Four Internet Web sites operated by two extremist Jewish groups have been included by the State Department on its list of “foreign terrorist organizations” — the first time the list has been extended to include Internet sites.
The listing, which went unnoticed when announced Oct. 3 in the department’s annual redesignation of the world’s terrorist organizations, includes the four sites operated by the Kach and its offshoot, the Kahane Chai, both of which have been designated by the department as terrorist organizations.
The Kach, founded by radical Israeli-American Rabbi Meir Kahane, and the Kahane Chai, which means “Kahane Lives,” founded by Kahane’s son, Binyamin, following his father’s assassination in the United States, were first declared terrorist organizations by the Israeli Cabinet in 1994, a month after a Kach supporter killed 29 Muslim worshippers at a West Bank mosque.
The stated goal of the two groups is the restoration of the biblical state of Israel.
The four Web sites are: www.newkach.org, www.Kahane.org, www.Kahane.net and www.Kahanetzadak.com, the department said in a notice in the Federal Register. They offer news, commentary and links to other sites of interest to followers of Meir Kahane.
The impact of the listing was not immediately clear, since all four sites exist in cyberspace. A designation as a terrorist organization carries travel and financial sanctions, including the freezing of assets and a prohibition against the issuance of visas to those identified as members or associates.
All but the www.newkach.org site were accessible yesterday. The www.newkach.org site said it was being redesigned and asked users to “be patient,” adding that there was “going to be … some other feedback possibilities.”
The designation makes it illegal for persons in the United States to donate money or other material support to the Web sites. The three accessible sites yesterday included information on where contributions could be sent, what items could be donated and offered a number items for sale, including pendants and books.
The Kach and the Kahane Chai have organized protests against the Israeli government and have harassed and threatened Palestinians in the West Bank. Members of the groups have threatened to attack Arabs, Palestinians and Israeli government officials and are suspected in a number of low-level attacks against Israeli targets.
Meir Kahane, who founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in 1968, was killed in New York City in 1990 by El Sayyid Nosair, a member of a terrorist organization that in 1993 bombed the World Trade Center. Binyamin Kahane and his wife were killed by Palestinians in 2000.
The JDL is described by law enforcement authorities as a militant group with a history of confrontations against those it considers “enemies of Israel.”
Kahane, leader of the Kach political party, believed the Palestinians sought only to exterminate the Israeli Jews and proposed the forcible deportation of Palestinians from Israel — which he called the only acceptable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He also believed Israel should become a theocratic Jewish state, calling on the government to pass laws that were part of Orthodox Judaism, including a ban on marriages between Jews and non-Jews.
Born in New York City in 1932, he emigrated to Israel in 1969. In 1980, he stood unsuccessfully for election to the Knesset, after which he was sentenced to six months in prison for plotting to attack Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount.
On his release in 1984, he again sought election to the Knesset, but the Israeli Central Elections Committee banned him from being a candidate on charges of racism. The Israeli High Court later ruled that the committee did not have the legal power to do so.
In 1985, the Knesset passed an amendment banning racist candidates. The committee applied it to Kahane, who appealed the decision to the Israeli High Court. This time the court found in favor of the committee, declaring Kahane to be unsuitable for election. He then returned to the United States.