KANSAS CITY (Nov. 20)
Controversial Knesset member Rabbi Meir Kahane was arrested Tuesday night in Overland Park, Kans., a suburb of Kansas City, on a charge of disorderly conduct following a brief clash with Palestinian protestors during his speech.
He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to be arraigned in Overland Park Municipal Court on December 2. He could send a lawyer in his place, according to a spokesman for the Overland Park Police Department.
About 20 minutes into Kahane’s 75-minute address at the Doubletree Hotel in Overland Park, he berated Arab presence in Israel. Mousa Shukair, 41, a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Coalition, and a group of supporters began shouting from the back of the hotel’s meeting room.
“You took their land from them,” yelled one Kahane yelled for the protestors to be quiet while he spoke. When they did not, Kahane demanded that the police eject Shukair.
ARMS FLAILED, PUNCHES THROWN
Then, numerous police and hotel security officers and about 140 stunned onlookers went hush as the rabbi charged at Shukair. Arms flailed, punches reportedly were thrown, and Gary Lockhart, a Kach International member from Lawton, Okla., helped police separate the rabbi and Shukair.
Shukair and one of his supporters, Rezek Muslet, 26, were led away in handcuffs by police, charged with disorderly conduct. Another half dozen of their supporters also left the ballroom.
Despite the interruption, Kahane, founder of the militant Jewish Defense League and the Kach Party’s lone member of Knesset, continued his speech at the Kach fund-raiser. Overland Park police arrested him afterward.
Preceding the speech, Shukair and Muslet were seen outside the hotel protesting Kahane’s appearance. They picketed alongside about 35 protestors representing the American Jewish Committee here, two congregations, the Jewish Community Relations Bureau of Greater Kansas City, the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City and Ruah/New Jewish Agenda.
Rabbinical Association spokesman Rabbi Philip Field issued a statement condemning Kahane and his views on Arab-Israeli relations.
Earlier Tuesday, Kahane attempted to meet with leaders of the Jewish Federation or JCRB, despite their consistent opposition to him and his policies. As in other cities, he was denied access to Federation offices.