Kansas City Rabbi Clocks Neo-Nazi In Airport

Rabbi David Fine, the rabbi of an Orthodox congregation in Oberland Park, Kansas — who is not exactly known for being a “tough” man — found himself in an altercation with a neo-Nazi earlier today at the Kansas City International airport. After a brief shouting match, the rav tossed a cup of coffee in the f*cker’s face and gave him a decent tolchok before an all-out brawl ensued. Mad props from the Jewschool crew to the esteemed rav for having the bayztim to take a stand. It’s never okay to the throw the first punch…unless yer schoolin’ a Nazi scumf*ck. Amen.

54 thoughts on “Kansas City Rabbi Clocks Neo-Nazi In Airport

  1. well, these people seek violence. Their best ideological statement is Gary Oldman in red suspenders rolling around in a metal cylinder and laughing, in Meantime. Anybody remember the old MTV bit where the fascist skins get their superasses handed to them by some feygelehs?

  2. While I’m sure the rabbi’s actions fulfill many a Jew’s fantasy, I do not believe it is justifiable to hit someone for wearing a swastika, or any symbol. We live in a country where we can express our beliefs non-violently, no matter how controversial they may be.

  3. Yesher Koach, an example for Rabbis everywhere…. People tend to focus on the religious due to their passivity

  4. dude, Ben Baruch, whatever. i dare you to walk into south Bronx with a t-shirt that says “i hate niggers” and then whine about your civil rights when they’re done working you over. the swastika is so obviously a provocation, and the guy was so obviously waiting for someone to pick a fight with him… i’m all for free speech, but never write a check with your mouth (or with your t-shirt) that your butt can’t cash. it sounds like that fucking asshole deserved exactly what he got, and if you’re a jew, you’ve gotta be with me on that.

  5. chazarmaveth, a more appropriate analogy would be if I wore a t-shirt with the Confederate flag, which, to many, symbolizes the institution of slavery. Regardless, I don’t think it is a great tactic to hit people based on what their t-shirt or bumper sticker says, no matter how controversial or offensive. Is it okay if a proponent of pro-life violently assaults a pro-choice picketer, just because of what her t-shirt might read? After all, they do disagree on the value of life for humans in a specific group. If I wear a tee-shirt that says, “I Hate Everyone Except Myself”, does that give everyone license to come wail on me? Or should we make a rule that the more specific my offensive tee-shirt gets, the more OK it is for those mentioned groups to beat me up?

  6. The swastika by itself was not a provocation; consider the right limbless Vietnamese would have to bite Marines walking around in “7.62 Designs” t-shirts, consider Ganesha t’s with the swirl in the obstacle-destroyer’s palm. However, violence is a vital and definitive part of Nazism and the fascist skins’ pseudoideology, and we arte more than ready to berliueve this was not about a t-shirt design.

  7. Certainly, people are entitled to their own opinions concerning the actions of Rebbe Fine. He was clearly standing up for what he believes in: his faith in G-d and his Jewish identity. If I were in his yarmulke, I would have done the very same thing. He was brave and true to smack that neo-nazi b*itch right upside his scruffy head.

  8. If you read the article, you’d know that the rabbi simply told the man he should be ashamed of himself, and then the nazi replied that the rabbi was subhuman. Then he threw his coffee in the bastards’ face and clocked him. I would have. He didn’t just see the swastika from across the terminal and charge. This man did the right thing. Hell, even Ghandi would have been pushed if he was in the man’s shoes.

