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September 24, 1972 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-09-24

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r'

a
special
feature

the,

Sundoy

daily

on the
Jewish defense
league

Number 62

Page Four

Sunday, September 24, 1972

The

Jewish

Defense

League:
ie animals

'Nice'

boys

becor

-4

4

By RICHARD E. MEYER
Associated Press Writer
ISRAEL LANDAU is 5-feet-2. He
weighs 135 pounds, has large,
quiet eyes and wears gold-rimmed
glasses.
He attends yeshiva, speaks with an
Hassidic accent and wears a black
and white knit yarmulke to keep his
head covered in the sight of God.
But Izzy Landau is an animal.
Muscles of zarzel - Jewish steel -
ripple under his red polo shirt, un-
buttoned over a barrel chest matted
with curly brown hair. He is a marks-
man, proficient at karate and a good
boxer, but his favorite weapon is
the sawed-off leg of a straight-back
chair.
Softly, muting the threat, he says,
'"I'm proud to be a Chaya. I don't'
like violence, but I protect Jews. I'd
give my life for any Jew."
Chaya - "animal" in Hebrew -
is what the Jewish Defense League
calls, with affection, its toughest
members. Izzy Landau, 20, is on the
cutting edge of an organization that
champions itself to be the most vio-
lent Jewish group in the United
States - the closest thing American
Jewry has to the Black September
Arab guerrillas who attacked the Is-
raeli Olympic team in Munich ear-
lier this month.,
Yet, paradoxically, the Jewish De-
fense League disavows the most vio-
lent act ascribed to it: the fire-
bombing of Soviet talent importer
Sol Hurok's New York office, which
killed one and injured several. The
JDL claims at least 15,000 members-
N but says its core of dependably mili-
tant members numbers no more than
20.
IT EXHORTS Jews to make aliyah
-emigrate to Israel - but Pre-
mier Golda Meir says the Jewish De-
fense League is "doing great harm to
our cause." From his international
headquarters in Jerusalem, its rabbi
leader, Meir Kahane, t a Ik s of
spreading a worldwide young Jew-
ish revolution - but in the United
States the Jewish Defense League is
in the throes of internal reorganiza-
tion and has had to close its only
training camp for lack of money.
On friendlier terms with Joseph
Colombo Jr.'s Italian-American Civil
Rights League than with its fellow-
organizations in the American Jewish
community, the Jewish Defense
League has caused a deep and bitter
.controversy over how to be "a nice
Jewish boy."
The debate' centers on what JDL
does, or is suspected of doing.
To American Nazis:
-Beating and .clubbing party
members in Berwyn, Ill., and warn-

ing, "Nazi speeches have beer; and
are a prelude to murder of Jews.
There is no measure too militant in
dealing with Nazis."
-Marching in Hightstown, N.J., to
protest cross burnings; chanting,
"Tomorrow it may be you," and
threatening that if the police can
not handle the Klan "they will be
taken care of by us."
To Austrians:
-Hanging a Nazi flag and a sign,
"Don't Visit Nazi Austria," on their
Washington embassy to protest ac-
quittal of a former Nazi officer by an
Austrian court and slugging it out
with their ambassador and his staff.
-Raiding the Palestine Liberation
Organization in New York, overturn-
ing desks, dumping papers and beat-
ing an official; invading the Action
Committee on American-Arab Rela-
tions; attacking two officials with
clubs, and shattering the Palestine
Liberation Organization office with a
bomb.
But mostly to Russians:
-Pushing and shoving and shout-
ing at their diplomats on the streets
of Washington and New York, "Svo-
boda Yevreyam," freedom for Jews;
following them into stores; taunting
their wives; picketing their homes,
telephoning their apartments and
pounding on their doors to deliver in-
sults; calling them again and again,
at their offices, and triggering more
calls by posting stickers in public
rest rooms, bus stations and bars ad-
vertising a massage parlor and list-
ing the embassy telephone number.
-Singing, chanting and marching
in front of their Washington em-
bassy; loosing a Biblical plague of 50
frogs in the New York office of Aero-
flot, the Soviet airline, and 5G white
mice in the office of .Amborg, the
Soviet trade agency; chaining a goat
to the door of Tass, the Soviet Press
Agency, with a sign: "I am a scape-
goat, please save me;" spraying the
Aeroflot office with black paint and
breaking a mirror and a window;
shouting and pounding on desks at
Amtorg, roughing up its president
and threatening his secretary with a
piece of pipe; crashing a Washington
reception, pouring a quart of human
blood over the head of an attending
Soviet counselor and screaming,
"Murder, free. the Jewish prisoners,
no tokenism, exodus now."
-Trying to bomb a Ukranian
dance concert in Los Angeles; snip-
ing with a high-powered rifle
through the windows of an 11th floor
apartment at the Soviet U. N. mis-
sion where a couple and their four
children were watching television;
and finally, bombing Amtorg, Aero-
flot, the Washington embassy and

