Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Neturei Karta I

The Neturei Karta are not Satmar. Satmar never got along with them, they don't come from Satmar (among them are people from various places - there are those from Vishnitz and even Young Israel backgrounds), don’t send their kids to Satmar schools, they have nothing to do with Satmar. Their support is more from Kashiu and Tush, not Satmar.

But people think well if they’re both against Israel, they must be the same. Norman Lamm made that blunder when he gave a speech in Kiljava, Finland in '69 (which later, if memory serves, became an article in Tradition magazine) called "The Ideology of the NK", and instead of NK, he made his whole speech about Satmar ideology.


The Neturei Karta share the first mission with Satmar - to tell the world that Jews have no fight with Arabs and it's the Zionists that made this whole fight with them. In that, they have had some success. The hostages in Iran were surprisingly spared the death penalty, and at the trial, the judge said it was because they are Jews not Zionists, and they do not support Zionism. This was due to the efforts of the Neturei Karta with the Iranian government, when they went to Iran and publicly proclaimed that not all Jews are Zionists and therefore your fight is not with these hostages, leave them alone.

An Arab lady in Canada received a letter from her daughter in the West Bank stating that she was going to blow herself up on a suicide mission, but she learned that there are two types of Jews ... and that non-Zionists are innocent.

There are other such stories. In colleges, most recently Yale U, they speak about this, explaining to the public that Zionism is a political thing, and that the acts of Zionists do not represent the Torah.

In Yale, on their way out, the NK were accosted by a group of Lubavitcher Chasidim yelling at them for what they do. A professor (not Jewish) who was at the lecture interrupted the Lubavitcher, and said "Excuse me, this man is trying to save your life! He is telling people not to hate you! He is trying to make peace between Jews and Arabs!".

They do NOT support Arab attacks on Jews, in fact, they speak up against it to the Arabs themselves, they do NOT take money from the Arabs (although they are offered), and they do NOT want Jews to be killed at all.

What they want it peace between the Jews and the Arabs. They believe that Arab killing and terrorism will be reduced when the Arabs realize that not every Jew who they target is their enemy. Like Rav Yochanan ben Zakai tried to do.

The problem is, they believe - and this is where they dramatically part company with Satmar - that the Arabs would really not kill Jews if they would just get their land back. If the State would be dismantled, given back to the Arabs, the Jews would be able to live their in peace.

Um, no. They wouldn't. It’s ironic that the NK are guilty of underestimating the damage that the Zionists have done in terms of generating Arabs hatred. Everyone agrees - even the Mizrachi (see Rav Soloveichick, Five Addresses, p.79) that the Arab bloodthirstiness against the Jews is the result of the State of Israel. The religious Zionists hold the sacrifices of life "are worthwhile" for the State, and the anti-Zionists hold that Jewish life is worth more than any State.

The Arabs have been brainwashed for 100 years - since the advent of Zionism - that Jews want to conquer their land. Their leaders have fed them lies about Judaism being a murdering and terrorist religion, and the Jews are all Nazis. They have been taught that theirs is a noble cause of regaining their homeland that was taken from them by the Zionists. The NK think that they can undo that if the Arabs get the land back.

Don’t ask me where they got that idea. It’s way too late for that, as we all know. Now, as the Satmar Rebbe said, the only safe way of dismantling the State is when Moshiach comes.

The second point of departure with Satmar is their joining hand in rallies and the sort with Palestinians against Jews. They claim that their rallying is only in protest to innocent Palestinian lives that are being lost, and they do it to show that Jews care about innocent non-Jewish lives.

The problem is, it nice that they see it that way, but when you commit a public act you have to consider how the public understands it. And the public clearly understands it as support for the Palestinian cause, which currently is: Kill the Jews.

Satmar is constantly fighting with them over this. The Satmar Rebbe never did such things, and never sponsored such things.

They have their own Rabbonim and supporters, but it's not Satmar. Never was.

They should not do this. It is OK to try to negotiate with the enemy to save Jewish lives, the way rescue workers negotiated with the Nazis to ransom Jews or the way Rav Yochanan ben Zakai did with the Romans; and its even OK to hug and kiss the enemy who wants to kill you - the way Yaakov kissed Esav - in order to placate him to try to save Jewish lives. Almost anything is OK if it saves Jewish lives.

