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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

FBI Surveillance of Meir Kahane

Meir KahaneINTELWIRE has obtained approximately 2,000 pages of FBI records concerning radical Jewish leader Meir Kahane. The documents will be published in installments over the next several weeks, broken down by the year covered in the records.

A Brooklyn native, Kahane was the founder of the Jewish Defense League. Kahane, who spent time in prison for terroristic activities, eventually moved to Israel. He was assassinated in 1990 by El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian who was later linked to the World Trade Center bombing.

The Anti-Defamation League says "Kahane consistently preached a radical form of Jewish nationalism which reflected racism, violence and political extremism." The FBI records illustrate these points. Later installments touch on Kahane's contact with elements in the Mafia.

The sheer amount of coverage devoted to Kahane is remarkable. The FBI followed Kahane's movements in minute detail for at least 10 years, as documented in the FOIA records. The first installment appears below. I've highlighted a few of the more interesting notes in the PDF.

If anyone spots something particularly noteworthy that hasn't been covered in the previous literature on Kahane, please feel free to drop me a line.

Meir Kahane FBI Records, 1970

Page 8: J. Edgar Hoover chastizes New York Field Office for failing to penetrate the Jewish Defense League (JDL).

Page 22: Domestic intelligence investigation of JDL finds "participation by its members in attempted hijacking of international air flights and stockpiling of weapons and explosives purchased by the JDL obstensibly for training purposes at its summer camp in upstate New York."

Page 33: Description of FBI interview of Kahane on Sept. 18, 1969.

Page 37: FBI interview with Kahane on Sept. 29, 1970. Kahane agrees to provide information to the FBI on various people associated with the JDL.

Page 47: As of October 1970, there were 134 open cases connected to the JDL.

Page 54: According to a source who attended a Kahane speech in Williamstown, Massachusetts, "Kahane mentioned that the Jews in New York City had been assaulted and attacked by Negro mobs. Rabbi Kahane stated that the cause of this trouble was in connection with the death of a Negro child caused by a truck driver who was a Jew. He stated that the Negroes moved in on the Jews, and it was necessary for the Jews to organize and fight the Negroes back. He stated that when the Jews organized and fought back, the Negroes stopped their harassment of the Jews in New York City."

Page 69: During an appearance in Chicago, Kahane "delivered what [a source] called a 'recruiting speech.' He asked for all possible aid to help Soviet Jews and said that 'Violence is always bad, but sometimes necessary.' After Kahane's speech, a karate demonstration was held."

Page 77: Kahane's U.S. arrest record as of June 1970.

Page 78: Source says the JDL is planning a sit-in at the home of Leonard Bernstein, because of Bernstein's past meeting with members of the Black Panther Party.

Page 105: JDL members have been receiving training from members of the National Rifle Association.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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