U.S. Conservative Jewish movement joins critics of extremist Otzma Party

Otzma's leaders have described Israel's Arab population as being "in the majority of enemies of the Jewish people."

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February 25, 2019 11:21
1 minute read.
meir kahane

The late rabbi Meir Kahane, pictured here on a poster.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement has joined the chorus of critics against extremist party Otzma Yehudit, its union with Bayit Yehudi and the prime minister's role in ensuring that political pact. 

Otzma's leaders have described Israel's Arab population as being "in the majority of enemies of the Jewish people," and advocate for the transfer of Arab Israelis to neighboring countries through financial encouragement. 
"Racism and hatred are antithetical to our Jewish values and the ideals on which the Jewish State of Israel was founded," said the Rabbinical Assembly in a statement to the press.


'The Conservative/Masorti Movement condemns the decision to include in a potential governing coalition, Otzma Yehudit, a racist Israeli political party with roots in the extremist ideology of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane and his Kach Party, " it continued.


"For decades, this movement has been widely recognized in Israel and throughout the United States as dangerously radical, including the Kach Party being designated by the US Department of State as a terrorist organization since 1997. Otzma Yehudit should not be further legitimized in any sense and we hope and pray that the party returns to a place of irrelevance."


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exercised heavy pressure on Bayit Yehudi to unite with Otzma for the upcoming election so as to guarantee that Bayit Yehudi enters the Knesset and maintain votes for right-wing parties. 


AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the head of the Reform Movement in the US and several other groups have already denounced the Bayit Yehudi-Otzma union. 


Over the weekend, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston also criticized the agreement, saying it was "dismayed" by Netanyahu's work to ensure the political union, and said that Otzma's "racist," "reprehensible" and "violent" views were "anathema to the values expressed in Israel's declaration of statehood," and said that it "abhor[s] any effort to normalize these views and bring these actors into any governing coalition." 

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