Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kahane Was A Schmucktard

Who is the most important Jewish leader of the last little while to die this past week? I’ll give you some hints. He was very active in Israeli politics, had leadership positions in a Jewish military, earned fame for his dealings with Arabs, and was assassinated. If you guessed Yitzchak Rabin, you’d be wrong. Or, at least according to the Jewish Press, who apparently believes that Meir Kahane is more worthy of a memorial tribute than the former war hero, Ramatkal, Israeli Prime Minister (twice) and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Shelley Benveniste, the JP’s South Florida editor, wrote a touching memorial to the good “Rabbi”, while no one could scrape together two words for Yitzchak Rabin.

Long time readers of my blog (of which there are none) may be aware of my frustration with the Jewish Press, a once-mediocre community rag that has since fallen to the level of hackish drivel whose sole utility is serving as filler for the weekly “shidduch crisis” columns and Pesach (and now Succos!) hotel advertisements which are its true purpose.

But this seems to be a much more dangerous development. Meir Kahane is not a good guy. He is not “misunderstood”, he is a schmucktard. He was a bad man. In an ideal world, no one would be writing tributes to this colossal waste of space, but even in a world where good and evil were locked in eternal struggle, one would hope that “America’s Largest Independent Jewish Weekly” wouldn’t. The paramilitary society he founded, the JDL, is recognized by the FBI and our State Department as being a terrorist organization. His political party was outlawed by the Israeli Knesset (!) as being too racist. The fact that the Jewish Press chose to write an article of slavish adoration about this crazy bigot, while completely ignoring Yitzchak Rabin is very disturbing. It sends the message that Kahane is a more widely respected figure in the Zionist and Orthodox Jewish communities than the former Prime Minister. If that’s the case, we’ve really lost our way.

Among the ridiculous statements in his tribute:

“Kahane, a graduate of Mir Yeshiva (Brooklyn), was a real Talmud chacham. For the ten years that he stayed in my family’s home on his visits to Florida, the light in his room would go on no later than five o’clock in the morning. He was learning Torah.”

Perhaps if Kahane would have gotten up a bit earlier in the morning, perhaps a quarter to five, he might have come across Exodus 20:12 – thou shalt not commit adultery. Which he did. With (gasp) a shikse! Whom he then dumped. And then she jumped off the 59th Street Bridge. A moral giant, for sure.

“Rabbi Kahane had a tremendous ahavat Yisroel, a love of his fellow Jew.”

Some of the Jews Kahane loved included Sol Hurok, the Jew whom the JDL tried to kill. And his secretary, whom they did kill. (Hurok’s capital offense was organizing for performing artists to come from the Soviet Union to the United States on cultural exchanges. His secretary’s sin was being in the office at the wrong/right time.)

“Kahane understood the urgency of the plight of Soviet Jewry.”

Better, apparently, than Soviet Jewry themselves. Natan Sharansky and other prominent refuseniks condemned Kahane and the JDL for their terrorist tactics (which included, inter alia, bombing Soviet embassies, missions and consulates), which they felt, quite rationally, put the actual Jews of the Soviet Union in a rather precarious position as scapegoat.

“Through the years, I have heard many people, who had never listened to the rabbi speak, or read any of his books or articles exclaim, ‘Kahane said we should have killed the Arabs!’ Of course, that is patently untrue. ... According to the Torah, the [ger toshav] may have personal rights but may hold no political position.”

Patently untrue, yes. You see, all he wanted us to do was to ethnically cleanse the Jewish state of nearly all of its Arab, by force, if that was necessary. As to the non-Jews who remained, they would get to live in an Apartheid state. Sheesh, Liberals, they distort everything.

In sum, Kahane was a schmucktard.


Conservative apikoris said...

Some time in the early 1970's Kahane came to our synagogue to speak. It wasn't an official invite -- we were a bunch of flaming liberals who were more offended at the Jewish establishment censoring his voice than we were in his message (which we didn't agree with). And, at that time, he hadn't moved to Israel and become a terrorist. Remember, this was at the tail end of the 1960's "crime wave," an era when small Jewish merchants who had stores in what used to be the old Jewish neighborhoods were fleeing the thugs who would hold them up and then shoot them. (Apparently in the good old days of the 1940s and 50's, getting held up was no big deal, you gave the crook your money, he left, and then you called the police and your insurance company. But in the 60's the thugs started getting high on drugs and would sometimes shoot even if you gave them the money.)

This doesn't excuse Kahane, but the Jewish establishment didn't really provide any support to these inner-city Jewish merchants, the cops hadn't yet figured out how to nail the thugs and not violate the then-new Miranda rules, and so a lot of Jews thought Kahane was doing a real service. My Dad took me to a men's club breakfast at another shul we belonged to (I was about 15, I think), and a JDL guy came to speak, and all the guys who owned stores in the city were ready to sign up right then and there.

Anyway, all I remembered about that Kahane talk in the 70's was the weirdness of it. Kahane had this thousand-yard stare of the sort that makes you cross over to the other side of the street if you see someone with one heading your way. He had these bodyguards standing in front of the bima, looking very intimidating, definitely totally unlike any other sort of leader I had ever seen to that point, and my father was involved in politics, so I had actually been at events with real political leaders, whose muscle was much more unobtrusive. I guess he was well on his way to total fascism by then, but people still didn't quite realize it. They thought is a a little uncouth, but had a point.

Vox Populi said...

I wouldn't have a real problem with Kahane if he was just a Jewish Malcolm X or organized neighborhood watch groups to combat inner-city violence.

But, as you recognize, he and his society went into crazy fascism mode. This doesn't make him the worst person in the world, but I find it incredibly disturbing that he is lionized by significant portions of the Orthodox and Zionist communities. I think it says volumes about us that he is more beloved by the Jewish Press than PM Rabin (also not the best person in the world, but still).

And he is not just celebrated by those who appreciate him sticking up for inner city Jews. He is celebrated by most, I think, for his later ideas for the Jewish state.

Robil said...

I am not a Kahanist I'm not even a religious Jew, just somebody that wants to correct some of the lies in your blog post.

This is true "Long time readers of my blog (of which there are none) "

But much of what you said is false.

No way he tried kill Sol Hurok at all. In fact Kahane even condemned the killing of PLO supporting arabs in America, in very strong terms. As for Sol Hurok's secretary if you read what Kahane said about it in interview, he was very upset very shaken about her death and it was a terrible mistake.
The JDL would blow up empty soviet diplomatic vehicles too.

Look how you dishonestly omit facts. Straight after what you quoted, he makes clear the death was a terrible mistake.

"PLAYBOY: Then the only difference between you and, say, the American Nazi Party is that they're wrong and you're right?
KAHANE: I can't put it better than that.
PLAYBOY: Four members of J. D. L. were arrested last June for fire-bombing the offices of Sol Hurok in New York, killing a young girl. How
KAHANE: That was insane. I was horrified."
" The punishment must fit the crime. There is cultural genocide going on in the Soviet Union but we're not dealing with physical genocide. So we disrupt cultural activities; we don't assassinate Soviet officials."

You then claim he wanted to ethnic cleanse israel of arabs, then you talk about remaining ones, not really accurate, very poor writing, and you don't even pretend to give the facts there.

But where you have tried to state the facts, you say things that are false.