Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dialogue in December 2011 : Kazi Azizul Huq, Renee Leavy Kohn, Chief Rabbi David Rosen, Dr. Richard Benkin

We can not forget that during the First World War the Arab Beduin gangs led by the son of Sharif Hussein of Makkah helped the British to occupy Arab lands including the region known today as Israel and Palestine. The plain truth is that the British received money from the Jews to help the Jews return to their ancient homeland. The cunning British availed consent from the sons of Sharif Hussein as well as from Abdul Aziz bin Saud to the effect. The treacherous British helped Abdul Aziz bin Saud to oust Sharif Hussein from Hejaj and appeased the sons of Sharif Hussein by posting one in Baghdad and the other in Amman. Arabs lost all subsequent wars with Israel and now seeking justice under the guidance of the traitor British according to British treacherous standards and values. And the Palestine Authority today is almost an atheist entity.
· · 10 hours ago

      Renee Leavy Kohn
      That is basically how my father told us. "For 2000 years Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in relative peace. Then the British came".

      The British received some money money from the Rothschild to buy land in Palestine, but the main reason that the British were all for the "Restoration of the Jews to Zion aka Zionism" was that they wanted to rid Europe of its Jewish population and bring about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the process.

      Ever since the Bible had begun to be translated into English starting in the 1380s under John Wycliffe, and under the influence of Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant church who was also a proponent of the "common language" bible, there was a movement to restore the Jewish people to Zion as part of Protestant End Times theology.

      By the time that Pastor Wilhelm Hechler convinced Theodore Herzl (who himself had proposed mass baptism of the Jewish people as an answer to anti Semitism and whose own family converted to Christianity), to take Zionism to the secular and assimilated European Jews, the theology was well instilled in the religious beliefs of European Christians.

      Zionism was from its very beginning banned by the rabbis as heretical to Judaism.

      • I think, in the post-European Renaissance age of 'Nation States' the aspiration of the Bani Israel to have an independent polity is a legitimate and fair aspiration. And 'Zionism' could simply mean that fair and legitimate aspiration.


      • Renee Leavy Kohn Actually, Judaism forbids establishing a nation before the Messiah.

        During the Babylonian Diaspora right after the destruction of the First Temple, Rabbi Ze'ira asked Rabbi Yehudah if he is permitted to return to Eretz Israel.

        Rabbi Yehudah answered: Whoever ascends from Babylon to Eretz Israel transgresses a positive commandment. Only G - d decides about the end of the Babylonian Galut. Hence, He will give us a sign. It is absolutely forbidden to make up our own minds and rush back to Eretz Israel.

        Rabbi Ze'ira claimed that this law only applies to the Temple Kelim (dishes for the service) and not to the Jews. Rabbi Yehudah responds that immigration to Eretz Israel is prohibited and he quotes from Shir HaShirim 2:7:

        "I have adjured you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by gazelles or by hinds of the fileds etc. should you wake or rouse the love until it pleases".

        This teaches us metaphorically that we are bound by an oath not to ascend to Eretz Israel until the Final Redemption. Rabbi Ze'ira, however, interpreted the verse that the Jewish people should not converge upon Eretz Israel in a wall of force (which is what was done, so either way the State is forbidden by Jewish law).

        The "daughters of Jerusalem" are all Jewish generations. They received an oath from G - d not to rush the coming of the Moschiach before G-d makes the decision Himself.

        Like "gazelles and hinds" means that if the Jews break their oath before the time, they could be hunted like gazelles and hinds.

        Rabbi Yehudah presents the oath:

        1. The Jewish people should not converge upon Eretz Israel in a wall of force.

        2. The Jews should not rebel against the nations.

        3. G - d told the idolaters not to subjugate the Jewish people more than sufficient.

        You can find those three reasons three times in Shir HaShirim (2:7, 5:8 and 8:4).

        The Gemara in Ketubot 111a lists another three additional oaths:

        1. Jewish prophets should not reveal the exact time of the Ge'ulah.

        2. The Jews should not distance the end through their sins.

        3. The Jews should not reveal the secret to the idolaters.
        In fact there are secret calculations on the Jewish calendar but they are not to be revealed.

