NEW YORK (Aug. 5)
Jewish community leaders in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn today attacked as “detrimental to the people of the community” the Jewish Defense League rally to be held next week at the site of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council headquarters which was fire-bombed on July 21. In announcing the rally, JDL said it would no longer tolerate attacks upon Jewish persons and property in Crown Heights and would “retaliate in kind against any future assaults on Jews.” It said it would offer “self-defense” courses in fire arms and karate to all interested Jewish area residents. Stating that Jewish officials of poverty agencies had been threatened, Jewish residents assaulted, and Jewish religious institutions burned, JDL said. “The key to these assaults upon Jewish rights is the image of a Jew incapable or unwilling to fight back. If the goons and hoodlums who have been terrorizing the neighborhood think that Jewish rights can be violated with impunity, we are prepared to teach them the kind of lesson that even they will be able to understand in its sublime simplicity.”
Upset Jewish community leaders, who asked not to be identified, said the JDL had not been invited by the community. “This puts the fat in the fire.” one said. “The end result of the rally will be to chase the rest of the Jews out of Crown Heights.” JDL has a right to do as it pleases, they declared. but it is a “lot of nerve on their part to involve the Jewish community or Community Council in their plans.” City officials were unaware of the planned rally until notified by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Marvin Schick, assistant to Mayor John V. Lindsay for Intergroup Relations, commented “I don’t believe any rational person believes a program of this sort is in the interest of the general Jewish community or will bring about the betterment of the Jews in Crown Heights. The situation in Crown Heights is difficult enough. This won’t help the situation or the Jews in Crown Heights.” Sidney Davidoff, an assistant to the Mayor and head of the Crown Heights Urban Task Force, declined comment.