The High Court of Justice today upheld the decision to oust Brooklyn-born Rabbi Meir Kahane and his ultra-right-wing Kach Party from Israel’s parliamentary election next month.
Despite the ruling, the founder of the militant Jewish Defense League and his supporters left the packed courtroom smiling and singing psalms in Hebrew. Supporters danced outside the courthouse, raising their leader on their shoulders and singing, “Kahane, king of Israel.”
In its 27-page ruling, the High Court of Justice upheld the Oct. 5 decision of the Central Elections Committee to remove Kahane and other Kach candidates from the Nov. 1 election. The committee declared that Kach, whose only member in the current Knesset (Parliament) is Kahane, is a racist party under Israeli law and must be barred from the campaign.
The High Court said the actions of Kach were racist, calling for the violent negation of people’s rights and the methodical degradation of portions of Israeli society.
Kahane advocates annexing the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and expelling all Arabs from Israel and the territories to ensure the continuation of the Jewish character of the nation.
“The decision in effect said Judaism is racism,” Kahane told a raucous news conference. “Every word that we have said and that we have spoken is based upon Judaism.”
“If anyone in the room thinks Zionism and Western democracy are compatible, he is either a fool or a knave. Zionism calls for a Jewish state no matter what,” said Kahane, first elected to the 120-member Knesset in 1984 after three unsuccessful attempts.
Kahane and Kach activists vowed to continue their movement and run in the next parliamentary elections. Kahane urged his supporters against voting in the election “so that we don’t fall into the delusion that there is Kach and that there is something similar to Kach.”
Recent polls showed Kach could have won as many as six seats in the election. Analysts say Likud and other right-wing parties will probably benefit from today’s decision.