Rav Kahane, was he racist?

YAHOO Group ExOrthodoxJews
August, 2007

YAHOO Group ExOrthodoxJews
August 26, 2007
Subject: Rav Kahane, was he racist?

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To Shlomoh

You are correct that the state should not have barred Kahane from the Knesset, because in a democracy, even racists should have the right to vote.   But to deny that Kahane was a racist is preposterous.  

You claim Kahane was not racist against Arabs because he said that "if an Arab converted to Judaism he would love him as much as any other Jew."   But he is requiring that Arabs renounce they religious beliefs to be treated equally.  I am sure that many Christian anti-Semites would have used the same justification for why they are not anti-Semitic.   (Prior to the late nineteenth century, anti-Semitism was primarily religious, not ethnic.)  Not to many of them would have stated that they would have hated a Jew after he or she converts to Christianity.

You claim that he was merely against the Arabs because "this population DOES NOT LOVE THEIR COUNTRY."  Firstly, Kahane believed even if the Arabs were loyal to the State, they should have no voting rights.   If that is not racist, I do not know what is.  Moreover, the existence of Israel as a Jewish State inherently discriminates against Arabs.   All of the national symbols exclude them.  The government's stated purpose, to be a homeland of the Jews is one for which they have need.  You expect them to be loyal to a state like that?

YAHOO Group ExOrthodoxJews
August 26, 2007
Subject: Rav Kahane was racist

You are absolutely correct when you say that Kahane was racist per the typical modern American perspective. However, as I read your comments, I could see problems with the premise. One is that Israel,(contrary to my generation's thinking) is not a "little America."
 It is a democracy only in the sense that many Arab nations (such as Saudi Arabia) are democratic. There is no Israeli "melting pot." No statue that bears the motto, "Give us your weak and huddled masses..." (by the way, even America did not mean that literally--in reality, it was "give us your weak and huddled white Protestant masses").
Israel was zoned as a Jewish homeland for the Jewish people by the United Nations in response to the crisis of the Holocaust. It was not established to welcome diverse ethnicities and religions. No one seemed to have considered the chaos that would result from its residents who were Muslim and Christian, who already lived in that territory. Yet, there is no difference between its establishment as an ethnocentric state and that of most of the surrounding Arab nations.
Saudi Arabia takes good care of its citizens with public education and socialized medicine, along with some voting rights. However, it does not apologize for the fact that only Muslims have rights, whether or not they lived there centuries ago. Israel doesn't have to either.
We, as modern Americans, may not like the reality as we filter it through our liberal, inclusive perspective. Yet, we forget that when our nation was the age of Israel, women, blacks and any other undesirables did not have any rights either. Israel is utterly progressive by comparison. We had "Manifest Destiny." We bred our Indians into Whites (I am an example of that breeding plan).
Kahane did not hold acceptable American modern views. However, he did hold the mindset of countless others from his world and culture. We are not dealing with our culture. It isn't Mohammed Smith against Yitzhak Jones.
Democracy and tolerance as we understand them are utterly incomprehensible to the Hareidi in Mei Sheirim and the devout Shiite in Ramallah alike. There is only God, His Laws, and to hell with the government. We can hardly impose our insulated, progressive, Manhattanite values on people who are 500 years behind us.
Thus the situation cannot be remedied unless we understand how to bring peace between primitive religious cultures. Dealing with them on the assumption that they hold our values is obviously a disaster. I'm waiting for the leaders who are wise enough to help ultra-fanatical religious tribes pass the peace pipe and exchange wampum.
Was Kahane over the top? Yep. Racist? Sure. But he was a product of his ideology. That's why we are all here in this group.
Be well,

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