NEW YORK (Sep. 21)
Eight major national Jewish organizations have joined in a statement denouncing the self-styled Jewish Defense League and other groups in the United States that would “take the law into their own hands” on the pretext of defending American Jews from threats by Arab terrorists. The statement was issued by the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council which made it clear that it shared the “indignation and outrage” of Jews over recent acts of terror against Israeli legations and business premises in Europe.
But the statement said the NCRAC”firmly rejects the paramilitary operations of the Jewish Defense League as destructive of public order and contributory to divisiveness and terror.” The NCRAC Is an organization representing nine national Jewish bodies and 82 local community agencies.
The Jewish Defense League, headed by an Orthodox rabbi, Meir Kahane, staged demonstrations last night in front of the United Nations mission headquarters of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. In newspaper advertisements and handouts to the press announcing the demonstrations, the League claimed that Arab terrorists have sought to terrorize American Jews, including threats to kidnap contributors to the United Jewish Appeal and to bomb Jewish business premises. The group said it would hold the Arab diplomats “responsible for any actions of terror against Jews in this country.” About 500 persons took part in the demonstrations. Police broke up scuffles between League supporters and opponents but no arrests were reported.
The NCRAC statement was issued over the signatures of the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S., National Council of Jewish Women, Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform and the United Synagogue of America (Conservative).
The statement declared that “Jewish security–indeed the security of any ethnic or racial group-does not lie in taking the law into one’s own hands. That kind of simplistic approach to the complicated problems of our times can only produce warring groups, not solutions. . . The evils of our society and the extremists in our midst must be countered through peaceful processes consistent with democratic goals. The task is to work together in a coalition of all respectable elements of the community to achieve social conditions which will eliminate the breeding grounds of rage and fear. . . Unfortunately, the Jewish Defense League has fallen victim to the very tactics it claims to oppose. We consider its activities no less harmful and dangerous because it has called itself ‘Jewish.’ “
The League maintains a summer camp in Orange County, N.Y. where youngsters are given instruction in Judo, karate and paramilitary tactics. Recently it warned Negro militants that it would’ “defend” the premises of Jewish ghetto merchants threatened with violence.