Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rabbi Kahane Lives

Several decades ago when the late Rabbi Meir Kahane was a member of the Knesset, Kahane debated Likud Party member Ehud Olmert on ABCs Nightline news hosted by Ted Koppel. Olmert claimed that Kahane’s call for the expulsion of Israeli Arabs was against the Zionist dream, that Israel like all states has a minority living within its borders, and that Kahane’s views discredited Israel. Kahane talked of Arabs threatening to become the Israeli majority in the future. The fundamental issue was, that since is a democracy, and Israeli Arabs have a right vote, if Arabs become the majority they will vote out laws that make the Jewish state Jewish. The very nature of this debate (by everyone in it including Ted Koppel) should be viewed as racist.

Kahane is dead but his message is not. In fact popularity for his ideas from within Israel has grown. The result of Kahane’s tolerated message of hate and terrorism is a trend in contemporary Israeli politics. This has led to blatant racism and discrimination against Israeli Arabs. Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote a Haaretz article in August of 2009 titled “Kahane Won." Levy states:
Rabbi Meir Kahane can rest in peace: His doctrine has won. Twenty years after his Knesset list was disqualified and 18 years after he was murdered, Kahanism has become legitimate in public discourse. If there is something that typifies Israel's current murky, hollow election campaign, which ends the day after tomorrow, it is the transformation of racism and nationalism into accepted values…. If Kahane were alive and running for the 18th Knesset, not only would his list not be banned, it would win many votes, as Yisrael Beiteinu is expected to do.

"Yisrael Beiteinu" is an Israeli political party and in English means, “Israel is our house,” referring only to Jews. Levy continues:
There's no need to refer to Haaretz's startling revelation that Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman was a member of Kahane's Kach party in his youth:This campaign's dark horse was and is a Kahanist. The differences between Kach and Yisrael Beiteinu are minuscule, not fundamental and certainly not a matter of morality. The differences are in tactical nuances: Lieberman calls for a fascist "test of loyalty" as a condition for granting citizenship to Israel's Arabs, while Kahane called for the unconditional annulment of their citizenship. One racist (Lieberman) calls for their transfer to the Palestinian state, the other (Kahane) called for their deportation.
Levy saw the ominous direction Israeli politics was headed in. He wrote, “Benjamin Netanyahu has already pledged that Lieberman will be an "important minister" in his government.” As of December 2009, Avigdor Lieberman is the Foreign Minister in the Israeli Knesset.

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