        The Gemara continues with the punishments for not keeping the oaths.

        G - d said to the Jewish people: "If you abide by the oath, it will be well and good for you, but if not, I will permit your flesh to be hunted by the idolaters as the gazelles and as the hinds of the field".

        In other words:
        The Jews have to live in the Diaspora until G - d makes His decision and brings the Moschiach. If we live in Israel we influence His decision and might be punished by Him. Our presence in the Holy Land could thus we break the oath and therefore, we deserve to be punished.

        Despite the oaths, many Chassidim and Mitnagdim (litvish) did not see a problem by settling in Israel because they did not plan a State of Israel but wanted to set up religious settlements which were to be ruled according to the Torah law. Furthermore, prayers are more accepted in Israel than in the Galut.

        But already the Baal Shem Tov emphazised the importance of living in Galut. Jews do have many tasks there and only by fulfilling them we can bring the Moschiach (also see Chassidut Rozhin and Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apta). Those Chassidim who came to Israel 200 years ago, were simply fed up with suffering in one pogrom after the other in Eastern Europa. They finally wanted to live in peace.

        At the end of the last century however, political Zionism became more and more popular and the Chassidim started to fight the new secular ideas. Israel can only exist according to Torah law and not by secular law. As a counterpart to national religious and secular Zionism they founded the Agudat Israel and the Edah HaCharedit. Today the Agudah has five seats in the Knesset and includes groups such as Vishnitz, Belz, Gur and Litvishe Haredim. Although the members of the Agudat Israel are not necessarily Zionist, they think that it is important to be in the Knesset and not only let the secular rule.

        The Edah HaCharedit refuses any cooperation or recognition of the State of Israel. Edah is an umbrella organization for different chassidic groups such as Dushinsky, Toldot Aharon, Toldot Avraham Yitzchak, Satmar, Spinka, Breslov and also includes Litvishe groups such as Brisk and Mishkenot HaRoim.

        (Miriam Woelke wrote this explanation).
        True Torah Jews is a non-profit organization of Orthodox Jews dedicated to infor...See More
        Tuesday at 7:55pm 
        Kazi Azizul Huq I agree to the view: Since Israel is in the Holy Land "Israel can only exist according to Torah law and not by secular law."

      From: David Rosen <>
      Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 10:48 PM
      Subject: RE: Seeking you comment on a discussion in the Facebook social media
      To: Kazi Azizul Huq <>

      Please see my comments in red.

      That is basically how my father told us. "For 2000 years Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in relative peace. Then the British came".
      That is historically incorrect, There were plenty of conflicts between the communities, both under the Turks, before, and especially under Christian rule.

      The British received some money from the Rothschild to buy land in Palestine,
      What evidence is there for such a claim ? In fact if any rulers were paid money, it was to the Turks. However the Rothschilds essentially purchased land from Arab and Turk absentee landlords (effendis) for Jewish returnees to inhabit and develop.

      but the main reason that the British were all for the "Restoration of the Jews to Zion aka Zionism" ,was that they wanted to rid Europe of its Jewish population, and bring about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the process.
      Parts one and three of the above sentence are true with regards to a particular (and not a very large) portion of the British political and religious leadership; the second phrase is nonsense.

      Ever since the Bible had begun to be translated into English starting in the 1380s under John Wycliffe, and under the influence of Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant church who was also a proponent of the "common language" bible, there was a movement to restore the Jewish people to Zion as part of Protestant End Times theology.

      By the time that Pastor Wilhelm Hechler convinced Theodore Herzl (who himself had proposed mass baptism of the Jewish people as an answer to anti Semitism and whose own family converted to Christianity), to take Zionism to the secular and assimilated European Jews, the theology was well instilled in the religious beliefs of European Christians.
      Hechler did not convince Herzl. Herzl enlisted Hechler to help him obtain access to European Christian political leadership.

      Zionism was from its very beginning banned by the rabbis as heretical to Judaism
      It is true that some rabbis condemned Zionism because of its secular character, but there was already at the outset a strong  Religious Zionist movement and today the overwhelming majority of rabbis and religious Jews see Zionism simply as the political process to restore the Jewish people to its ancestral homeland in keeping with the Divine eternal promise.

