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Kahane Arrested; Crackdown on Jdl Appears Imminent; Authorities Considering Measures

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A crackdown by U.S. authorities against the Jewish Defense League appears imminent, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. Apparently under pressure from the State Department, police in New York and several other Cities where the JDL has been active are taking strong measures to prevent the group from carrying out its threat to harass Soviet diplomats because of the mistreatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. The FBI has been on the case since last Friday. State Department spokesman John King said at a press briefing today that the State and Justice Departments are continuing their consultations on possible legal measures against the JDL but that no decision has been reached. King said he didn’t know whether activities by the JDL so far were “actionable,” adding that that was a lawyers’ problem. He said “we have taken note of statements coming from Mr. (Meir) Kahane (chairman of the JDL) and that will be part of the problem examined at (the) Justice (Department).”

(Kahane was arrested in New York today for failure to appear in court on Jan. 6-7 for arraignment on charges of disorderly conduct and incitement to riot during a demonstration near the Soviet UN Mission last month. On that occasion he was freed on his own recognizance. On the dates set for his court appearance he was in Israel. He was picked up today on a bench warrant and brought by detectives to Police Headquarters for questioning. The JDL had no immediate comment on his arrest. Reacting to the arrest, American Jewish Committee president Philip E. Hoffman stated: “Much as we are distressed over the news of the arrest of a rabbi, we are forced to accept the fact that no man is above the law. We are certain that Rabbi Kahane will receive all the protection of our democratic system of jurisprudence.” Hoffman added that this “in no way reduces our deepest concern for the fate of our fellow Jews in the Soviet Union in whose name many violent actions have been taken,” nor “our disgust at the cynical manner in which the Soviet Union has been using the activities of the Jewish Defense League as an excuse to divert world attention so recently mobilized against Soviet aggression.”)

GOVERNMENT MAY USE INJUNCTION TO RESTRAIN JDL; NEW YORK BEGINS ‘GET TOUGH’ POLICY

Unofficial sources here said today that the government might resort to the injunctive process to restrain the JDL. If the group or its leaders violated a federal injunction against throats and harassment, they would become liable to legal action, the sources said, King said that the State and Justice Departments were considering appropriate measures to further protect Soviet personnel and dependents. He noted that local police were taking special measures to protect Soviet semi-official and commercial establishments. (The JDL has reportedly started its threatened campaign to harass Soviet personnel. A spokesman for the Soviet UN Mission in New York said yesterday that Soviet diplomats had been followed on foot and by car “by gangs of hoodlums” from the JDL. He said the followers carried signs calling the diplomats “pigs” and had shouted imprecations including “the dirtiest four-letter word in the Russian language.”)

(New York City Hall sources said today that Mayor John V. Lindsay has embarked on a “get tough” policy against the JDL which included a directive to Corporation Counsel J. Lee Rankin to study the possibility of obtaining a court injunction against acts of harassment by the organization. Rankin was said to be reviewing the penal code’s provisions dealing with conspiracy and harassment, both potential criminal matters that could be referred to the District Attorney’s office. N.Y. Police Commissioner Murphy was reported to have ordered a departmental policy in line with Mayor Lindsay’s directive yesterday to be “as alert and forceful as necessary” in dealing with the JDL.) State Department spokesman King said that since last Saturday there have been no new incidents of harassment of American citizens in Russia. He said the campaign of retaliation for anti-Soviet acts in the U.S. appeared to be “tapering off.”

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