One thought on “Why Meir Kahane Matters: A Discussion with Shaul Magid and Aryeh Cohen

  1. I find Dr. Magid’s answer of a question about the nature of the American antisemitism during the period 1965-1975 to be a bit incomplete, at least with regards to my experience of having lived through the period. A lot of the support for the JDL came from Jewish communities that were physically transitioning as a result of the Civil Rights movement. The older Jewish immigrant neighborhoods in the large cities were changing from being Jewish to Black, and during the period when the two communities were living together, there was a lot of tension and fear.

    I attended a Men’s club breakfast at a large synagogue of the type derided by Kahane that sponsored a talk by the head of the local JDL. By the end of the talk, I think half of the audience was ready to join the JDL — the half who owned small businesses in the inner-city neighborhoods. I don’t think they were worried about neo-Nazis or Black anti-colonial leftists ticked off at Israeli support for South Africa. They appeared to be more worried about getting shot during an armed robbery or other similar crimes, Of course, the other half of the audience — doctors, lawyers, academics who lived and worked far away from the inner city — didn’t seem to understand what the fuss was about.

    I’d like to understand something more about the class divisions in the American Jewish community during the period and also about the actual amount of antisemitism that was out and about during that period. I sure don’t remember much. I’m looking forward to Dr. Magid’s book and hope to read it when it comes out.

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