Chabad Votes For Racist

Baruch Marzel, the right wing extremist with ties to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, won 30% of the Kfar Chabad votes in last week’s Knesset election. And it almost was more. A lot more. The Forward reports:

Bucking the advice of their rabbis, about 30% of voters in Israel’s main Chabad-Lubavitch stronghold cast their ballots for a candidate who advocated the mass expulsion of Arabs, branded Israeli leaders traitors and called for the execution of some liberals.

Baruch Marzel, running under the banner of the National Jewish Front, failed to reach the 2% threshold needed to qualify for a Knesset seat and, perhaps more strikingly, failed to win a single vote in dozens of municipalities throughout Israel. Even in the West Bank, where opposition to Israeli territorial concessions is much higher than it is in Israel, Marzel — a 46-year-old Boston native and a disciple of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane — managed to win significant support in only a few of the smallest, most extreme Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But in Kfar Chabad — the Lubavitch town located inside Israel proper, just east of Tel Aviv — Marzel won almost a third of the 1,714 votes cast, even though the local rabbis had urged residents to back parties with a realistic chance of winning Knesset seats. His next-best showings inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders were in the historic Galilee city of Tzfat (8%) and the working-class southern city of Kiryat Malachi (4%), two municipalities with sizable Chabad communities.

Marzel’s support from Chabad voters poses a potentially embarrassing development for the global network of emissaries loyal to the vision of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The late rabbi strongly opposed Israeli territorial concessions, as do many of Chabad’s emissaries. But the emissaries have tried to keep a low profile on the issue, for fear of developing an extremist image that would hurt their wider efforts to raise funds among American donors and to encourage increased religious practice among Jews of all denominational stripes.

Chabad officials in America seemed reluctant to comment for the record on Marzel’s results, even as they tried to dismiss his success among their followers as a protest vote against the other religious parties. Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Chabad’s representative in Washington, stressed that the rabbinical court in Kfar Chabad had directed followers not to vote for Marzel.

“The responsibility for matters in Israel, which lies with the Chabad rabbinate in Israel, cannot be compromised because individuals, even many of them, decide to undo their instructions. If they said that Chabad will not back any particular party, then that’s what they meant,” Shemtov said. “They didn’t back anybody in a proactive sense, and they did tell people not to vote Marzel because they wanted two things to happen: every vote to be counted, and for people to make their own decisions. Voting Marzel undermines the idea of every vote being counted.”

Rabbi Menachem Gluckowsky, deputy chief justice of the Chabad Rabbinical Council in Israel, told the Forward that “we decided to come out very strongly to encourage people to vote for parties that would get into the Knesset.”

“Marzel has extremist views, and they are not in line with the views of our community,” Gluckowsky said. “Most people don’t even know what his positions are.”

Political observers say that members of Israel’s Chabad community have veered further right than most other religious groups in Israel in recent years, with many gravitating toward Marzel’s views.

“The Chabad community has increasingly leaned toward the right in the past three or more elections,” said Menachem Friedman, one of Israel’s leading experts on ultra-Orthodoxy and a professor of sociology and anthropology at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan. Friedman described Marzel’s party as a continuation of Kach, the banned Israeli political party founded by Kahane.

When he first met Kahane, Marzel was in eighth grade and working on a project about the rabbi’s militant organization, the Jewish Defense League. Police first detained Marzel when he was 14, after he joined Kahane in a road demonstration during then-secretary of state Henry Kissinger’s visit to Israel. He worked closely with Kahane until the rabbi was assassinated in New York in 1990. Indicating his continuing commitment to Kahane’s legacy, Marzel ran campaign commercials featuring photographs of his mentor in the background.

During last week’s elections, the party won wide support especially in the more extremist West Bank areas such as Hebron, where Marzel lives with his wife and nine children.

According to Friedman, what differentiates Marzel from most other religious political figures is his demand for the government to enforce rabbinical law in day-to-day life in Israel before the coming of the messiah.

Marzel had his own explanation for his success with Chabad followers: “What attracts them to me,” he told the Forward, “are my positions on keeping the wholeness of the Torah the wholeness of the Jewish nation and the wholeness of the Land of Israel.”

