Kahanism is a nationalist ideology based on the views of Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League and the Kach party in Israel, who said that the State of Israel must defend itself against its enemies.1 Kach has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel,2 Canada,3 the European Union4 and the United States.5
The central claim of Kahanism is that the vast majority of the Arabs of Israel are now, and will continue to be, enemies of Jews and Israel itself, and that a Jewish theocratic state, governed by Halakha, absent of a voting non-Jewish population and including Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, areas of modern-day Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and even Iraq should be created.6
According to Kahane, the term "Kahanism" is used primarily by those ignorant of Torah Judaism to discredit his ideologycitation needed, which he asserted to be rooted in Halakhacitation needed and the same as Torah Judaism.7verification neededbetter source needed "Meir Kahane did not hate the Arabs – he just loved the Jews", said his widow Libby in her November 20, 2010 TV interview.8
Since 1985, the State of Israel has outlawed political parties espousing Kahane's ideology as being "racist", and forbids their participating in the Israeli government. The Kach party was banned from running for the Knesset in 1988, while the existence of the two Kahanist movements formed following Kahane's assassination in 19909 were proclaimed illegal terrorist organizations in 1994 and the groups subsequently officially disbanded. Activities by followers with militant Kahanist beliefs continue to the present today, however, as seen below. In 2001, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights described the official Kahanist website, which was kahane.org at the time, as a hate site espousing racist views in which 'Arabs generally and Palestinians in particular are vilified.'10
- Kach and Kahane Chai, the now defunct political parties/movements of the Kahane followers based in Israel with supporters in the United States. Kach has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel,2 Canada,3 the European Union4 and the United States.5
- Jewish Defense League, American militant-activist group founded by Meir Kahane in 196811
- Terror Neged Terror, an Israeli militant group founded by Kach members and followers of Kahane
The deadliest Jewish terrorist attack was when Dr. Baruch Goldstein, supporter of Kach, shot and killed 29 Muslim worshipers, and wounded another 150, at the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, in 1994. This was described as a case of Jewish religious terrorism by Mark Juergensmeyer.12:10Goldstein was a medical doctor who grew up in Brooklyn and was educated at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. He resettled to the Kiryat Arba settlement in the West Bank, and was politically active for years – he saw Rabbi Meir Kahane as a hero,12:53 and had been Kahane's campaign manager when he ran for the Israeli parliament through Kahane's Kach party.12:8 When Goldstein was threatened with court-martial for refusing to treat non-Jewish soldiers in the Israeli Defence Force, he declared: "I am not willing to treat any non-Jew. I recognize as legitimate only two religious authorities: Maimonides and Kahane."13
Goldstein was denounced "with shocked horror" by Orthodox Judaism,14 and most in Israel denounced Goldstein as insane.15 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin condemned the attack, describing Goldstein as a "degenerate murderer", "a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism".161718 At the same time, Goldstein's actions were praised by the some extremist settlers; Yochay Ron said that he "felt good" when he heard the news, and stated that Jews were "at war with the Arabs" and "all Arabs who live here are a danger to us... they threaten the very existence of the Jewish community on the West Bank."12:52 Goldstein and other religious settlers at Beit Hadassah (both Kahanist and Gush Emunim) believe that the biblical lands on the West Bank are sacred, that Jews are required by God to occupy them, and that the presence of Muslims desecrates the holy land.12:51-52 After this attack, members of the Kach Party praised Goldstein's actions, and in the ensuing political turmoil, the Knesset banned Kach in Israel. The Shamgar Commission in Israel concluded that Baruch Goldstein acted alone.
In October 1982 Yoel Lerner, a member of Meir Kahane's Kach, attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock in order to rebuild the Temple Mount site.12:45 He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Mark Juergensmeyer identified him as a Jewish religious terrorist, writing that he "yearned for a Jewish society in Israel. He hoped for the restoration of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, the exclusive right of Jews to settle on the West Bank of the Jordan River, and the creation of a state based on biblical law."12:45 Lerner had previously served a three-year sentence for heading a group that plotted to overthrow the government and establish a state based upon religious law.
On August 4, 2005, Eden Natan-Zada, an AWOL Israel Defense Forces soldier, killed four Israeli Arab citizens and wounded several others when he opened fire on a bus in the northern Israeli town of Shfaram. Natan-Zada had recently moved to the settlement of Tapuach, site of a Kahanist yeshiva. Zada was handcuffed by the Israeli police who arrived to the scene but then lynched by the mob.