  9. k&y, while violence was, and still may be, a definitive part of Nazism, some guy wearing a swastika tee-shirt in an airport hardly qualifies as Nazism or neo-Nazism. Perhaps Boswell (the tee-shirt guy) believes more in White Power than anti-Semitism (not that white power is any better, but “Power” sure sounds more positive than “anti”-anything). Or maybe Boswell is just an asshole who likes offending people, and the swastika does not really indicate any affiliation with a hate group. I doubt anyone asked. Either way, I do not feel that attacking Boswell helped clear up the situation. In fact, with Boswell emerging from the ring with “coffee stains on his clothing”, and Fine with “small bumps on his head” and most likely with a hefty fine (ha!) for assault, it seems like Boswell, and anti-Semitism, won that round. And Yonatan, throughout your life have you never seen anyone wearing a swastika in public? A tee-shirt or tattoo? I have seen it. Why haven’t you picked a fight yet? Is it really because the opportunity has not yet presented itself, or is it because it is much easier to let a rabbi in Kansas do the dirty work, and for us to approve of his actions on a blog?

  10. If somebody attacks you, you can hit them. As far as letting some clerk with religious specialization do our dirty work, what, are you living in the US in 2005 or in Germany in the twenties? How many opportunities have presented themselves to you? We’ve come across actual skins only a few times and they minded their manners.

  11. Ben Baruch,
    great comincs, bad judgement.
    You and I weren’t there at the airport. We don’t know half the story. Enough of the sissy ‘against violence’ before giving the specific situation some kaf zchut. (this is a Rabbi we’re talking about, right). Maybe the dude spit, or gave Rabbi Fine a nudge. We do not know what set him off, do you? In the kansascity.com article (registration req’d) we read just a bit more:
    But Fine said Monday that the fight occurred about 10 minutes after he initially encountered Boswell.
    “He walked up to me and got in my face,” Fine said. “I was scared for my physical safety. I did what I felt I had to do.”

    I hope shabot will fight when the time comes.

  12. “It seems like Boswell, and anti-Semitism, won that round.”
    Bull-plop. Whose side are you on, Ben Baruch? I can’t believe I’m reading somone named “Ben Baruch” who is standing up for the rights of that neo-Nazi fuck! we get the freedom-of-expression thing! what we don’t get is how you can say “some guy wearing a swastika tee-shirt in an airport hardly qualifies as Nazism or neo-Nazism.” what planet are you living on, man?!? what does qualify as neo-Nazism, then?

  13. Josh, obviously my comments were based on the details in the original Pittsburgh Detail article, which portrayed Rabbi Fine as the instigator of the fight, without provocation (other than having seen a swastika emblazoned on Boswell’s t-shirt). If more details arise and can be confirmed, indicating Boswell made any initial threat whatsoever, (other than the bold and hateful statement on his t-shirt), then my opinion on the matter would surly sway in favor of Rabbi Fine. Chazarmaveth, I believe that a Nazi soldier or member of the Nazi party from the Nazi era qualifies as a Nazi. As for Neo-Nazism, I would qualify anyone who affiliates themselves with the Neo-Nazi movement, whether they are violent or not. However, I feel that a swastika tee-shirt does not a Neo-Nazi make. When I was younger I used to wear an Anarchy tee-shirt with a big letter A on it, not because I was a genuine anarchist, but because I thought it looked cool and rebellious. I imagine that there are probably plenty of “Neo-Nazis” out there who do little more than shave their head and wear swastika shirts and tattoos, but never do anything violent, and probably have never even met a Jew or even understand the philosophy of the original Nazi movement. These people should be ignored, or better yet, educated. But not provoked by assaulting them based on the symbol worn on their shirts.

  14. the *anarchy* symbol may stand for alot of things, from immature rebelliousness to utopian dreaming. but it does not stand for the extermination of the jewish people. to compare the two is specious.

  15. I met enough of those cretins living in the Pac NW to know that one cannot ” educate” them.
    You can attempt to “educate” them while they are applying a bit of pine 2×4 upside your head as they shout epithets about your family. Ignore them? Try. They are so indoctrinated that anything other than what they know is all the reason neos need to beat those who disagree with them.
    This is a rabbi, an Ortho Rabbi who was just minding his business when this lamebrain got into his face.
    Should the Rebbe been saying ” Look, we are all brothers, that what you are doing is incorrect?” As the Brooklyn street kid I was, I would have clocked the guy, too. You done good Rabbi.

