[Rav Meir Kahane founded the Kach Party to facilitate the deportation of Arabs from Israel. In 1985, Israel banned Kach from elections as a racist organization. After Baruch Goldstein fired at hostile Arabs in a mosque and Yigal Amir executed Rabin, Kahane Chai was outlawed as terrorist organization in Israel, the USA, and the EU.]
Banning a political party for racist (not exterminationist) views is unusual in world politics. Passive racism is part of the normal political discourse. America, the most liberal country, has regional, essentially ethnic immigration quotas, and its politicians debate the effect of Mexican immigration on the American culture.
Outlawing a party because two of its members committed crimes blatantly violates the law. Many Republicans and Democrats go to jail, but neither party is disbanded. While many Kahane Chai members support any means necessary to make Israel a Jewish state, the party itself is a strictly political organization. Kahane Chai is not a terrorist organization in the sense al Qaeda is. Kahane Chai condones targeted assassinations and violence against enemies but does not make them its strategy. Killing is daily business for Hamas, but mere a political possibility for Kahane Chai whose actions don’t pass the “clear and immediate danger” test.
Political parties are legally allowed to demand violence. American Democrats called for war in Vietnam, and Republicans, in Iraq. Israeli prime ministers of various political affiliations authorized violence from targeted assassinations to taking hostages to killing civilians. Kahane Chai suggested relatively minor violence.
The ban on Kach was a hysterical administrative measure against Meir Kahane who successfully challenged the collaborationist clique. America and the EU were only too happy to designate the Jewish organization terrorist: they looked religiously biased prosecuting only Muslim terrorists.
Kahane Chai recently lost an appeal in a Washington court regarding its designation as a foreign terrorist organization. The court evaluated whether the Secretary of State acted on reasonable evidence and concurred. The evidence amounted to four items.
One, the attempted bombing of an Arab school in Israel by someone with ties to Kahane Chai. Source? Voice of Israel radio broadcast. What American court would accept, say, NPR news as hard evidence? The bombing never took place, and the ostensible planners’ ties to Kahane Chai remained unspecified.
Two, harassing Israeli a police officer to protest the brutal treatment of Jewish political detainees. The harassment amounted to peaceful protests near his house. The officer’s wife claimed unspecified threats. Does that amount to international terrorism? Source: a story by the leftist newspaper Maariv which routinely smears the Right and Kahanists in particular.
Three, a digest of news from unverified sources claiming Kahane Chai’s incitement against Sharon. How many Americans want to kill Bush? The treat of assassination is common in Israeli political discourse: leftists called for killing the defenders of Gush Katif. No one should be singled out for prosecution.
Four, a Voice of Israel report that the police chief said that “several dozen Kahanist extremists” threatened Sharon. Such evidence would be laughed out of court if presented against an American organization. Moreover, out of the tens of thousands of Kahanists, only a handful are affiliated with Kahane Chai. Those who allegedly threatened Sharon might not be Kahane Chai at all. Still, the Washington court concluded that a reasonable person might believe that Kahane Chai was behind the threat.
The court dwelt on Kahane Chai ’s glorification of Baruch Goldstein. Following that logic, thousands of Jews are also terrorists because they praise Goldstein’s act of defense and revenge. How many Americans glorify Bonnie and Clyde? Praising Goldstein is not even circumstantial evidence, but the court found it sufficient to accuse Kahane Chai of making death threats against Israeli police officers. Never mind that the threats were never proven in the first place.
Demonstrating extreme bias, the court called Goldstein’s act “mass murder of Arab worshippers.” The statement recalls media tantrums about Israel killing Arab civilians. Goldstein killed Arab enemies plotting against the Jews. Additionally, the court called Kach’s leader a chameleon.
The court argued that Kahane Chai 1) approves of terrorist tactics (as did the US of the Afghan mujahedeen against the USSR; one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter); 2) “possibly linked to the attempted bombing of an Arab school” (no connection established for the crime that was imaginary in the first place); 3) was bothered when Israeli police jailed its members because of the fictional bombing of the Arab school. Such argumentation in legal proceeding is laughable.
FTO status means an actual threat to America. Even if all the allegations against Kahane Chai were true, how does that threaten the US?
The court also supported FTO status for Kach because several dozen of its core members are members of Kahane Chai. No names, no numbers, no proof – nothing! Such standards of justice in a US court are astonishing. The court admits the two organizations split more than a decade ago and asks the Kach to provide evidence that it did not reconcile with Kahane Chai. That is presumption of guilt.
We demand that no due process be accorded to Muslim terrorist organizations; shouldn’t we expect similar treatment of Jewish organizations? No, because Israelis are American allies. Countries apply different standards of justice to friends and to foes, establish different burdens of proof. Enemies are presumed guilty; friends, innocent.
FTO status is easy to avoid. Set up a US non-profit called Kahane Chai, and register it with the Federal Election Commission. That would make Kahane Chai a political party in America. Don’t overlap US and Israeli Kahane Chai core membership and leadership. An American Kahane Chai would enjoy a different, much more stringent due process than FTO. Now the court considered only whether the Secretary of State based the FTO designation on the available administrative record. For a US organization, the record itself would be examined. A US non-profit is presumed innocent and must be proven guilty before it’s banned. The Jewish Defense League bombed Soviet interests in America to raise the issue of Jewish emigration from the USSR, but the government assembled no evidence to ban the JDL. There is no firm evidence of Kahane Chai engaging in terrorism, and the US non-profit would operate unhindered.
[Los Angeles court later cleared the Kurdish PKK party of the FTO status even though PKK is implicated in terrorism.]