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Jewish Defense League

Jewish Defense League

Overview
The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a Jewish organization whose stated goal is to "protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary". While the group asserts that it "unequivocally condemns terrorism", and claims to have a "strict no-tolerance policy against terrorism and other felonious acts," it was described as "a right-wing terrorist group" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 in 2001, and as a hate group
Hate group
A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society...

 involved in "anti-Arab terrorism" by the Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a Jewish organization whose stated goal is to "protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary". While the group asserts that it "unequivocally condemns terrorism", and claims to have a "strict no-tolerance policy against terrorism and other felonious acts," it was described as "a right-wing terrorist group" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 in 2001, and as a hate group
Hate group
A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society...

 involved in "anti-Arab terrorism" by the Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

. According to the FBI, the JDL has been involved in plotting terrorist attacks within the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Founded by Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Meir Kahane
Meir Kahane
Martin David Kahane , also known as Meir Kahane , was an American-Israeli rabbi and ultra-nationalist writer and political figure. He was an ordained Orthodox rabbi and later served as a member of the Israeli Knesset...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1968, JDL's self-described purpose was to protect Jews from local manifestations of antisemitism. Its criticism of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 garnered support for the group, transforming it from a "vigilante club" to an activist organization with membership numbering over 15,000. The group took to bombing Arab and Soviet properties in the United States, and targeting various alleged "enemies of the Jewish people", ranging from Arab-American political activists to neo-Nazis, for assassination. A number of JDL members have been linked to violent, and sometimes deadly, attacks in the United States, including the killing of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee states that it is the largest Arab American grassroots civil rights organization in the United States. According to its web page it is open to people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities and has over 40 chapters in 24 states and members in all...

 regional director Alex Odeh
Alex Odeh
Alex Odeh was an Arab-American anti-discrimination activist who was killed in a bombing as he opened the door of his office at 1905 East 17th Street, Santa Ana, California...

 in 1985, and a plot to kill U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa
Darrell Issa
Darrell Edward Issa is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 48th, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was formerly a CEO of Directed Electronics, the Vista, California-based manufacturer of automobile security and convenience products...

 in 2001.

The 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre
Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre was a terrorist attack that occurred when Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler and member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying inside the Ibrahim Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs site in Hebron in the...

, in which dozens of Palestinians at prayer were massacred by a gunman in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 city of Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, was perpetrated by a one-time JDL member who had emigrated from the United States, Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Kopel Goldstein was an American-born Jewish Israeli physician and mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125....

. The JDL maintained, on its website, "we are not ashamed to say that Goldstein was a charter member of the Jewish Defense League", and described his action as "a preventative measure against yet another Arab attack on Jews".

Many Jewish groups have long been hostile to the group. According to one Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 official, the group consists only of "thugs and hooligans".

Opposition to Soviet policies


Initially, the League was connected to a series of terrorist attacks against Soviet interests in the United States, protesting that country's repression of Soviet Jews, who were often jailed and refused exit visas. The JDL decided that violence was necessary to draw attention to their plight, reasoning that Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 would respond to the strain on Soviet–United States relations
Soviet–United States relations
The relations between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics succeed the relations between the Russian Empire and the United States and predate the post-Soviet Russo-United States relations . Full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established late due to...

 by allowing more emigration to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

On 29 November 1970, a bomb exploded outside the Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 offices of the Soviet airline, Aeroflot
Aeroflot
OJSC AeroflotRussian Airlines , commonly known as Aeroflot , is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Russian Federation, based on passengers carried per year...

. An anonymous caller to the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 claimed responsibility and used the JDL slogan Never again!. Another bomb attack, on January 8, 1971 outside of the Soviet cultural center in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, was followed by a similar phone call, including the JDL slogan. A JDL spokesperson denied JDL involvement in the bombing, but refused to condemn it. In 1970, Soviet agents forged and sent threatening letters to Arab missions claiming to be from the JDL to discredit it. They also were ordered to bomb a target in the "Negro section of New York" and blame it on the JDL.

