Illustration: People pay respects to victims at Tree of Life Synagogue by daveynin from United States [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia
I am an American teenager, and I am a “Kahanist.”
I’m growing up in suburbia, so why am I a Kahanist? I have read almost all of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane’s books; I bring them to school every day. The logic he exhibits in his books is just stunning.
I was born 15 years after he was assassinated. You can bet that the terrorist El Sayyid Nossair and those who assisted him in murdering the Rabbi would have never dreamed a 14-year-old boy would be continuing to believe in Rabbi Kahane’s ideas 29 years after the assassination.
The month of Heshvan marked Rabbi Kahane’s 29th yahrzeit; he was murdered on the 18th of the month while giving a speech in New York about how Jews should return to Israel. Two years before he was murdered, his party was banned from the Israeli Knesset, becoming the first party to ever be banned from the Knesset. In my opinion, the ban against his party is completely undemocratic — if Israel is a democracy then everyone should be allowed to run for parliament.
At my age Rabbi Kahane joined a youth Zionist movement, Betar. Betar taught him how to shoot, and he also attended protests and demonstrations through the movement. Betar also gave him many leadership values, and this should particularly be replicated today in light of of this week’s Jersey City shooting and the recent attacks on synagogues. The lack of Zionist leadership in America is mostly due to the fact that great organizations like Betar stopped operating in the country.
In 1968 Rabbi Kahane started the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which focused on combating anti-Semitism and the alienation of Jewish youth. The Rabbi realized that Jewish youth like myself were not being taught self-defense and Jewish pride. The JDL protested and demonstrated for Soviet Jews, demanding their release from Soviet Russia.
“We must define our youth; we must tell them who they are. We must answer their questions: what and why is a Jew? What and why am I?” wrote Rabbi Kahane in Our Challenge: The Chosen Land, back in 1974.
The youth are scared; they just want to fit in with their gentile neighbors. Many kids nowadays want to go to public school, marry the girl next door, and forget what it means to be a Jew. And their parents are so proud of them for marrying for love. The American Jewish youth are going through a Holocaust — not a physical one, but a spiritual one. They are losing what it means to be a Jew.
Rabbi Kahane realized the betrayal being committed by the leftist Jewish leaders was disastrous. Even now they are working to convince the young that tragedies like the rockets being fired at Israel by Islamic terrorists in Gaza are somehow Israel’s fault.
The complete lack of emphasis on Jewish self-defense by most Jewish leaders is outright disgusting, especially after all of the terrible attacks on synagogues and against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.
Many of my friends are being deprived of the ability to learn self-defense, because no organization has stepped up to fill the void left by the JDL’s decline after the Rabbi’s departure from its leadership. Self-defense was one of Rabbi Kahane’s main principles; he knew there would be a day when the Jewish community would not be safe — and today might be that day.