  16. Sausage, I do not claim that an “Anarchy” tee-shirt is as provoking or significant as the swastika. I was explaining that simply wearing the t-shirt did not necessarily make me an anarchist.
    But if we are to condone acts of violence against people whose tee-shirt logos we Jews do not like, then what criteria for acceptible behavior should we establish? What if Boswell was a woman, would it still be okay for Fine to have clocked her? Or what if Fine was a heavyweight, and Boswelll was a lightweight, or a skinny 20-year old kid? Or in a wheelchair? Is it only acceptible to pick a fight with someone if they are wearing an offensive shirt AND they are also a worthy opponent? Would it have been twice as good if two rabbis ganged up on Boswell?
    I imagine that many of these lost souls who identify with Neo-Nazism are misguided and ignorant, latching onto an ideology that seems empowering and “cool”. But they may not be violent, or even believe in or understand the symbol they wear on their shirt. Walking up to one of these guys and throwing coffee in his face, which essentially boils down to a sucker-punch, will do little to improve the situation. Rabbi Fine may have felt exhilarated and personally vindicated in his actions, but I’m not sure if he accomlished much else.
    Pat A, you say you’ve met enough of those cretins to know they cannot be educated. So I ask you, and everyone else claiming they would have done the same thing … How many swastika-wearing skinheads have you seen in your life, and how many have you clocked?
    N.B. — The story is evolving to indicate that it was Boswell who picked the fight. Naturally, if the real story is such that Boswell instigated the fight with threats of any kind, other than the display of his swastika, then I feel that Rabbi Fine’s actions were justified.

  17. “I imagine that there are probably plenty of “Neo-Nazis” out there who do little more than shave their head and wear swastika shirts and tattoos, but never do anything violent, and probably have never even met a Jew or even understand the philosophy of the original Nazi movement.”
    Imagine away, Ben Baruch, and continue living in the naive, faraway little fantasy bubble in your mind. A non-violent neo-Nazi is like a shomer-negia pornstar — it just doesn’t fucking exist. Sausage and Pat A, thank you for backing me. The *only* way to deal with someone wearing something like that is to do what Rabbi Fine did, to excercise his right to free speech that you seem so distortedly devoted to, and say “Hey, asshole! Fuck you!”

  18. chazarmaveth, I’ll bet there are inordinately more “Neo-Nazis” out there than there are acts of violence. Just as there are plenty of Jews who may wear a Magen David, but live a lifetime doing nothing “Jewish”.
    And, yes, it would have been completely fair if Fine had matched Boswell’s right to freedom of speech with a hearty “Hey, asshole! Fuck you!” But that is not what happened, (according to the original account).
    The justification for violent outbursts, as endorsed on this message thread, seems arbitrary at best. Where do we draw the line? Is a bitch-slap okay, but a closed fist punch is crossing the line? Is a thrust of a knife okay if you don’t aim for a vital organ? If Boswell’s face and eyes were scalded by Fine’s coffee, would that still be cool?

  19. ummm… have you been reading the articles and posts on this blog?
    “He walked up to me and got in my face,” Fine said. “I was scared for my physical safety. I did what I felt I had to do.”
    evidently it wasn’t some random violent outburst. if the above is true, the rabbi has all the justification he will ever need.
    “I’ll bet there are inordinately more “Neo-Nazis” out there than there are acts of violence.”
    there are other forms of violence besides physical. in my opinion, wearing a swastike on your sweatshirt is non-physical violence par excellence.

  20. chazarmaveth, yes I’ve been reading the posts. The clip in which Fine is portrayed as acting in self-defense came long after my original comments, and I do keep stating that if that is the real case, then Fine’s acts were justifiable.
    “non-physical violence”? Sounds like violent THOUGHTS to me. Since when is combating non-physical violence with physical violence considered fair and just? Or Jewish? Seems to be the opposite of the popular “eye for an eye” philosophy.
    Many Palestinians resent Jews. There have been many acts of violence by Palestinians against Jews. Some people might view Arafat as being a concrete symbol of anti-Semetism. If I see a Palestinian wearing a tee-shirt with a picture of Arafat in public, here in America, can I go kick his ass?
    In the version where Rabbi Fine is the first to react with physical violence, by first throwing coffee in Boswell’s face and then punching him, Fine comes across as an out-of-control child, not a respected community leader.
    Anyway, I’m still waiting for anyone in this discussion who claims they would have done the same thing to explain why they haven’t done so already.

