Open letter from Israel Policy Forum chair on Netanyahu and the Kahanists

Last week was ugly.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
February 26, 2019 05:08
2 minute read.
Susie Gelman

Susie Gelman border 150. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Susie Gelman, board chair of Israel Policy Forum, disseminated an open letter on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Kahanists late Sunday. 

The following are excerpts from that letter:

"Last week was ugly.

"Benjamin Netanyahu’s inducement of a political merger that could actually bring Kahanists back to the Knesset was rightly condemned throughout the American Jewish community...

"I am truly appalled by Netanyahu’s actions not to just strengthen the far right but to actually encourage and legitimize racists in Israel’s political establishment... Sadly, we can expect that the coming weeks of the Israeli election will bring ugly and divisive rhetoric from politicians, much of which will be difficult to stomach for those of us who care deeply about Israel...


"I am not giving up on Israel. Last week was a difficult one for all of us who care about the shared values that have long been at the heart of the U.S.-Israel relationship.  I imagine that you may share my grave concerns about where Israel could be headed. As Americans, we don’t have a vote in the upcoming election, but I firmly believe that our voice is still critical.


“The next few months could easily shape the story of the Jewish people for years to come. The future of Israel, its relationship with American Jews, and the strength of the U.S.-Israel alliance will all be tested.  Those of us who care deeply about the enduring relationship between Israel and the Jewish community have an important role to play. I believe that American Jews must not give up on Israel; neither can we forfeit our responsibility to be heard.”

Netanyahu cut a deal last week that paves the way for Otzma Yehudit, an extremist and racist group with roots in Kahanist political philosophy, to sit in the next Knesset when it opens. 

Otzma Yehudit- or Jewish Power in English– is an offshoot of a political movement that has been designated a terrorist organization abroad and banned from Knesset lists since the 1980s. That movement, founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, considers Arabs and other non-Jews in Israel to be enemies of the state and supports replacing Israel's democratic government with a theocratic structure.


The Israel Policy Forum is a non-partisan US organization founded in 1993. The forum supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, consistent with Israel's security and long-term future as a Jewish and democratic state.

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