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Jdl Holds Rally in Harlem to Protest Black Panther Anti-semitism; Clash Erupts

May 8, 1970
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Forty to 50 members of the Jewish Defense League clashed today with a similar number of blacks at Black Panther Party headquarters in Harlem, scene of a JDL demonstration against an alleged “outrageous explosion of anti-Semitic hatred” by the Panthers. The police said that while epithets that each flung at the other served to “heighten” the friction between the two militant organizations, there were no incidents requiring arrests. Rabbi Meir Kahane, JDL head, however, reported “two brief scuffles” and an unprovoked attack with a stick on a demonstrator by a Panther charging out from the party’s storefront headquarters. Rabbi Kahane told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he will demand that Mayor John V. Lindsay institute formal charges against the two police captains he is charging with failure to arrest the attacker. “Either there is one law for everyone in this city or there is no law for anyone,” he told the JTA, alleging that the Lindsay administration has been “bending over backward for these Nazis” while repressing JDL activities.

Rabbi Kahane said he knew the identity of the attacker and that the JDL would avenge the attack. He said such action did not preclude the use of violence. “We are not frightened of them” he said of the Panthers. “We will deal with them.” He called the Panthers “vicious anti-Semites who “pose a definite clear and present danger to Jews.” A Panther spokesman emphasized to the JTA that the party was anti-Zionist but not anti-Jewish, noting that there are numerous black Jews in New York and in other sections of the country. He admitted the stick attack but said the JDL had provoked the incident by holding a pro-Israel demonstration in an area–Harlem–where blacks feel repressed by “Jewish landlords and businessmen.” He also admitted that Panthers “broke a few windows” of the JDL truck and “slapped a few of them around.” The confrontation lasted an hour and a half.

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