Arab Terrorism Begins, The Assassination Of Jewish Radical Meir Kahane

Adam Fitzgerald
9 min readApr 4, 2020

The blustery, cold evening of November 5th 1990 in midtown Manhattan was always met with a consistent wind which blew east of the Hudson River, giving the city a wave of unrelenting, icy winter. The Marriott Hotel located at 525 Lexington Avenue, which crosses Lexington Ave. and E. 48th St, is rather large, and has a decorative view for any passerby who aren’t a native to the city. It was here a known Jewish militant was holding a venue to espouse his anti-Arab ideologies. Meir David KaHohen Kahane, otherwise known as Meir Kahane was a Jewish Rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL). The JDL itself was founded upon the stated principal:

To protect Jews from antisemitism by any means necessary.”

A far-right wing political group, it is labeled a “hate group” by the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Kahane was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn in 1932. From there Kahane he would begin his education at the Yeshiva in Flatbush. He followed the works of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a Jewish revisionist and founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization, in Odessa, Russia. Kahane received his rabbinical ordination from the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn. In 1954, the FBI had noticed Kahane’s staunch position against communism, and thus Kahane became a consultant for the Bureau. His task was to infiltrate the John Birch Society and report back his findings with his handlers. Kahane used a pseudonym when he was with the Birch Group, Michael King, and he was always dressed and acted as if he was a moderate Christian (Gentile). He won the trust of those within the board members.

Kahane was a charismatic orator, passionate about Israel being a state allowed to use force, if necessary, to achieve it being a strictly Jewish state. On the evening hours of November 5th 1990, he was going to give an hour long lecture regarding the standing of the JDL, Israeli politics which have been exceptionally detrimental to achieving a sole Jewish state. Kahane has long understood he was a “target” for the Jewish Intelligence Mossad, and even admitted he would be killed by assassination. This following his position within the Kach Party, an ultra-nationalist sect within the Knesset, founded by Kahane in 1971, when he immigrated to Israel. It was disbanded in 1994. The Kach Party however was aimed at the sole goal, to make Israel a Jewish only state.

The lecture at the East Side Hotel, was organized by ZEERO — Zionist Emergency Evacuation Rescue Organization. Approximately 60 people attended to hear Kahane this evening. Many were from the Flatbush section, where he was born. Shortly after, Kahane was surrounded by a small group who were asking follow up questions and well wishing the enigmatic Rabbi. It was 9:03pm. Suddenly a man wearing a kippah (Jewish Hat) began to make his way toward the group surrounding Kahane. He did not immediately notice the man, whom extended his right arm which was holding a .357 caliber handgun. A shot was fired, hitting him squarely in the neck. He fell, and the preceding commotion was pandemonium.

“I heard the sound of a cannon — one shot, and all of a sudden there was a second shot and I feared the worst,” recalled Shannon Taylor, who attended the lecture.

The shooter immediately fled the hotel. However right behind him in a furious mob, Kahane attendees and some within his closets circle began the chase after his assassin. The assassin was expecting a yellow cab to be waiting for him, when he did not see him immediately, he entered another which was waiting by Lexington and 49th. The driver was not known to this assailant. However the driver noticed the gun being held by his customer. The assassin noticed the crowd coming from behind, and left the cab. Running down the street. The chant of “get him!” from the mob was heard by Carlos Acosta, a police officer for the United States Postal Inspection Service, who was armed himself. Acosta saw the assailant running toward directly at him, and he drew his pistol ordering him to freeze. The assailant drew his weapon also, but not in time, as both men exchanged fire, the assailant was hit in the chin…..however Acosta had been hit in the chest. Both fell. The assailant however was captured by the officers and the mob. The cold street was beginning to fill up with a menacing mob of Kahane followers and bystanders now running to the commotion. Ambulances shortly arrived, first taking Acosta then the assassin to Bellevue hospital, it was also where the mortally wounded Kahane went.

Meir Kahane laying mortally wounded from a shot in the neck

10:16pm Bellevue hospital surgeons tried to necessitate Kahane, but to no avail. He would expire from his wound. NYPD detectives would run a check on the assassin, who lived from the gunfire exchange from Acosta. His name was El Sayyid Nosair, his address was located in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was also quite known to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the FBI. For they have been monitoring him from his days at the Masjid Al Salaam in Jersey and also a member of the Al Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn. A devout follower of an Egyptian radical, Omar Abdel Rahman, known also as the Blind Sheikh. Charged with the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane, Nosair turned his head and mumbled something which the NYPD detective couldn’t understand.

El Sayyid Nosair

Meanwhile detectives would retrieve a search warrant for El Sayyid Nosair’s Jersey City apartment, located at 40 Pamrapo Avenue. While they entered, they also detain two men who were also there, Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh. Detectives began a thorough search of the premises. They would find a multitude of incriminating items, they would shock the authorities and begin wondering if they had uncovered a hidden radical cell operating in secret.

*Thousands of rounds of ammunition.

*Maps and drawings of New York City landmarks, including the World Trade Center.

*Documents in Arabic containing bomb making formulas, details of an Islamic militant cell, and mentions of the term “al-Qaeda.”

*Recorded sermons by Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman in which he encourages his followers to “destroy the edifices of capitalism” and destroy “the enemies of Allah” by “destroying their… high world buildings.”

*Tape-recorded phone conversations of Nosair reporting to Abdul-Rahman about paramilitary training, and even discussing bomb-making manuals.

