TRENTON, N.J. (Sep. 19)
Plans by the Ku Klux Klan to hold rallies here, in Newark, and in Oxford (Warren County) later this month have been called off by New Jersey’s KKK leader, Richard Bondira, following threats by the New York-based Jewish Defense Organization (JDO) to “destroy the Klan.”
Bondira, 34, who resides in the rural community of Oxford and is a write-in candidate for governor of New Jersey, said he cancelled plans for the rallies because he did not want to “jeopardize the life, limb, property or safety of anyone” in the face of anyone “whose answer to everything is kill,” a reference to the JDO.
Mordechai Levy, JDO leader, had warned that he would bring “tough Jews” who would be “legally armed” for “death to the Klan” counter-demonstrations at the three KKK planned rally sites. Levy said he was not inciting violence, only predicting it. He said that if the rallies were not called off, they “will be stopped. One doesn’t permit the Klan to march anymore. One doesn’t debate with the Klan anymore. One must destroy the Klan.” Levy said he had applied for permits for counter-demonstrations to face the KKK “right in their own den.” He said that “For every one in a robe, there’s another 100 who would like to be, but as long as they know it’s an unhealthy situation, they won’t be.”
Mayor Arthur Holland of Trenton had, despite public protests, remained firm in defense of Bondira’s constitutional right to hold the rally September 28, but added that it would be unwise for the KKK and the JDO to proceed with their intended actions. But Bondira called off his rally in face of the JDO threats.
Mayor Kenneth Gibson of Newark denied a request by the KKK to hold a rally on the steps of City Hall September 26. He vowed that as long as he was mayor, the KKK would “never” march in New Jersey’s largest city. He said he based his position as a “Black man, a spokesman for my people and as mayor of Newark.”
An ad hoc coalition of community organizations in Newark and the JDO were among those vowing to hold counter-demonstrations if the KKK was allowed to rally. Reacting to Gibson’s stand, Levy said, “Thank God the mayor of Newark is a man, who in this case, had the moral strength to take a moral stand. We feel that racism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin.”