the New York offices of Columbia Ar-
tists and Sol Hurok, impressario
whose acts have included some of
Russia's greatest performing artists.
The bombing killed Hurok's recep-
tionist and injured Hurok and a
half-dozen others.
HEIR ACTIONS have won JDL
members countless arrests. They
have been charged with disorderly
conduct, harassment, criminal tres-
pass, criminal mischief, malicious de-
struction of property, violating gun
control laws, rioting, resisting arrest
and making, receiving and possessing
explosives. Seven members are await-
ing trial in the Amtorg bombing. An-
other four are under indictment in
the Hurok bombing.
And the JDL has won unqualified
hatred from its targets.
"Fascists," growls Palestine Liber-
ation Organization representative
Sadat Hansan, beaten by the invad-
ers in his office.
"Thugs," snarl the Soviets.
"Storm troopers . . . terrorists . .
gangsters . . . hooligans . . . bandits
. . . Zionist Ku Klux Klan men . .
extremists . . pogromists . . . and
provocateurs."
But the bitterest reaction to the
Jewish Defense League has come
from Jews themselves. Unique in
American Jewry, the JDL has caused
what its general counsel, Bertram
Zweibon, acknowledges to be the
deepest split in the U. S. Jewish com-
munity in recent history.
"Batmen . . . goon squads," de-
clares Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath,
who as president of the Union of
American Hebrew Congregations rep-
resenting all congregations of reform
Jews in the Western Hemisphere
says: "The so-called Jewish Defense
League violates every concept of civil
liberties and democratic process, in
American life."
The American Jewish Congress
barred Kahane from its biennial
meeting in Cleveland. "We have noth-
ing to learn from him," says its

imagine some young people think
they are doing what's right but they
are absolutely wrong and doing
great harm to our cause. No small
group can take on itself that is knows
better than the organized Jewish
world. Violence is against our prin-
ciples. By using such methods, they
play into the hands of our enemies."
THE JEWISH Defense League was
born on a peaceful, sunny day in
June of 1968 at Young Israel of Laur-
elton Synagogue in Queens. Among
the congregants gathered for morn-
ing prayer that Saturday were Zwei-
bon, a lawyer who had grown up in
the Bronx, Brooklyn and the Lower
East Side; Morton Dolinsky, a pub-
lic relations consultant and national
commander of Betar, a militant Zion-
ist youth group, and an Orthodox
rabbi named Meir Kahane. All were
in their 30s.
Kahane had been a member of Be-
tar and his father, a highly regarded
Talmudic scholar, was a close friend
of Zev Jabotinsky, founder of the
militant right wing of the Zionist
movement. Meir never completely lost
his boyish good looks and youthful
stutter. He took a degree from Brook-
lyn College in 3%/2 years, a law de-
gree from New York Lak School and
a masters degree in international
law from New York University. Aft-
er several months in Israel as a rabbi
on a kibbutz, he returned and got in-
volved in a secular endeavor to mo-
bilize campus support for the Viet-
nam War.
For this he secularized his name to
Michael King and co-authored a book
called "The Jewish Stake in Viet-
nam." Now he was married, the fath-
er of four, slight at 5-feet-7 but
handsome. He was writing for an eth-
nic New York weekly called the Jew-
ish Press-and he was worried.
HE ASKED Zweibon and Dolinsky
to return early for the afternoon
service, took them aside and told
them his concern was caused by mail
he had been getting at the Jewish

11

}i

THE JDL AND THE Mafia seem to have at least one thing in common--
they both complain of police harassment. To combat this problem, the
JDL and the Italian-American Civil Rights League, headed by Joseph Co-

"When Germany started persecuting the Jews, she had un.
dergone a humiliating defeat just as we have... We will yet
pay for our JerryRubins and Abbie Hoffmans. Don't under-
estimate the patriotism of the American people. They'll see
Rubin and they'll see the Jew." -Meir Kahane
.... .. .. . tt:... ..,1.. .....V: ""':.1." tiV:. ": t:::t .. } .....N:: }::"i":"1 :;:.....:: it:":":J::v::" ": .:''::i""::1:..":N: t: .: . r.::':::"::":::

president, Rabbi Arthur L. Lelyveld.
Jews from 38 nations banned Kahan'e
from a three-day congress in Brus-
sels on the plight of Soviet Jewry,
and Belgium expelled him from the
country.
"The JDL is a tragedy," says Israe-
li Prime Minister Golda Meir. "I

Press. From the mail, he said, it was
apparent that Jewish life was becom-
ing more and more difficult in the
United States - and could become
dangerous. He would write about his
concern in a book called "Never
Again," published last year. From
his conversation with Zweibon and
Dolinsky, the book and Zweibon's
subsequent elaboration emerged a
manifesto for Jewish militancy.
According to the manifesto:
0 When Jews gained affluence in
America, they fled the Williamsburgs
and Crown Heights and Brownsvilles
of New York and Mattapan-Dorches-
ters of Boston and Fairfaxes of Los
Angeles for the gilded ghettoes of
Scarsdale, Shaker Heights and Bev-
erly Hills, leaving behind thousands
of fellow Jews, Orthodox and Hassi-
dic families with housefuls of chil-
dren and small incomes. More than
800,000 of these Jews, most of them
in the inner city, live below the fed-
eral poverty level. They live in terror
of crime and violence. And they are
the victims of anti-Semitic hatred
fanned by blacks and Puerto Ricans
who moved in when the wealthier
Jews moved out.
* Anti-Semitism generally is in-
creasing, from the usual Nazi sourc-
es, black militants, the radical right
and from a new and subtle source:
liberals who seek opportunity quotas
for minority groups in schools and
jobs. "A quota system for blacks and
Puerto Ricans and Chicanos guaran-
tees the exclusion of a certain num-
ber of qualified Jews." For a people
that makes up only three per cent of
the American population, quotas