  21. it ain’t a “THOUGHT” to wear a swastike t-shirt, bozo. a “THOUGHT” is silent and private. a swastike t-shirt that you wear in public blatantly screams out your identification with the ideologies and actions of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, whose bones and names should forever be obliterated and shat upon (and don’t you even pull out that “swastike is an ancient pagan/native american wealth/health/spiritual ity symbol” bullshit on me right now). no one said that the proper course of action was to beat up anyone wearing such a shirt. but make no mistake, Ben Baruch — your typical neo-Nazi in America would blow you, your wife, kids, mom, dad, and grandma away regardless of how young, inexperienced or uneducated they are, if they could get away with it. my 6th-grade best friend became a skinhead in 10th grade, and he and his fuckwad cronies perpetrated much hate-speech, prank phonage and vandalism in my direction… and even though they never once pummeled me, they generated plenty of ACTUAL FEAR in my vulnerable, assimilated young mind — and the fear was probably worse than any actual beating. is that a fucking “thought crime” too?

  22. Ben Baruch, I initially had the same reaction as you, but the facts are not so clear here. We do know that this neo-nazi atleast 1.) wore various nazi symbols, and 2.) told the Rabbi that he was less than human. Additionally, he might have reinitiated the confrontation with the Rabbi after the initial exchange. Even in the most generous view of the neo-nazi’s conduct, his statements were “fighting words.” Fighting words have always been an exception to the first amendment under Supreme Court jurisprudence because the purpose of such words is not to communicate, but to cause “imminent lawless action.” I have little doubt that was exactly the intent of the neo-nazi. He probably thought “What can this kike do to me? I am going to provoke this kike into getting beaten.” Even if he did not think exactly this, any reasonable person would know the consequences of such fighting words. If so, then his words were not protectable speech, but rather unprotected conduct.
    I only hope that I would have the courage to stand up to Jew-hatred as Rabbi Fine did. As for the legal issues, I am sure he will have plenty of financial support to fight any charges in court. A smart prosecutor would recognize this and offer a very generous plea.

  23. I most certainly agree with Ben Baruch. Obviously if there was a real physical threat, we cannot blame the rabbi for fighting back. However, in a case where there is only verbal provocation (or symbolic provocation), I don’t yet see how any of you can justify a physical attack. I don’t think that is befitting of any moral person, rabbi or not, jew or gentile.

  24. By the way, chazarmaveth points to another example (his personal fear of nazis) of why Jews should carry guns. We don’t know how and when we will become victims. We have a duty to G-d to protect life, including when that means killing our pursuers. Carrying a firearm is the most effective means of protecting life when confronted with a violent pursuer.

  25. If the rabbi had walked away, either he would have been physically attacked or he would have not been. If he would have been attacked after walking away and the Rabbi sensed this, then perhaps he is justified in pre-emption. If he would not have been, then no blows would have been exchanged, and this would be the optimal situation.
    If it was me, I would have walked away and taken my chances.

  26. I for one am proud of this Rabbi. All people should stand up for their beleifs, even to the point of physical confrontation.
    Swastikas represent the mass murder off Jews, Catholics, Blacks, Hispanics, Homosexuals, and Union members. If someone wears one they desrve a punch in the grill, at least. Too bad others didn’t join in.
    Reminds me of that great punk song by the Dead Kennedys: ‘Nazi Punks, F**k Off’. Download it outta respect for the coolest Rabbi in Kansas City!

