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Last modified: 2011-07-16 by andrew weeks
Keywords: kach movement | tenuat kakh | kakh | kahane (meir) | jewish defense league | jdl | star: 6 points (black) | fist (yellow) |
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image by Jaume Ollé | 2:3
N.B. the above image is missing an inscription
This movement was banned from taking part in the elections
after the Supreme Court decision that it is a racist movement
whose aims are in contradiction with the democratic nature of
Dov Gutterman, 5 June 2001
The late Rabbi Meir Kahane was the founder and leader of the
American Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant Jewish
organization in the United States which was very active in
struggles against anti-Jewish activities there. After emigrating
to Israel, Kahane run for elections to the Knesset in his Kahane
to the Knesset whose initials formed the word KAKH. Kahana
got one seat in the Knesset and was quite bold in his ultra-right
Four years later the Supreme Court banned his movement from running again, basically because the movement was against the democratic character of the state. Kahane kept his activities outside the Knesset. Kahane was eventually killed in the USA, and his movement split into two fractions. One kept the old name, the other one called Kahane Chai (meaning Kahane is alive) led by his son. Both were declared illegal few years ago, and the use of their symbols is banned (even if you can still see them).
Dov Gutterman, 13 November 2001
Kahane is pronounced Kahana or sometimes Kahanee. Kakh (Kach
in English spelling) is a Hebrew word meaning 'thus', taken from
the slogan of the Irgun (a 1940s militant group), Rak Kakh
or 'Only Thus'. Kahane's son was killed last year and the two
movements work more or less together nowadays. Of course,
officially neither exists, they are both illegal.
Nathan Lamm, 13 November 2001
The original flag was the Jewish Defense League (JDL) emblem,
a fist on a Magen David, in black on a yellow background
with inscription below. Both fractions kept using this flag,
probably with different inscriptions. Unfortunately I cannot
recall what the inscriptions were. Photos can be seen here and here
at the movement website. The above image is lacking the
Dov Gutterman, 13 November 2001
Another illustration of appropriation of (radical) left-wing
movemements' symbolism by (extreme) right-wing movements. This
was originally the fist of the Black Power movement in the USA,
also used by the Azanian People's
Jarig Bakker, 13 November 2001
The JDL emblem was blue on white, as the Israeli
flag. I do not think they had a flag. The words (all in
capitals) JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE were lined up, one below the
other, at the opening at the bottom right of the symbol, and,
below them, "Never Again" (in quotes, one line). This
was the motto of the organization, referring to the Holocaust. I
have seen the claim that the fist and star emblem was used by
Jewish partisans in World War Two, but have never seen evidence
of this. The Israeli movements, being in Israel, presumably did
not need to evoke Israel. Instead, black on yellow the
color of Nazi badges for Jews was used, to turn
the colors into those of Jewish pride.
There are two slight variants of the symbol, one primarily used by the JDL, one by the Israeli groups, although there is an overlap. The image above is inexact.
The Kach flag had the words, in Hebrew sans serif font, Tenuat Kach ('The Kach Movement') in the opening, on two lines. Kahane Chai flipped the colors &151yellow on black&151 but its flag was still black on yellow. They added a flame above the star &151perhaps as some sort of memorial&151 and placed the words, in Hebrew italic font, Kahane Chai below. In addition, they placed the word, in Hebrew italic font, Koach ('strength' and a Hebrew acronym of Kahane Chai) at the opening. In all cases, the slogan lines up against where the line on the star would be.
There have been quite a few other symbols (and colors and names) used over the years, especially for subgroups and organizations, fronts, break-offs, and so on see the State of Judea flag for some examples (six triangle star, lion, tablets, menorah etc.). This has increased since the banning, as the need to make fronts has increased. One used in Brooklyn has a symbol showing a menorah and star, sometimes with a different type of fist. One flag I have seen is the yellow on black Kahane Chai version (with flame) but with only 'WWW.KAHANE.ORG' written below (as in this image). Apart from that, the Kach and Kahane Chai flags described above, and the State of Judea flag, I have never seen any other flags.
The flag in the first picture reported by Dov Gutterman shows the words in thin letters and in one line, with the word "Kach" in quotes. The flag I own shows the words lined up at the invisible line at the opening, in thick letters, one above the other, with no quotation marks. The first picture shows Binyamin Kahane, late son of Meir and leader of Kahane Chai. The second picture shows Mike Guzofsky, leader of Kahane Chai in America. Its fist is more like the image above (in general the emblem, including the flame, is simpler) but the first photo's fist is more linear thin and straight.
Finally, as to the radical left inspiration, Meir Kahane himself freely admitted this that the atmosphere of the sixties made it easier for him to start a movement of his own. He even had kind words to say about the Black Panthers' (and similar groups') ultimate goals, if not their methods and ideas. The "Black Panthers" was also an unrelated leftist Israeli group of the seventies, representing poorer Sephardic Jews, taking inspiration, and its name, from the American Panthers.
Nathan Lamm, 13 November 2001
The Israeli Black Panthers was a social movement led by
Se'adia Marziano and Charlie Biton, which fought against
discrimination of oriental Jews (i.e. Sephardic Jews) in the late
1960s and early 1970s. One of its leaders became a Knesset Member
after joining the New Communist Party. I cannot recall any flags
The current party of Sephardic Jews is Shas.
Dov Gutterman, 14 November 2001
Jewish Nationalist Kahane Movement flag can be found at <www.kahane.org>.
Gary Selikow, 16 December 2003
The flags of the movement vary widely, and I doubt there is
any official one. The "fist on star" originated with
the Jewish Defense League. They used it in blue on white (to
evoke the Israeli flag), but I'm not sure if they used flags.
After a slight change in design, it was used by the Israeli
movements, Kach and Kahane Chai (the second a splinter from the
first). Kach used black on yellow (to evoke the Nazi Jewish
badge); their flag added the words "Kach Movement" in
Hebrew in the open part of the star (not evident on the version
posted- the fist should be an outline, not black). Kahane Chai
used yellow on black with all sorts of variations, and also used
black on yellow in variations and so on. Since the movements were
banned, they've used all sorts of variants, symbols, and names.
Nathan Lamm, 16 December 2003
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