Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday 3 October 2012

"Is There A Distinction In Your Mind Between Being A Jew & Being A Zionist?": A Famous British Rabbi's Reply

"Judaism Rejects Zionism" proclaims this poster held by a bunch of zealots from Neturei Karta, an organisation whose whacky and Jewishly unrepresentative stance has nevertheless given untold aid and comfort to Israel's enemies.

Cast as "useful idiots" in the anti-Israel cause, Neturei Karta's insistence that Judaism and Zionism are incompatible has been echoed by certain secular Jews to whom the inside of Jewish communal buildings, much less the inside of a synagogue, is unknown or virtually so.

And, with incredible chutzpah, the "Judaism Rejects Zionism" mantra has been taken up by anti-Israel activists who are neither Jews nor scholars of Judaism.

A British Methodist minister and blogger (whom I have had occasion to refer to here and here) yesterday put up a blogpost with the chutzpahdik title "How To Separate Jewishness From Zionism".

In a response to a comment made there by me he has written:
'"Zionism is integral to Judaism” is precisely the point that is being challenged here. I think. And the fact that Zionism co-existed with other perspectives within Judaism in the past rather proves the point. Doesn’t it?'
And in the wake of the following observation by an Orthodox Jerusalemite he's changed the title of the blogpost to "Is Zionism Integral To Judaism":
"'How to Separate Jewishness from Zionism” - how about “How to Separate Christianity from Christ”? Any more offensive than Richard’s title? Or any more ridiculous?'
Now, it so happens that, sifting through years of accumulated papers in preparation for what is emerging as the house move from hell, I've come across a pamphlet called Zionism Today in which a celebrated British rabbi of Orthodox principles explained how central Zionism and Israel are to the majority of Jews.

The pamphlet was published the year following the United Nations' adoption of the (now rescinded) ignominious resolution equating Zionism with racism, but is no less relevant for that.

Here, then, is part of the edited transcript of a BBC2 interview (9 February 1976) by journalist Richard Kershaw with the rabbi in question, no less a personage than Dr Immanuel (later Sir; later Lord) Jakobovits (1921-99; pictured), Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Britain and the Commonwealth from 1966-91.
Q: Dr Jakobovits, is there a distinction in your mind between being a Jew and being a Zionist, because in non-Jews' minds this distinction sometimes arises and of course it is that distinction which is pejoratively used by Israel's enemies?
 A: To me certainly there is no distinction.  My Zionism is part of my religious commitment.  There isn't a prayer that I utter three times a day, and in the grace after every meal, at every wedding, at every visit to mourners, in which I wouldn't make reference to this longing for the restoration of our people to Zion.  And indeed you would have to censor and expunge large parts of the Prophets and of the book of Psalms and so on, if Zionism were to be expurgated from the rest of Judaism.
Q:  And yet the Israel which I visit quite often is in many ways a secular state.
 A:  It is in the first stage of its development.  After all, when Joshua entered the Land forty years after the exodus from Egypt, it took another 440 years until the first Temple was built.  So one must allow in historical developments of dimensions which are reckoned, in our terms, in millenia rather than in centuries, for a certain time to elapse for the total purpose to be fulfilled.
Q:  Well, then, the founding fathers hoped that the creation of Zion, of Israel, would end the so-called Jewish problem in the world, and in some ways it seems as if it has now become the Jewish problem.  How do you react to the United Nations vote which called Zionism racism?
A: Well, I react of course with a sense of extreme and most profound distress.  I worry not so much over the survival of our people, because after all we've had four thousand years' practice in prevailing over impossible odds and will manage to do so again.  I have not the slightest doubt that we will continue and won't throw up the sponge now, after four thousand years of martyrdom and loneliness in the world.  We were as lonely in the age of the prophets in antiquity or during the great Greek and Roman Empires, as a tiny minority dispersed among others who sought, often by force and brutality, to bring about our conversion.  So the experience of being alone and having to face very heavy and often universal opposition is not exactly new to us.
Q: And yet there is this charge made that Zionism, that Zion, that Israel has an imperialistic and racialistic odour.  Can I put it this way?  One source of that charge of racism and I'm not subscribing to it, and I'm choosing my words very carefully is the fact that Judaism does claim its people are a special people, the Chosen People.  Isn't there a danger that this can be seen by outsiders in the world rather as Milton talked of God's Englishmen as special people?  But there have been many perversions of this in history.  The Aryan claim to speciality, from which the Jews suffered.  Is there not a danger that the way that Jews insist they are so separate and special does lead to the charge of racial separation and racism?
A:  I do not only subscribe, as I said earlier, to the firm belief that a special historic assignment has been given to our people – part of which I believe we vindicated in our history –  but I believe that every nation, every people, has a special assignment and is chosen for a special role; otherwise they would be redundant.  I think even every individual should feel that he is indispensable and has a unique and incomparable role to play in the fulfilment of the human destiny.
Q: Do you think then, Chief Rabbi, that one can be anti-Israel without being anti-Semitic?  Or do you think that that is a fallacy?
A:  In theory that is possible.  In practice it isn't.  The fact that the Arab nations, for instance, which of course have been the prime sponsors of this resolution, themselves do not distinguish between Jews and Zionists.  For example, in the Arab Boycott any Jew who serves on a major firm in industry causes that firm to be blacklisted....
Q:  But they also feel that because biblical authority is quoted by Jews for their position in Israel, they also say that biblical authority talks about expansion and they fear Israeli expansionism based on the same principle.
 A:  I am not aware, throughout our four thousand years of history, of any imperial conquests that Judaism made with a view to dominating other people.  I think if you compare the vast conquests made by the Arabs, often by force of arms, in the Middle Ages, which now stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and beyond, or if you compare the activities of the colonial powers – partly through conversionist or missionary activities –  to conquer for Christianity vast parts of the globe, with the Jewish record, you haven't got a fraction of these conquests at any time in the four thousand years ----------
Q:  Perhaps I should be more specific though.  Do you think Israel should rest within its present borders, or do you think it should expand?
 A:   I certainly believe that the historic land of Israel, as defined in the Bible, is divinely promised to us and will eventually become ours by right.
That, I believe, is as authoritative and cogent a riposte to the canard that "Judaism Rejects Zionism" as any of the many others that could be invoked to counter the claims of those enemies and critics of Israel who insist that it is otherwise, or assume that it can be made so.

