Newly-elected Knesset member Rabbi Meir Kahane accused Democratic Presidential candidate Walter Mondale of being a “gutless wimp” for not repudiating Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom Kahane condemned as a “vicious fraud” and a “Jew-hater.”
Speaking during a press conference here last Friday shortly after his arrival from Israel, Kahane announced he will “plead with American Jews to punish the Democratic Party” for providing a platform for Jackson, whom he called “a menace” and “a danger” to both Israel and America. He said he would urge American Jews “to stay home” if they could not in good conscience vote for President Reagan.
The American-born rabbi is in the United States for a two-week series of speaking engagements intended to raise both funds and the issue of what Kahane insists is the threat posed by Israel’s expanding Arab population to Israel’s future as a Jewish State.
BASIS FOR JACKSON’S, KAHANE’S STRENGTHS
As America’s economy “crumbles” and “as the social problems rise,” Jackson looms as a “charismatic figure, “with” an excellent chance of gaining national power,” said Kahane, who added that Jackson was “running right now for the Presidency in 1988.”
Kahane drew an unintentional parallel to the economic conditions in which, he asserted, his Kach Party could best flourish in Israel. The young Sephardic Jew, who comprised the bulk of Kahane’s electoral strength in the July 23 elections, face “a tremendous problem of unemployment in Israel when Arabs are hired at half a wage,” Kahane said. “He is an angry person, a resentful person and he’s going to come to me.”
Kahane attempted to justify Kach’s program calling for the expulsion of Israel’s Arab citizens. “Do the Arabs of Israel have a right to be a majority?” Kahane asked. Israel’s leftwing does not “have the courage to answer” that question, Kahane charged. “If they say ‘yes’, they’re not Zionists. If they say ‘no’, then they’re Kahanes.”
CITES NEED FOR “EXCHANGE OF POPULATION”
Since, in Kahane’s view, Israel’s Arabs will always feel that “Jews are thieves, ” and that Israel, “all of it,” should be their own, Kahane said the only answer is “completing an exchange of populations” that he said began with the arrival of 700,000 Jews fleeing from Arab countries in 1948.
Referring to his attempt to enter the Arab town of Umm Al-Fahm last Wednesday with a large group of his supporters, Kahane said he intended to offer residents an opportunity to receive visas and funds to emigrate to Western countries.
He said he had “no idea” yet what would be a fair compensation for their emigration or where the funds to pay them would come from. He added, however, that he believes he can “convince many wealthy American Jews that Israel’s survival depends upon a large fund which would help the Arabs emigrate out of Israel.”
Kahane said he hoped to speak to officials in Washington and from other Western countries about visas for the Arabs. He said he would impress on them how furnishing visas would be in their own best interests. “Forget about Syria and Lebanon, the real time bomb is in the State of Israel,” Kahane said, referring to Israel’s burgeoning Arab population.
During the 45-minute press conference, Kahane also touched on the following:
He said he was confident of retaining his U.S. citizenship, currently under State Department review because he took an cath of allegiance to Israel when he took his Knesset seat. Without his citizenship, the U.S. “would no longer let me in.”
He described New York’s outspoken Mayor Edward Koch, a bachelor in his fifties, as “not a happy person — a little gay perhaps — but not a happy person.” Earlier, Koch had reportedly called Kahane “the scum of the earth” for what he termed Kahane’s terrorist activities.
He described Dr. M.T. Mehdi, president of the American-Arab Relations Committee, as “a wonderful fellow” and “a clever guy.” Mehdi, a persistent critic of Israel and Zionism, had sent Kahane a “mazel tov” upon Kahane’s election to the Knesset in which he described the Kach leader as “the only honest Zionist” ever elected to the Knesset.
He said he was repudiated by the accused members of the Jewish undergroud, who are now in prison awaiting trial, on the advice of their lawyers. Kahane said he visited them in prison and has “given them Torah classes.”
He said his Kach Party “will not take the law into its own hands, “but intends to work within Israel’s political framework. He said he does not advocate violence, but noted that it “has its place.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.