Meir Kahane vs. Ehud Olmert

I stumbled upon this fascinating video (below) of Meir Kahane debating Ehud Olmert on ABC News (Nightline?) with Ted Koppel. I can’t find the exact date for the video, but it’s described as taking place “over 20 years ago.”

The topic at hand: the demographic threat Arabs pose to a Jewish state. Kahane and Olmert are speaking about Israeli Arabs, not Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, but it’s still very interesting to note that Olmert — who helped spearhead the disengagement from Gaza largely because of demographic fears — is the one who dismisses the threat.

I was also struck by how similar Kahane’s extreme right-wing view is to the left-wing view when it comes to discussing the contradictions of a Jewish democracy. In the video, Kahane says: “Do the Arabs of Israel have a right in a democracy to sit quietly, democratically, and have enough babies to be a majority?” He then goes on to cite the seemingly undemocratic fact that only Jews can become citizens by simply asking for citizenship and the fact that only Jews could lease state land.

Similarly, Kahane suggests that Olmert shows “contempt” for Arabs by believing that any Arab would be happy living in a state with a law of return for Jews only, with a national anthem that mentions the soul of a Jew yearning, and with a national Independence Day holiday that celebrates their defeat. (Of course, Kahane isn’t interested in making Israel more inclusive; he’s interested in chasing as many Arabs out of Israel as possible.)

Kahane was a dangerous ideologue, but as this video shows, he was very sharp and articulate.

Here’s the video:


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