Thirteen youthful members of the controversial Jewish Defense League and its national director, Rabbi Meir Kahane, were arrested yesterday after a series of coordinated actions against Soviet property in Manhattan and at Kennedy Airport. All but five were booked on charges that include assault, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and juvenile delinquency. Those released included a 14 year-old boy.
According to Rabbi Kahane, his group was protesting the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. Several youths painted slogans on a Soviet airliner shortly after it arrived at Kennedy Airport from Moscow. A Port Authority spokesman said two of them handcuffed themselves to the nosewheel of the Ilyushin-62 airliner. Others daubed the words “Am Yisroel Chai” (the Israel Nation Lives) on the plane’s doors.
A similar slogan was painted on the walls of the office of Tass, the Soviet news agency, in Rockefeller Plaza which was invaded by Rabbi Kahane and four other JDL members. The rest of the demonstrators were taken into custody after they invaded the midtown offices of In tourist, the Soviet tourist bureau.
The Jewish Defense League was established, according to Rabbi Kahane, an Orthodox rabbi, in order to protect Jewish lives and property in racially tense urban areas. Its activities have been repudiated by most major American Jewish organizations.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.