November 5, 1990: Islamist terrorist kills Jewish extremist in New York

On November 5, 1990 Jewish extremist Meir Kahane was killed by an Islamist terrorist in New York City.

NEW YORK – The Bible says ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’. Too true sometimes.

If you have been reading this series over the years you will have noticed that the vast majority of attacks have involved Islamist extremists, a.k.a. jihadis. There is a very good reason for this: over the decades, at least most recently, these actors have been behind the lion’s share of plots and have carried out the most lethal ones. Facts are facts after all.

This was not always the case of course. Most terrorist acts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were done by those associated with a variety of causes that sought to overthrow the prevailing order (the so-called anarchist wave of terrorism). Several heads of state were killed by these terrorists.

And then there is Irish terrorism. What we see predominantly as some form of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), itself around since WWI, actually began in the 1860s in the US and Canada’s first act of terrorism was executed by an Irish Fenian, Patrick Whelan, who assassinated Thomas Darcy McGee in Ottawa in 1868 (you can read all about that and more in my latest book The Peaceable Kingdom).

Everyone’s always after me lucky charms – I’m gonna kill them! (Photo: Chris Sheppard on flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another type of terrorism that gets little coverage is Jewish extremism (also covered in my book When Religion Kills). There are individuals and groups that see the Biblical totality of the land of Israel as theirs and have no intention of allowing anyone – i.e. the Palestinians – take what God had given to them.

One of the most vehement Jewish extremists was Meir Kahane, a US-born Israeli political extremist and rabbi who campaigned for self-protection of Jews and campaigned to remove – violently, if necessary – Arabs from Israel and all Israeli-occupied areas. Israel later banned his Kach party for its anti-democratic and racist beliefs.

On this day in 1990

In what could be termed ‘divine retribution‘, Kahane was killed by an Egyptian named El Sayyid Nosair after the preacher had given a lecture. Nosair was convicted in a US court in 1995 for the killing well as for plans to plant explosives in the US. In hindsight, he was perhaps an early Al Qaeda-inspired Islamist extremist.

I don’t want to kill Arabs, I just want them to live happily, elsewhere. Give me the strength to take care of them once and for all.

Meir Kahane

In 1971 Kahane was convicted in a New York federal court of conspiring to manufacture explosives and was placed on five years probation. His devotion to violence was a long one. In the end he met a violent end. What we sow we reap, no?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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