      Chief Rabbi David Rosen,CBE,KSG,
      International Director of Interreligious Affairs, AJC
      tel:+972-2-6255281. fax:+972-2-6256527  


      From: Dr. Richard L. Benkin <>
      Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 7:19 PM
      Subject: Re: Seeking your comment on a discussion in the Facebook social media
      To: Kazi Azizul Huq <>

      I suppose my immediate question is:  What is the evidence for these grand assertions?
              1.    “The plain truth is that the British received money from the Jews to help the Jews return to their ancient homeland.”  How much money?  From whom?  Are you saying that all individual Jews are part of a single activity by a Jewish people?  Are you saying that was the determining factor in British policy?  Were there others?  For instance, there was a tremendous resurgence of Christian millenarianism among parts of the population that saw the Jews return to the Land of Israel to be a necessary step for the Second Coming of Jesus.
             2.    “For 2000 years, Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in relative peace.  Then the British came.”  Are you unaware of anti-Jewish pogroms?  Are you saying legal dhimmitude is “relative peace”?
             3.    Herzl’s suggestion about mass conversion has been seen by reputable and knowledgeable scholars as tongue in cheek sarcasm; more marginal or agenda-driven advocates take it seriously.  His “family” did not convert, but only his son did (not an uncommon practice for Jews who otherwise were banned from almost all professions and non-marginal economic endeavors).
             4.    To say that Zionism was banned by “the rabbis” (that’s a funny concept—that all rabbis agree about things) is silly.  Yes, at one point people were afraid of the reaction to it.  Yes, there are marginal groups today who still oppose it (again, let me emphasize marginal).  And yes, when Zionism began picking up steam in the 18th and 19th century, the most religious rabbis saw it as heretical.  But in fact, rabbis have been part of most Zionist efforts for decades upon decades.  Moreover, the longing to return to Zion has been central in Jewish theology and liturgy and in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people for thousands of years.

      Renee Leavy Kohn  
      My father comes from a line of Moroccan Chief Rabbis and our family is documented in Morocco for 700 years.

      My mother is a great niece of the Imrei Emes. Hopefully this will shed a bit of light on the perspective that I was raised with.

      WADR, it would not surprise me that my father (until 120) would be coming from a different perspective than yours.

      My above statement about Rothschild was overly simplistic and for that I apologize. Please allow me to clarify.

      It is well documented in history that the Rothschilds made massive war loans to the British government and because of this gained considerable influence in British politics. On November 2nd, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour replied to a letter from Lord Rothschild, the head of the Zionist Federation in Great Britain dated July 18th. The letter included the final text of the Balfour Declaration, a document expressing British support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

      Additionally, it is a well known fact of history that the Rothschild family, Baron Benjamin (Edmond James) de Rothschild (1845-1934) embraced 12 settlements at all three levels of land redemption: purchase, reclamation and economically viable settlement. In 1900, Rothschild transferred the settlements, their agricultural enterprises, and 25,000 hectares of land to the Jewish Colonization Association (ICA, est. 1891), which he continued to support in various ways.

      In a military biography of Moshe Dayan, the early Zionist activity is described:

      “Using Rothschild’s money, JNF purchased land from absentee Turkish landlords. To the Arab tenant farmers, the transfer of land from Turkish to Jewish ownership was of little consequence since the Jews rehired them as agricultural workers.”

      I will politely refer you to Prof. Tom Segev's book One Palestine Complete which chronicles in painstaking detail Britain's attitudes toward her Jewish citizens and the behind the scenes motivations for Britain's support of Zionism. Prof. Segev using British archival documents paints a rather clear picture that the supporters of Zionism did so in order to eventually rid Great Britain of its Jews.

      Segev is not the only scholar who comes to this conclusion. In 1621, the British MP Sir Henry Finch wrote a book entitled "The World's Great Restoration" in which he suggest that the Jewish people return to the Holy Land.

      In 1799, Napoleon issued a proclamation promising to restore Palestine to the Jews as a means of defeating the Turkish Empire's claims to the land.

