NEW YORK (Jan. 19)
Dissatisfied with the militant tactics employed by the Jewish Defense League, several thousand persons have formed a new organization called the “Jewish Survival Legion” which is dedicated to solving many of the problems the JDL is attacking but “within the framework of the law,” according to Allan Mallenbaum, one of the founders of the JSL, which official announced its formation today. Mallenbaum, who left the Jewish Defense League a few months ago after serving as its administrative director, said that his organization already has several thousand members and would try to solve four main problems: the protection of Jewish life and property in urban areas, aiding oppressed Jews in Russia, supporting Israel, and reversing the identity crisis facing alienated Jewish youth. “We cannot criticize the JDL for its actions. We feel that they are taking a very strong and positive approach to solve problems in the way they feel best. We, unfortunately cannot agree with this and feel that we have a better solution,” declared Mallenbaum, Mallenbaum said that JSL is dedicated to the use of the “least forceful methods necessary to accomplish each of its objectives.” This means, he explained, acting within the established framework of the government and using political, legal, economic, educational and defensive measures according to the requirements of each situation and “in cooperation with both Jewish and non-Jewish groups.”
Noting that seven New England chapters of the JDL and their chairmen had resigned from the national organization along with their New England coordinator, Rabbi Marvin Antelman, Mallenbaum predicted that this was the start of a new trend, and that more resignations could be expected. “Several people who have held high positions in the JDL have come to us and expressed dissatisfaction with the organization,” said the JSL founder. He asserted however that his group would not make an attempt to undermine the JDL’s influence. “We feel that they have the right to exist and to pursue their own particular means of solving the problem. We feel that it is not for us, however.” Continuing, he noted: “The Jewish Survival Legion will give a voice to the newly aroused activist Jew who is dissatisfied with the apathy of old-line Jewish organizations but who cannot accept the necessity for bombings or terrorism. We are offering a realistic and responsible alternative to do-nothing and over-reactive groups.” Mallenbaum disclosed that chapters of JSL have already been established in Boston and Worcester, Mass.; Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford, Connecticut and Pawtucket.
Rabbi Antelman, who spearheaded the massive “exodus” of New England members from the national organization, was named as one of the founders of JSL and reported that many of his New England staff have already been appointed. Lazar Lowinger, a criminal attorney and fighter in the Polish resistance, was named as JSL’s New England coordinating officer. Rabbi Antelman revealed that also joining the group in leadership positions were Dr. Sanford Gerber, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Clark University who resigned as JDL chapter chairman in Worcester, because of what he termed “irresponsible” national leadership; Rabbi Haim Raizman, spiritual leader of a congregation in Pawtucket, and Warren Shoag, identified by Rabbi Antelman as a veteran of the Irgun, who resigned from the JDL, according to Antelman, because he felt their pursuits were more “publicity-seeking” than “legitimate.” Meanwhile, in reaction to the formation of the Jewish Survival Legion, Lawrence Fine, executive director of the JDL, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his group was not antagonistic towards the formation of the new group. “If these people will help the Jewish community, then all power to them!” He insisted, however, that “these alleged members did not come from the ranks of the Jewish Defense League. From letters and phone calls, our members have shown total support for the leadership of JDL and its policies.”