Drive for Democracy in Jewish Life Launched, Seer 250,000 Names of U.S. Jews Before Holding Election

Rabbi Meir Kahane, head of the Jewish Defense League, last night urged the supporters of his “Democracy in Jewish Life” movement to obtain signatures from at least 250,000 American Jews before holding an election to name national and local leaders of the Jewish community.

Speaking to more than 100 persons at a conference at the New York Hilton at which the drive was launched under an organization to be called DIJL (Democracy in Jewish Life), Kahane said that unless the quarter million figure was reached the election would not be accepted by the present Jewish establishment, it was also announced at the meeting that a national board will be named.

However, Kahane urged that the JDL, which initiated the move for the popular election of Jewish leaders, not lead the drive in DIJL, “Take DIJL out of the JDL and give it up to ‘respectable’ people” so that it will be accepted by the general Jewish community, the JDL founder urged.

DISAPPOINTED BY SMALL TURNOUT

Kahane, who had predicted an overflow turnout for the conference, expressed disappointment at the sparse turnout last night, “That this room is not filled is an indictment not of Jewish leaders but of the sheep who are being led to slaughter and are allowing themselves to be led,” he declared.

But most of Kahane’s remarks were aimed at the leaders of Jewish organizations, particularly those in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whom he called feudal barons who for the past 70 years had led American Jewry first to spiritual destruction and now to physical danger. He said these leaders had no right to speak for American Jewry to the Administration and Congress.

Other speakers at the conference last night also attacked Jewish leaders, particularly in New York City. But Rabbi David Hollander, president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, urged the group not to get bogged down about allegations against Jewish leaders, justified or not. He said the main issue is that “it is a matter of principle that people have no right to speak for the Jewish community without having a mandate from the community.”

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