      In 1808, the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, familiarly called "The Jews Society," was founded, and it soon became very popular. The zeal for conversion was based on the idea that conversion of the Jews would bring about the Second Coming. Many of the members also believed that restoration of the Jews to "Palestine" was necessary for this purpose.
      Somewhat later, about 1825, John Nelson Darby founded the Plymouth Brethren, a religious sect with a distinct theology, dispensationalism, which professed that the Jews would have to be returned to their ancient kingdom and converted to Christianity before the rule of Christ on Earth.

      For religious, or humanitarian or philosophical or imperialist motives, prominent Britons learned Hebrew, wrote novels about restoration of the Jewish commonwealth, began settlement and exploration societies and advocated restoration of the Jews in public and in private. Among the advocates we may include Lord Lindsay, Lord Shaftesbury Lord Palmerston, Disraeli, Lord Manchester, George Eliot, Holman Hunt, Sir Charles Warren, Hall Caine and others.

      Lord Lindsay wrote:

      The soil of "Palestine still enjoys her sabbaths, and only waits for the return of her banished children, and the application of industry, commensurate with her agricultural capabilities, to burst once more into universal luxuriance, and be all that she ever was in the days of Solomon. ( Crawford, A.W.C. (Lord Lindsay), Letters on Egypt, Edom and the Holy Land, London, H. Colburn 1847, V II, p 71).

      Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury was an Evangelical Christian, part of the revival of Evangelical faith that swept Britain in the early 19th century. Religious motives prompted him to initiate charity works and further social legislation, including the ten hour day act. At the same time, he was keen for the restoration of the Jews, and their conversion to Christianity.

      There exists at the present time among the Jews dispersed over Europe, a strong notion that the time is approaching for their nation to return to Palestine...It would be of manifest importance to the Sultan to encourage the Jews to return and to settle in Palestine because the wealth which they would bring with them would increase the resources of the Sultan's dominions; and the Jewish people, if returning under the sanction and protection and at the invitation of the Sultan, would be a check on any future evil designs of Mehmet Ali or his successors... I have to instruct Your Excellency strongly to recommend to hold out every just encouragement to the Jews of Europe to return to Palestine. ( p 175). Tuchman, Barbara, Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour, Ballantine Books, 1988.

      F. Laurence Oliphant (1829-1888), MP and Evangelical Christian, was a follower of Lord Shaftesbury. In 1880 Oliphant published a book entitled The Land of Gilead, urging the British Parliament to assist the restoration of Jews to Palestine from Russia and Eastern Europe, and advocating that Palestinian Arabs be removed to reservations like those of the North American Indians.
      ", There were plenty of conflicts between the communities, both under the Turks, before, and especially under Christian rule."

      I did write, because I was comparing the history of Jews in traditionally Muslim lands to that of Jews in Europe:

      "For 2000 years Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in relative peace"

      My mother's family (Helfant/ Czarna and Markowitz/Moreno) lived in North Africa until the mid 19th century before going to Lodz.

      My mother's great grandmother wrote extensively about the extreme anti Semitism throughout Europe in contrast to what they were used to. In 1905, my left Lodz for London to escape the oppressive anti Semitism which my g-grandmother said in London was only marginally better than in Eastern Europe.

      My father's family (from Tetouan Morocco) has completely different stories about good relations with their Muslim neighbors. My father's cousins were protected by Muslim neighbors when the Nazis went door to door looking for Jews. And the King Mohammed V's stand against the Nazis is famous among my father's relatives who observe the anniversary of the King's death each year. (see also Robert Satloff's Among the Righteous).

      On my mother's side, my mother's aunt Dora and her family were rescued from Nazi occupied France by the Imam of the Great Mosque of Paris. Hopefully my mother's aunt's story will be included in the sequel to this book

      I provided the authors with family pictures and documents which they hope to use in a sequel.
      When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place--the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a...

      from"Dr. Richard L. Benkin"
      toKazi Azizul Huq
      dateWed, Dec 7, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      Re: Continuation of the discussion by Mrs. Renee Leavy Kohn in the FB social media

      Thank you, Mrs. Kohn; that is really an impressive answer, and I tip my cap to you.
      Here, I believe, is where you and I part ways.

