So You Shoot the Messenger
[This is an excerpt from Rabbi Meir Kahane's ZT"L last speech in which he urged American Jews to make emergency aliyah. It was given on November 5, 1990 — 18 Cheshvan 5751, moments before he was murdered at a pro-Zionist meeting in a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Twenty-four years after he spoke of these warnings a severe economic crisis began in the United States. Now morality is at its lowest level; racial tensions are high; antisemitism has taken a dangerous escalation — the Jews fear for their future. Will they finally come home to Israel?—ed]
I was born in this country [United States of America], and I can't recall ever in my life as much open and vicious Jew-hatred as I have seen in our time right now, in this country. I travel around from city to city and in every city Jews tell me it is unbearable. Attacks upon synagogues, attacks upon Jews, all of which are of course buried. Because the synagogue doesn't want it to be known. The ADL [Anti-Defamation League] wants to report "there were 55 incidents this year in the United States", when actually there were 55 incidents in one hour in the United States.
Two Reasons for Increased Antisemitism
What has happened? What has happened in natural terms? Of course, in divine terms, the Almighty is ending it for us. But what is happening in natural terms? Two basic changes have taken place in this country over the last twenty years [1970-1990]. It began slowly; now it is reaching its crescendo. We have seen the death of what I call the "Auschwitz syndrome". What is the "Auschwitz syndrome"? After World War II, it was hard to be an antisemite, even for an antisemite. It was just difficult. And then the years passed — ten years, twenty years, twenty-five years, thirty years, and a generation arose which was not born at that time. And the "Auschwitz syndrome" began to fade away, and the guilt began to fade away. No matter how many Holocaust programs were shown on television, every year they had less and less impact. Indeed, they reach a point whereby they encourage antisemitism, whereupon the antisemite says: "Hey, you know, I know Jews, and the Nazis, and they were probably right." That's what happens today. It fades away. And to help things along, there was the rise of a strong Israel. Suddenly, Israel was winning. And that allowed the antisemite to cut the albatross. Now it was OK. You see, the Jew are Nazis, and they persecute the Palestinians [sic], and now it was OK. So the "Auschwitz syndrome" faded, and it's gone for all practical purposes. And you hear people speak about the holocaust that the Israelis are perpetrating upon the Palestinians. A Holocaust ... So all the Israelis and all the Jews who ever called me a Nazi and didn't realize that when you call a Jew a Nazi, you cheapen the Holocaust. And you cheapen the concept of Nazi, which is a very unique thing. And by you calling a second Jew a Nazi, what you are telling the world is: Jews can also be Nazis. Foolish people and tiny dwarfs and pygmies, grasshoppers.
So the "Auschwitz syndrome" is gone. And another thing has happened. After World War II, and until perhaps ten years ago, the American people lived in an economic luxury such as we have not seen ever in world history. No Roman emperor lived as well as the average American did from World War II on, until fairly recently. Life was good. And when life is good, the antisemite hates Jews quietly. It's not a big deal to him. He hates Jews but he's too interested in the Monday night football game. I myself am amazed that so many people are here tonight that don't want to see the Giants massacre the Colts.
The Economic Crises
So when times are good and he has his job, he has his beer, and he has his TV set, he has everything — he hates Jews but it's not that important to him. But as the economic sands of time begin to run out, and as things get bad and they get worse and suddenly there is a chill, there is a fear. I can sense a fear in this country — people are afraid of what is going to happen, and they have every right to fear it. This is a country which is on the verge of economic horror, horror. In two years they expect the national debt to go from 3.7 trillion to 5 trillion dollars, so they work for months and months — this fiasco between Congress and this administration — and they say, "we are going to cut 500 million dollars in five years". Five years! It is a joke — It's a drop in the bucket. This is a country which is dying because the thing that was saving it was the fact that the Japanese are buying Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza — don't be angry. If they stopped buying it, no one is going to cover the national debt. And they are stopping.