See also here


  1. Roger Waters: "Why I became a juror of the Russell Tribunal"

    New York this weekend.

    1. Thanks, Philo. I'll take a look as soon as I can.

  2. My comment was deleted because Richard deemed it an allegation of antisemitism.

    You judge:


    I was just going to write a post at the Joint about how antizionist and antisemitic Christians and secular anti-Western leftists always, ... and its got to the point that it is very nearly always ... , use Jews as proxies to deliver their true inner thoughts about Israel and therefore about Jews.

    The post was to be inspired by Richard's post here and I just came back for another look and behold:

    Point proven.

    Kim. Silly him.

    Do they really need Jews to formulate and enunciate their thoughts for them? No matter how brilliant, audacious and hugely humane they are?

    I don't think so.

    There's something else at play here.

    There must be something in the European soul that thrills at the sight of a Jew attacking the Jews. Could it be the Christian part of that soul?

    I can think of no other case where this happens.

    At the beginning of the 20th century over 90% of the world's Jews lived as sub-citizens with special laws in Christian and Muslim lands with no civil liberties or human rights least of all freedom of expression.

    By the end of the century all but a handful live in secular liberal democracies where they can pretty much say what they like just like everyone else. So they do.

    And just like all people who are free they say all sorts of things and sometimes they say the most appalling nonsense . Just like all other people. Or are you suggesting there is some different standard here?

    These books exist because there is a market. Part of that would be the push market of the universities but can there be any doubt that there is a thrill market out there for Jewish self flagellation?

    Could part of that market be Christian? After all there is a history. Not all that distant either. Any perversion is possible.

    It's got to the point where there is a market in being a "Jew" and really it is now beyond what would be funnier than Abbott and Costello if it wasn't so scary.

    I blogged recently about something I saw on Mondoweiss while amusing myself there one evening.

    An American who was born and raised Jewish had left the religion and become an atheist and Communist in the 1950's while a Yale student had just converted to Christianity in an Anglican Church in Harlem on American Independence Day.

    It was the funniest thing I had seen all year until you think about it a little. Then it gets a little scary.

    Before his conversion he was as Jewish as Karl Marx or Leon Trotsky. Now he's a Christian. He's still a Communist of course. Given that he's an Anglican he could still be an atheist for all I know but get this.

    He still identifies as a Jew.

