Kahane Convicted on Conspiracy Charge; Will Be Sentenced Today

Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder and former head of the Jewish Defense League was convicted by a Jerusalem District Court today of conspiracy to damage U.S.-Israeli relations. He was acquitted on a second count of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Kahane was found guilty on the basis of letters and a cable he sent to JDL activists in the U.S. exhorting them to sabotage Arab and Soviet Embassies in Washington and to sabotage the American visit of Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in June 1973 because of Russia’s treatment of Jews. The Kahane letters also urged his cohorts to sabotage American economic institutions and commercial firms doing business with the USSR. Sentence will be pronounced tomorrow morning. The militant, Brooklyn born rabbi faces a maximum of seven years in jail.

Judge Yaacov Bazak, explaining the conviction, said that although the violations charged to Kahane were carried out by an individual, the U.S. could regard Israel as responsible for acts of individuals if she did not prevent them. He cited as an example Israel’s insistence that the government of Lebanon is responsible for the acts of terrorism based on Lebanese soil. Rabbi Kahane rose to speak for himself, insisting that he was not asking for mercy and saying he did not regret any of the things related to him.

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