In 1971, a JDL member allegedly fired a rifle into the Soviet Union's mission office at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. In 1972, two JDL members were arrested and charged with bomb possession and burglary
Burglary
Burglary is a crime, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense. Usually that offense will be theft, but most jurisdictions specify others which fall within the ambit of burglary...

 in a conspiracy to blow up the Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 residence of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The two JDL members pled guilty and were sentenced to serve three years in prison for one, and a year and a day for the other. In 1975, JDL leader Meir Kahane was accused of conspiring to kidnap a Soviet diplomat, bomb the Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i embassy in Washington, and ship arms abroad from Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. A hearing was held to revoke Kahane's probation
Probation
Probation literally means testing of behaviour or abilities. In a legal sense, an offender on probation is ordered to follow certain conditions set forth by the court, often under the supervision of a probation officer...

 for a 1971 firebomb
Firebomb
Firebomb may refer to:* Firebombing* Incendiary device* Molotov cocktail* A season 2 episode of the television show Alias* "Fire Bomb", a song by Rihanna from her 2009 album Rated R...

-making incident. He was found guilty of violating probation and served a one year prison sentence.

In 1972, a smoke bomb was planted in the Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 office of music impresario Sol Hurok
Sol Hurok
Sol Hurok was a world-famous 20th century American impresario.-Biography:...

, who organized Soviet performers' US tours. One of the secretaries died of smoke inhalation. Hurok and twelve others were injured. Jerome Zeller of the JDL was indicted for the bombing.

JDL activities were condemned by Moscow refusenik
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

s who felt that the group's actions were making it less likely that the Soviet Union would relax restrictions on Jewish emigration. On April 6, 1976, six prominent refuseniks — Vladimir Slepak, Alexander Lerner
Alexander Lerner
Alexander Yakovlevich Lerner , scientist and Soviet refusenik.- Biography :...

, Anatoly Shcharansky, and Iosif Begun
Iosif Begun
Iosif Ziselovich Begun, sometimes spelled Yosef is a former Soviet refusenik, prisoner of conscience, human rights activist, author and translator....

 — condemned the JDL's activities as terrorist acts, stating that their "actions constitute a danger for Soviet Jews... as they might be used by the authorities as a pretext for new repressions and for instigating anti-Semitic hostilities."

During the 1980s, past-JDL member Victor Vancier
Victor Vancier
Victor Vancier , commonly referred to by his Hebrew name, Chaim Ben Pesach is an American political activist and the founder and director of the United States-based Kahanist organization, Jewish Task Force and the former National Chairman of the Jewish Defense League in the UnitedStates...

 (who later founded the Jewish Task Force), and two other former JDL members were arrested in connection with six incidents; a 1984 firebombing of an automobile at a Soviet diplomatic residence, the 1985 and 1986 fire and pipe bombings of a rival JDL member's cars, the 1986 firebombing at a hall where the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra
State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation
The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation is a Russian orchestra based in Moscow...

 was performing, and two 1986 detonations of tear gas grenades to protest performances by Soviet dance companies. In a 1984 interview with Washington Post correspondent Carla Hall, Meir Kahane admitted that the JDL "bombed the Russian mission in New York, the Russian cultural mission here [Washington] in 1971, the Soviet trade offices."

Opposition to Vatican policies


On December 31, 1975, fifteen members of the League besieged the office of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in protest for Pope Paul VI's policy of support of Palestinian rights. The crisis was over after one hour, as the activists left the place after being ordered to do so by the local police. No arrests were made.

Solicitation of murder trial


On March 16, 1978 Irv Rubin said about the planned American Nazi Party
American Nazi Party
The American Nazi Party was an American political party founded by discharged U.S. Navy Commander George Lincoln Rockwell. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Rockwell initially called it the World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists , but later renamed it the American Nazi Party in...

 march in Skokie, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

: "We are offering $500, that I have in my hand, to any member of the community... who kills, maims or seriously injures a member of the American Nazi party." Rubin was charged with solicitation of murder but acquitted in 1981.