    Oh I almost forgot. He has published a few Israel bashing books. Sigh.


  3. con't

    There has to be a market for these books. It has to be a thrill market. You couldn't be surprised if they have ones with pictures under the counter.

    At the end of the day you either accept that people have the right to live in their own free liberal democracies, starting with the Israelis, or you do not. You either are a supporter of human rights or you are not.

    Israel is the only remaining homeland for Jewish refugees from Muslim lands in the Middle East and who comprise half the county's Jewish population. They are free because it is a secular state. It is not perfect but any thought of submitting by duress of state to God's law at this stage of the ascent of man is abhorrent.

    An abomination.

    As it would be in every other Western country.

    Now that the Arab Muslims have finally said no to another Muslim state along side the secular Jewish national home it is the only question to answer. "Palestine" is dead. There is no reason to suppose it wasn't a lie from the very start.

    Do you really think surrendering Israel and the Jews to them will appease them even if they were yours to surrender?

    Do you seriously believe that would ease the grievance? Do you think the world would be better off without them? What else would you surrender?

    If that is what you think then why are you so coy about saying it? Why do you appear to be using Jews to say it for you? Or at least think it for you?

  4. geoffff, the simple answer to your repeated question, "Could it be the Christian part.." is 'No'. I refer you in the first instance to Paul's letter to the Romans Ch.11:13 - 32. He makes it quite clear that being a Christian is to be grafted into the Israel of faith. The faith bit means that Gentiles are not required to become Jews, but they are not to boast against the Jews.

    The Pagan origins of anti-Semitism are detailed in various parts of the scriptures starting with the rise of Babylon under Nimrod and then Amraphel in Gemesis. The next major incident is under the Egyptians in Exodus(Passover/Pesach. Another example would be Purim which is explained in Esther. There is the long war of attrition by the Philistines (Judges and on into Kings and Chronicles). In fact the Old Testament/Tenach is pretty much the history of Israel's survival against Pagan anti-Semitism. It is only when Christianity lost its Jewish connection, and the Jewish political establishment of the time were part of this, and Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire that Pagan anti-semitism was imported along with a lot of other undesirable ideas. At that point, the Jews started to pay in terrible excess for the activities of a few. The long and painful history that has divided these sister faiths was well and truly underway. It is only in more recent times with the rise of Jewish and Christian Zionism that a healing process has begun to happen. We have to confront our history, but we do not have to be ruled by it. Anti-Semitism is unchristian and unbiblical and ought to be denounced as such. Sadly, various forms of Replacement theology have caused many to be misled and given a cloak of respectability to the antisemitic false teachers.

    1. Ian, could you clarify what you mean when you say "the Jews started to pay in terrible excess for the activities of a few." It was more than a few Christians who caused over two thousand years of persecution, suffering, murder, and genocide.

      It is really offensive to practicing Jews to refer to the Pentateuch or the first five books of the Hebrew bible as the "Old Testament." The Hebrew bible is alive and has not been superseded by Christian dogma or belief. The first Christians chose to break with established Jewish practice at the time. The break was not clean nor did it ever produce "sister faiths."

    2. I meant the few Jews (mostly a section of the leadership) who persecuted the Christians at the outset. It's not part of your history but it is part of ours. They sowed the wind, you all reaped the whirlwind. I am not justifying that, just observing that it happened.

      I did not intend to be offensive. Not everyone who reads this blog is Jewish, me for example, so I put Old Testament/Tenach as I was NOT referring to just the Books of Moses (Pentateuch/Torah). I was also including the prophets, the histories, the wisdom literature etc.

      I do not dispute that the Tenach/Old Testament is alive. It is a tenet of my faith that it is written word of God along with the New Testament/Covenant. I do believe that portions of the Tenach have been fulfilled and it is at that point that break begins.

      I never suggested that the break was clean. Some of the problems are documented in the book of Acts in the New Testament and Paul addresses many of the issues raised in his letters. At one stage Christianity was just another Messianic Jewish sect but then the Jewish leadership of that sect decided to let the Gentiles in without requiring that they become Jews. They believed that they were fulfiling God's commission on Israel to be a light to the Gentiles.

