Following the hue and cry over UAE concluding a trade deal with Israel, now is the right time to clearly grasp some basic facts about the Israel-Palestine situation.
The first thing to understand is that it is NOT a religious issue. The project to "reclaim the 'promised' land" and set up an Israeli State, extending from the southernmost part of Gaza all the way up to the highest point of "Samaria and Judea" (West Bank) and from the Jordan river in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, -- to set up Eretz Yisraeel - is not a religious project of the Jews but a political project of Zionists.
In fact, some conscientious and religious Jews, like the Orthodox and Hassidic Jews, oppose Israel and the setting up of any Israeli State.
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In July 1947, Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, Chief Rabbi of the Jerusalem-based Edah HaChareidis, declared to the United Nations his "definite opposition to a Jewish state in any part of Palestine". The largest anti-Zionist Hasidic group, Satmar, which has around 130,000 adherents worldwide, is also opposed to Israel. The group's position was crystallized by their charismatic leader, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, who authored comprehensive and polemic tracts detailing his opposition to Zionism.
During the recent Jewish holiday of Sukkos, huge Hebrew banners were hung on the streets of Mea She'arim, an anti-Zionist Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. Following is an English translation of the text in the banner: "Religious Jewry Declares: The Zionists and their Regime Do Not Belong to the Jewish People. Our Demand: The Zionists Must Withdraw from all of the Holy Land.In the words of our prayer book: 'May all wickedness dissipate like smoke, when You remove the reign of evil from the land'."
Many prominent Jewish figures over the past century have opposed the idea of an ethnically exclusive Israeli state and or what Israel is doing. They include Sigmund Freud; Albert Einstein; Erich Fromm; Primo Levi, writer and Auschwitz survivor; Marek Edelman, last surviving leader of the 1943 Warsaw uprising; Isaac Asimov, novelist; Hannah Arendt, political scientist ;I.F. Stone, US journalist; Noam Chomsky; Gabriel Kolko, one of the leading historians on modern warfare; Miriam Margolyes, actor; Uri Avnery, ex-Israeli army officer; Henry Siegman, Rabbi and director of the U.S./Middle East Project; Richard Cohen, US columnist; Roseanne Barr, US comedian, writer, director, presidential candidate; Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine; Richard Falk, the former UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories;
Zionism is being opposed widely and many of the opponents are well known Jews.
In 2014, David Wilson posted in News & Comment,
"ON 9 AUGUST 2014, 150 000 protesters marched in London in solidarity with the people of Gaza who were suffering a barbaric assault by Israel which had killed over 2000 people, most of them civilians, and over 400 of them children.
"Numerous Jewish groups joined the march. They marched as Jews to show their opposition to the state of Israel"" Jewish marchers saying "not in my name" included, the Jewish Bloc, The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Jews Against the war on Gaza."
In the country that laid the foundation for the creation of the State of Israel through its infamous Balfour Declaration, trade unions are now demanding rights of Palestinians. On September 15th. the Annual Congress of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) representing nearly 6 million members in the UK adopted a motion which reaffirmed its solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for the right to self-determination, condemning the occupation and expansionist policies of the Israeli government.
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