      I spend a lot of time in South Asia and with South Asians, and while my love and admiration for all peoples of the region knows no bounds, there is a tendency toward conspiracy theory.  As soon as people find out I am Jewish, there is always a hefty portion who assume I am Mossad; people definitely conflate “Jewish” and “Israeli.”  This tendency, moreover, extends to the highest levels of government, media, and academia.  Let me digress with one of my favorite vignettes.

          A few years ago, I was walking across the campus of Lucknow University, having just completed two days of addresses to students and faculty.  As my colleague and I were passing the Islamic Studies Center, a young man ran out and asked that we join him and his colleagues inside for some tea.  In traditional Muslim fashion, our hosts were gracious and generous; and we all engaged in a spirited discussion and back-and-forth on many subjects.  We found common ground in some cases, and in others, as my dear friend Kazi Azizul Huq would say, we agreed to disagree (perhaps the greatest indicator of a free and open mind).  As the discussion was winding down, one of the participants, an accomplished Urdu journalist, blurted out something about “the occupation,” which triggered even more spirited debate that he and I carried out well into the night at different venues.  Just outside of Center, however, we had this exchange:

      HIM:    Well, every Muslim child knows that the entire media is owned by seven Jews.

      ME:     You’re kidding, right?

      HIM:    No.

      ME:    Hmm. I must have missed that meeting. So, tell me who are you talking about?

      HIM:    Rupert Murdoch.

      ME:    Not Jewish.

      HIM:   Now you’re kidding.

      ME:    No, I’m not.  He’s a good friend.  A strong supporter of Israel, but not Jewish.  Who else?

      HIM:   Ted Turner.

      ME:    Ted Turner?  I don’t think he even likes Jews!

      And it went on from there, ending with my saying:  If you’re spreading this rubbish—and you’re an educated, knowledgeable individual, an opinion maker—what hope does your children have?  As long as you and your colleagues insist on giving your children propaganda over facts; you will always be a beggar people.

      Perhaps my conclusion was phrases a bit harsh, but the journalist and I continued talking and arguing over dinner and well into the night.  And the story helps illustrate why I bristle at anything that contributes to that conspiratorial state of mind—whether intended so or not.  I am especially sensitive to statements that talk about “the Jews” as if we were some unified, monolithic organization; which, of course could not be further from the truth.  Hence, my initial reaction.

      I love your fleshy response, which provides a good deal of substance to the discussion.  But, again, here is where we differ:

          1.    First, while there is no doubt that Rothschild was able to gain some influence and wring a few concessions with the war loans (the family also lent heavily to the other side); the notion of significant Jewish influence or control over British foreign policy is almost laughable.  Jews had been expelled from England for centuries and had become “legitimate” in the relatively recent past.  They were not well-thought of among the populace and certainly not among the elites.  The history of Britain in the Middle East (and pretty much everywhere else, too) is one of British self-interest;and it is difficult to get a rounded picture of that without pairing the Balfour Declaration with the White Paper of 1939 and even the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, which I think best reflected British (and French) thinking and interests and would be their world had they been able to maintain it.  I also recall visiting the former British prison camp in Northern Israel at Atlit, where Jewish immigrants (most survivors of the camps) were held and treated abysmally.  Couple that with the British and American driven Bermuda conference during World War II (which ratified the formal position of inaction on the Holocaust despite extensive and verified information of its existence); and we have a picture of a British foreign office that is downright hostile to Jews and ultimately a Jewish State (the UK abstained on the 1947 Palestine Partition vote).

          2.    I love some of your documented history, but can find individuals (even a lot) who acted heroically; that does not mean that some general good will and moral courage existed among any segment of the world’s population (including my own United States) during the Holocaust.  We can walk down the Avenue of the Righteous in Yad Vashem and see numerous examples.  Going back, the supposed harmony among the Abrahamic faiths under Islamic rule was based on a philosophy of Islamic supremacy and required all sorts of humiliating laws and practices as regards Jews.  It is much like contrasting the lack of open racial tension in early 20th century America with the tumult of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s; and saying that during the former, American whites and blacks lived in harmony.

