Israel faces delegitimization onslaughts which seem to be behaving in a tsunami fashion these past few years. They all are predicated on Arab claims that actually pervert history, present a fabricated identity façade and in the most fundamental fashion, act out a simple negativization of Zionism.This campaign is propped up and empowered by radical progressive liberal forces who are tainted with anti-Semitism at worst and in the next best case, reject Jewish nationalism. Too many of these “liberals” are Jewish who seem to be very uncomfortable with being Jewish. In essence, though, this is not a new phenomenon. Zionism always suffered from attacks such as these, if, however, not so vicious. If J Street seeks now to subvert AIPAC, there was the American Jewish Council for Judaism and later Breira.There is another Jewish group seeking the dismantlement of Israel but it bases its outlook on a theological interpretation that denies Israel its representative function as the Jewish national home. The Neturei Karta even go so far in their hatred as to violate the spirit of the Halacha by demonstrating on the Shabbat and see this, one of many videos.
Besides the vitriolic language of the late Satmar Rebbe, Yoel Teitelbaum, in his “VaYoel Moshe,” (by the way, it has been refuted by many, such as Rav Aviner and this opinion and this, too) and for example this excerpt frrom the book as illustrative of his thinking:
Everyone ignores the fact that it has been these Zionist groups that have attracted the Jewish people and have violated the Oath against establishing a Jewish entity before the arrival of the Messiah. It is because of the Zionists that six million Jews were killed. The fact is that this is the bitter punishment stipulated in the Talmud.... (Tractate Ketuboth, p. 111), which results in the payment of a spiritual and physical debt from the Jewish People. Afflictions and tribulations only appear in this world because of the wicked, and the punishment is meted out first upon the righteous.
There were other ideologues who assailed the idea of Zionism including the fifth Lubavitch rebbe, the Rashab and the Munkacs Rebbe, Chayim Elazar Spira (he can be seen here addressing American Jews at the wedding of his daughter in 1933 at about 1:50 but view the entire clip!).He visited Jerusalem in 1930 for the express purpose of undermining the Zionist enterprise, despite his encouragement of his disciples to live in Eretz-Yisrael. But now, we have been provided an insight into the reasoning for his anti-Zionism, adopted, too, by the Satmar Rebbe, his neighbor at the time and who later escaped the Nazi Holocaust through the merit of a Zionist immigration certificate as well as leaving Hungary via the Zionist-organized rescue train of Rudolph Kastner. As noted, “This absolute hatred of any form of Zionism…is kind of ironic since it was a Zionist official of pre-State Palestine that enabled the Satmar Rebbe’s escape from the Holocaust.” That insight has been published in the latest issue of Heichal HaBesht, No. 31, published by Chabad, which contains a Hebrew translation of an interview conducted in 1936 by a reporter of a Hungarian newspaper in the town where the Munkacs Rebbe was taking the waters. Asked about the Zionist enterprise in Palestine, the Rebbe replied that he was told by a diplomat that Jews should not come to the country as much blood would be shed for Palestine has a burning coal under it that will turn all to ashes. He also noted that there are 300 million Arabs and only 200,000 Jews in the Holy Land as if he had not belief in the future of a Jewish population growth, although he purchased property in Jerusalem himself which exists until today just off of Betzalel Street. He then further was quoted saying
“Our Torah says explicitly that only the Messiah, when he comes, will lead Abraham’s people to the Holy Land. We cannot be taken there…I already pronounced 14 years ago that much blood will be shed and no one will stand at the side of the Jews. Palestine is a cemetery for the righteous. Tzaddikim can come there to pray but whatever will be built there will be destroyed, like the walls of Jericho of old. We cannot act precipitously…[we] must wait for the Messiah who will come and redeem us.”
Yes, there were pogroms and wars that the Arabs launched against the Yishuv and continue to do so today. Many Jews, too many, were killed, murdered, raped and maimed. And it continues. But the Rebbe was wrong, at least as to the location of the cemetery he mentioned. It was in Europe. It was Munkacs. It was in Galut, Exile. In Eretz-Yisrael, a Jew can defend himself and not depend on the non-Jew for his safety.The Torah dictum is that a Jew’s Judaism is one in which we shall live in the commandments, not maneuver ourselves into, or refuse to make an egress from, situations in which death is apparent. In Devarim 5:29: we read:
Ye shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess
And not only live but to do so in the Land of Israel, Eretz-Yisrael as recorded in Devarim 31:12-13
“that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law; and that their children, who have not known, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.
Religiosity and even exceptional stringencies are no excuse for avoiding what is so clear a message from all our texts – Biblical, Midrashic, Rabbinic and later – that a Jew belongs in his homeland under all circumstances and that once in that territory, he will be able to best follow the commandments and moreover, best preserve his survival and that of his future generations.