Over 7,500 American Jews, and another 1,000 from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, have joined a petition in support of nearly 20,000 Israelis who have petitioned Israel’s Central Elections Committee to ban the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party from running in the April 9th elections. The petition was launched last week by eleven leading organizations: the New Israel Fund, the Israel Religious Action Center on behalf of the Reform Movement, J Street, the National Council of Jewish Women, Americans for Peace Now, Partners for Progressive Israel, T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Ameinu, the Jewish Labor Committee, Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assembly.
The petition joins an Israeli effort by Zazim: Community Action — an Israeli organization modeled on MoveOn, which has collected over 14,000 signatures from Israelis to demand that Kahanists be disallowed from the Knesset. The Central Elections Commission is currently debating whether to bar Otzma Yehudit; they will announce their decision today.
The petition reads:
“Thousands of Israelis have already stood up to say that Kahanists have no place in the Knesset.
“Meir Kahane was a violent Jewish supremacist who advocated and inspired acts of terror. He and his disciples were banned from the Knesset in 1988 on the grounds that their ideology is ‘racist and undemocratic.’ Kahanist organizations are still defined as terror groups by the U.S. State Department.
“For decades, people who care about Israel’s democracy from across the political spectrum have drawn a bright red line: Kahanists are a danger to Israeli democracy and have no place in its parliament.
“As supporters of Israel’s democracy, we are horrified that Kahanists are now returning to the political arena and are being courted and embraced by right-wing parties and their leadership.
“In United States and in Israel, there is a movement standing up for democratic values and standing up against those who use violence, terror, and supremacist ideologies to divide and rule by fear. Elected leaders have a sacred responsibility to protect Israelis from violent extremists – not promote them.
“We stand with the more than 13,000 Israelis who believe that Kahanists don’t belong in the Knesset.”