*Videotaped talks that Ali Mohamed delivered at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

*Top secret manuals also from Fort Bragg. There are even classified documents belonging to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commander in Chief of the Army’s Central Command. These manuals and documents had clearly come from Mohamed, who completed military service at Fort Bragg the year before and frequently stayed in Nosair’s house.

*A detailed and top secret plan for Operation Bright Star, a special operations training exercise simulating an attack on Baluchistan, a part of Pakistan between Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea.

It was an astonishing find. NYPD detectives assigned to the Kahane-Nosair case also found within hours a connection of surveillance photographs of Ali Mohamed giving weapons training to Nosair, Abouhalima, Salameh, and others at a shooting range the year before, located at the Calverton Shooting Range in Calverton, Long Island. Just 3 days later, Joseph Borelli, the New York police department’s chief detective would declare that the shooting was the result of a “lone gunman” and that the evidence of a large Arab terrorist cell was unfounded. The declaration was shocking to say the least, even with the evidence collected from the Jersey apartment of Nosair alone would contradict this statement made by Borelli.

Kahane followers would also come under fire, as many would become more radicalized in their deeds here and in Israel. Hate crimes against Arabs had risen, and while this was transpiring militant followers of Blind Sheikh began a furious defense for Nosier. William Kuntsler would be chosen as the defense lawyer for Nosair, Kunstler was not an unknown. One of the most radical lawyers known on the East Coast, he had a penchant for “going against the grain” and immediately came under fire by local Jewish residents, as they often would hold daily protests just feet away from where he lived.

Nosiar would be found not guilty for Kahane’s murder in December 1991. Kunstler was revered in the Islamic community in Brooklyn. However, Nosair was found guilty of possessing a firearm and for shooting Acosta. The judge in the trial, Justice Alvin Schlesinger, said that the jury’s acquittal of Nosair on the murder charge was “against the overwhelming weight of evidence and was devoid of common sense and logic”. On January 29, 1992, he sentenced Nosair to 7.5 to 22 years in prison, the maximum allowed. The connection to radical Islamist, Omar Abdel Rahman, was never recognized by either the NYPD or the FBI well until after the 1993 WTC Bombing. The 47 boxes of evidence collected at Nosair’s house that evening were stored away, inaccessible to prosecutors and investigators. The documents found would not be translated until after the World Trade Center bombing. It wasn’t until then that the evidence of a large scale Islamist operation was indeed well founded, and more so. Many within the NYPD JTTF years later however began to suspect that the FBI was not fully cooperating with the JTTF, the FBI had blamed it on “inadequate resources” and “inexperience”.

Kahane’s militant followers continue to exist, even to the present day. Otzma Yehudit, an extremist and racist group with roots in Kahanist political philosophy has been labeled a hate group even by the nationalist Likud Party in the Knesset. The group considers Arabs and other non-Jews in Israel to be enemies of the state and supports replacing Israel’s democratic government with a theocratic structure.

Postal Officer Carlos Acosta, 55, was presented with the Meritorious Service Award by Chief Postal Inspector Charles Clauson on November 28,1990. he recovered fully from his wound from Nosair. After the 1993 WTC Bombing, Nosair was found guilty of being a participant of the “Landmarks Bombing Plot” which also saw convictions of multiple people from the Masjid al-Sallam mosque and of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman. All received life sentences. Nosair is serving his in Marion, Illinois at Marion USB a maximum federal penitentiary.

Kahane’s radical view for a Jewish state has yet still come to pass. His views regarding about the return of the messiah and the world becoming renewed was no more pronounced during a 1985 interview with French journalists, Raphael Mergui and Philippe Simonnot whom both would author the book “Israel’s Ayatollahs: The Far Right in Israel”. Kahane would have a lengthy, back and forth with the two Frenchman who ardently questioned Kahane about his faith, his beliefs and the Messiah.

Q: In your dreams, how do you visualize the Middle East?

Kahane: If the Jewish people do what G~d wants, if they return to Israel, and if they come back to being what G~d wants them to be, then the Messiah will come. At that time, we’ll have peace not only in the Middle East, but all over the world.

Q: Then there will be no peace before the advent of the Messiah?

Kahane: No way. We can’t have peace any other way. A rabbi once said: ‘To deceive other people is a terrible thing, but to deceive oneself is a crime.’
We can’t have peace here. The Arabs sincerely believe-and I can understand them-that Haifa belongs to them, and Tel Aviv, and Jaffa, not just Judea and Samaria. They sincerely believe-and, again, I can understand them-that this country belongs to them. In 1948, 80,000 Arabs lived in Jaffa. There were 70,000 in Haifa, and 50,000 in Ramleh and in Lod. They want to go back home. They don’t want to go to Nablus. Or to Jericho. They want to return home. Up until the last elections they believed that they would be able to return home within ten years.

Now everybody is nervous. I have no doubt that I will soon be in the government. And everybody knows that I’m going to have a say in what has got to happen. Every­thing I’m telling you now, I’ve been saying for twenty years, and I’ll say it again tomorrow.
The biggest error would be to believe that once Kahane gets into power, he’d be more moderate; that’s not true at all.

I’m bound by the Halacha as much as by the obligation of the Sabbath. Just as I’m not going to stop respecting the Sabbath, I’m not going to stop saying what I am saying to you now.

The Messiah still has not arrived, and the land of Israel continues to see internal strife between Jew and Arab. Kahanists continue to force the issue of a state only for Jews, thru guerrilla tactics and terrorist acts from the Hilltop Youth, they have much in common with their supposed adversaries, The Islamic State. Just like Nosair and Kahane, 30 years ago.



Adam Fitzgerald

Geo-political scientist/researcher into the events of September 11th 2001.