By Munir K. Nasser
Chief Correspondent, Washington, DC
A Muslim American group urged the State Department to act against anti-Arab Jewish terrorist groups operating openly and raising funds in the United States.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Secretary of State to investigate the activities of Binyamin Kahane, the son of Rabbi Meir David Kahane, the radical Brooklyn Jew and Israeli politician who was assassinated in a New York hotel 10 years ago.
At a State Department dinner marking the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on Tuesday, CAIR gave Albright a letter requesting that the State Department investigates the Kahane group, which is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the US government.
CAIR pointed out that according to State Department guidelines, the legal effects of designating the group a terrorist organization include a ban on providing funds or other material support to the group, denial of visas for group leaders and the blocking group funds.
CAIR called in its letter to Albright for a similarly uniform process in formulating American foreign policy. "It is important that America not be seen as using a double standard when dealing with terrorism. I would therefore ask you to investigate this issue and take appropriate action against the individuals and groups,” said the letter.
According to the New York Times, the activities of anti-Arab Jewish groups have gone unchallenged by the State Department or Department of Justice officials. The paper said this week that a fundraising dinner was held at a Brooklyn hotel for the benefit of Rabbi Meir Kahane Memorial Fund, which supports Binyamin Kahane's political and religious activities in Israel and a host of other pro-Kahane causes.
The Times said the people behind the event and the featured guest himself, Binyamin Kahane, have been associated with terrorist groups and have been carefully running one step ahead of the law.
The Kahane political organizations, Kach and Kahane Chai, were outlawed in Israel in 1994 as terrorist groups because of their Arab-hating doctrines, though members of the group are still seen organizing anti- Arab demonstrations and handing out literature. In 1995, they were designated foreign terrorist organizations by the United States government, which made it a crime to support them with money or other means.
The Kahane core followers continue to work from their homes and a converted martial arts studio in Brooklyn. They have ignored the terrorist designations and reinvented themselves as Internet content providers and magazine publishers, promoting Rabbi Kahane's mission for the re-establishment of the biblical state of Israel, including the large-scale expulsion of the Arabs.
Their numbers are estimated as ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred people who have great determination. With the recent violence in the Middle East, they have been using a new slogan saying: "Rabbi Kahane was right." Posters bearing that slogan have been plastered across Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens by a small patrol of Kahane volunteers on bicycles.
In recent months, graffiti proclaiming "Kahane Was Right" have appeared in Israel and the West Bank, and group members are believed to be responsible for recent smashing of windows of Arab cars and homes and the occupation of an Arab home in the West Bank town of Hebron.
Last month CAIR asked the FBI to detain Binyamin Kahane, who was visiting New York for the service marking the 10th anniversary of his father's death. However, the FBI did not respond to the inquiries about Kahane from the Islamic group, but a spokesman in the FBI said there were no grounds to detain him because he had not been charged with a crime.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)