The dollar is a weak dollar today. Can you imagine: The Israeli shekel has held its own against the dollar now for a year. Don't clap! It doesn't mean that the Israeli shekel is strong. The shekel is weak; the dollar is just as weak. The Japanese don't want dollars anymore, they want German marks. And they're investing now in South Korea, Thailand, Singapore. The banks here are shaking, they're tottering. In their greed, in the 1960's and 70's, they gave loans to anybody. The Congo came — you want money, take the money. Mexico came — take 100 million dollars — take, take it, take. Suddenly, the Congo couldn't pay back. If that's what a banker is ... did he expect the Congo to ever pay back in total? So hundreds of millions of bad loans are being held by major banks: Chase Manhattan, Citicorp — and they are in deep, deep trouble today. And on top of that, suddenly the real estate market has collapsed and they are now holding several more hundred million dollars of bad mortgages. That's the tragedy. That's why suddenly, there's a hurry talk bout Chase merging with Citi.
There's a myth that your money is insured for $100,000. If the FDIC had 60 cents for every hundred dollars that you have, I'll swim back to Israel. There is a myth that they are going to bail out the Savings & Loan with 40 billion dollars. If they can make it with less than half a trillion, it will be a miracle.
So for years, the new economists said, "Don't worry about deficits, it doesn't matter." Deficits don't matter? I know that when my bank account is in deficit, it matters to me. The bank calls me up and says, "Rav Kahane, we have a little problem. Would you like to come and cover it?" A city can go a little deeper into debt than I can, and a state deeper yet, and a country can go a little deeper yet but in the end you have to pay the piper. So, America has lived beyond its means — extra credit, credit cards — and give anybody credit, give kids credit cards — anybody. Now it's time to pay the piper, there is no money, there is no money. And should the economic collapse come it is the Jew who will be blamed. It is the Jew. You can hear it already. You can smell it in the air.
The Racial Tension — In All Colors
I was on a radio program in Chicago. Every single caller blamed the Gulf oil crisis on the Jews. Every single call. What you have now is the getting together of all these crises — the economic crisis, the racial crisis — and there is a serious racial crisis in the country. It's a serious one. It is a dangerous one. Whites hate Blacks and Blacks hate Whites and they both hate Jews. It is a terrible, terrible thing. It's not just Whites and Blacks. Now in the West, it's the Hispanics and the Anglos — tremendous crises, which only proves all the more the myth of the melting pot. Uh nechtiga tag — what melting pot? A melting pot is fine until there is a terrible crisis and then two "objects' occupy the same job at the same time. That's a law of physics, which I've changed a bit.
So it's not an accident that Jesse Helms is now putting on TV ads talking about the unfairness of quotas. Quotas are unfair. Of course, that is his trump card. People are angry about quotas and affirmative action, etc. And Blacks are angry. You think that Blacks have no argument? You think they are all bad? — that everything the Blacks do is wrong? You think that Bob Grant is your kind of guy? G‑d forbid! This Jew-hating fascist type. That he says something good many, many times — you're right. You think that bad people don't often say correct things? Of course they do — but watch him, watch him and be careful of such people! People who are anti-Black will always be anti-Jewish too. One doesn't have to love Farrakhan or Jesse Jackson to realize that he should be careful of racism of all kinds — White and Black — be careful, because we get stuck in the middle. Because the Whites and Blacks hate us both.
The Pre-War Depression: Not a Criteria
We have a serious problem — the economic crisis cannot be averted. There is no way. This country is in for terrible, terrible times. People tell me in the depression it was also bad. It's true. But first of all, who knows what would have happened in this country if World War II had not ended the depression? If you think that Roosevelt ended it, you don't know history. World War II ended it. It gave jobs finally but more to the point, it was a different era back then. The American people at that time were a much stronger people in character. Today, after 40-50 years of good life and soft life, and the materialistic life, people are into themselves. Unbelievable ego. Everything is me, me — my life, my body, my-me, my-mine. People are incapable today of making sacrifices and that's the great, great difference between today and what happened in the depression. The person who is fairly poor and gets poorer — not so terrible. The person who has it and lost it becomes a wild animal, a raging animal. He'll not accept it and will look for a scapegoat. He'll look for some target to blame. We Jews are the most visible, the most highly visible in terms of power, in terms of money. Of course, WASPS have more money than Jews have. Certainly, Jews are not into US Steel and banking and so on, and the real, real money is not Jewish money, but that doesn't matter because Jews are in those professions that are most visible.
