LONDON (Sep. 13)
Rabbi Meir Kahane, chairman of the Jewish Defense League, disclosed here today that the reputed racketeer, Joseph Colombo Sr., put up $45,000 bail for him last May after he was arraigned at a Federal District Court in New York on charges of conspiracy to violate the 1968 Federal Gun Control Act. “But for him (Colombo) I would not have been here, and I could not have gone to Israel,” said the 38-year-old Kahane who arrived here from New York this morning for a brief visit as the guest of the Committee for the Release of Soviet Jewish Prisoners. Rabbi Kahane was questioned by newsmen on the JDL’s alliance with Colombo, president of the Italian-American Civil Rights League.
The alliance was unveiled on May 13 when Colombo joined Kahane at a press conference following the latter’s arraignment. Colombo was shot during an Italian American civil rights day celebration last June and has been in a coma since then. Explaining the JDL’s association with Colombo and his group, Rabbi Kahane said “Our only yardstick is what is good for the Jews and this alliance is good for the Jews. We must deal with the poor among the Americans, and with the various ethnic groups and with some groups which are not the darlings of the establishment.” Rabbi Kahane denied that he had ever worked for the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R., Wisc.) whose name became synonymous with political repression in the United States during the 1950s. Leaflets distributed by a group of young Mapam members outside Rabbi Kahane’s hotel, accused the JDL head of having worked for McCarthy.
Rabbi Kahane said he was going to Israel tomorrow to settle and establish JDL headquarters in Jerusalem. He said he would divide his time between Israel and the U.S. and would try to act as a bridge between various groups and sections of Israeli society, but would not engage in politics there. “I will never stand for any public office nor will any official member of the JDL,” he said. Asked if he would institute training in the use of arms for Israeli Jews as he has done in the U.S., Rabbi Kahane replied, “Never, never, this is done by Zahal (Israel’s armed forces) in the most efficient manner.”