NEW YORK (Apr. 17)
Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League and leader of the ultra-nationalist Kach movement in Israel, was today joined by a group of JDL members and supporters in a demonstration outside the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. The JDL said some 170 persons participated.
The demonstration was directed at the synagogue’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Balfour Brickner, who is one of several persons involved with the recent establishment of “The Committee of Concerned American Jews.” The JDL said today through a spokesman that the Committee can only lead Israel down the road “to disaster.”
Shmuel Silver, a spokesman for the JDL, said the demonstration was organized to coincide with Israel’s annual day of remembrance to its soldiers killed in wars. Silver said that the Committee’s actions “will only lead to a further loss of Jewish life.” It was not known whether Brickner was inside the sanctuary and attempts to reach him by telephone were unsuccessful.
Brickner is among the founding members of the newly organized group to be headed by Dr. Seymour Martin Lipset, former president of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East and now professor of political science and sociology at Stanford University. The group, which opposes certain policies of the government of Premier Menachem Begin, particularly on the West Bank, claims that it will act as a “new voice” among American Jewry.
Kahane today called on Brickner to publicly debate whether “Arabs have the democratic right to make Israel a non-Jewish state,” the JDL spokesman said. He said Kahane has not yet received a reply for his challenge to debate. “Only through strength can Israel hope to defeat” its enemies, the spokesman said.