Prominent Figures Protest Against Zionist Policies in Support of Palestine

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In the bustling streets of New York City, a tide of solidarity surged as thousands took to the pavement, their voices echoing with cries of “Free Palestine” and calls to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Across diverse neighbourhoods, impassioned chants reverberated, denouncing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and demanding justice for the Palestinian people.

The journey of American Judaism towards Zionism unveils a complex narrative. Originating in late nineteenth-century Europe, Zionism faced staunch opposition from a significant anti-Zionist Jewish majority, a sentiment that persisted into the 1920s and ’30s despite Zionism gaining global traction. Today, amidst escalating violence in Gaza, Israeli anti-Zionists advocating for Palestinian rights find themselves accused of treason, as they challenge the mainstream narrative and call for a ceasefire to end the suffering of Palestinians.

Online and in the streets, fervent anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jewish activists make their voices heard, downplaying their adherence to strict Torah law. Despite controversies, their message of “Stop the persecution in Gaza” finds a receptive audience at progressive demonstrations in the U.S.

Established in 1935, the Neturei Karta, an orthodox Jewish religious group in America, stands in stark opposition to Zionism, advocating instead for the peaceful dismantling of the Israeli state and the return of the land to Palestinians. Among the Jewish leaders in New York, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, the group vehemently denounces the actions of the Israeli occupation army in Palestine, organizing protests. Their beliefs, rooted in Rabbinic literature, dictate that the establishment of a Jewish state is only permissible with the arrival of the Messiah. Rejecting the use of force to reclaim the Land of Israel, they maintain that its restoration must await the coming of the Messiah. This deeply entrenched stance, grounded in centuries-old interpretations of Jewish scripture and tradition, reflects their unwavering commitment to a peaceful resolution based on religious conviction.

In a stirring display of solidarity, activists from diverse religious backgrounds converged and protested near United Nations in New York City, holding Palestinian flags and carrying anti-Israel banners. Among them were members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Organization, known as Neturei Karta, alongside prominent figures such as Sheikh Yusuf Estes, a Muslim preacher in America of Guide US TV and Dr. Ammaar Saeed an American Muslim Scholar of AHAD TV. Together, they protested vehemently against Israel’s expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, denouncing the ongoing oppression faced by Palestinians.

In February 2023, dire warnings from UN aid chief Martin Griffiths shook the world as he declared that life was “draining out of Gaza at terrifying speed” (Martin Griffiths). The devastating toll of Israel’s assault on the strip had surpassed a staggering 30,000 people, with a heartbreaking majority comprising women and children.

Against this backdrop of devastation, Rabbi Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox, anti-Zionist Jewish group based in New York, delivered a passionate address at this protest of Solidarity with Palestine in Beirut, reiterating the group’s steadfast opposition to the Israeli occupation. “Zionism and Judaism are diametrically opposite,” Rabbi Weiss declared, emphasizing the moral imperative of standing against the unholy occupation of Palestine. “We declare that Judaism, as subservient to the Almighty, will never accept this unholy occupation in any shape or form of any part of Palestine.”

With a solemn tone, Rabbi Weiss continued, “We pray every day for a free Palestine. We want it returned to the Palestinian people. Reflecting on the ongoing suffering in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, Rabbi Weiss conveyed his anguish, stating, “We have no words to describe the ongoing situation in Gaza, except to say it’s a tragedy.” He emphasized Neturei Karta’s solidarity with Gaza, noting, “Our community has staged dozens of demonstrations in support of Gaza,” and revealing his visit to the embattled enclave to stand in solidarity with its inhabitants.

Adding his voice to the chorus of condemnation, Yusuf Estes, a prominent American Muslim preacher and delegate to the United Nations World Peace Conference for Religious Leaders, spoke out against oppression and injustice. Speaking at this protest against Zionist policies and in support of the Palestinian cause, Estes passionately emphasized the principles of justice and compassion inherent in Islam. “As Muslims, we must stand up against oppression and injustice wherever it may occur,” he declared, his words resonating with the gathered supporters. “The plight of the Palestinian people is a humanitarian crisis that demands our attention and action” (Yusuf Estes).

Dr. Ammaar Saeed, a prominent figure in the Muslim community and the founder of AHAD TV, emerged as a key voice in the protest against Zionist policies and in support of the Palestinian cause. Addressing the crowd with fervour and conviction, Dr. Saeed emphasized the fundamental importance of standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle against oppression. He emphasized that the Palestinian cause transcends mere politics, asserting that it is a matter of basic human rights and dignity.

“The occupation of Palestinian lands and the siege on Gaza are blatant violations of international law and human rights and against humanity and actions cannot be justified connecting political agenda for personal benefit to remove the land owners and killing innocents” he declared, urging action from the international community to hold Israel accountable for its actions (Dr Ammaar Saeed).

As the protest ended, the resounding calls for justice echoed through the streets of New York City. With voices raised and banners held high, Dr. Ammaar Saeed, Yusuf Estes, and Rabbi Dovid Weiss stood as symbols of solidarity and resilience in the face of oppression. Their unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring countless others to join the ongoing struggle for a world rooted in justice, equality, and peace. With their leadership and determination, the path towards a free Palestine grows ever clearer, fueled by the collective strength of those who refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice.

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