Thousands of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews demonstrated outside the White House on Tuesday, July 6, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived to meet with President Obama. Their goal was to express their opposition to the existence of the Zionist state and to protest the ongoing destruction, permitted and encouraged by the Israeli government, of an ancient Jewish cemetery in Jaffa.
The protest was organized by True Torah Jews, the Central Rabbinical Congress and Asra Kadisha.
True Torah Jews is an organization founded to distinguish between Zionism and Judaism and to spread anti-Zionist material in the media and among Jews.
The Central Rabbinical Congress (CRC) is an umbrella organization for hundreds of Orthodox Jewish congregations in the United States and Canada, with a total membership of 250,000 Orthodox Jews; CRC represents the religious interests of their membership organizations towards the political and international community.
Asra Kadisha is an organization established almost 50 years ago to protect the integrity of Jewish cemeteries throughout the world.
Protesters delivered a petition Tuesday morning to the Zionist embassy in Washington, but the embassy refused to accept it.
The majority of the protestors got off buses at Lafayette Park, where they gathered to hear speeches in English and Yiddish by leading Rabbis. From there they marched to the White House, and then to the State Department, where they delivered a petition to the offices of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The march ended at the Capitol Building.
An open letter to Netanyahu appeared in Tuesday's Washington Post. The letter read in part: "Once again, news from the State of Israel leaves us horrified and deeply saddened. In heart-rending reports, we hear of the ongoing desecration of ancient Jewish cemeteries across the length and breadth of the country... For thousands of years, our sages and ancestors had rested in these cemeteries in peace, undisturbed by the various ruling gentile governments, who guarded the dignity and rights of those buried there. Tragically, and in a brutal twist of irony, these grave sites are destroyed now with the full protection and support of the so-called 'Jewish' government...
"In truth, this episode is but one link in the chain of anti-religious activities perpetrated by the Israeli government. Ever since its inception more than 60 years ago, the Israeli government has violated and eradicated Jewish religion and tradition whenever possible...
"Mr. Netanyahu: How dare you present yourself to the President of the United States as the 'representative of the Jewish People,' at the time that you and your government are eradicating Judaism and violating the Torah?
"Finally, we wish to clearly reiterate one of the fundamental tenets of the Jewish faith: Jews are forbidden by the Torah to establish sovereignty or to revolt against any nation or people. In fact, Jewish law commands that Jews be peaceful, law-abiding citizens in whichever countries they reside until the final Redemption, when peace and tranquility will come to all mankind."
One of the speakers at the demonstration, Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, said, "They persecute Orthodox Jews, they persecute Orthodox Judaism, but the worst crime, the most insidious persecution that the State of Israel has ever perpetrated against the Jewish people happened in 1948, when they dared to call themselves the State of Israel - when they dared to refer to themselves as a Jewish state... Do you know that a week after the flotilla incident, Jews in Turkey were scared to leave their houses? They didn't even go to the synagogue because the local residents of Turkey blamed them and held them accountable for the acts of the State of Israel. That is the most insidious crime that that state has committed against our people: the theft of our identity. We are the Jewish people! We are Israel, here! We have been around for thousands of years practicing our religion: scholars, laymen. They have not been around long enough to collect social security! They are impostors!
"Everybody knows the history of Zionism. They weren't happy with the way Jews were. They had inferiority complex. They were not accepted by the religious Jews because they weren't religious, and they were not accepted by the non-Jews because they were Jews. They thought in their great brilliance that in order to eliminate anti-Semitism and in order to protect the Jewish people, we have to change what the Jewish people are, from a religion, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, to a nation of soldiers and warriors...
"The hate - that seething, psychopathic hate - that the Zionist has for the Jew is not born out of bigotry, and is not born out of ignorance. It's born out of fear - fear because they thought by now there would be none of us left. They thought that by now all the Jews in the world - all that matter, anyway - would be remade in their own image. That the world would be at peace with them. That they would be able to vanquish their enemies with their army. And now they see that we still live. They see that we are here and we are rapidly expanding, and they see that we raise our voices. They see that they are a failure! And that's why they hate us.
"This is the greatest crime committed against the Jewish people by the Zionists: the identity theft. We too are blamed in the eyes of the world, we are held accountable for the actions of the State of Israel. We need to tell the world - because even though this is the worst crime they ever committed, it's also the easiest to undo - we need to tell the world that Zionism is not Judaism. We need to tell the world that the State of Israel is not our elected official. They do not speak in our name. We need to tell the world that that credit card that they're using to do whatever they're doing was stolen from us. We don't want credit for what they do and we don't want accountability for what they do...
"And you, Mr. Netanyahu, do you recognize these words? You should, because this is Judaism, untwisted and undistorted. We will fight until we will triumph, and triumph we will because you know what, Mr. Netanyahu? We do not fight alone. At our side are generations of Jews. At our side are the six million martyrs. At our side is our G-d, Who has kept us alive over two thousand years - one of the reasons being because we were not Zionists. Mr. Netanyahu, you can bring your air force and your army to fight us, but we will triumph, because with what we have on our side, you are outnumbered."