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ISRAEL: Specter of Meir Kahane continues to haunt politics

Israel-kahana_meir-knessetTwo decades after his party was banned from running for seats in the parliament, Rabbi Meir Kahane and his ideas are once more on its agenda.

Recently, right-wing legislator Michael Ben-Ari asked to hold a discussion in parliament in memory of Kahane, an American-born rabbi who had founded the Jewish Defense League before moving to Israel and founding the militantly nationalist Kach movement that advocated removal of Arabs from biblical Israel. In 1988, Israeli law was amended to bar candidates who incited racism from running for parliament. Kahane, who had held a seat for four years at the time, was banned, and the party was outlawed altogether in 1994.
Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990; some still subscribe to his views.

Ben-Ari filed a motion for a memorial discussion in parliament to mark the assassination anniversary. A reporter spotted it on the list and queried parliament speaker Rubi (Reuven) Rivlin, who removed it, calling it a provocation. Ben-Ari has challenged Rivlin's decision and has brought it up before a parliamentary committee that will vote on it coming few days.

It turns out that other parties expressed keen interest in the issue -- but not Israeli political parties.

Rivlin's office received a letter from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv two weeks ago, asking whether the planned discussion mentioned in the media was indeed going to be held, pointing out that special U.S. envoy Geroge Mitchell was following this closely and with concern. U.S. officials asked for an answer by the end of the day. They got it: Rivlin replied that he would not approve the discussion. Ben-Ari was notified of the decision a week later, when Rivilin informed the right-wing lawmaker that he would not be allowed to bring Kahane to the Knesset through the back door, end of story.

Ben-Ari was outraged to learn of the embassy letter: "Such blatant intervening of the U.S. administration in the Israeli parliament should worry every Israeli citizen, certainly everyone in the Knesset. I wish to remind that I was elected to the Knesset by Israeli citizens in the independent state of Israel and what Mitchell did crossed a red line."

Likud lawmaker Yariv Levine, head of the committee trying to reach a compromise, found the American interest inappropriate. Sure, Israeli lobbyists also try to persuade lawmakers to support or oppose certain issues, he said, but this is different from attempting to determine the parliament's agenda. As for the subject itself, Levine said it's a complicated precedent -- if only for reasons of protocol, which calls for a mourning session to be held in the event of a death of a parliament member. One such meeting was duly held after Kahane's murder, and Levine doesn't think exceptions should be made.

Israel Radio's legal commentator, Moshe Negbi, noted that not only had Kahane's movement and ideas been banished from parliament but that Rabin had outlawed all Kahane offshoots as terror organizations and said they would be dealt with like Hamas. The Knesset wouldn't dream of holding a memorial session for a Hamas terrorist, Negbi said. Kahane's ideas degrade the parliament and democracy, he said, but so does the American intervention, which infringed on the Knesset's sovereignty to determine its agenda -- something even the government is not allowed to do.

Kach (and offshoot Kahane Chai) is listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy told the Jerusalem Post that commemorating Kahane in parliament would be harmful to the peace process at a time when U.S. officials are trying to get everyone back to the negotiation table.

It's also reported that the embassy was holding up Ben-Ari's request for a visa to enter the U.S., over unfinished police business dating back to the disengagement protests. Some talk-backers pointed out that even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been allowed into the U.S.

In a radio spot, Ben-Ari has also invited the public to a Kahane memorial evening. It was promptly removed after a complaint from the left-wing organization Peace Now. The ad ran once on Israel Radio, a public station belonging to the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Barely 20 seconds, it was sandwiched between a dozen or so assorted advertisements and, ironically, an interview with former left-wing legislator Zehava Galon explaining why she wouldn't attend the annual rally in former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's memory, which she said was selling out into the warm embrace of consensus instead of emphasizing the peace platform that got Rabin assassinated. (President Obama attended, sort of, by video.)

Broadcasting in Israel has tangled with sensitive political issues before. Earlier this year, Israel Radio as well as a commercial TV station nixed an ad inviting the public to visit the Gush Katif Museum for a commemoration of what was the Jewish settlement in Gaza until its expulsion during the disengagement. The broadcasting bodies suggested the museum not use the word "expulsion" but perhaps "evacuation" or "eviction." The case made it all the way to the supreme court, which pulled out a Hebrew dictionary and ruled that "expulsion" was in fact accurate -- but vetoed the ad altogether.