          3.    And while your points about certain rabbinic opposition to a political founding of Israel, they are, for the most part anachronistic and premised on Jewish powerlessness and fear of retaliation during those older periods.  It was not just in that area but in others where rabbis and community elders enjoined Jews to keep their heads down—whether opposition to Jewish self-determination movements or the proscriptions against wearing jewelry or other signs of well-being.  Moreover, as you know, that position is held by a small and increasingly marginal group among the Jewish people and rabbinate.

          4.    I humbly consider myself something of an expert about Hasidism and really take issue with characterizing the movement as monolithically anti-Zionist.  Many zadikim and others advocated moving to Israel and strengthening a Jewish state.  Hasidism was more than anything else a movement for the “little people” and one of quietism; and it must be seen within that context.  It was a movement to “re-enfranchise” a large stratum of Jews who had been disenfranchised by the overly intellectual Mitnagdim of the time.  Whatever helped became part of the tales, even when the contrary became part of other tales; and hence, the criticality of the Baal Shem Tov’s emphasis on the importance of living in the Galut.  Let’s also remember that Hasidism was born shortly after the Sabbatai Zevi false messiah craze and during its Polish step-child (Jacob Frank).  There was a lot of pressure on the Jewish community of Eastern Europe (where Hasidism was born) to “prove” that it was loyal and not tied to the now-Turkish loving Zevi or was looking to re-locate to Israel, disdaining their current homes.  That, more than a monolithic commitment, drove the examples of praising the Galut and minimizing what was then Zionism.  (And the Jewish people had a lot to worry about having recently experienced the mass murders of Chmielnitzky and others.)


      Renee Leavy Kohn
      ‎", that position is held by a small and increasingly marginal group among the Jewish people and rabbinate."

      Actually the sects which constitute Edah have grown to 1.2 million adherents and due to an average birth rate of 5.8 children per couple combined with shorter generations are growing at a rate which is exponentially higher than that of Modern Orthodox.

      Reform and Conservative population demographics are shrinking.

      The "small and increasingly marginal groups among the Jewish people and the rabbinate whether this sits well with your personal views or not are the Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and non affiliated rather than the Haredim.

      ‎"I humbly consider myself something of an expert about Hasidism and really take issue with characterizing the movement as monolithically anti-Zionist."

      Please elaborate about how a Reform affiliated Jew becomes an expert on Hasidim.

      As I mentioned above, my mother is a great niece of the Imrei Emes and my grandfather a"h provided kosher meat to the Chassidic community in Miami Beach.

      The Breslover Rav of Monsey is my second cousin and another second cousin is a Satmar Ruv and nephew of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum.

      My children went to Chassidic schools.

      Until 3 years ago, we lived in Chassidic communities (Brooklyn, Miami Beach). We moved to a very strong Sephardic community because my husband is a Syrian Jew and the neighborhood where we now live has many Sephardic synagogues and social activities for our children.

      For two decades I have done translation work (volunteer) for several Chassidic Rabbis (including Rabbi Dovid Meisels author of the most wonderful book in English about the Satmar Rebbe ztl) as well as Edah.

      I would certainly would NOT call myself an expert about Hasidim despite having a mother from a Rebbeishe Chassidic family (my father is Sephardic), attending Chassidic schools, living in Chassidishe neighborhoods for most of my life, having children educated in Chassidishe schools, keeping Chasidishe kashrus, using a Chassidishe mikveh for more than 2 decades, attending a Chassidishe shteibel each Sabbath for most of my life etc etc etc.

      Anyway, as you stated that you "really take issue with characterizing Edah Hachareidit as monolithically anti Zionist", I respectfully request that you provide at least one example of a Kol Koreh issued by any Chassidic Rebbe in history to support your assertion that there is/was or ever will be a Chassidic Rebbe who is not anti Zionist.

      I will give you a head start however that you should NOT look to Lubavitch. Despite the fact that some have claimed throughout the years that the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztl was a Zionist, this is simply not the case. I knew the Rebbe ztl personally having first met the Rebbe ztl in 1977.