Sitting in his small Jerusalem office, where about a half-dozen volunteers share two computers in rooms with walls of chipped white paint, Marzel said that he could have won as much as 80% of the vote had the Kfar Chabad rabbinical court not issued a decision before the elections discouraging followers from voting for smaller parties like his. In the last elections, in 2003, Marzel ran with the Herut party, which won 73% of the vote in Kfar Chabad.

Marzel said that the recent rabbinical ruling was driven by the Chabad leadership’s decision to advance its economic interests by backing a party that would win parliamentary seats and try to increase the money budgeted to the community. Menachem Brod, Chabad’s spokesman in Israel, dismissed the allegation as “baseless” and said the court decided to discourage voting for smaller parties after the 2003 elections, when Herut failed to get any parliamentary seats, because it viewed the community’s votes as “wasted.”

According to Marzel, more than 100 members of the Chabad community volunteered to help his election campaigning. However, Chabad supporters did not contribute a “serious amount” of money to his campaign, which raised only about $100,000 in total. Marzel said that in a quiet show of support for him, more than a fifth of Kfar Chabad’s voters did not show up at the polling stations.

A 40-year-old teacher living in Kfar Chabad, who asked to be identified only as Moti, said that he ignored the rabbinical edict and followed through with his decision to vote for Marzel.

“All the other large religious parties have cooperated in the past with governments that have given up Jewish lands,” said the teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was concerned his opposition to the court’s decision might stir up antagonism towards him in his community. “Marzel would never enter into a government coalition which gives up land.”



Filed under Chabad Theology, Israel

17 responses to “Chabad Votes For Racist

  1. Azaria- Ethiopian Jew!

    Yes! Chabad is the recist of recists! I hope there is an end to this Chabad Idiyotary…

  2. Jath

    Kol oreiv lemino areyv .
    No wonder , all Marzev’s racist “ruchniyus” is from them.
    Calling for the execution of liberals, is their idea of Ahavat Yisrael.
    I am sure the Rebbe never advocated such, but his foul students-the R Hechts of the world- , the results of his teachings, will see steps of Geula in such executions.
    Hey maybe some consider him -Marzev- as Mashiach be Yosef.

  3. Steven

    I like your site, but why do you call Marzel a “racist”? Is it racist to want to expel the murderers who chant “Slaughter the Jews!”???

  4. Ma Rabbi

    The reason many Lubavitchers voted for Baruch Marzel is that he was the only candidate to sign a document promising not to give away any land to the Arab terrorists.This was the Rebbes position that it is forbidden to give any land to the Arabs as it encourages more acts of terrorism and endangers Jewish lives both in and outside of the green line.

  5. Jath

    e your site, but why do you call Marzel a “racist”? Is it racist to want to expel the murderers who chant “Slaughter the Jews!”???

    most jews are smarter than that, Steven , we should be able ti distinguish between plain arabs and those of them that are terrorists. just as some of ours aren’t any nicer than arab terrorists. we couldn’t be so stupid and blind. by repeating those empty platitudes, we are never assured that the rest of the world is either stupid or forgiving.
    …….This was the Rebbes position that it is forbidden to give any land to the Arabs …..
    Well the Rebbe was wrong on many counts, in addition to not being the Messiah , he was wrong on that one too, in addition, it wasn’t even his business to demand from Israel of which despite his delusions to the contrary, he was never the sovereign!

  6. Ma Rabbi

    reply to Jath,
    You can agree or disagree, but remember this , you dont have to worry about Kassam rockets landing in your backyard.

  7. hashfanatic

    MR, this is true, but then again, most of us never did anything to deserve rockets in our yards, either.

  8. Jath

    משלי פרק ל
    this is very sad MaRabbi, but:
    פסוק לג: …… וּמִיץ-אַף, יוֹצִיא דָם;וּמִיץ אַפַּיִם, יוֹצִיא רִיב.

  9. Ploni

    How nice. In one post Shmary brags that he knew Meir Kahane o’h and that MK o’h would never have approved of my badmouthing even a Jew like Shmaryas hero Former Prime Minister and now Prime Vegetable Ari Porky Sharon, yet now he presents an article condeming Marzel for emulating Kahanes plan for a safer Israel.

    Makes me wonder how such a loving liberal twerp like Shmarya would ever put himself in a situation so as to make the aquaintence of a racist like MK o’h, and then use his name to chastise me about my respect for another Jew.

    With all this time spent spewing bile on others Jews, where does Der Strumer find the time to help his niggers out.