  27. there comes a point where we have to come to grips with the seam line that divides theory from reality. it’s shits and giggles to pontificate on what we do when we are offiended. it’s another thing to be confronted with the the explicit symbol of amalek, of pure evil which wishes us dead as individuals and as a people.
    that’s why i made my comment about the comparison between the anarchy symbol and the swastika. a young person wearing an anarchy symbol runs the gamut from dreamer to dipshit. i put mobius in the former and ben baruch as a teenager in the latter.
    but the swastika holds a unique meaning and i give no quarter to those who don it for any reason. i don’t care if they are confused or do not understand the gravity of what they are doing. “officer i didn’t know the speed limit” is no excuse for breaking the law. once they go to that side, the reasons they did it cease to matter. all i got to say is nazi punks fuck off. that rabbi is an inspiration and Go bless him for his courage and strength.

  28. I had a similar situation occur not long ago. I encountered a guy at the beach with a nazi SS tatoo. I happened to have my shirt off, showing my Magen David and other jewish tatoos I have ( yeah, i know its kinda contradictory-I’m plannin on having em removed in a couple of years) and confronted him with” whats up with the tatoo”o regarding theoffensiveness of his and his friends various nazi bodyart.. The kid actually looked a little frieghtened (as i am quite a bit larger than he). He explained that thy weren’t anti-semetic tatoos, but that these kids are in some sort of “surf nazi” organization. I was taken a little off guard by the response [and the ignorance of their clan], but nonetheless, let it ride and paddled out to surf. So yes, Ben, you don’t know what someone with offensive signs really mean by them.

  29. I’m a member of Rabbi Fine’s shul.
    It’s fairly clear that Rabbi Fine was at least partially justified in throwing the coffee, if he felt he was in imminent danger.
    However, what’s less clear is whether he should have made his initial remark (“You should be ashamed of yourself…”).
    The Shulchan Aruch is straightforward: It is a mitzvah to rebuke someone for bad behavior; HOWEVER, it must be done discreetly and lovingly; AND, if we know that our rebuke will do no good in correcting a wrong behavior, we are to refrain from rebuking.
    This has nothing to do with our American free speech rights. Both the Rabbi and the nazi were exercising those rights.
    I am reminded of the Nebraska rabbi who, several years ago, brought a neonazi around to healthier thinking (he even wanted to convert) through conversation. Imagine the possibilities had the Rabbi started off the conversation by saying “I feel terrible when I see what you are wearing…”. It would open the door to change, not to fisticuffs.
    That said, there’s a part of me that says “Good for you, Rabbi.” He is the son of survivors…

  30. oy- I should have edited my post before letting it go. Sorry for the misspellings and gramatical errors….I’m still kinda new to this stuff.

  31. Wow the Rabbi punched a Nazi? My question is, why didn’t we fight like this when we were being rounded up during WWII? We just marched along innocently? Did we really do that? It’s too late now to punch a Nazi. I hope this Rabbi has kosher toothpaste.

  32. The Jew is in the wrong here. He should be shipped back to Israel if he does not understand we have freedom of speech in this country. He may not have liked the Neo-Nazi’s shirt, but the insults and the coffee in the face were uncalled for. I would not be surprised if he was sued, which he should be. His actions were totally out of line. He is a disgrace to judaism and America.

  33. Can you imagine if the so-called Nazi was offended by the Rabbi’s clothes and socked the Rabbi? The ADL would be whining about “jewish hate crime”! There’s no difference. I’m jewish, the Rabbi is WRONG!!

  34. Rabbi Fine was the former spiritual leader of my synagogue in Milwaukee. I can truely say that he is one of the finest (no pun intended) and most compassionate human beings I have ever met. He is truely a man of deeds and not just words!
    I commend him tremedously for fighting against any sign of neo-nazism. The fact that Rabbi Fine is physically a small person (no taller than 5ft6″) and is willing to take on anyone who wears representation of extreme hatred and evil is FANTASTIC!!! Thank you Rabbi Fine for honoring the memory of SIX MILLION slaughted Jews!
    Am Yisroel Chai!! Long Live Israel and the Jewish Nation!