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem.

Top: Rabbi Meir Kahane. Credit: Knesset website

Comments () | Archives (7)

Hello, People -

Exactly which terror attacks did Rabbi Kahane's "terror group" do?

The answer is "absolutely none". None, none, and none. He was murdered in 1990, and neither he nor his group ever committed any terror attacks.

Calling him a terror group really lowers the bar on being a terrorist.

Equating him with Hamas or any Arab terror group is a sick twisting of reality by the Orwellian leftists in order to demonize anyone who is against the so-called "peace process", which has brought nothing but dead and maimed Jews to Israel instead of bringing peace.

This peace process is brought to us by those who wish Israel to give away Judea and Samaria (Which is called "the West Bank" in order to erase the fact that it is the cradle of Jewish civilization and where 93% of the place listed in the Jewish bible are located), thereby making it more secular, less Jewish, and militarily indefensible all at the same time.

The US has a report that it issued in 67 and reissued in 74 which stated that Israel cannot give away more than approx 15% of the "west bank" if it wants to stay militarily defensible. .

He was a great man who said that we should "pay the Arabs to leave Israel". He never said to kill anyone. He said they must go because they'll never be happy living in a "Jewish" state. Alas, he was clearly right.

All he is saying is that Judea belongs to the Jews. The word Jew comes from Judea. Would anyone ask the Arabs to give up Arabia? Of course not.

And the Muslim world has 58 countries and 1500 times more land than Israel, so really, what is the problem? Why can't the Jews be entitled to their entire state - including Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which including all of this is only the size of Rhode Island?

He put his life on the line to protect Jews in the USA, and then he was the fire which ignited the "free the Jews of the Soviet Union" movement, which ended the imprisoning of a million Soviet Jews who were not permitted to practice their religion nor leave the USSR.

If this man is a terrorist, then so is Mahatma Gandhi.

I advise everyone to learn something about him before you condemn him.

Part of the problem we have in the world today is because also because of the old bible , people fighting against people. and the bible was wrighten by man, man like Mr Kahane is all about hatred. The real jews, where they are?.

Kahane was a racist who publicly called for the displacement and killing of Palestinians. If anyone voiced the same rhetoric about Jews that Kahane did for Arabs they would be tarred and feathered as an anti-Semitic. Obviously when a Jew advocates apartheid policies and the ethnic cleansing of Arabs this is entirely acceptable. As for those Israelis outraged at George Mitchel's letter questioning a memorial service for a known racist, when the U.S. uses their veto on the Security Council to table issues like the Goldstone report this type meddling is entirely acceptable. Israel and her supporters' hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Israeli ministers are outraged that the U.S. Embassy would send a letter questioning a memorial service for Meir Kahane in the Knesset. Kahane was a racist who openly advocated the displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. These same Israeli ministers don't mind when the U.S. meddles in Israel by using its veto on the U.N. Security Council to stifle issues like the Goldstone report and Israel's war crimes. They certainly don't mind U.S. taxpayers meddling in Israel when it comes to handing over $4 billion in financial aid every year. The hypocrisy and chutzpah of Israel and her supporters knows no limit.

Israeli officials object to a letter from the U.S. Embassy questioning the Knesset holding a memorial service for a racist Jew who openly advocated the displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. These same folks have no problem when the U.S. wields its almighty veto on the U.N. Security Council to stifle issues like the Goldstone report and Israel's commission of war crimes. They certainly don't mind the U.S. taxpayers meddling in Israel when it comes to handing over $4 billion in financial aid every year. The height of hypocrisy and chutzpah of Israel and her supporters knows no bounds.

This is the ultimate in left wing totalitarianism. Why cant the followers of Kahane be allowed to memorialize him. Kahane was a brave Jewish hero who suceeded in freeing millions of Soviet Jews from Communist oppression. Kahane proved to be prophetically correct about the Arabs who have proven that they do not want to make peace no matter how many suicidal territorial concessions Israel makes.
How dare the leftist Pro-Arab Obama State Dept interfere in internal Israeli politics on this matter. As proven by the blogsite called WWW.AMERICANJEWSAGAINSTOBAMA.BLOGSPOT.COM it is self evident that Obama is an enemy of Israel and is soft on Arab terror.

I'm thankful that Rivlin (even if only after diplomatic prodding) and Peace Now are standing up against treating the man who inspired terrorist groups as a martyr.


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