lumbo Jr. formed a mutual aid pact
joins Joseph Columbo Sr., during a
FBI headquarters in New York.
have .. . We will yet pay for our Jerry
Rubins and Abbie Hoffmans. Don't
underestimate the patriotism of the
American people. They'll see Rubin
and they'll see the Jew."
To Kahane, this spelled trouble.
HE ADVERTISED in the Jewish
Press for Jewish Defense League
members and, with a nucleus of
initial supporters, picketed New York
University for hiring a black he ac-
cused of writing anti-Semitic artic-
les. The infant JDL stood guard on
Halloween night at a Jewish ceme-
tery where hundreds of tombstones
were toppled and broken the year
before. It marched at a New York
radio station to protest the broadcast
of w-hat Kahane called a "viciously
anti-Semitic poem" and it stood
guard at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth
Avenue to keep black activist James
Forman from demanding reparations.
The JDL organized dusk-to-dawn
foot and car patrols, armed with bats,
chains and guns, in Brooklyn and
the Lower East Side. It picketed for
an hour and a half in front of Black
Panther headquarters in Harlem,
after Kahane toured the building
posing as a representative of the
American Jewish Congress to make
sure there were no guns inside.
It confronted police and its mem-
bers were arrested, first because of
its activities in the black - Jewish
ghettoes and then with regularity as
it included Soviet Jews, whom it
viewed as victims of cultural geno-
cide, among those it would defend.
JDL adopted a uniform: blue shirt,
dark pants and a blue beret. The
garb, Zweibon says, makes it easier
for JDL to identify its own during
demonstrations.
It adopted an insignia, a clenched
fist in the Star of David; a newspa-
per, Iton; JDL T-shirts, buttons and
yarmulkes. "Never Again" became the
JDL motto. "Never again" would
Jews go to gas ovens undefended.
KAHANE by now had become a rab-
bi at a synagogue in Rochdale
Village in Queens. He lost the job
because the congregation wanted a
full-time rabbi, and he was spending
too much time on JDL. The Jewish
Press disassociated itself from Ka-
hane because the JDL opposed New
York John Lindsay, whom Kahane
felt was soft on anti-Semitism.
It costs the Jewish Defense League
$100,000 a year to operate, Zweibon
says. JDL's national coordinator who
asked to be identified only by his He-
brew name, Baruch Simcha, says the

last year. Here, Meir Kahane, lef
June 8, 1971 demonstration outside
mation League puts it at 50 to 100
members. Zweibon says it numbers
about 20. But most of the hard core
members are young, he says, and
thoroughly dedicated.
IN THE Jewish Defense League,
dedication means learning how
to fight and shoot. For the past three
years, JDL operated a summer train-
ing camp in the Catskill Mountains,
where instructors taught karate and
riflery.
The camp closed this year. Zweibon
says the main reason was lack of
money. Karate has been assigned to;
local chapters. And members who
heed Kahane's advice, "For every
Jew a .22," are shooting at local
rifle ranges.
The epitome of JDL dedication,
however, is the Chaya. "They are,"
says Baruch Simcha, "a different
kind,of Jew." Like Izzy Landau, most
are young, tough and graduates of
inner city schools of street fighting
the Marquis of Queensberry didn't
attend.
They wear Army fatigues with
Army patches and stripes. A lieuten-
ant who identified himself as Shalom
Ben Israel says Chaya advance along
an Army chain of command.
For all this, there is a certain
equivocation to JDL's acknowledge-
ment that it engages in violence. Ka-
hane says, "I am in favor of vio-
lence if it's necessary."
THE VIOLENCE, however, has put
the JDL under close scrutiny
from police and federal agents. Ka-
hane has accused the government of
wiretapping JDL's Manhattan head-
quarters.
To minimize the threat from in-
formers, from federal agents or from
fanatics who might attend its meet-
ings, JDL has assigned some of its
members to internal security. These
members, whose identities are known
to only a handful of JDL leaders, keep
a close eye on all who attend JDL
activities.
To fight what it calls police harass-
ment, the JDL struck a mutual aid
agreement last year with the Italian-
American Civil Rights League, head-
ed by Joseph Colombo Jr., who is de-
scribed by federal authorities as head
of a Mafia family.
But JDL is convinced the best in-
ternal security and all the help Co-
lombo's league can offer won't pro-
vide the security that Jews feel in
Israel. "The place for all Jews," says
Kahane, "is in Israel.'
"They'll take courses learning how

4

4

I

fir' .;: .. i t f .,.. }p ,'f" '.'..!r

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