feiglin and religious figures like Rabbi Israel Ariel have colluded to annex the Noble Sanctuary as they did Palestinian territories for the past several decades under the spurious claim of holy “sovereignty” over all what they claim constitutes the biblical “Promised Land,” not all Jews accept this self-serving narrative. One group in particular, the Neturei Karta, has denounced Israel’s campaign in Jerusalem as not only illegitimate but contrary to Jewish scripture.

Fiercely opposed to Zionism, a philosophy they understand as antithetical to true Judaism, the Neturei Karta has fought Israel even prior to its institutional inception in 1948.
In an open letter to the state of Israel dated October 2014, Rabbi Yisroel David Weiss, Rabbi Meir Hirsh and Rabbi Eliezer Hochhauser wrote, “Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, true to the Torah, stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, to protest the Zionist zealots — extreme right-wing, supposed “Orthodox Jews” — who have aggrieved the Muslim people and disrespected what is precious to them — al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Rabbi Ahron Cohen, a member of the Neturei Karta in Britain told Crescent International, “Jews have no legitimate claim whatsoever on al-Aqsa. Any intention, at this time in history, to rebuild the Temple is against Jewish religious teaching and any attempt to do so is illegitimate. Those groups who are trying to do so are promoting a new and religiously distorted version of Zionism, and their activities are in no way compatible with authentic Judaism.”

Al-Aqsa and Islam

A site of utmost religious significance for Muslims around the world, including, it is important to note, all denominations and school of thoughts, al-Aqsa stands as a unifying Islamic symbol. Speaking of al-Aqsa’s role within Islam, Ramzy Baroud wrote, “The mosque is central to the spirituality of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world.”
“Israel’s latest attack against al-Aqsa has prompted widespread anger across the Islamic World; this anger could soon give way to a Third Intifada… many would actually argue that the uprising has already begun,” said Mojtaba Mousavi, an Iranian political analyst, speaking to Crescent International.

He added, “Al-Aqsa is not just an Islamic symbol it is also a reminder and testament of Palestine’s existence. By destroying al-Aqsa, Israel intends to lay waste Palestinians’ claim over the land of their forefathers and annihilate Islam’s link to the holy land. Zionists are destroying the true spirit of Judaism in the same manner Da‘ish (ISIS) is destroying Islam’s message.”

Muslims are not alone in their rejection of Israel’s aggression, Rabbi Meir Hirsh of the Neturei Karta told the Crescent International from his home in Jerusalem. As far as Judaism goes, “[authentic] Jews hold no claim on Jerusalem, no claim on al-Aqsa and least of all, Jews hold no claim on Palestine.”

He added, “The Zionist ideology is rooted in hatred and bigotry. Zionists have worked to promote hatred between the Jews and Arabs to impose their deviant [pseudo-] religious trend. Zionism is a rebellion against the Creator and we will oppose it until it is destroyed. We have stood by our Palestinian and Muslims brothers long before Israel came into existence and we will continue to do so until justice is restored and Israel is no more.”

Guardians of the City

According to Talmudic tradition, knowledge and wisdom are what truly define and protect a people — any people. In keeping with such tradition, the Neturei Karta, which translates as the guardians of the City, has taken on that role of protection.

Keepers of a Judaic tradition that has all but disappeared under the strain of modern day Zionism, this group of Jewish orthodoxy has been fearless and relentless in its opposition to Israel, basing its narrative on the Torah. While the world has come to accept Israel’s claim over Palestine as a fait accompli, as well as a religious reality, the Neturei Karta actually argues that “such religious claims” are but a fiction created by the Zionists to justify and satisfy their hegemonic ambitions.

Rabbi Cohen emphasized, “The world should remember that Zionism is not Judaism and Zionist Israel has no mandate whatsoever to speak in the name of the Jewish People. The whole concept of Zionism and ‘Israel’ is flawed and illegitimate.” He added, “Our prayer is for the speedy and total but peaceful dissolution of the ‘State of Israel’ to be replaced by a regime entirely in accordance with Palestinian aspirations, in which Arab, Jew and anyone else can live peacefully alongside each other.”

Fighting for Palestine

“My people have been deceived by the leading class… My people have been fed a lie about God’s design for the sons of Jacob, the forefather of Israel,” said Rabbi Hirsh, adding that nothing in the scriptures justifies or even calls for the conquest of Palestine. “The true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes. According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them.”

Referring to Three Oaths God adjured on the Jews to commit to, Rabbi Cohen stressed that if Israel were to remain consistent with the Talmud then it should forfeit its existence and whatever claims it raised against Palestine. “Under the Three Oaths, God ordered the Jews never to migrate en masse from Exile to the Land of Israel and never to rebel against other nations, in turn other nations were sworn not to subjugate the Jews excessively… Quite clearly Israel today stands in opposition of the scriptures and therefore we, the Jews should oppose it.”

Rabbi Hirsh declared emphatically, “We wish and hope that the prophecy of God through his prophet Amos would be fulfilled ‘…behold the eyes of God destroy the sinning kingdom from the face of this earth’(Amos 9:8).”

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