How to Gauge Antisemitism: Go to a Bar
So in the bars it sits — the jealousy and the envy of the Jews, which leads to hate. The tragedy, as I've said a million times, is that the average Jewish leader in this country has no idea what people say about Jews in bars because the average Jew doesn't go into a bar — and he should; he should be compelled to go into a bar. Every rabbi before getting smicha, before being ordained, should be compelled to go into a bar and find out what the real world is like. It isn't a joke. I'm serious. To hide in some little ghetto, you never know what the world is. They hate us with a passion out there, with a virulence which is frightening to see and to hear. On every radio program I go on, I hear, "Why should we give you guys three billion dollars a year?" Anytime some fellow from the Israeli consulate is asked that question, he comes up with the answer, "Well, we help you too, etc." Baloney! The only way to get rid of that question is to answer as I do, "I don't want the money! I want Israel to be a free enterprise state and allow private enterprise to flourish and then we don't want your money, I don't want your charity." So, that of course gets rid of the question but it doesn't get rid of the anti-Semite. He'll go home and mutter in his beer and pretzels. He's still there. He's still there.
Role of the Prophet — To See It and Say It
The rabbis tell us that G‑d told Moses and Aaron. "I'll make you Jewish leaders on one condition: that if they throw stones at you, you'll accept it." Rather to be pelted with stones and not with dollars. That's what a Jewish leader has to be! Say the bitter truth, even though they won't like you. They won't like you; they'll attack you but tell the Jews the truth if you love them. If you love Jews, tell them the things which will make them angry but which can save their lives. That's what you have to do! Think carefully about what I'm saying, and that is why we created this group called ZEERO (Zionist Emergency Evacuation Rescue Organization). It's a name that provokes. And we hope that as we spread this idea it will provoke Jewish leaders to attack so we can debate the controversy that arises. People will say he's right; he's wrong, and so on. Of course, this is probably the worst thing you can ever tell any Jewish leader, any Federation leader — that he should leave here, and go to Israel. What will [he] do there?
The rabbis say: "Who is wise? He who sees the future". It's no big deal to see "today." A Jewish leader has to see tomorrow.
Living in Israel — Difficult; Living Elsewhere — Impossible
It is coming here! It is coming here! Friday night I spoke in Brooklyn in shul, and I had to walk through Bensonhurst, a white neighborhood — nice people because they're white. Watching the people, the kids, you can smell the violence, you can see the hate, you can see the envy — frustrated, bored, looking for action. You can see it. Those are the potential mobs. And G‑d forbid, we will see it. So ZEERO is a very serious project of Kach, and I mean a serious one. And I know how hard it is to go to Israel — it is really hard. Hard to make a living. My son goes into the army every single year. It's dangerous and so on. All of it is true. Everything, that's all true. That's all true. It's hard to live in Israel but it will be impossible to live here, and if we go to Israel, at least there we can change the country. Of course we can change it and make it better and make it tremendous and make it safe. Of course we can do that if we have the power in the government but here there is nothing you can do to change it, it's out of our hands. We are a minority and we are strangers here. We're strangers in this land, no matter how many years we've been here.
It's not an accident that so few German Jews survived the camps. The Polish Jew did better. Why? Because the Polish Jew wasn't surprised. It didn't shock him that Gentiles could behave like this. It didn't surprise him, so he wasn't shattered inside, he wasn't broken. But the German Jew was psychologically shattered. How could this be? I'm a German. I'm a German. How could it be? How can you do this to me? The Pole knew he was a Jew. The German was broken because his whole illusion was shattered. And that's how the American Jew lives. "I'm an American". It's the Gentile who will teach you so quickly that you're a Jew.
It's not just in the bars, in the working class bars, the antisemitism that you see. When you see the news media and their attitude towards Israel; it's not anti-Israel — it's antisemitism. Do you know why they hate Jews? Because among intellectuals there is a jealousy of Jews. When Truman Capote, the famous author — a sickness, a disease who represents all that is sick about Western culture — when he spoke about the publishing business being a Jewish mafia — you can see the jealousy. [He writes] how Jews are over represented in publishing, in broadcast, in movies, etc. Of course it's so — they have talent. Untalented people don't like to think it is because of talent. They like to think they run it because their friends, their uncles, their aunts and so on and so forth. The hate runs across the board. You can see Peter Jennings' antisemitism. You can see it! And when I hold press conferences in Israel and I see them sitting around, you can watch them all — the hatred.
[Barbara Ginsberg maintains a weekly mailing list of the writings of Rabbi Kahane. If you would like to receive these weekly mailings, you can join the list by contacting her directly at BarbaraAndChaim@gmail.com.—ed]