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The Third Narrative Blog

Kahanists Have No Place in Knesset!

By Ameinu Office

Most major American-Jewish organizations have by now either voiced their concern or condemned the active intervention of Prime Minister Netanyahu to prop up the right-wing bloc of parties he wants in a majority coalition, which he hopes to head after the national elections on April 9th, by encouraging the creation of a new joint electoral list allying the Jewish Home party with the current incarnation of the racist legacy of Meir Kahane, the Jewish Power party.  This probably insures more seats in Netanyahu’s potential new coalition, including at least one Member of Knesset from the Kahanist movement.  The growing list of mainstream American-Jewish organizations voicing this concern includes the American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, the ADL, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.  

Our Third Narrative colleague and Ameinu member, Prof. Steven Lubet of Northwestern U., has just posted “Kahanists Are a Danger to Israeli Democracy and Far Worse than Louis Farrakhan” at the Faculty Lounge blog.  He includes the entire text of the joint statement of Ameinu with seven other progressive pro-Israel organizations: “Following the Otzma Yehudit Agreement, Eight Organizations Call On the American Jewish Community To Affirm: Kahanists Have No Place In The Knesset.” The co-signing organizations are Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, National Council of Jewish Women, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. 

The following is Ameinu’s own statement (posted here, at Ameinu’s website) and released on Feb. 21:  

Ameinu Slams Inclusion Of Kahanists in Israeli Political Merger

Ameinu views with grave concern the recently announced merger arranged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu between two extremist right wing parties, HaBayit HaYehudi and Otzmah Yehudit. As part of the agreement, the Prime Minister promised that this new bloc will receive the housing and education ministries should Netanyahu be asked to form the next Israeli government, following elections on April 9. “It is unfathomable that disciples of Meir Kahane, an unrepentant racist whose party, Kach, was barred from running in Israel’s elections in 1988, should be legitimized and encouraged to serve in any government of Israel. Shame on Prime Minister Netanyahu,” said Ameinu President Kenneth Bob.

Ameinu is outraged by this development; it is a stain on Israel’s democracy and an affront to Zionism. There are certain ideas, policies and groups that are beyond the pale; Otzma Yehudit, a far-right, ultra-nationalist, racist party, has no place in the Knesset, much less in a potential government coalition. The mainstreaming of hate groups like Otzma Yehudit can only harm Israel’s standing in the international community and further damage the already delicate relations between Israeli and American Jews.  

Ameinu calls on Prime Minister Netanyahu to cancel this shameful arrangement and to condemn racism and hatred in all forms.