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Kahanism is a Jewish ideology based on the views of Rabbi Meir Kahane (1932 – 1990).


Among other views, Kahane supported violence against those he regarded as enemies of Jews, called for immediate Jewish mass migration to Israel to avoid a potential "Holocaust" in the United States, endorsed the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and supported the restriction of Israel's democracy to its Jewish citizens. Kahane proposed enforcing Jewish law as codified by Maimonides. Non-Jews wishing to dwell in Israel would have three options: remain as "resident strangers" with limited rights, leave Israel and receive compensation for their property, or be forcibly removed without compensation. While serving in the Knesset in the mid-1980s Kahane proposed numerous laws, none of which passed, to emphasize Judaism in public schools, reduce Israel's bureaucracy, forbid sexual relations between non-Jews and Jews, and end cultural meetings between Jewish and Arab students.

Kach and Kahane Chai parties

In 1971, Kahane co-founded the Kach political party in Israel. The same year, he was convicted in New York for conspiracy to manufacture explosives and received a suspended sentence of five years. In 1984, he became a member of the Knesset, when Kach gained its only-ever seat in parliamentary elections. In 1988, after polls showed Kach gaining popularity, the Israeli government barred Kach for being racist and "anti-democratic" under the terms of a law that it had just passed.

After Kahane's assassination in 1990, the party split, with Kahane Chai ("Kahane Lives") breaking away from the main Kach faction. The party was also barred from standing in the 1992 election, and both organizations were banned outright in 1994. Today, both groups are considered terrorist organizations by Israel, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the United States. The groups are believed to have an overlapping core membership of fewer than 100 people.

Jewish Defence League and the Jewish Defense Organization

In 1968, Kahane was one of the co-founders of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in the United States. With the stated goal to "protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary". It was classified as "a right wing terrorist group" by the FBI in 2001. According to the FBI, the JDL has been involved in plotting and executing acts of terrorism within the United States. Most terrorism watch groups classify the group as inactive. Irving David Rubin (1945 – 2002) was the leader 1985 to 2002. He allegedly committed suicide in jail when awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to bomb private and government property.

A breakaway organization is the Jewish Defense Organization (JDO), led by Mordechai Levy.

FBI files released in 2011 revealed that the agency believed that the JDL was extorting rappers such as Tupac Shakur and Eazy-E.[1][2]

Jewish support for the JDL and Kahane

In 1984, National Survey of American Jews survey showed that 24% of respondents viewed the Jewish Defence League generally favorably, compared to 44% who viewed them generally unfavorably. A poll taken by the American Jewish Committee in 1986 showed that 14% of American Jews "professed strong sympathy towards Kahane."[3]

See also


  1. Lahav Harkov, "Files show FBI suspected JDL of extorting Tupac," The Jerusalem Post, April 14, 2011, https://www.jpost.com/jewish-world/jewish-news/files-show-fbi-suspected-jdl-of-extorting-tupac
  2. Tupac Shakur, FBI: The Vault, https://vault.fbi.gov/Tupac%20Shakur%20/Tupac%20Shakur%20Part%201%20of%201/view
  3. Hewitt, Christopher (2002). Understanding Terrorism in America: From the Klan to Al Qaeda. Routledge. pp. 35f. ISBN 0415277655.
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