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Kahane, Arrested on Weapons Conspiracy Charge, Released on $25,000 Bail

May 14, 1971
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Rabbi Meir Kahane, national chairman of the Jewish Defense League, was released today on $25,000 bail after arraignment in District Court on charges of conspiracy to violate the 1968 Federal Gun Control Act. He was released on his own recognizance on a related charge of weapons possession. Held on $10,000 bail were JDL members Irving Calderon and Chaim Bieber. Released on personal recognizance were JDL’ers Eileen Garfinkel, David Sommer, Alex Sternberg and Dr. Morton Winner. Rabbi Kahane, Calderon and Bieber also lost their passports. The JDL chairman has appealed a Manhattan Criminal Court sentence of last month of $500 or 90 days in jail for disorderly conduct and obstruction at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. The JDL attorney, Barry Ivan Slotnick, charged in court today that Gilbert Laurie, who was arrested in February as an alleged provider of guns to the Jewish group, was a paid government informer, Laurie is now reportedly in Israel. Slotnick also charged there was a “significant” link between the arraignment of Rabbi Kahane and the Leningrad trial of nine Soviet Jews, but he did not explain the tie.

At a press conference after the arraignment, Rabbi Kahane reiterated the JDL’s assertion that it has never possessed weapons. Joining him at the press conference was Joseph Colombo, Sr., president of the Italian-American Civil Rights League, who declared that “those people who do not support the JDL had better wake up.” Colombo called the charges against the JDL’ers a “disgrace.” The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported April 7 that the Italian-American league has been closely aligned with the JDL in combat against “any form of discrimination and persecution.” Also participating in the news conference was Gordon C. Lynch, national field director of NEGRO, Inc. (National Economic Growth and Reconstruction Organization). Lynch said that if it had been necessary his group would have raised bail for Rabbi Kahane so that he could attend a kosher-catered conference on black-Jewish tensions scheduled for next Tuesday in Harlem. A contingent of blacks at the news conference chanted “Free him now!”

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