By Saeed A. Malik
Among practicing Jews, the most prominent are those with long locks spilling out of their black hats, and raising slogans in favour of the Palestinians. These are the Orthodox [Haredi] Jews. The position taken by their arch-enemies [ the Zionist Jews of Israel] with regard to state policy, largely defines the ideological force driving the politics of Israel and especially its treatment of the Palestinians.
The Zionist movement began in late 18th century Europe. It was a movement of Jewish nationalism, having as its goal the securing of a safe homeland for the Jews after they had suffered centuries of persecution at the hands of the Church, but its immediate cause was the pogroms initiated against them in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Most of the Zionist leadership was secular and the state they foresaw was a socialist one in which religion would play little or no part. Indeed, a great majority of religious Jews were against the philosophy of Zionism and were not ready to envisage life where religion was not to play a central role. Yet when the establishment of Israel became a possibility, most religious Jews were willing to move there. Life was more important than religious disputation.
Among the Orthodox community, there was a three-way split. There were the Non Zionists; the Anti Zionists; and the Zionist Orthodox Jews.
The anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews were vehemently against the establishment of a Jewish state on the following grounds:
- That, as laid down in their scriptures, the Romans had expelled the Jews from the Holy Land because they had disobeyed the commandments of their Lord and broken their covenant with Him. God had given them the Holy Land on the condition that they would remain faithful to His commandments, which they had repeatedly violated, and so it was as an act of His punishment that they had been driven off the land.
- And when, through their sufferings, the Lord thought they had sufficiently expiated their sins, He would send down the Messiah, who would once again gather them into the Holy Land from the four corners of the earth, and under him, the rule of the Lord’s chosen would begin.
As per the anti-Zionist orthodox Jews, the Zionist plan to establish Israel was a blatant interference with the Lord’s plan, and thus, a sacrilege and an unforgivable blasphemy against Him.
The Zionist Orthodox Jews, also called the Radical Jews, thought otherwise. They believe that in the creation of Israel, they were helping to hasten God’s plan and the coming of the Messiah. And that this would be good for all the Jews. But the second, and more consequential, difference between the two is their respective take on the [K]HEREM. This is the “war policy” as laid down in their scriptures, the Old Testament, just as for the Muslims such policy is laid down in the Quran by way of various injunctions and decrees with regard to JIHAD.
However, the great difference between Jihad and [K]herem is that whereas Jihad is very strictly regulated and demarcated, the latter is not, and enjoins the Jews to visit total and unrestrained destruction on their enemy and its complete extermination without regard to age or sex and extends to his animals and livestock as well. And though it is referred to at various places in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy Chapter 20, verses 16 and 17 [which I have quoted in my last article] serves to give a fair idea of its harshness and embrace, and so I am quoting it again for ease of reference:
Verse 16: ” But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes.”
Verse 17: ” You must put them all under the ban [i.e exterminate]- the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jesubites-just as the LORD your God, has commanded you, so that they do not teach you to do all the abominations that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the LORD, your God.”
Because of the extreme harshness of these decrees, various Jewish scholars through the ages have attempted to tone these down. What most of them agreed on was that such passages had become irrelevant because they applied only to people living during the days of Moses. And because this was no longer the case, these decrees had become redundant.
Not so, retort the Zionist Jews of Israel. The Canaanites of old have reappeared, they say, in the guise of the Palestinians of today, and made the implementation of [K]herem as relevant today, as it was three thousand years ago.
After roaming homeless for two thousand years, the first Mitzvah [of the 613 of them on the books] the new Israeli state [as a state] chose to invoke this one, dedicated to the genocide of the Palestinians. This genocide began with the Nakba in 1947, or earlier, and has gone on since!
What is unique about today, especially after Oct 7, 2023, is that genocide of the Palestinians has been openly declared by the Israeli Prime Minister, and by members of his cabinet. Of course, this has been done without quoting chapter, line, and verse from the scriptures, but the declaration is there and can be heard in words, and seen in deeds.
And the “civilized” world is quiet, opposing every call given by the uncivilized world for a ceasefire in Gaza!
And Pakistan, dedicated to becoming ever more uncivilized by the day, has not even found the time to look up and see what is going on around the first Qibla.
Long live Hafiz Saab.
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