A coalition representing more than 2,000 American rabbis criticized U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price for what it described as a double standard on support for terrorism.
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) on Nov. 14 called out Price’s comments on Otzma Yehudit chairman and Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who had attended a ceremony commemorating 32 years since Rabbi Meir Kahane’s assassination. Ben-Gvir, a former member of Kahane’s now outlawed Kach movement, said at the memorial, “It is no secret that today I am not Rabbi Kahane and I do not support the deportation of all Arabs, and I will not enact laws for separate beaches, although it is certain that we will act and do everything to expel terrorists from the country for the sake of the Jewish character of Israel, for the settlements and its Jewish identity.”
Price subsequently said regarding Ben-Gvir’s actions that “celebrating the legacy of a terrorist organization is abhorrent.”
CJV Rabbinic Circle Chair Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer said in a statement, “Attending a memorial for a murder victim is hardly ‘celebrating’ terror, especially as Ben-Gvir carefully said that he did not agree with the deceased’s positions.”
“But more significantly, if the United States Department of State were genuinely concerned with support for terrorism, it would not be enhancing its relationship with the Palestinian Authority, much less providing funding that ends up indirectly financing its infamous ‘Pay to Slay’ program,” Gordimer said, referring to P.A. payments to the families of those killed, injured or imprisoned in the course of committing a terror attack in Israel.
CJV Israel Regional Vice President Rabbi Steven Pruzansky stated, “The bottom line is that Rabbi Kahane never murdered anyone, while the Palestinian Authority, a union of terror organizations, instigates and lauds murders on a daily basis, following the model of its founder, Yasser Arafat, who was a State Department favorite beginning in the 1990’s. The State Department is funding the P.A.’s ongoing support for terror while rushing to wrongly condemn Ben-Gvir for attending a memorial service for someone who died over three decades ago. This reflects both an egregious violation of American law and a blatant double standard, at odds with the State Department’s proclamations of neutral and fair treatment. We can and should expect better from the U.S. Government and its officials.”