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The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » Meir Kahane (of unblessed memory) Comic Strip Hero

Meir Kahane (of unblessed memory) Comic Strip Hero

By Jesse Bacon

Ma’an News reported last week on a comic book honoring Meir Kahane, the slain Jewish fascist leader whose politics were even too much for the Israeli Supreme Court. His party remains banned. Reading the comic strip, a few things become clear. First of all, the artistic quality is incredibly poor. If only the Middle East conflict could be solved by a comic-off, Joe Sacco’s recent Footprints in Gaza would have it shellacked. Second, the ideology is so disturbing that even the bad artwork can’t obscure it. Check out these two panels:

Thirdly, the style put me in mind of Jack Chick, the prosletyzing comics created by American Christians. Here’s a panel from their one “Jewish” strip (I used to be miffed that Catholicism and Islam got whole books denouncing them, while Chick could only manage this one .)

And here’s the Kahane rabbi picture.

So why am I spending this much time on such a clearly fringe character? Because I’m not so sure how fringe he really is. Here’s an excerpt from a recent Alex B. Kane article about a New York synagogue holding a Kahane memorial.

‘We were pretty outraged to see that a synagogue in the Upper West Side–from what I understand, a relatively mainstream, Orthodox Upper West Side synagogue–would be holding a memorial to Meir Kahane, who is one of the most extreme, radical, right-wing Israeli leaders in the last few decades,’ said Itamar Landau, a full-time fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, in an interview.  Landau is a key organizer behind the planned protests this Sunday.  ‘That’s not the Jewish community that I believe in, and that’s not the Jewish community I think we have.’”

These yeshiva “bochers speaking out is definitely a hopeful development, they are taking a stand for what kind of Jewish community they want. And it’s hard for me to imagine them accepting the argument that a Kahanist event is ok , but having a discussion of BDS isn’t.

And finally, how many Israeli political figures share some less cartoonish, more sophiticated version of these views?

Written by

JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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