JDL members had often been suspected of involvement in attacks against neo-Nazis and other Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. In 1995, when the Toronto residence of Ernst Zündel
Ernst Zündel
Ernst Christof Friedrich Zündel is a German Holocaust denier and pamphleteer who was jailed several times in Canada for publishing literature which "is likely to incite hatred against an identifiable group" and for being a threat to national security, in the United States for overstaying his visa,...

 was the target of an arson attack, a group calling itself the "Jewish Armed Resistance Movement" claimed responsibility; according to the Toronto Sun, the group had ties to the Jewish Defense League and to Kahane Chai. The leader of the Toronto wing of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Halevi, denied involvement in the attack, although, just five days later, Halevi was caught trying to break into the Zündel property, where he was apprehended by police. Later the same month Zündel was the recipient of a parcel bomb that was detonated by the Toronto Police Service's bomb squad.

Accused of murder of Alex Odeh


Alex Odeh
Alex Odeh
Alex Odeh was an Arab-American anti-discrimination activist who was killed in a bombing as he opened the door of his office at 1905 East 17th Street, Santa Ana, California...

 was an Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

-American who was killed on October 11, 1985 in a bombing at his office in Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana is the county seat and second most populous city in Orange County, California, and with a population of 324,528 at the 2010 census, Santa Ana is the 57th-most populous city in the United States....

. Odeh was regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee states that it is the largest Arab American grassroots civil rights organization in the United States. According to its web page it is open to people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities and has over 40 chapters in 24 states and members in all...

. Shortly before his killing, Odeh had appeared on the television show Nightline, where he engaged in a tense dialogue with a representative from the Jewish Defense League.

Irv Rubin
Irv Rubin
Irving D. Rubin was chairman of the Jewish Defense League from 1985 to 2002. He allegedly committed suicide in jail when awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to bomb private and government property....

, chairman of the JDL, immediately made several controversial public statements in reaction to the incident: "I have no tears for Mr. Odeh," Rubin said. "He got exactly what he deserved." He also said: "My tears were used up crying for Leon Klinghoffer
Leon Klinghoffer
Leon Klinghoffer was a disabled American appliance manufacturer who was murdered and thrown overboard by Palestinian terrorists in the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985.-Hijacking and murder:...

." The Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 and the American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Committee
The American Jewish Committee was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world...

 both condemned the murder.

Four weeks after Odeh's death, FBI spokesperson Lane Bonner stated the FBI attributed the bombing and two others to the JDL. In February 1986, the FBI classified the bombing that killed Alex Odeh as a terrorist act. Rubin denied JDL involvement: "What the FBI is doing is simple.... Some character calls up a news agency or whatever and uses the phrase Never Again... and on that assumption they can go and slander a whole group. That's tragic."

In 1987 Floyd Clarke, then assistant director of the FBI, wrote in an internal memo that key suspects had fled to Israel and were living in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 town of Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba , lit. "Town of the Four," is an Israeli settlement in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank on the edge of Hebron. Its settlers consist of a mix of Russian immigrants, American immigrants, and native-born Israelis numbering close to 10,000...

. In 1988, the FBI arrested Rochelle Manning as a suspect in a mail bombing, and also charged her husband, Robert Manning
Robert Manning
Robert Manning may refer to:*Robert Manning , Irish engineer*Robert Manning , American writer*Robert Manning , Roman Catholic priest*Robert D...

, whom they considered a prime suspect in the Odeh bombing. Both were members of the JDL. Rochelle's jury deadlocked, and after the mistrial, she left for Israel to join her husband.

Robert Manning was extradited from Israel to the U.S. in 1993. He was subsequently found guilty of involvement in the killing of Patricia Wilkerson in another, unrelated bomb blast. William Ross, another JDL member, was also found guilty for his participation in the bombing that killed Wilkerson. Rochelle Manning was re-indicted for her alleged involvement, and was detained in Israel, pending extradition, when she died of a heart attack in 1994.

Mosque bombing and US Congressman assassination plot


On December 12, 2001, JDL leader Irv Rubin
Irv Rubin
Irving D. Rubin was chairman of the Jewish Defense League from 1985 to 2002. He allegedly committed suicide in jail when awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to bomb private and government property....

 and JDL member Earl Krugel
Earl Krugel
Earl Leslie Krugel was the West Coast coordinator of the Jewish Defense League. In 2005, he was sentenced to prison on charges of terrorism after he confessed plotting, with the group's leader Irv Rubin, to blow up the office of Arab-American congressman Darrell Issa and the King Fahd mosque in...

 were charged with planning a terror attack against the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa
Darrell Issa
Darrell Edward Issa is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 48th, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was formerly a CEO of Directed Electronics, the Vista, California-based manufacturer of automobile security and convenience products...

