Menu JTA Search

South African Zionist Federation Distances Itself from Meir Kahane

The South African Zionist Federation on Monday denied reports that it had invited Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the anti-Arab Kach Party in Israel, to South Africa, and said that it would have no contact whatever with him.

In Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported Monday that the South African federation had canceled an invitation for Kahane to address the group. The move, it said, followed strong protests from a broad spectrum of Israeli and Zionist leaders.

But in a cable Monday to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Solly Sacks, chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, stated, “The South African Zionist Federation wishes to place on record that at no stage has it invited Rabbi Meir Kahane to visit South Africa, nor will it associate itself with his visit.”

The message said that the board of the federation instructed the chairman and president to have nothing publicly to do with Kahane. But a small majority of the board voted to hear his views privately in the interests of free speech.

However, “on reconsidering the matter, it was decided by an overwhelming majority that we have changed our decision and we will have nothing whatsoever to do with the visit of Meir Kahane, either publicly or privately,” the cable said. It urged the organizers of Kahane’s visit to withdraw their invitation.

In Jerusalem, World Zionist Organization Chairman Simcha Dints called Sunday for the federation to cancel its invitation to Kahane.

“An organization that would receive Kahane, who defends a racist policy, has no place in the WZO,” Dinitz said in a cable to Sacks.

NEXT STORY