      As a consequence, I worship the God of Israel, believe in a Jewish Messiah, read Jewish scriptures (Both Testaments are authored by Jews with the exceptions of Nebuchadnezzar's letter (Daniel 4), possibly Job and possibly Luke (I think he was likely a Jew)). I adhere to a Jewish code of ethics, but not the ceremonial laws (it would take too long to explain here). I rejoice in the fulfilment of prohecy and the establishment of Israel in a day. I would love to be able to afford to visit Israel and am a bred in the bone Zionist. That by the way is the distinction between Jewish and Zionist. Not all Zionists are Jews and not all Jews are Zionists.

      For all of the reasons given above and many more, they ARE sister faiths and it is pointless to pretend otherwise. Our mutual enemies are under no such illusions.

      The point of my post was that it was the loss of the Jewish understanding that led to all manner of evil. Many of the so-called Christian persecutors couldn't even read the scriptures. Even today, many who call themselves Christian do not attend worship regularly, if at all, and I can promise you are surprised to learn that the authors of the New Testament and even Jesus(!) were Jewish.

      One question , if I may. As a self-proclaimed Jewess, how come you seem to confuse the Torah (Pentateuch, Books of Moses) with the Tenach (Old Testament)?

      The idea that the Tenach is more or less redundant was condemned as a heresy (Marcionism) in the second century. Replacement Theology is a contemporary form of it, but they would vehemently deny that.

      My position, and that of many, is that 'The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed'. Obviously, it is not the position of Judaism. You would be surprised at how much of the New Testament is quoting, alluding to, modeled on the Tenach.

      I hope this helps to clarify matters.

    3. You've clarified your lack of understanding of Judaism and Jewish history. Thanks for the Christian perspective.

    4. Ian is a staunch friend of Israel, J - he's very much on our side.

    5. Ian knows more about it than I do.

      I'm always pleased to see his perspective.

  5. Now our Methodist friend links to an interview with another renegade activist - the fellow is incorrigible.

  6. Thank you Ian. Sometimes we need to hear this.

  7. There is no distinction in my mind between being Jewish and Zionist. None whatsoever. Am Israel Chai.

  8. The Free Gaza Movement is imploding due to a holocaust denying tweet.

    An excellent article that rounds that up with a HRW report on Hamas and slamming bias at The Age:
    The Age and Human Rights in Gaza

    Re Russell Tribunal
    Kangaroo Court and Clown Show rolled into one - the Russell Tribunal on Palestine stumbles into New York this weekend
    See also NGO Monitor

    1. Thanks as usual, Ian.
      Have been busy with the house move preparations but will look asap.

  9. I have been banned at Connexions on that thread for anti - non antisemitism by saying antizionism is the new antisemitism.

    Also I think for being impolite, not listening and not doing what I'm told.

    For the full thread, including all the banned comments in their original form go here and here.

  10. geoffff, I would take your ban as a badge of honour. Richard tries to control the discussion by censoring comments he doesn't like, or comments which comprehensively destroy his so-called argument. His Israel bashing obsession is clearly a manifestation of a serious problem - and linking to the apologists of electronic intifada says it all.

    Another tactic of his is to put something out there (like this book) and then pretend he hasn't made his own mind up yet. He thus presents himself as being "open-minded" whilst in truth his links are always to anti-Israel articles, people or books. It is fundamentally dishonest, and he refuses to say out loud what he really thinks. His sidekick Kim isn't so good at hiding his hatred.

  11. Hey Geoff

    Don't feel bad. I've been kicked off the NIF Australian Facebook page

  12. This is probably a fool's errand, but there are some misconceptions here. Nobody has been banned - I was simply trying to draw a thread to a close because in my view it had run its course. geofffffff doesn't help himself by complaining that he's been censored before I've even had chance to look. Call me unreasonable, but that gets up my nose. As for pretending to be open-minded, I've got no idea what you mean. I invite you to look again at the thread in question: 43 comments, 23 of which take an opposing view to my own. Does that really look like censorship?
    Finally, the if you think that you've ever read hatred in kim's posts or comments, please you're simply mistaken. You'll choose not to believe that, but it is the truth.

  13. Richard, I don't think you are capable of recognizing truth, yet your defence of such a hateful individual is touching, if it weren't so utterly misguided.

    But then, Richard, your blog is an endless series of obsessive posts attacking Israel, come what may, and by highlighting internal disgreements amongst Jews, you simply display your aim of trying to drive a wedge between Jews and Israel. As I have pointed out to you before, Jews are not one homogenous entity, who all think alike, just as no-one else thinks alike. Yet you ignore the deep commitment the vast majority of Jews feel for Israel (there are several polls to reference), and instead spend your time highlighting fringe opinions and then presenting these as if these constituted a deep crisis amongst Jews. Get this straight Richard - we love Israel, overwhelmingly so, and will not be driven away from this love by people whose motives are questionable at best, and downright evil at worst - and least not from a representative of a church which has persecuted Jews for centuries.