, in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The two also planned attacks on the King Fahd Mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 in Culver City, California
Culver City, California
Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 38,883, up from 38,816 at the 2000 census. It is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, but also shares a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Culver...

.

Rubin claimed that he was innocent. On November 4, 2002, at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center
Metropolitan Detention Center
"Metropolitan Detention Centers" are federal detention facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and located throughout the United States...

 in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, Rubin slit his throat with a safety razor and jumped out of a third story window. Rubin's suicide would be contested by his widow and the JDL, particularly after his co-defendant pleaded guilty to the charges and implicated Rubin in the plot. On February 4, 2003, Earl Krugel
Earl Krugel
Earl Leslie Krugel was the West Coast coordinator of the Jewish Defense League. In 2005, he was sentenced to prison on charges of terrorism after he confessed plotting, with the group's leader Irv Rubin, to blow up the office of Arab-American congressman Darrell Issa and the King Fahd mosque in...

 pleaded guilty to conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

 and weapons charges stemming from the terrorist plot, and was expected to serve up to 20 years in prison. The core of the evidence against Krugel and Rubin was in a number of conversations taped by an informant, Jewish pride activist Danny Gillis, who was hired by the men to plant the bombs but who turned to the FBI instead. According to one tape, Krugel thought the attacks would serve as "a wakeup call" to Arabs.

Krugel was subsequently killed in prison by another inmate, on November 4, 2005.

Terrorism


In 2004 congressional testimony, John S. Pistole
John S. Pistole
John S. Pistole is the Administrator of the United States Transportation Security Administration and former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.-Education:...

, Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence for the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 described the JDL as "a known violent extremist Jewish Organization." FBI statistics show that, from 1980 through 1985, there were 18 terrorist attacks in the U.S. committed by Jews; 15 of those by members of the JDL. According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine, published nine times per year in Washington, D.C., focuses on "news and analysis from and about the Middle East and U.S...

,

In a 1986 study of domestic terrorism, the Department of Energy concluded: "For more than a decade, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States.... Since 1968, JDL operations have killed 7 persons and wounded at least 22. Thirty-nine percent of the targets were connected with the Soviet Union; 9 percent were Palestinian; 8 percent were Lebanese; 6 percent, Egyptian; 4 percent, French, Iranian, and Iraqi; 1 percent, Polish and German; and 23 percent were not connected with any states. Sixty-two percent of all JDL actions are directed against property; 30 percent against businesses; 4 percent against academics and academic institutions; and 2 percent against religious targets." (Department of Energy, Terrorism in the United States and the Potential Threat to Nuclear Facilities, R-3351-DOE, January 1986, pp. 11-16)

The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism is a United States-based non-profit training and professional development center dedicated to improving the skills of police officers.-Role and focus:...

's database of identified terrorist organizations, which is compiled by official contractors and consultants to the United States government and is officially a project supported by the Department of Homeland Security, identifies the JDL as a former terrorist organization.

While the JDL's website explicitly rejects terrorism, it has often expressed support for acts of vengeance in reprisal to Arab terrorist attacks on Jews. On October 26, 1981, after two firebombs damaged the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian Tourist Office at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering between 48th and 51st streets in New York City, United States. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It was declared a National...

, JDL Chairman Meir Kahane said at a press conference: "I'm not going to say that the JDL bombed that office. There are laws against that in this country. But I'm not going to say I mourn for it either." The next day, an anonymous caller claimed responsibility on behalf of the JDL. A JDL spokesman later denied his group's involvement, but said "We support the act."

On 25 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Kopel Goldstein was an American-born Jewish Israeli physician and mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125....

