Rabbi Pruzansky – Kahane Was Not Right!

I’m sorry to have to say this, but as a member of Klal Yisroel that is affected by the words of prominent rabbis – especially Orthodox rabbis – I cannot accept the apology made by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky about a truly terrible post he wrote on his blog (now deleted). It was and remains a Chilul HaShem.

First I want to make clear that I am not one of Rabbi Pruzansky’s enemies. I consider him to be a thoughtful individual who cares about the welfare of his people… and the preservation of traditional Judaism. While I sometimes disagree with him, I never thought he was anything but a zealous advocate for Emes and Tzedek – truth and justice. The truth of Judaism and justice for hisour people.

That said, his recent ‘solution’  to the problems facing Israel by Muslim terrorists – while well intended in the sense of saving Jewish lives, was nevertheless repugnant. I am not going to go into details here having done so in an earlier post except to say that I condemned his words then and continue to do so.

I was not alone. The criticism was near universal and included a clear statement by the OU that was supported by the RCA. These are 2 organizations that he supports. The latter of which he is actively involved in – as a member of their executive committee.

His apology was sincere in the sense that he regretted writing it and thereby causing such a storm of protest. He said that his writing style can be misinterpreted and has agreed to have all of his future posts reviewed by a committee of responsible members of his Shul. They will apparently have the power to edit them to exclude inflammatory rhetoric that he says is so easily misinterpreted – and used by his enemies in the media to discredit him and even lie about what he really said or meant. To put it the way he did in an e-mail sent out to his membership:

It is clear that there are members of the media who do not like me and routinely pick apart my words and place them in the worst possible light.

The reason I cannot accept his apology is because he did not for a minute regret any of his suggestions. One of the more egregious ones being the use of live ammunition at Palestinians protesters.

He apparently still believes his solutions to be valid ones.  He only seems to regret the way he said them. This is unacceptable. Perhaps he could be forgiven his passion in the heat of the moment. Let us remember what generated his original post. The heinous and brutal murder by Palestinian terrorists that hacked to death four outstanding Jews during prayer in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Har Nof Shul in Jerusalem.  That can make anyone see red.

But that momentary blind anger should not degenerate into a repugnant plan of action. Which in the case of Rabbi Pruzansky – it did exactly that. His views are a virtual carbon copy of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s views. Views expressed decades ago as a solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict. Views such as annexing the West Bank and have mass deportations of Palestinians currently living there unless they are willing to live as citizens in a Jewish state (West Bank included) without the right to vote. This is what Rabbi Kahane advocated then. And this is what Rabbi Pruzansky more or less advocates now.

Aside from the immorality of shipping out entire populations from their homes this is a prescription for being isolated from the entire world – including the United States. Without the financial military and intelligence support of the US – Israel would be lost.  Nonetheless there are too many people that say ‘America be damned – Kahane was right!’For those who think that Kahane was right, I refer you to this story reported today in Ynet:

Firefighting teams were dispatched on Saturday to the Hebrew-Arab bilingual school in Jerusalem after a fire broke out in the building. The blaze was located in the premises of the preschool. After extinguishing the fire, the firefighters found anti-Arab slogans including “Death to Arabs”, “Kahane was right” and other phrases against Israeli-Arab coexistence nearby.

This is the kind of thing that ‘Kahanism’ can degenerate into. If this kind of activity would become widespread there would not be a single American public official that would support it. As right as he was about in his analysis of the Arab mindset, he was equally wrong in his solutions to the conflict. Just as Rabbi Pruzansky is now in resurrecting them.

I’m glad that Rabbi Pruzansky is subjecting himself to censorship via a responsible committee of Shul members. But his ideas remains as repugnant now, as Rabbi Kahane’s were then. If we want things like the attack by Kahane followers to end, we have to condemn in no uncertain terms the kind of rhetoric Rabbi Pruzansky fails to repudiate.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.