    Thank you for your ongoing sensitivity.

  14. endless series of obsessive posts attacking Israel???

    My blog has been running for more than 10 years. It's current incarnation has over 6000 posts. 68 of them are tagged 'Israel'. I'll have missed some, because I'm not very consistent with the tagging, but even so - that hardly looks 'endless' or 'obsessive'.
    I don't "attack Israel". I *do* oppose Israel's policy towards the Palestinians.

    1. Without, it seems, taking into account the realities of the situation facing Israel, or of Palestinian intransigence.

  15. You will be pleased to hear that "Antizionism is the new antisemitism" is no longer actually banned at Richard's place.

    It is however off-topic. And a lot of other stuff besides.

    Full story here.

  16. On Richard Hall's 'Connexions' blog you have good cop/bad cop. Richard Hall comes across as a nice, reasonable guy, someone with whom it would be a pleasure to share a few pints of ale at a folkie gig, just can't understand why the IDF needs to be so assiduous in defending Israel - just like a lot of my non-Jewish friends. Kim Fabricius, on the other hand, is a thoroughly nasty pece of work - vicious, spiteful, sneering, and obviously in love with his own verbal pyrotechnics. He reminds me of Rodney Ledward.

    1. It's always struck me as good cop, bad cop, Ric.

      I'm sure Kim is a nice guy really (he was sympathetic to me when I explained to him that a major reason for my blogging under an alias is fear of an online antisemitic stalker), but he certainly loves the verbal spar. I have to admit he has a certain "je ne sais quoi" with words!

  17. Of course Richard has no answer - quelle surprise.

    1. To be fair to Richard, Hagee's attitude is so odd it's no easy to suggest an answer.

  18. An antisemite comments on Richard's thread:


    Eternal Atheist 10.08.12 at 4:17 pm

    Richard I’ve been reading these slinging matches between yourself and these other sock puppets with great intrigue. To preface my interest I’d just like air my main concerns as a citizen of a western country, namely that the politics of zionism are an extreme danger when its tentacles reach so far into every aspect of modern western governance yet our media is gagged about even mentioning its existance let alone the depths of its influence. It surely is a form of politic beyond simple hypocrisy as our leaders quietly pledge their allegiance to these radical zealots yet we have no ability to air an objection without a venemous and mendacious onslaught from the pro-zionits creepy crawlies that inhabit the net, scurrying from the light of objective discourse (which I imagine is by design).... These people are tragically deranged....A little off topic I know, but you must realize there are other ways to combat their vitriolic defense and pious ownership of history - the very tools with which they manipulate the world today.

  19. I've removed the comment from my blog. It got through my moderation process, as did one of Avraham's, because I was busy. A bit disappointed that anyone would think I agreed with the commenter.

    But I'm puzzled about why you would want to post it here. If I would be promoting anti-semitism by hosting the comment, why does the same not apply to you?

    1. Richard, I was pretty sure you had not endorsed it - I left a comment on your blog below Abraham's to say I was confident you'd remove it when you realised its nature. I refer to it here because I think it useful to know how antisemites think.
      I certainly do not believe that you reflect the views of your commenter. I hope that clarifies the situation.

  20. I'm sorry, but it doesn't Daphne. I know for certain that if I had left that comment on my blog, it would have been used as evidence that I'm antisemitic after all. At least two commenters said as much. I was grateful for your comment, of course, but I don't think your readers need any help to know "how antisemites think", and if they did there are hundreds more places you could have taken it from. From where I'm sitting, using that comment in the way you have looks like an attempt to link me to it.

    1. Richard, I can differentiate between a comment you have made and one that Eternal Atheist has made. You are not responsible for his views.
      I wrote "An antisemite comments on Richard's thread" - I made no implication that it was with your endorsement or reflects your own views.
      I am sorry that you believe it did, and wish to state explicitly that there was no such malice aforethought in my mind.

  21. Richard, whilst I appreciate you do not endorse those views of the deranged EA, you wrote that "some readers" may find it offensive, declining to say whether you did or not.


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