, a member of the JDL, opened fire on Palestinian Muslims kneeling in prayer at mosque in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 city of Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, killing 29. On its website, the JDL writes: "Dr. Goldstein was a brilliant surgeon, a mild-mannered Yeshiva-educated man who was promoted to the rank of major in the IDF. He was warned by his superiors in the military to prepare an open field hospital in anticipation of another murderous attack by the hostile Arab population of Hevron during the Jewish festival of Purim. Many of these Arabs were standing outside Goldstein's synagogue in the Cave of the Patriarchs and yelling "Slaughter the Jew." Goldstein had lost 30 close friends in the last few years; they were murdered by Arabs in the Hevron-Kiryat Arba area. One of those was the son of his best friend, Mordechai Lapid; as Goldstein rushed to give the young man medical aid, he was held back by the Arabs on the scene and the young man died. Additionally, as there is proof that the Arabs were hoarding food and supplies in response to a Muslim call for a massacre on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we feel that Goldstein took a preventative measure against yet another Arab attack on Jews. We understand his motivation, his grief and his actions. We do not consider his assault to qualify under the label of terrorism because Dr. Goldstein was a soldier in a war zone who was faced by an imminent terrorist threat. We teach that violence is never a good solution but is unfortunately sometimes necessary as a last resort when innocent lives are threatened; we therefore view Dr. Goldstein as a martyr in Judaism's protracted struggle against Arab terrorism. And we are not ashamed to say that Goldstein was a charter member of the Jewish Defense League."

Relationship with Ruthless Records


When Ruthless Records recording artist and former N.W.A member Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre
Andre Romelle Young , primarily known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper, record executive, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records...

 sought to work instead with Death Row Records
Death Row Records
Death Row Records is a record label founded in 1991 by Marion "Suge" Knight Jr., Andre Young , Tracy Lynn Curry and Michael Harris . It is known to have been home to many popular West Coast hip hop artists such as Dr...

, Ruthless Records executives, Mike Klein and Jerry Heller
Jerry Heller
Jerry Heller is best known for managing West Coast rap group N.W.A. and rapper Eazy-E. He is co-founder and CEO of Ruthless Records. Heller managed War, Average White Band, Marvin Gaye, Michel'le, A.L.T...

 were fearful of possible physical intimidation from Death Row Entertainment LLC
Limited liability company
A limited liability company is a flexible form of enterprise that blends elements of partnership and corporate structures. It is a legal form of company that provides limited liability to its owners in the vast majority of United States jurisdictions...

 executives
Senior management
Senior management, executive management, or management team is generally a team of individuals at the highest level of organizational management who have the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a company or corporation, they hold specific executive powers conferred onto them with and by...

 including chief executive officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 Suge Knight
Suge Knight
Marion "Suge" Knight, Jr. is the founder and CEO of Black Kapital Records and co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records. Death Row Records rose to dominate the rap charts after Dr. Dre's breakthrough album The Chronic in 1992. After several years of chart successes for artists including...

 and requested security assistance from the JDL. Mike Klein, former Ruthless Records director of business affairs said "The Defense League offered to provide bodyguards to Eazy-E
Eazy-E
Eric Lynn Wright , better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright was born to Richard and Kathie Wright in Compton, California...

 when Knight allegedly threatened him in the early 1990s." This provided Ruthless Records with more confidence during corporate negotiations regarding Dr. Dre’s departure.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) launched a money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

 investigation, on the presumption that the JDL was extorting money from Ruthless Records. This led to JDL spokesperson Irv Rubin
Irv Rubin
Irving D. Rubin was chairman of the Jewish Defense League from 1985 to 2002. He allegedly committed suicide in jail when awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to bomb private and government property....

 to issue a press release stating "there was nothing but a close, tight relationship" between Eazy-E and the League.

Heller has speculated that the FBI did not investigate these threats because of the song "Fuck Tha Police
Fuck tha Police
"Fuck tha Police" is a protest song by the gangsta rap group N.W.A that appears on the album Straight Outta Compton. Despite not being a single, it ranked #425 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time....

". Heller said, "It was no secret that in the aftermath of the Suge Knight shake down incident where Eazy was forced to sign over Dr. Dre, Michel'le
Michel'le
Michel'le Toussant better known as Michel'le, is an American R&B singer-songwriter known for her squeaky, child-like speaking voice, which is a startling contrast to her strong vocals.-Career:...

 and The D.O.C.
The D.O.C.
Tracy Lynn Curry , primarily known by his stage name The D.O.C., is an American rapper from Dallas, Texas. In addition to a solo career, he was a member of the hip hop group Fila Fresh Crew, and a creative force behind the gangsta rap group N.W.A, where he co-wrote many of their releases. He has...