      The Lubavitcher Rebbe defined Israel as ‘bitter exile and double-fold darkness.’ Senior Chabad members describe the Rebbe as one of the great fighters against Zionism.They define Zionism as idolatry and worship of stars and constellations, and there are also those who have written about the need to degrade Zionism, as one spits at a place of idolatry.

      The rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin, David Meir Drukman, writes that the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s opinion was “absolute opposition to the Zionist idea.” Rabbi Sholom Dovber Wolpo says that, “the Rebbe was opposed to all the celebrations of Independence Day.” The rabbi of the Chabad community in Neve Yaakov, Tuvia Blau, says that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was “the greatest of battlers against Zionism.”

      Rabbi Schneerson refused to use the words “state of Israel.”

      The Lubavitcher Rebbe erased Independence Day from a calendar he received. Chabad’s calendars ordinarily leave out Independence Day and the Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers.

      The Rebbe ordered at least two columnists to publish articles and books against Zionism and the state of Israel.

      Ahead of last Independence Day, 11 senior rabbis from Chabad issued a ban forbidding one of their own members, Shimon Rosenberg, from lighting a torch at the official Independence Day ceremony claiming that, “this action is contrary to the opinion of Chabad rabbis.”

      Chabad spokesman Menachem Brod said during a panel discussion at Hemed yeshiva in 2008 that, “the state of Israel was conceived and born in iniquity.” Rabbi Tuvia Blau wrote that, “we forget that the state of Israel is an exile like all exiles….” He has also written about the duty and mitzva of “degrading the Zionist idolotry.”
      Enter the glorious court of Satmar-a flourishing Chassidic dynasty that is as in...See More

      Also do not look to Ger. Despite the fact that many also claim that the Gerrer Rebbes are Zionists, this is simply not the case and never was.
      I will refer you to a 1984 ruling of the Gerrer Rebbe, the Lev Simcha, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter ztl which forbade Rabbi Menachem Porush from participating in the Zionism government even under the guise of an "Agudah Israel" party.

      The Imrei Emes (father of the Lev Simcha) was one of the founders of Agudah Israel and as the Lev Simcha wrote in the name of his father, this ruling is significant for anyone who remains under the mistaken belief that Ger's anti Zionism was only pre-State.

      The following is a translation of a letter from the Sfas Emes, the Gerrer Rebbe (1847-1905). The letter is printed in the book Chiddushei Harim and Gur Aryeh, Bilgoraya 5673, letter number 8 at the end of the book.

      Thursday of Parshas Kedoshim 5661 (1901), Gur.

      It is sad that this letter is often misconstrued as Ger's support of Zionism because when the whole letter is read in context, it is easy to see that this is not the case and never was.

      Life and peace to the honor of my friend, the great and famous and holy rabbi, Rabbi Yisroel shlita.

      I received your letter, accompanied by the pilpul on halacha. I was happy to see you walking with broad knowledge through the Talmud and poskim. Now I will do your bidding to tell you my humble opinion on this subject (moving to Eretz Yisroel) as far as halacha, and practically speaking.

      Briefly, certainly one who has a little fear of Heaven, accepts upon himself to keep the mitzvos of terumos and maaseros, and knows that his wife will not be against it, should not be afraid to go to Eretz Yisroel, and it will be considered a mitzvah. Even though this aliyah would not be for the sake of the mitzvah, we say that "by doing mitzvos for the wrong reasons one will eventually come to do them for the right reasons." But one who is not certain of himself that he will fulfill the many mitzvos of the land gifts to the poor and tithes come out to about a fifth of the produce or more, and keeping the Shmittah is even harder, a great test, especially if all their livelihood will be from the produce of the land then he should not bring himself to such a test.

      And especially regarding what you proposed to permit people who act improperly in our countries to go to Eretz Yisroel, on the assumption that once they live there they will humble themselves, G-d forbid that a descendent of my father should say such a thing! These people only go to benefit from the land, for their livelihood is difficult here. Surely you have heard about the groups of irreligious and wicked people who have spread in Eretz Yisroel and Jerusalem. Woe to the ears that hear this! Therefore in this case there is definitely a possibility of a prohibition.