  35. I know Rabbi Fine from the many years he was the Rabbi at my congregation in Milwaukee. Rabbi Fine can be described as a peaceful person, an intellectual with a passion for Jewish life and education. For many Americans the swastika is just a political expression – a protected symbol of free speech. For many Jews, especially those who survived the horrors of Nazi Europe and their families the swastika is synonymous with fighting words (ie KILL JEWS). Would this misguided skinhead have the guts to wear a “NIGGER” t-shirt in public? If Rabbi Fine is guilty of anything he is guilty of being passionate Jew who unlike our most Europeans (Jew and Gentile) in the 1930s, quietly looked away when the swastika grew in popularity. I wasn’t at the airport can’t say who “threw the fist punch/coffee” but I hope the coffee was from McDonalds.

  36. This brings to mind a situation my cousin encountered as a medical resident. One day a patient came to her with a huge swastika tattoo. She treated his ailment and that was that. She made no mentioned of her Judaism — he had no way of knowing by her name — and it was a relatively benign encounter. Some time later this same man’s wife was due to have her baby. The couple was assigned a certain physician, and the husband said “No – I want Dr. X (my cousin).” The neo nazi never found out that his doc of choice was in fact a yid.
    I am not criticizing my cousin in writing this; I myself intend to become a doc and I don’t know how I would handle a similar situation. Where does the line between your responsibilities as a physician and as a Jew lie?
    Just curious for some opinions

  37. Melanie (the first Melanie)- thanks for your very generous comments about me but you should know that I am exactly 5 ft and 10 and 3/4 inches not 5″ 6′. Happy Passover. David Fine

  38. the jew have the right to strike a euro christian who wear a “white power” t-shirt
    the euro christian (and other ethnic group generally) “DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT” to defend their ethnic group from stolen by the parasite!
    all the banks
    all the media
    all the political lobby
    why i dont have the right to strike the 2% of the population living in my country and eat 70% resources of US
    why i dont have the right to strike the people who made US a israel slave by an annual colossal funding whitout justify?
    why i dont have the right to strike the people who bring US to an unjustified WAR??
    why i dont have the right to strike who wearing a yarmulke for all the fact above??
    so the story is the same…
    a jew don’t have the right to strike a neo nazi
    a neo nazi don’t have the right to strike a jew (even if he have a lot of reason!and he have….)

  39. This is how the National Socialist tell it….
    On Sunday, 17 April, 116, I was taking Professor Jacques Pluss and his fiancée to the airport. We were accompanied by Corporal Drake of the Women’s Division. We arrived approximately one hour before departure in order to get them checked in. We decided to have a cup of coffee and talk while we waited. As we sat across from the Starbucks, a jew wearing a yarmulke came in the nearby terminal door and immediately noticed our clothing. Corporal Drake was wearing the NSM t-shirt and I was wearing a bright red t-shirt with a large Swastika on the front and a Swastika necklace. As he passed, the jew shouted out, “You’re pathetic. You should be ashamed of yourself.” As he continued walking, we considered it within our better judgment to let this initial insult pass. He then stood glaring at me from across the terminal. When it became time for the plane to board, we began making our way toward the gate. To do so, we had to pass where the jew was standing. As we passed he shouted out, “You’re an insult to humanity!” Finally having had enough, I shot back, “You’re not even human, so how can you say I’m an insult to humanity?” Whereupon he threw his coffee into my face and then threw a punch (with his right). I stepped back to avoid his punch and then, in self-defense, delivered several of my own until I was pulled off. We were both arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

  40. This guy wearing the swastika t-shirt reminds me of the Dutch student that produced the HOUSEWitz video. To the average person with an untrained eye, it looks like a cruel, sick joke. But it’s real purpose is political. The message is, “We know the Holohoax never happened. It no longer has power over us, you cannot extort money from our nations and direct our policies any longer. We will now treat your alleged tragedy as kitsch.”

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