NEW YORK (Sep. 1)
A spokesman for the Jewish Defense League said today that the JDL would go ahead with its plan to arm residents of the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, a high-crime area, despite the opposition of the Lindsay administration and the Police Department. Yesterday, Mayor John V. Lindsay called the plan “vigilantism,” and the police made it clear that the patrols envisioned by the JDL were illegal. Last night, Bennett Levine, a JDL coordinator told some 300 East Flatbush residents attending a meeting at Congregation Rishon Lezion Synagogue that the JDL will conduct “legal and unarmed patrols” to keep the peace in the area beginning Monday. Rabbi Meir Kahane, JDL national chairman, was scheduled to address the meeting but did not appear.
Bennett stated that if the police provided more protection his group would not have to organize armed patrols. He denied that JDL was a vigilante group and affirmed that it “was just out to protect the people.” The police retorted that coverage of East Flatbush had indeed been increased, but a JDL spokesman confirmed today that the arming of residents with, 22-caliber rifles would proceed as planned. (In Washington yesterday, the attorney for three New York JDL members charged with demonstrating illegally on June 25 in front of the Soviet Embassy, appealed for “legal-defense funds.” Harvey Rosenberg told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the funds were needed “not for attorney’s fees–I’m not asking for any,” but for court costs, a transcript of last week’s trial proceedings, and travel expenses. The three JDL’ers are accused of demonstrating within 500 feet of the embassy in violation of the District of Columbia law. Rosenberg said the law applies to political, economic and social actions, but not to “religious actions.” The demonstration was on behalf of Soviet Jewry.)