The Zionist Conspiracy
Friday, December 16, 2005
Luke Ford on Orthodox Jews and Meir Kahane
Luke Ford recently wrote:
In my experience of Orthodox Judaism, from talking to people to reading pamphlets and books, those who comment favorably on Kahane outnumber those who speak against Kahane by about five-to-one. This reflects a growing tribalism in Orthodox Judaism, the abandonment of universalistic ethics, and a hatred of the outside world.
There is no question that far too many Orthodox Jews have at least a somewhat favorable attitude toward Kahane. Some completely support him, while many others will say that Kahane was a bit too extreme but generally on the right path.
However, I certainly don't think it's remotely accurate to say that "those who comment favorably on Kahane outnumber those who speak against Kahane by about five-to-one." That certainly hasn't been my experience.
I have some friends in the Los Angeles modern Orthodox community, the one that Ford has been most exposed to, and my sense is that in LA, there is a higher ratio of pro-Kahane people than elsewhere. I still strongly doubt that they outnumber those who are anti-Kahane by 5-1.
A more serious issue raised by Ford is the pro-Kahane articles and columns that appear in the Orthodox Jewish media. While those who like Kahane write to support him, people like me, who have a negative view toward his extreme ideology, tend to express our opposition by generally calling for pragmatism and moderation and attacking those with extreme views, rather than attacking Kahane himself. That may lead to a sense that almost all of us have positive sentiments toward Kahane, when in reality there is a reluctance - justified or not - by moderates to personally go after a man who was murdered by the same terrorists who implemented the first World Trade Center attack.
I do disagree with Ford that support for Kahane relates to "hatred of the outside world." Again, most of Kahane's supporters are modern Orthodox, who, overall, are more likely to be engaged in the "outside world" than charedim. I believe support for Kahane has much more to do with hatred for Arabs than with hatred of all outsiders.