Sunday, August 2, 2009

Revolution: A Preview of What Could Be

(This blog will be updated roughly once a month. Please remember to return in four weeks' time.)

Anyone writing about Kahane's views on Israeli politics must eventually come to terms -- not with his well-known thoughts on transfer -- but with his far more incediary ideas on revolution.

Because Kahane knew quite well that nobody besides himself would kick the Arabs out of Israel, becoming prime minister was absolutely essential for him. While in the Knesset (and beforehand), he tried to attain this position democratically. When the Supreme Court denied him that option Kahane realized that his path to power would be far more difficult than anticipated. And that's when he started focusing less on kicking out the Arabs and more on different devises (e.g. a referendum) that would help propel him to the prime minister's seat.

A man with less vision and less love for Israel than Kahane would have retired the day the Supreme Court barred him from the Knesset. After all, the game seemed lost. But Kahane was determined to become prime minister -- Knesset or no Knesset, Supreme Court or no Supreme Court. How? Simple. By pressure or force, one way or another.

I know some Kahane followers dispute this point, but Kahane really made himself quite clear if you read between the lines. Take his last book, "Revolution or Referendum," for instance. Kahane spends several chapters talking about the legitimacy of government and revolution. His conclusion? Israel's government is illegitimate and the people have the right to revolt. I know Kahane claimed he didn't want a revolution (and I'm sure he didn't) but in this book, he clearly is subtly injecting that idea into his readers' minds.

For another example, read the following from a speech Kahane delivered in 1989 or 1990 titled "Why Be Jewish": "Obviously the answer is for the people to get up and overthrow the government but you don’t say that for two reasons: One, they won’t do it. Secondly, if you think I sat [in jail] for a long time in 1980, wait til you see this, so you don’t say that...."

To repeat, I have no doubt that Kahane did not want a revolution. However, if the choice was between Israel slowly collapsing on the one hand -- and Israel is collapsing, as Kahane predicted it would -- and a revolution whose leaders would reconstruct Israel as a light unto the nations on the other hand, Kahane clearly preferred revolution, hands down.

Why do I write all this? Because some people see revolution as a quixotic and utterly impossible solution. Two events this past month should demonstrate otherwise. I am referring to the post-election Iranian riots and the charedi riots in Yerushalayim.

The Iranians did not overthrow their government, but they came close. More anger, more people, more violence and the country would have been theirs.

Unlike the Iranians, the charedim were not trying to overthrow their government. But look at the havoc that a small minority of charedim were able to create. Imagine if not just some charedim but a majority of charedim and a majority of religious Zionists and tens or even hundreds of thousands of frustrated Ashkenazi and Sephardi secular Jews took to the streets and marched on the Knesset. Who would stop them? Their sheer numbers would be overwhelming.

Add to the equation a few thousand (or more) of the most radical rioters holding guns, willing to shoot, and the possibility of a successful revolution becomes even more plausible, especially since vast portions of the IDF would not be willing to shoot their fellow Jews in defense of the various government buildings. On the contrary, many soldiers would, if circumstances forced them to make a choice, use their weapons to help the uprising.

Revolution cannot occur tomorrow in Israel. The idea needs to first fester in the people's mind. Anger, extreme anger, at the government is a necessary ingredient, which must be constantly stoked (which Kahane was a master at). But people should realize that revolution is feasible. The Americans did it in 1776, the French did it in 1789 and, 230 years later despite all the changes in the make-up of armies, the Israelis can do it too.

If one wants an idea of what this revolution will look like or how it should be planned, take a closer examination of the Iranian and charedi riots last month.

(Note: I wrote this article for people who understand that Israel is collapsing; who prefer to see Jewish blood spilled rather than seeing the destruction of the third commonwealth; and who believe that revolution is not only not inherently evil, but sometimes even holy.)

1 comment:

  1. The main idea about Referendum is that each person's voice or vote counts. Regarding Israel even the voices and votes of diaspora Jews count. When I mentioned this to the Lubavitcher Rebbe at dollars in April 1990 he responded with the famous gathering by siren at 2pm Monday afternoon when he said, "I have done everything I can do, now it's up to all of you." The Rebbe took Rabbi Kahane's political referendum method and expanded to include every Jew. We are all connected to Israel to #EyalGiladNaftali to Torah to eachother and the Creator. We all need to look in the mirror and do our part, starting with ourselves.