, that Ruthless was protected by Israeli trained/connected security forces."

Schism: October 2004-April 2006


After Rubin's death in November 2002, Bill Maniaci was appointed interim chairman by Shelley Rubin. Two years later, the Jewish Defense League became mired in a state of upheaval over legal control of the organization. In October 2004, Maniaci rejected Shelley Rubin's call for him to resign; as a result, Maniaci was stripped of his title and membership. At that point, the JDL split into two separate factions, each vying for legal control of the associated "intellectual property." The two operated as separate organizations with the same name while a lengthy legal battle ensued. In April 2005, the original domain name of the organization, jdl.org, was suspended by Network Solutions
Network Solutions
Network Solutions, LLC is a technology company founded in 1979. The domain name registration business has become the most important division of the company. As of January 2009, Network Solutions managed more than 6.6 million domain names.-History:...

 due to allegation of infringement; the organization went back online soon thereafter at domain name jewishdefenseleague.org.

In April 2006, news of a settlement was announced in which signatories agreed to not object to "Shelley Rubin's titles of permanent chairman and CEO of JDL." The agreement also confirmed that "the name 'Jewish Defense League,' the acronym 'JDL,' and the 'Fist and Star' logo are the exclusive intellectual property of JDL." (Opponents of both groups claim that these are Kahanist
Kahanism
Kahanism is loosely defined as an nationalist ideology of dedication and self-sacrifice for Jewish causes, such as physical and spiritual freedom and safety of Jews in Israel and worldwide. The term is derived from the name of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane , founder of the Jewish Defense League in USA...

 symbols and not the exclusive property of JDL. At this time, however, the logo is no longer in general use by the Kahanist groups.) The agreement also states: "Domain names registered on behalf of JDL, including but not limited to jdl.org and jewishdefenseleague.org, are owned and operated by JDL." Meanwhile, the opposing group formed B'nai Elim, which is the latest of many JDL splinter groups to have formed over the years.

Relationships with other groups


In 2011, the Canadian JDL organized a "support rally" for the English Defence League
English Defence League
The English Defence League is a far-right street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the UK. The EDL uses street marches to protest against Islamic extremism...

 featuring a live speech, via Skype
Skype
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chat over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system...

, by EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. The event was denounced by the Canadian Jewish Congress
Canadian Jewish Congress
The Canadian Jewish Congress was one of the main lobby groups for the Jewish community in the country, although it often competed with the more conservative B'nai Brith Canada in that regard. At its dissolution, the president of the CJC was Mark Freiman. Its past co-presidents were Sylvain Abitbol...

 whose leader, Bernie Farber
Bernie Farber
Bernie M. Farber is the former chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress and a social activist. He has testified before the Canadian courts as an expert witness on hate crime....

, said he was "disappointed that the JDL would support an organization whose record in the U.K. is one of violence and extremism." "We join with all the leading British Jewish organizations in condemning the intolerance and violence that the EDL represents. It has never been the Canadian way to promote vigilantism," added Farber. In an opinion piece published following the event, Farber and CJC general counsel Benjamin Shinewald castigated the JDL stateing that, "By joining forces [with the English Defence League], the JDL condones the indefensible actions of violent extremists." The rally, held at the Toronto Zionist Centre, attracted a counter-protest organized by Anti-Racist Action
Anti-Racist Action
The Anti-Racist Action Network is a decentralized network of anti-fascist and anti-racists in North America. ARA activists organize actions to disrupt neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and help organize activities against fascist and racist ideologies. ARA groups also oppose sexism,...

 resulting in four ARA being arrested.

