Friday, October 20, 2006
By JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 18, 2006
A federal appeals court in Washington has upheld the State Department's designation of a militant Jewish group, Kahane Chai, as a terrorist organization.
In a unanimous ruling yesterday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found "substantial support" for the State Department¹s action in 2004 reaffirming its ban on the group.
Judge Douglas Ginsburg cited Kahane Chai's "glorification" of a 1994 attack on the Tomb of the Patriarchs, also known as the Mosque of Abraham, in the West Bank town of Hebron. In the assault, an American-born Jew, Baruch Goldstein, killed 29 Arab worshippers.
Judge Ginsburg said the secretary of state who reaffirmed the designation, Colin Powell, acted reasonably because of evidence linking Kahane Chai to death threats against Israeli police officers and a prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon.
The panel, which included Judges David Sentelle and Stephen Williams, said its assessment of the evidence against Kahane Chai was circumscribed by precedents that preclude any judicial verification of the claims against the group. "We make no judgment as to the accuracy of the information in the record," Judge Ginsburg wrote. "We do not invalidate a designation simply because it is logically possible that the secretary's conclusion might be wrong."
Kahane Chai was founded in the wake of the 1990 assassination of the founder of the Jewish Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane. Both groups called for the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
An attorney for Kahane Chai, Kenneth Klein, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment for this article.
The court also upheld a new terrorist designation for a Web site — www.Kahane.org. The judges said the site was registered to a "chameleon-like" Kahane Chai leader, Michael Guzovsky.
Americans are banned from knowingly donating to designated terrorist groups, and American financial institutions may not hold funds for such groups. The court said such restraints, even on the Kahane Web site, "do not violate its First Amendment right to speak."
New York Sun