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Judaism, Zionism: Not the Same Thing

Not all Jews are Zionists, and several Jewish groups are fighting to make this fact known.

Neturei Karta International, or Jews United Against Zionism, says on its Web site, “One of the basics of Judaism is that we are a people in exile due to Divine decree.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
The group argues that Zionism seeks to “force the end of exile” rather than waiting for the prophecies to be fulfilled which describe the last exile’s conclusion as a “Divine, not a human process.”
From the beginning of the Zionist movement in the mid-1–119th century, there has been debate over what and where the Jewish homeland should be.
“Some believed it should be based on religious principles, others that it should be a secular state,” the Guardian reported. “Some argued that there should be no state at all, but rather a Jewish cultural base in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Palestine.”
Even after the bloody birth of the state of Israel in 1948, Zionism has remained a controversial movement among Jews.
The American Council for Judaism was founded on the idea that Zionism was counter to the greater calling of advancing Judaism as a religion.
“The Council affirms that no individual or group can speak for all Jews, and rejects any effort to impose Jewish nationality upon all Jewry,” it states on its Web site. The ACJ even offers a book, entitled Jews Against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism 1942-1948, to outline its views on Zionism. 
The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise outlines two typical religious reasons cited for anti-Zionism.
One is that today’s Zionism is secular, “packed with non-Jewish influences, and lacking key features like Moshiach [Messiah] and the rebuilt Temple.”
The other reason is that is that the Talmud states that when Israel went into the second exile, there were three vows between Heaven and Earth: 

  1. Israel would not “go up like a wall,” or “conquer Eretz Yisrael by massive force.”
  2. Israel would not rebel against the nations of the world; it would “obey the governments in exile.”
  3. Non-Jews would not oppress Israel “too much.”

Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Freimann wrote on JewsNotZionists.org that “Zionism is wrong from the Torah viewpoint, not because many of its adherents are lax in practice or even anti-religious, but because its fundamental principle conflicts with Torah.” 
JewsNotZionists.org is an information Web site which hopes for the “peaceful dismantlement of the so-called ‘State of Israel’ and that Jewish-Muslim brotherhood be restored as prior to the arrival of the Zionist scheme.”
Neturei Karta International also sees Zionism as ruining Jewish-Muslim relations.
“In addition to condemning the central heresy of Zionism, we also reject its policy of aggression against all peoples,” NKI says on its site. “Today this cruelty manifests itself primarily in the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. We proclaim that this inhumane policy is in violation of the Torah.”
Although anti-Zionism is spread across many Jewish groups, Orthodox and Reform Jews continue to be on the front lines battling any definition of Jewry in nonreligious terms.
Jodi Mathews is communications director for EthicsDaily.com.
Order Jews Against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism, 1942-1948 from Amazon!
Also visit these sites for more info about Jews against Zionism:
Neturei Karta International
American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise
JewsNotZionists.org
American Council for Judaism