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September 07, 1984 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-09-07

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26

Friday, September 7, 1984

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Rabbis cancel Kahane

President Manny Mittelman
and Board Chairman Shlomo
Rabinowitz had told The
Jewish News earlier this week
that Kahane had a right to be
heard, Rabinowitz said
Thursday morning, As an Or-
thodox congregation, we fol-
low the Halachic rulings of our
rabbis."
Rabinowitz said that the
Young Israel rabbis were con-
cerned about avoiding any im-
pression that Young Israel
"supports or endorses the
causes or views" of Kahane.
The rabbis placed a large ad in
today's Jewish News to that ef-
fect in response to last week's
ad advertising the Kahane
speech.
At the same time, the
Jewish Welfare Federation
and the Jewish Community
Council issued a joint state-
ment outlining their opposi-
tion to Kahane, and the Con-
servative rabbis of Detroit
were being polled to issue a
similar statement. The Na-
tional Press Club in Washing-
ton announced that it would
not invite Kahane to speak.
Rabinowitz told The Jewish
News that Wednesday's meet-
ing was called to explain the
circumstances of last week's
ad, "which some people de-
scribed as an inflammatory
poem with the name of Young
Israel of Greenfield at the bot-
tom."
Rabinowitz pointed out be-
fore he learned of the rabbis'
ruling that Young Israel of
Greenfield has rented • its
facilities to Kahane in the
past. Now he is a Member of
the Knesset and there are
additional ramifications."
Rabinowitz said the board
meeting Was called because of
the confusion created by the
ad. Young Israel officials
feared that the public would be
left with the impression that
YI was sponsoring the Kahane
forum. "Some people think the
ad was placed that way on
purpose. We called the meet-
ing to explain to our board —
and through them to our con-
gregation — what happened,
how it happened, and steps
taken to correct it."
Mrs. Harriet Drissman,
president of the Jewish Idea,
admitted that omission of
Jewish Idea sponsorship in the
ad was her mistake, but she
also blamed The Jewish News
for not catching her error.
Drissman, distraught over the
controversy, tried to place a
new ad in today's paper to cor-
rect the error but was unable
to because of early deadlines
for Labor Day.
Mittelman has placed an ad

at his own expense which dis-
avows YI-Greenfield sponsor-
ship of the meeting. He tried
calling Mrs. Drissman, but
was unable to reach her before
the Jewish News deadline.
Mrs. Drissman reacted with
astonishment over the Young
Israel rabbis' ruling. "I think
it is an over-reaction. I am
absolutely puzzled. I don't
understand what there is in
Torah quoted by Rabbi
Kahane that Orthodox rabbis
'cannot agree with. The Torah
is the same for everybody."
Mittelman, who rented the
synagogue to Kahane's sup-
porters, defended the rental.
"The same justice or injustice
should apply to everybody," he
said before Wednesday's meet-
ing. "Maybe some people are
right about him, but this is
America and he should be
heard. He has the same right
to speak that a Louis Far-
rakhan has."
"He (Kahane) means well. I
don't always like his ap-
proaches, but he means well. If
it wasn't for him, there
wouldn't be a single Jew out of
Russia. I don't agree with his
inflammatory statements or
(the Jewish Idea's) inflam-
matory advertisement."
Rabinowitz said the decision
to rent the YI-Greenfield syn-
agogue to the Jewish Idea was
based on past precedent. The
president and the rabbi agreed
last time (two years ago) and
there were no problems. There
are probably some members of
the board who are opposed to
his appearance, the same as in
any group. There are others on
the board who feel he is
entitled to speak. It is the
American way — he is entitled
to speak."
Kahane was originally
scheduled to appear in Detroit
last spring, but he canceled his
visit in favor of a tour of
Canada after the Canadian
government lifted a several-
year-old ban against his entry
into that country.
Kahane's long-held aim of
ejecting all Arabs from Israel,
as well as from Judea and
Samaria, has become more
controversial since he gained a
seat in. the Knesset in Israel's
July elections.
At odds with the Jewish "es-
tablishment" since the begin-
ning of his public career and
his formation of the Jewish
Defense League, Kahane's
anti-Arab policies have been
described in recent weeks as
fascist, and have been com-
pared to Hitler's anti-Jewish
policies.
Rabbi Efry Spectre of Adat
Shalom Synagogue, a past

president of the Conservative
rabbis' organization in De-
troit, telephoned his fellow
rabbis to request endorsement
of an anti-Kahane statement.
Rabbi Spectre questioned
whether Kahahe Should have
been provided a foruth by YI-
Greenfield.
"I was just as upset when a
black church in Detroit pro-
vided a forum for (Black Mus-
lim leader) Louis Farrakhan,"
Rabbi Spectre said, question-
ing whether Kahane or Far-
rakhan are entitled to forums
under the Constitutional
guarantees of free speech.

"Maybe some people
are right about
him, but this is
America and he
should be heard."

The joint statement Of the
Federation and Jewish Com-
munity Council was issued
over the signatures of their re-
spective presidents, Joel D.
Tauber and David Lebenborn.
The statement said:
"The Jewish Welfare Feder-
ation of Detroit joins with the
Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit, whose
membership consists of 300
local Jewish organizations, in
expressing unalterable oppo-
sition to any individual. or
group which advocates or con-
dones violence and terrorism.
"Meir Kahane's statements
as leader of the Jewish De-
fense League and the Kach
Party in Israel foment hatred
and vigilantism against an
entire group. The Jewish
People knows only too well the
ugly results of such appeals to
fear and group hatred. Our
history is filled with dire
examples.
"Kahane would have us be-
lieve that he speaks in the
name of Jewish tradition. In
fact, what he advocates is not
only antithetical to Jewish
law, tradition and ethics, but
violates the letter and spirit of
Israel's declaration of inde-
pendence which accords equal-
ity of citizenship to all, regard-
less of religion or race.
"Kahane does not speak for
the vast majority of Jews —
Americans and Israelis. Both
Israeli Arabs and Jews have
stood side by side in rejecting
his views.
In a nation and a world rent
by conflict, it is the urgent
task of decent people
everywhere to reject speech

.

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