But you cannot appear as if you support Jewish deaths. Even if that is the farthest thing from your mind. That is a chilul Hashem, since c"h depends on the perception of what you are doing rather than your actual intentions.

Their intention is only to make peace and to save Jewish lives; and you have to honestly give them credit for accomplishing that at times - but their actions appear to the world as supporting terrorism and the Palestinian stance of killing Jews. That was never acceptable, not in Satmar nor anywhere else.


When the Satmar Rebbe was supporting the Neturei Karta, in the days of R. Amram Blau ZT"L, they weren't joining Arabs in Protests demanding that the Jews give back Eretz Yisroel. The Satmar Rebbe ZTL writes clearly that we should NOT physically hand over Eretz Yisroel to the Arabs since that will be a big sakanah for Jews, because the Arabs will not distinguish between one Jew and the next (Divrei Yoel bo, p. 250; see also Vayoel Moshe p.8).

He says in both those places that the only thing we can do is pray to Hashem that the Medinah be dismantled.

The NK preach to give back the land physically to the Arabs; the Satmar Rebbe was against that.

The Satmar Rebbe also quotes numerous times in his writings, the comment of the Alshich im Mishle (ch. 1) that we may not join with reshayim even for a good cause. The Arabs, although they are no worse than any other umos haolam, as plain goyim they are certainly not people who we should join with in common endeavors, even for a just cause.

R. Avrohom Leitner is indeed a talmid of the Satmar Rav but he does not represent Satmar. Not in the days of the Satmar Rebbe ZTl and not now. I said that Satmar does not support the NK; R. Avrohom Letiner's support does not contradict that.

The protests do help. I know that. And the Satmar Rebbe was in favor of announcing to the world that the Zionists do not represent Jews - he said it is a great Mitzvah and we even must be Moser Nefesh to do it (Divrei Yoel Naso). And he himself organized an anti-Israel rally in Washington in '59 (details are documented in Igros Maharit, in the back). But never, ever did he profess joining with those who - granted, due to Zionist propaganda and aggression, but nonetheless - currently want to kill Jews. And he himself says, as I mentioned before, that the Arabs indeed do want that, and they will not distinguish between one Jew (Zionist) and the next (non-Zionist).

So the idea, according to the Satmar Rebbe, is to tell the world - and of course the Arabs - that we are not their enemies; the Zionists are - not the Jews. But until the Arabs are totally convinced of this, giving them back the land will only cause Jewish deaths.

It is true, too, that keeping the land is also a sakanah for Jews; and that the Zionists painted us into a corner here - killed if we do and killed if we don’t - and that’s why he says that the only viable option is to pray to G-d to get us out of the mess that the Zionists got us into by getting rid of the Medinah in a safe manner.

It is true that the signs at the rallies do say things like "Judaism Yes Zionism No", but when the issue of people getting killed is addressed, the signs - and speeches - talk exclusively about innocent Palestinians being killed. I know of course that the NK is against killing Jews, and I also know that the Goyim do not think that the NK does want Jews to be killed, and I also know that Zionists distort this. But unless at least equal effort is put into telling the Arabs - in public at the rallies themselves - to stop killing innocent Jews, it still suggests to many that you are taking the side of the Arabs, not only with regard to whose land it should be (which is not a problem) but in regard to who is and who is not suffering the loss of innocent lives. What the NK should do, is what Paul Wolfowitz tried to do at the rally in Washington, that is, to protest against the loss of innocent lives on both sides - and you will accomplish your objective of telling the Arabs we don’t want to kill them as well as you do now, but without seeming to take one side over the other.

It is true that if you do this, the Zionists will still say it is a chilul Hashem - and when Mr. Wolfowitz tried to do that he was booed off the stage by the crowd, which was itself a tremendous chilul Hashem, an irresponsible display of hisgarus b'umos, and sent the world the dangerous and false message that Jews don’t care about the deaths of innocents unless those innocents are Jews, but you wont be able to satisfy those people anyway, nor should you try to. Who cares what they think?

You are right that the Zionists are the enemies of the Jews, but part of what makes them so dangerous is that they have succeeded in convincing the Goyim that they represent the Jews. And even though G-d fearing Jews are working to convince the world that that is not true, and sometimes succeeding, still, there are enough Arabs in the world who have NOT yet been convinced that the Jews are not their enemies that we should consider it a sakanah to give them back the land.




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