Apr 15, 2014

When Kahane Came to Allentown

He told the Jews gathered in Allentown that their leaders were worms, that's how the controversial rabbi spoke. When Meir Kahane came to town in the summer of 1990, none of the Jewish institutions would give him space to speak. Before emigrating to Israel, he had formed the Jewish Defense League in NYC in 1968. He lectured that turning the other cheek was a Christian concept, and that the minimum take away from the Holocaust was that American Jews should own a gun, and know how to use it. His views in Israel about nationalism on the West Bank were much more controversial, and he was jailed there for incitement. As of yesterday, the authorities in Kansas City were not prepared to call the shootings there a hate crime. Kahane would have no doubts about that. His speech in Allentown was one of his last. He was assassinated later that year during a speech in NYC.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've heard a lot of crazy ideas over the years, but I do have to say that the idea that people believe they are entitled to land ownership because it says so in a book that they wrote for themselves, pretty much takes the cake!

michael molovinsky said...

@7:04, i assume that you're referring to the bible. i will limit comments to his jewish defense league (JDL) concept, and leave discussion of judea and sumaria to those much more qualified than us.

Anonymous said...

You're the one who brought up the West bank and nationalism. It's a bit late to "limit comments to his jewish defense league (JDL)".

I doubt there are any rational people who would deny Jews, or any other group the right to stand united and defend themselves. However, Kahane embraced the idea of land ownership based upon a book of fairy tales and advocated the forced removal of anyone who he felt didn't meet his personal criteria to live there. The parallels with some of the more evil human beings to ever live are undeniable. I wonder what Alex Odeh's family would have to say about having a differing opinion.

Mark Kennet said...

You may choose not to believe in the Bible as a holy book, or reject its moral code which is the foundation of all Western morality and law; that is your privilege. But the Bible is also an historical book. If you prefer not to believe in its stories of miracles, I can't blame you; they are hard for me to swallow also. But the depiction of real events is NOT subject to much scientific debate - the history presented has indeed been verified, including especially the Jews' ownership of the Land of Israel.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:37, although my posts are only snapshots, i felt it necessary to mention that kahane was also a controversial figure in israel, where the concept of jewish defense, in itself, is a moot point. again, the issue of the west bank is too large for this venue. as you know, after 1948 and then again after 1967, it became very uncomfortable for the jews that lived in arab countries.
as to alex odeh, he was victim of a hideous crime.

this post was a followup on yesterday's post on the kansas city incident, and my observation that the vast majority of jews are gun control advocates. kahane's visit to allentown certainly wasn't main stream, he was barred from all the synyagogues and jcc. i suspect his talk here is pretty much lost to local history, which is a sub topic of this blog. i can understand if this topic touched subjects which you feel passionately about. For that reason i printed your second comment, but i'm not going to use this limited comment section for those large issues.

michael molovinsky said...

kennet@8:33, i was composing my reply to anonymous 7:37 when you submitted your comment. i also found it a curious implication that the old testament is a fairy tale? does that conclusion also apply to the books of the other faiths? although kennet has lived in israel and is well informed to counter anybody on these topics, i still hope to evade such a debate on this post.

Mark Kennet said...

I don't necessarily think that the Bible is a fairy tale, not at all! I was just making the point that even if one DID think so, the factual history aspect of the Bible is undisputable.

michael molovinsky said...

mark@1:06, i rejected a couple of comments by anonymous on bible stories, such as noah, which he uses to cast doubt on all holy land archeology, which supports any hebrew history. as a young man i had the opportunity to take a course in biblical period archeology in jerusalem, and develop a life long interest in that subject. our friend wants to engage in political archeology, picking only those finds which support his narrative.