      All this pertains to the halacha. Now, turning to the practical sphere, you wish to make efforts in this area, to convince Jews to move to Eretz Yisroel. But you should not rely on stories; rather you should first send a few men with good sense and they should stay there for at least a few months, to see if it is really possible to live off the produce of the land. Hearing is not the same as seeing. And it is well known that there are many poor people in Eretz Yisroel why do they not live off the produce of the land? And at least you must first ask people you know who have lived there several years and see what they have to say about this. You say that there has been a change there, that the land is sprouting with blessing, more than previously, but I have not heard this. You can get the true story from the Jews of Eretz Yisroel.

      Regarding what you wrote further that through your efforts a majority of the Jewish people will come there, your words are all astounding. In this matter we say, "Let not he who puts on his sword boast like him who takes it off" (Melachim I 20:11). We cannot use this as one of our reasons to permit immigration to Eretz Yisroel.

      May the Holy One, blessed is He, restore our captivity soon, and bring us up to Zion with song, and make us joyous as much as the days of our affliction.

      His friend who seeks his peace, Aryeh Leib of Gur.

      His successor, the Imrei Emes, was also very strong in his opposition to Zionism. However, he did encourage his chassidim to move to Eretz Yisroel, and made trips there to strengthen the community. As a member of Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, he was criticized by Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro, the Munkaczer Rebbe, for the Agudah activists excesses in stressing emigration to the Holy Land. In response, the Imrei Emes said that he was only the honorary president but had no actual power over the activists:

      "In truth, I already dislike bearing the title of honorary president of the Agudah. I would willingly give up the honor and I wish I had never taken it on. For what do I need such a big responsibility? Who am I that people should blame these things on me? I would like you to suggest a different way for religious Jews to unite, so that there might be no complaints against us." (Tikun Olam, p. 19)

      In the years immediately prior to the establishment of the Zionist state, Agudah policy was dominated by Isaac Meir Levine, son-in-law of the Imrei Emes. However, he was mostly unable to consult with the Imrei Emes (who was then in his last year of life) or other gedolim, and the decision reached by him and other Agudah activists to enter the provisional government was not based on any ruling from the gedolim. See Mikatowitz Ad Hei B'Iyar, Chapter 6.

      The Gerrer Rebbes' policy from then on has been to vote, but that does not mean that they would disagree with the halachic sources forbidding the establishment of a state.

      Another hint:

      Do not look to Belz although I have seen accounts that claim that the Belzer Chassidim are Zionists.

      The Belzer Rav, Rabbi Ahron Rokeach, followed in the footsteps of his father, Rabbi Yissachar Dov, as a strong anti-Zionist and anti-Agudist.

      When the Eidah became an official kehillah in the 1920s, the Zionists, who called their kehillah Kneses Yisroel, arranged with the British that every Jew would automatically be included in their kehillah, unless he went once a year and registered himself as a yotzei. So that is what the Jews of the Old Yishuv did.

      Several rabbis in Europe wrote letters exhorting everyone to go and register himself as yotzei, including the Belzer Rov, Reb Ahron.

      In 1966, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach became the Belzer Rebbe. The Rebbe allowed the utilization of government funds to support Belzer yeshivos while halachically continuing to forbid the establishment of a state.

      The Satmar Rebbe ztl was opposed to taking any support from the State for schools. Satmar schools in Eretz Yisroel are funded privately.

      Alexander is another Chassidis that Zionists have held up as supporting the State of Israel. This was never the case.

      Rabbi Shmuel Tzvi, the Alexander Rebbe had this to say about Agudah (ie. participation in the elections and government in the State of Israel)

      "Regarding the Agudah, what can I say and what can I speak? My heart is pained for the slain of the house of Israel! My soul cries in secret over the great destruction and terrible desolation, burning and flickering like fire! The misfortunes grow worse from day to day, and who knows will grow out of this? May Hashem have mercy on the remainder of us. I am almost weakened from suffering so much over this." (Tikun Olam, p. 56).