by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
plan by right-wing legislators in Israel to commemorate the anniversary
this month of the death of Meir Kahane, whose banned anti-Arab movement
is classified as a terrorist organisation, risks further damaging the
prospects for talks between Israel and the Palestinians, US officials
move to stage the commemoration in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is
being led by Michael Ben-Ari, who was elected this year and is the
first self-declared former member of Kahane’s party, Kach, to become a
legislator since the movement was banned 15 years ago.
US Embassy, in Tel Aviv, has sent a series of e-mails to Reuven Rivlin,
the parliamentary speaker, asking that he intervene to block the event.
to US officials, pressure is being exerted on behalf of George
Mitchell, the US president Barack Obama’s envoy to the region, who is
concerned that it will add to his troubles as Israeli and Palestinian
leaders clash over a possible move by the Palestinians to issue a
unilateral declaration of statehood.
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
Israeli legislators have warned that Mr Ben-Ari and his supporters are
gaining a stronger foothold in parliament, in an indication of the
country’s increasing lurch rightwards.
and the advisers he has brought with him are unabashed representatives
for Kach and Kahane’s ideas,” said Ahmed Tibi, an Arab legislator and
the deputy speaker. “What we have is in effect a terrorist cell in the
a US rabbi who emigrated to Israel in the early 1970s, advocated the
expulsion of all Arabs from “Greater Israel”, an area that the far
right believes encompasses not only Israel but also the occupied
Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and parts of
neighbouring Arab states.
was elected to parliament in 1984 but was barred from standing again
four years later. He was assassinated by an Egyptian-American in New
York in November 1990.
1994 Kach was declared a terrorist organisation by Israel and the
United States after Baruch Goldstein, a supporter, went on an armed
rampage through the Ibrahimi mosque in the Palestinian city of Hebron,
killing 29 worshippers and injuring 150.
the ban, Kach is still active in many West Bank settlements, especially
in and around Hebron, where shrines to Kahane and Goldstein regularly
attract large numbers of devotees.
Ben-Ari, one of four members of the National Union elected to the
120-seat parliament, has included as his parliamentary advisers two
former Kach activists, Baruch Marzel and Itimar Ben Gvir, who are
leaders of the far-right Jewish National Front. Mr Ben-Ari has never
disavowed his support for Kahane, telling the Jerusalem Post newspaper
this month that Kahane “dedicated his whole life to Israel … He was a
great man and a great leader.”
month Mr Ben-Ari was the voice on an advertisement on the Israeli radio
station Reshet Bet to promote a public memorial service for Kahane held
by his family. It was also reported that for the first time posters had
been placed in many central areas of Jerusalem publicising the event
and declaring “We all know now – Meir Kahane was right”.
The United States has expressed more concern, however, at a commemoration being planned in parliament.
Perlstein, the second secretary at the US Embassy, is reported to have
e-mailed Mr Rivlin several times, asking whether the commemoration was
likely to be approved. According to e-mails leaked to the Israeli
media, he added: “This is something Senator Mitchell and his team are
following with some concern.”
embassy spokesman reiterated those concerns last week: “To stir up
controversy at the same time that we are trying to get people back to
the [negotiating] table, is not productive of that effort. It is only
natural that Senator Mitchell would be paying attention to that – and
the US government as well.”
Rivlin has reassured the United States that he has refused Mr Ben-Ari
permission to stage a commemoration but has also admitted that it would
be difficult for him to stop a “stunt” by Kahane supporters in the
are talking about a provocation,” Mr Rivlin told the Haaretz newspaper.
“The man [Kahane] and his outlawed movement cannot be separated. This
is an attempt to bring the Kach movement into the Knesset through the
week, Mr Ben-Ari appealed against the speaker’s decision to the House
Committee, which rules on issues of parliamentary procedure. Mr Rivlin
has said he will abide by the committee’s decision.
chairman, Yariv Levine of the ruling Likud Party, said he was not happy
with Mr Rivlin’s refusal and is reported to be working with the speaker
and Mr Ben-Ari to find a solution.
Ben-Ari responded angrily to the US concern: “I was elected to the
Knesset by citizens of the independent state of Israel. The flagrant
involvement of Mitchell has crossed a red line and it testifies to the
bowed head of the Knesset speaker that is turning the Knesset into a
Ben-Ari is probably not the only former member of Kach in parliament.
Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister and leader of the far-right
Yisrael Beitenu party, the third largest in parliament, is believed to
have joined Kach when he first arrived in Israel in the 1970s. His
membership was revealed in February by Yossi Dayan, the movement’s
former secretary general.
week Mr Ben-Ari had to cancel a trip to the United States, his first
overseas visit, after he was refused a US visa. He had intended to
speak to American Jewish groups to encourage emigration to Israel.
date, the only authorised parliamentary commemorations are for Yitzhak
Rabin, the prime minister assassinated by a right-wing Jew in 1995, and
for Rehavam Zeevi, a former general and leader of a far-right anti-Arab
party, who was assassinated by Palestinian gunmen in 2001.
Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest
books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the
Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing
Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His
website is www.jkcook.net.