  10. Yekhonyahu

    a-the midrash on ruth, never liked ploni.
    b-it’s either marzel or the strumer ? quite the contrary marzel and mk-not to soil my pc, i will not write the full name- are no different than strumer. sheneemar, ki messaneikha hashem essna.
    c- bile on some of our fellow jews, is a mitzva. especially those u seem to be fond off.

  11. Ari

    First off Lubavitch Rabonim in Israel said NOT to vote for Marzel.

  12. Yekhonyahu

    they said not to vote, because they know it hurts their image and is not within any national concensus.
    but lubavitch teachings all point to marzel !

  13. Ploni

    Yekhonyahu, dont be a sock puppet. Kahane o’h
    did more for Jews during his lifetime, both in the USA and Israel then you or Rosenberg could ever hope to do together if you lived a million years.

    I know its hard for the both of you to realize how pathetic your lives have been compared to a real Ohev Israel like Meier but try to get over it.

  14. mazeartist

    What’s wrong with observant voters rejecting their rabbis’ advice and choose a different candidate? Or would you prefer that they act like sheep and vote as a bloc?

    You can’t have it both ways, Shmarya. Personally, I see nothing wrong with Marzel. If the global community approves expelling Jews from Gaza, why would expelling Arabs from Israel be racist?

  15. Kahane was a completely different character than Merzel. Why is transfer racist? Because the idea of an ethnically pure state is in itself racist. The original idea of population transferwas reciprocal, and not done with force. Kahane understood that and also understood that force would not work in today’s world. So Kahane tried to scare the Arabs so that, when he ws elected PM, many would flee. But Kahane did not hate Arabs – he hated murder and terror. Merzel and msot of Kahane’s followers do not make the distiction. They hate all Arabs because some Arabs kill. Kahane was too smart to fall into that trap. His followers are not.

  16. “Kahane tried to scare Arabs so they would flee, but he didn’t hate them?” I actually respect Mazel more than the socalled centrists. At least they are honest.

    If Kahane were elected, 3/4 of Israelis would be subject ot the same kind of “voluntary tranfer you have described here.” Yes they will be scared away too. Here is an interview Kahane did from the pro kahane website

    Q: How do you see Western democracy?

    A: First I’m going to give you a bit of background, to help you understand. Among all the controversy surrounding Kahane you’ll not find anybody prepared to take up the challenge that I have thrown down. Since people are not capable of debating, they attack me by putting labels on me. The first thing I want to say is that I couldn’t care less what they call me, and that’s what makes them so mad. The Left has always acted that way when they want to attack the Right. The problem is that these people don’t know how to debate. Let’s get to the point. First you must understand that Zionism and Western democracy are at odds. And according to Zionism, this country must be a Jewish state………..

    Q: Would you accept a situation in which there was democracy only for the Jews and not for the Arabs?

    A: I’ll answer that question later. First let me explain why everybody is mad at me. It’s because I have confronted people with the following contradiction: you can’t have Zionism and democracy at the same time. And for those who criticize me, it’s very difficult to get out of this contradiction.
    Now let me answer your question. First of all, Western democracy has to be ruled out. For me that’s cut and dried: there’s no question of setting up democracy in Israel, because democracy means equal rights for all, irrespective of racial or religious origins. Therefore democracy and Zionism cannot go together. And Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed this state to be a Jewish state, is a totally schizophrenic document. You just can’t, on the one hand, want a Jewish state and at the same time give non-Jews the right to become a majority. When Abba Eban makes beautiful speeches in twelve languages and starts talking about Jewish democracy-what on earth does that mean, Jewish democracy?
    Let’s get back to your question and let me talk about democracy as far as Jews are concerned. Do I accept democracy for Judaism? My answer is: Judaism does not accept democracy unless it is within a structure that adheres to the law of the Torah. I challenge any rabbi to contradict me on this. My hope as a religious Jew, which is the hope of every sincere and religious Jew, is to have a state governed by the Torah. If one accepts the commandments of the Torah, then democracy is conceivable within the framework of those commandments. Of course, nobody could vote against these commandments. Nobody could question the fact that the government has to abide by the Torah. There is no question of letting people vote for or against the commandments of the Torah. This can’t be decided by a vote. However, if this objective cannot be reached without having a civil war in Israel, then I’d give it up. Therefore I hope that we’ll be able to convince a majority of Jews to create a state governed by the Torah, and that the minority will accept it. And then, if that means voting in elections every four years so as to have a government in compliance with the Torah, of course I’d accept it. But I can’t say that I’d be pleased with it……………..

