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ZOA's LA Chairman Endorses Terrorism

by DC Independent Journalism Collective Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

On Friday, July 19, John Kerry announced the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.The next day, the LA director of the Zionist Organization of America, Steven Goldberg, posted an announcement of a talk on "Why Israel and the Jewish People Need Another Kahane Now".

One of the most predictable reactions to any forward movement in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, however anemic, is that of the American zionist right. The pattern was set in the weeks after the announcement of the Oslo Accords in 1993, when chief US representative for the illegal Israeli settlers in Palestine Yechiel Leiter published a strategy under the title "A Peace to Resist" calling simultaneously for a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience and the threat of political violence to halt the Oslo process. The book featured a full page memorial to the slain founder of the anti-Arab (and soon to be US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization) Kach party, Meir Kahane.

And the violence flowed: despite an almost complete halt in attacks from the Palestinian side, settler militants initiated a string of deadly attacks against unarmed Palestinians, starting with drive-by shooting of Palestinian farmers and culminating in the 1994 mass murder of 29 Palestinian worshippers in the Mosque of Abraham by US-born Kahane follower Baruch Goldstein. In the wake of the Hebron massacre, the US followed Israel in declaring Kach, and its sister organization Kahane Chai, as terrorist organizations. Kahanists continued to call for political violence, targeting Prime Minister Rabin in the weeks before he was assassinated by a lone gunman, effectively killing what Leiter had called "The Rabin-Arafat Deal."

As reported in 2004, a Colorado real estate agent name Matt "Moshe" Finberg joined with Kahane Chai leaders David Ha'Ivry and Mike Guzofsky to bring Kahane back into the mainstream. Finberg appeared on Guzofsky's "Voice of Judea" internet video program to solicit funds and reminisces about beating up "Arabs" on the playground as a kid. Finberg declared himself "International Chairman" of the Jewish Defense League before abruptly withdrawing from public view on the eve of Sharon's 2005 unilateral withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza.

Whether or not as a result of those efforts, Kahanism has indeed gone mainstream among settlers in occupied Palestine, with the slogan "Kahane was right!" a common graffitti tag, and even a smartphone app with the same name being briefly hawked by Kach leader Baruch Marzel on Google Play.

On Friday, July 19, John Kerry announced the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.The next day, the LA director of the Zionist Organization of America, Steven Goldberg, posted an announcement of a talk on "Why Israel and the Jewish People Need Another Kahane Now". The announcement was reprinted by Kahanist oriented media, starting with the former settler pirate radio station Arutz 7 and including former Kach spokesman Meir Weinstein's Jewish Defence League Canada.

Steven Goldberg (previously a lawyer representing Kahane's Jewish Defense League) is a vice president and head of the Zionist Organization of America's LA chapter, but the talk is advertised on the website of a group he is also vice president of, called Jewish Children of Holocaust Survivors, aka Alliance for Israel and World Jewry. The group is listed by the IRS as a tax exempt charitable organization (EIN 20-8663903), and though according to its website it was founded in 2006 there are no records of its ever having filed a tax return with the IRS, nor is there a mission statement on file. Tickets are , cash or check at the door, though nowhere does it say where those funds are going.

Mr. Goldberg, a board member of the World Likud, the political party of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and is also a member of the International Board of Governors or Ariel University, a university operated in the Israeli colony of Ariel, deep in the Palestinian West Bank. Goldberg summarizes the Kahane ideology, which he calls for a return to, in the following terms:

Kahane’s [i]deology was one of aggressive Jewish self-defense, including the unapologetic [u]se of force when necessary. He unflinchingly advocated annexation of all he land liberated by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967 and the expulsion [o]f the Arabs from the Jewish State.

The Zionist Organization of America had its own tax exempt status suspended by the IRS for failure to file any tax returns for three consecutive years. Its tax exempt status was restored on May 15 of this year. That its national vice chair is raising funds for an undisclosed purpose at an event where he endorses "unapologetic" violence and ethnic cleansing of Arab citizens and residents from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, in addition to endorsing the views of a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, should be enough to raise questions about the continuation of that status, as well as the organization whose website is being used to promote it. It would appear to be a clear-cut case of material support for an FTO, which is supposed to be illegal.
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Follow-up dc-ijc Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:55 PM

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