Roadside shootings, stabbings and grenade attacks against Palestinians have been carried out in Jerusalem and the West Bank by individuals or groups suspected of having ties to the former Kach group. Aliases such as "The Committee for the Safety of the Roads" , "The Sword of David" and "The Repression of Traitors" have been used. The US government claims that these are all aliases of "Kach", . In 2002, a Kahanist group known as "Revenge of the Toddlers" claimed responsibility for a bombing attack at Tzur Baher, an East Jerusalem secondary school for Arab boys, that wounded seven. The group also claimed credit for the 2003 bombing of a Palestinian school in Jaba that injured 20 and was thought to be linked to the 2002 Zil Elementary school bombing.19 20
Kahanist groups and organizations in the United States are largely inactive, with the bulk of their supporters immigrating to Israel over the years. Kahane Net, the Jewish Defense League and B'nai Elim (formed by former JDL activists) are occasionally associated with Kahanism.
- God's Law: an Interview with Rabbi Meir Kahane: "Any non-Jew, including the Arabs, can have the status of a foreign resident in Israel if he accepts the law of the Halacha. I don’t differentiate between Arabs and non-Arabs. The only difference I make is between Jews and non-Jews. If a non-Jew wants to live here, he must agree to be a foreign resident, be he Arab or not. He does not have and cannot have national rights in Israel. He can have civil rights, social rights, but he cannot be a citizen; he won’t have the right to vote. Again, whether he’s Arab or not."
- "Terrorist Organization Profile: Kach". National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. University of Maryland.
- Canada Public Safety website
- "COUNCIL COMMON POSITION 2009/67/CFSP". Official Journal of the European Union. European Union. 26 January 2009. p. L 23/41.
- U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2004. April 2005
- God's Law: an Interview with Rabbi Meir Kahane: "The southern boundary goes up to El Arish, which takes in all of northern Sinai, including Yamit. To the east, the frontier runs along the western part of the East Bank of the Jordan river, hence part of what is now Jordan. Eretz Yisrael also includes part of Lebanon, and certain parts of Syria, and part of Iraq, all the way to the Tigris river."
-  : "I am committed to Judaism and real Jewish values, and every word in this book – disagreeable as it may be to most – is Judaism."
- Special: Meir Kahane's widow regrets Rabin murder (Heb: מיוחד: אלמנתו של מאיר כהנא מסתייגת מרצח רבין), Channel 10 (Israel), November 20, 2010
- Terror Label No Hindrance To Anti-Arab Jewish Group New York Times, 19 December 2000
- UN report on the use of the Internet for incitement to racial hatred
- Extremism in the Name of Religion Anti-Defamation League 1995
- Mark Juergensmeyer. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24011-1.
- Arych Kizel in Yediot Aharonot, 1 March 1994.
- The ethics of war in Asian civilizations: a comparative perspective By Torkel Brekke, Routledge, 2006, p.44
- 1 Wilson, Rodney. 2007. Review Article: Islam and Terrorism. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 34(2):203-213. . (accessed 29 August 2010).
- West Bank Massacre: The Overview; Rabin Urges the Palestinians To Put Aside Anger and Talk. Haberman, Clyde. The New York Times. March 1, 1994.
- Alan Cowell (March 2, 1994). "WEST BANK MASSACRE; In 'Tragic Error,' Soldiers Kill a Settler". New York Times.
- Youssef M. Ibrahim (March 6, 1994). "The World; Palestinians See a People's Hatred in a Killer's Deed". New York Times.
- The Israeli-Palestinian war: escalating to nowhere By Anthony H. Cordesman, Jennifer Moravitz 2005 pg. 159
- Israelis Kill Five Palestinians in Gaza Strip New York Times April 10, 2003
- Yonah, Tamar (December 21, 2009). "Audio: Reverend Manning Talks About American Black-Jewish Relations". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- Kahane Net Site
- Kahane Tzadak
- HaMeir L'David
- Jewish Task Force
- Rabbi Meir Kahane's MySpace Page
- Kahanism and Democracy - A blog post by Rabbi Gil Student analyzing Rabbi Meir Kahane's ideology (Kahane-ism) and its contradiction with the democratic values of the State of Israel.