Itamar Ben Gvir and Michael Ben-Ari of Otzma Yehudit

Rabbi Meir Kahane was murdered here in New York by an Arab terrorist in 1990. That means he is already gone close to 30 years. I believe that is enough time to put the vitriolic and unbalanced criticism of him to rest. Two important things about Meir Kahane are that he was misunderstood by many and that, not unlike other leaders over the years, he made mistakes.

That does not mean that he was not a good man; he definitely had his heart in the right place and had good intentions. Back in 1988, after a successful Knesset run, he was legally removed from competing in future elections, ostensibly because his party was branded as racist, but the reality was that his competitors feared his potential success.

According to his critics, what was the worst thing Kahane wanted to do? He wanted to invite the Arab residents from Israel to leave the country and receive ample compensation in the process. Additionally, he wanted to make it illegal for Arabs and Jews to marry, which, till today, is something that is not halachically permitted.

The odd thing is that the underlying premise of the great peace plan that did not work out was that Arabs and Jews should be separated and not live with one another. One of Kahane’s mistakes was using the wrong verbiage. The slogan “They Must Go” was not a good choice.

Now the Otzma Yehudit party is planning to run in the Israeli elections in April. They have joined other right-leaning parties such as National Union and Bayit HaYehudi so as a bloc they can draw and utilize votes received to the maximum. In Israel, any party that gets less than 3.25 percent of the total votes does not qualify for a Knesset seat and the votes cast for them are wasted.

With the parties joining together, they stand a better chance of garnering as many as eight Knesset seats, potentially being able to join a coalition with Likud and the religious parties, thereby maintaining the current stance of the present Netanyahu coalition.

Of course, the left is screaming that Netanyahu is aligning himself with racists because members of Otzma Yehudit were influenced by the Kahane philosophy. Along with the left in Israel, more than a few American Jewish organizations have also been outspoken and critical about allowing Otzma to run. They would like to see the party banished from elections just as Rabbi Kahane’s party was.

Enough time has passed to come to the realization that this is just a political ploy and it is wrong for a democratic government to ban any party from running. If they are bad for the country, people will not vote for them, and they will not be seated in the Knesset.

And there is an even greater and more important point that was made earlier this week by Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America. This is his statement on the attempt to ban Otzma Yehudit from competing in the upcoming elections:

Why has AIPAC, ADL, and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) never — that I’m aware of — publicly condemned the Arab members of Knesset who have praised Hamas, praised martyrs who have murdered Jews, said Israel should not exist as a Jewish state? Why have they never condemned any of them? And ADL especially, who has praised the Black Lives Matter movement, an anti-Semitic anti-Israel group, praised them, praised J Street publicly, and now they open their mouth about these people? First I want to see them condemn Black Lives Matter and J Street and the anti-Israel Arab members of Knesset before they criticize right-wing Jews. I want to see that first.

He is right on the mark. Enough of a political double-standard and enough of the dirty tricks. Let the people decide. 


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