Cal Tzedek: KA(hane)CH(ai) in Berkeley

Friday, January 28, 2005

KA(hane)CH(ai) in Berkeley

The Berkeley Daily Planet today printed a letter from a gentleman who "was intimately involved in Kach from the beginning." Kach was the Israeli political party based on the teachings of Meir Kahane, a right-wing demogogue who founded the Jewish Defense League to beat up black people in New York and who preached on the evils of Arabs and pretty much all Jews other than him.

Kach was outlawed in the 1980s by a coalition of Labor and Likud MK's. One theory is that some labor types were really disgusted by Kach's racist platform while some Likud types were either embarassed by the openness with which Kach advocated policies they might have supported, or were afraid that Kach would steal their constituency. I don't know enough about the political climate at the time, and would not be surprised if the actual motivation behind such a ban was a mixture of all of these and others.

Either way, I'm pretty sure the Daily Planet printed this to provoke a letter-war. It's provocative, of course, and I hope it will get a flood of condemnations in reply from non-Kahanist Jews and even Hasbara activists.

An excerpt:

"...it is impossible for an Arab Moslem to be a good citizen of a Jewish state, since he (erroneously) sees the state as having robbed him of his land. Allowing people to be citizens of a state when they actively wish for and support the destruction of said state is suicide. No country would allow such people to stay in their borders, yet Israel does. Kach is against this suicidal policy."

And this interesting one:

"To have an open secular democracy such as the current State of Israel purports to be, one must accept that any group of citizens may become the majority, including Arab Moslems. However, the current state has repeatedly stated that they will not accept an Arab Moslem majority. This is akin to apartheid, and is nothing less than hypocrisy."

I sincerely expect letters from all walks of Judaism condemning this Kahanist, but I'd love to see how right-wing Israel supporters respond. One gentleman of such a political persusasion frequently has his letters published in the Daily Planet. One such letter chastised "the Muslim World" for "not condemning terror." I'd like to see if he a). condemns Kach, and b). objects to the main content of the letter more than the surprising apartheid allegation.

CORRECTION: I do not believe that Kach was outlawed until 1994 or so, following Baruch Goldstein's Hebron massacre. What occurred in the 1980's was a vague law that would bar candidates running on a "racist" platform from participation in elections. This was meant to exclude Kahane himself, around 1984.

-Ehud

Comments:
According to some checking on Google, Avraham Sonenthal, who published the pro-Kach letter, is not local to the Bay Area unless he moved here very recently. He appears to be the leader of a Kahane Chai organization out of Baltimore. I agree with you that it's probably bait for a letter war.
 
Perhaps requoting the letter this way will point out the racism involved in such attitudes. (Or perhaps it will just lead to hysterical cries of antisemitism to compare Zionist racism to Nazi racism, even though all racism has similar basic elements.)

"...it is impossible for "a Jew" to be a good citizen of "an Aryan" state, since he (erroneously) sees the state as having robbed him of his land. Allowing people to be citizens of a state when they actively wish for and support the destruction of said state is suicide. "
 
Given that Becky (the owner of the DP) has run some pretty over the line stuff about Jews on her own I hardly see how the Jewish community (who overwhelmingly favor a two state solution and vote democratic in the US) would even want to write to the DP. The DP has consistantly shown itself to be a yellow rag on the Israel-Palestine issue and that fact that they are willing to run a letter by some Kach lunatic doesn't make up for some of the equally loony stuff she runs from MECA and others.
BTW, the vast majority of "pro-Israel" students here also would see this guy as a nut job.
 
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