    Q: Concretely, what kind of constitution would this state have?

    A: Who says that a state must have a constitution?

    Q: This state ruled by the Torah would not guarantee freedom of speech, then?

    A: Of course not! In a religious state, there can be no such freedom.
    Obviously, I think that today it is not possible for us to have such a state without a civil war, and I’m not prepared to encourage such a conflict. What I am ready for, though, is to tell my voters that I want a religious state. And if the people vote for me, then we’ll have the religious state that I’m hoping for. And if four years later, at the next elections, they no longer want a religious state, they can vote against it.
    My worst nightmare is to see Jews fighting other Jews.

    Q: In a religious state, will all public schools have to be religious?

    A: If someone wants to send his children to a private school, he’s free to open a private school.
    But in a religious Jewish state, all public schools will have to be religious. It’s through education that I want to achieve my objectives. What I want is not at all the Western state that some people would like to see. There are many rights which Western democracy considers fundamental and which I consider to be without foundation.

    Q: What rights?

    A: For example, the right not to respect the Sabbath. This right must not exist. In all public life, the Sabbath will have to be respected. Restaurants must be kosher. If you don’t want to eat kosher food, you’ll just have to eat at home. As for censorship, it already exists in Western democracies, and in the state that I want to see, there will obviously be censorship. The atmosphere in which this country lives must change……….

    Q: When you say that, aren’t you talking like Khomeini?

    A: OK. Let’s say you’re right. So what? Who cares? People who stick labels on you are refusing to talk about the content. What’s the problem? Anyway, I can tell you that in certain respects Khomeini and Islam are a lot closer to Judaism than Jean-Jacques Rousseau or John Locke or Thomas Jefferson. In my mind, there’s no doubt about that. If you start from the fundamental concept that it was G~d who created man, and that one has to obey G~d’s law, then, sure, I’m like Khomeini, or the Pope, or any spiritual leader. I feel much closer to them than to any Rabbi Schindler, who is the leader of liberal Judaism. What this rabbi calls Judaism is just atheism wrapped in a talith. Sticking labels on people doesn’t lead anywhere. Let’s talk about the content.

    This strategy centrists pursue of claiming historical figures were moderate, but their followers are insane really doesn’t work.

  17. Yekhoniahu

    The attitude of literalist Judaism as presented in the above interview with Kahane, is quite problematic and in my opinion, despite it’s acceptance by many Rabbis can hardly claim to be really Jewish.
    (I am quoting here from R Berel Wein’s commentary on Parashat Mishpatim, reg Parashat Yitro. R’ Wein may not agree with my position)
    “in ‘Parshat Yitro’ we were first commanded to do “observe the laws and the teachings (of the Torah) and to be taught the path upon which to walk and the behavior that they should follow.” The Midrash states that the phrase “the behavior that they should follow” refers to this concept of “lifnim meshurat hadin” – doing more than what one may be held strictly, legally, liable to do. Even though, at first glance, this concept appears to be one of super-righteousness, the Talmud defines this concept as one of legal and societal necessity and not solely one of piety and saintliness.”
    In my opinion, in today’s world, when the civil law, often proves more humane, more equitable and fairer than the Torah law-forgive the thought- in a lifnim meshurat hadeen way, then, following the civil law, is better than vekatzota et kappah lo tachos aleiha. The Rabbis in their wisdom realised that at a certain point, and did away with egla arufa and the sotah ordeal.
    Another exemple of such rabbinic concession, is that of the relation of a ger and his mother, a ger upon conversion, ketinok shenolad dami. Is a baby born to the Miqveh. His mother being no longer his mother, he is allowed ‘al pi torah to have relation with his biological mother who is no longer his mother. The rabbis saw the danger in this position and ruled that such relations cannot be entertained , lest they (the gentiles?) say, that he went from a higher plane to a lower plane.
    In this way, much of the savagery deemed acceptable in the old scriptures, could be dismissed for actual practice , since the common law is superior.
    I may not make to myself many friends here & am very curious to hear Shmarya’s opinion here or to my email address.

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