WASHINGTON - The United States has for the first time extended its terrorism blacklist to the internet, designating four websites affiliated with an extremist Jewish group as terrorist organizations, State Department officials said Friday.
The move was all but unnoticed when it was put into place last week in a routine redesignation of 25 "foreign terrorist organizations" whose inclusion on the list was about to expire.
It affects websites run by or tied to the Kach or Kahane Chai group, which have been on the blacklist for years, the officials said.
"This is the first time to our knowledge that a website or any website has been designated an FTO," one official said, using the State Department's acronym for "foreign terrorist organization."
The four websites are: www.newkach.org, www.Kahane.org, www.Kahane.net and www.Kahanetzadak.com, according to a State Department notice published in the Federal Register on October 2.
With the exception of www.newkach.org, which is currently being redesigned and features no content, the websites offer news, commentary and links to other sites of interest to followers of the late radical Israeli-American rabbi Meir Kahane, who advocated armed anti-Arab resistance.
Kahane's supporters, who want to see the restoration of the biblical state of Israel, are accused of a number of attacks against Arabs as well as threats against Israeli officials they regard as too soft on Palestinian violence.
Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish right-winger who killed 29 Palestinians in a February 1994 shooting spree in the Tomb of the Patriarchs, was affiliated with Kach which issued statements in support of the attack, according to State Department's most recent "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report.
The website www.Khahane.org presents itself as the "official Kahane wesbite" while www.kahanetzadak.com declares "Kahane was right" and complains bitterly that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has not been tough enough in responding to Palestinian attacks.
Sharon, it says, should "NOT care about civilian casualties (read: Arab vermin in civilian clothing). And this is something Sharon will not do. For him and the goyishe world he worships, Jewish blood is cheaper than Arab's pus."
The website www.kahane.net appears to be a compiliation of links to web-based Judaica.
The impact of the designations, which carry a host of US travel and financial sanctions, was not immediately clear as websites often have no physical presence other than their existence in cyberspace.
Normally groups on the terrorism blacklist have their assets frozen and their members are subject to visa bans. In addition, US citizens and people under US jurisdiction are prohibited from giving contributions to those groups.
As of Friday, all four of the banned sites could be easily accessed on the internet.