NEW YORK (Dec. 4)
A spokeswoman for Kach International here has denied published reports that the extremist organization has drawn up a “hit list” of potential assassination targets in the United States that includes the names of 10 prominent supporters of Palestinian rights, some of whom are Jews.
According to a report Tuesday in the daily New York Newsday, a note mailed to a New York television reporter threatened violent retaliation to avenge the Nov. 5 assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane at a Manhattan hotel.
While Kahane’s assassination set off a series of retaliatory stabbings and general violence in Israel and the administered territories, this list is the first sign that some Jews might seek vengeance in the United States.
A person whose name appears on the list, who declined to be identified, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the note contained information that proved the senders were people who had been involved with Kahane’s Kach movement.
“I really don’t know who would sign such a thing like that, and they must be very angry people and I understand that — but it’s not true,” said Sherri Okin, the Manhattan chairwoman for Kach.
Among those whose names appear on the list are prominent Jewish critics of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, including Rita Hauser, a New York attorney who met with Yasir Arafat in December 1988 as part of a five-person delegation; Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a professor at Dartmouth University known for supporting Israeli peace groups; and Anthony Lewis, a New York Times columnist often critical of Israel.
Also listed was Edward Said, a professor of literature at Columbia University and a member of the Palestine National Council, and Rashid Khalidi, a history professor at the University of Chicago.
NOT THE FIRST ‘HIT LIST’
Other people Newsday reported were on the list included Clovis Maksoud, former U.N. ambassador from the Arab League; Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam; and M.T. Mehdi, secretary-general of the National Council of Islam and a participant in debates with Kahane.
This is not the first “hit list” to emerge since Kahane’s murder last month. Newsday last week reported the existence of a list of six well-known Jews that was found in the home of Kahane’s accused killer, EI Sayyid Nosair.
Another list in a Hebrew code was found in Kahane’s pocket when he died, in which Kahane and others were warned against potential hit men.
Rabbi Avraham Weiss, a high-profile activist on behalf of Israel, apparently was among five people named as potential targets of anti-Israel violence in the note Kahane was carrying. The list of five Jews, including two in Florida, one in Washington, Kahane and Weiss, reportedly was given to Kahane by Israeli intelligence sources.
Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, a synagogue in the Bronx, would neither confirm nor deny this information.
But he did confirm a Newsday report that a week after Kahane’s assassination, a package containing a defused hand grenade and a death threat was delivered to Weiss. The note said, “Weiss, Kahane’s dead. You’re next.”