The Canadian JDL has also organized rallies in support of far-right Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Feiglin
Moshe Zalman Feiglin is an Israeli politician, head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of the Likud party in Israel...

 and Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders is a Dutch right-wing politician and leader of the Party for Freedom , the third-largest political party in the Netherlands. He is the Parliamentary group leader of his party in the Dutch House of Representatives...

 of the Party for Freedom
Party for Freedom
The Party for Freedom is a Dutch right-wing political party. Founded in 2005 as the successor to Geert Wilders' one-man party in the House of Representatives, it won nine seats in the 2006 general election, making it the fifth largest party in parliament, and third largest opposition party. It...

. They have also announced their support for the Freedom Party of Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

RCMP investigate JDL Canada for alleged bomb plot


On October 5, 2011 on the Michael Coren
Michael Coren
Michael Coren is an English-Canadian columnist, author, public speaker, radio host and television talk show host. He hosted the television talk show The Michael Coren Show on the Crossroads Television System from 1999 to 2011 when he moved to the Sun News Network to host an evening talk show, The...

 show it was revealed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

 had launched an investigation against at least nine members of the Jewish Defence League in regards to an anonymous tip that the JDL was plotting to bomb the Palestine House in Mississauga. Meir Weinstein
Meir Weinstein
Meir Weinstein is the national director of the Canadian branch of the extremist Jewish Defense League .-Background:...

 reported that many members of the JDL were interviewed extensively, at home and at work and suggested that the RCMP was surveilling their activity. Weinstein denied that the plot existed and accused the RCMP of political bias. The RCMP has since declared the anonymous phone tip to have been a hoax.

JDL's Five Principles


The JDL upholds five fundamental principles, which as of July 2007 were listed on its website as:
LOVE OF JEWRY
pride in and knowledge of Jewish tradition, faith, culture, land, history, strength, pain and peoplehood

DIGNITY AND PRIDE
the need to both move to help Jews everywhere and to change the Jewish image through sacrifice and all necessary means—even strength, force and violence.

IRON
the need to both move to help Jews everywhere and to change the Jewish image through sacrifice and all necessary means—even strength, force and violence.

DISCIPLINE AND UNITY
the knowledge that he (or she) can and will do whatever must be done, and the unity and strength of willpower to bring this into reality.

FAITH IN THE INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Faith in the greatness and indestructibility of the Jewish people, our religion and our Land of Israel.


The JDL encourages, per its principle of the "Love of Jewry", that "...[I]n the end...the Jew can look to no one but another Jew for help and that the true solution to the Jewish problem is the liquidation of the Exile and the return of all Jews to Eretz Yisroel -- the land of Israel." The JDL elaborates on this fundamental principle by insisting upon an "immediate need to place Judaism over any other 'ism' and ideology and...use of the yardstick: 'Is it good for Jews?'"

The JDL argues that, outside of Jews, there are historically no people corresponding to the Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 ethnicity. Writing on its official website, the JDL claims: "[T]he first mention of a "Palestinian people" dates from the aftermath of the 1967 war, when the local Arabic-speaking communities...were retrospectively endowed with a contrived "nationhood"...taken from Jewish history..." and that "Clearly, since Roman times "Palestinian" had meant Jews until the Arab's recent adoption of this identity in order to claim it as their land." On this basis, the JDL argues that "Zionism [should be] under no obligation to accommodate a separate "Palestinian" claim, there being no historical evidence or witness for any such Arab category," and considers Palestinian claims to be "Arab usurpation" of proper Jewish title.

Criticism of the JDL


The JDL has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 (ADL) for presenting a "gross distortion" of the real situation of American Jews. The ADL states that JDL's founder, Meir Kahane, "preached a radical form of Jewish nationalism which reflected racism, violence and political extremism". The ADL says that those attitudes were replicated by Irv Rubin, the successor to Kahane. The Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

 (SPLC) has added the JDL to its list of watched hate groups.

In its report, Terrorism 2000/2001, the FBI referred to the JDL as a "violent extremist Jewish organization" and stated that the FBI was responsible for thwarting at least one of its terrorist acts. The National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism states that, during the JDL's first two decades of activity, it was an "active terrorist organization." The JDL was specifically referenced by the FBI's Executive Assistant Director Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence, John S. Pistole
John S. Pistole
John S. Pistole is the Administrator of the United States Transportation Security Administration and former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.-Education:...

, in his formal report before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

At least two of the suspects in the 2010 murder of Said Bourarach appear to have ties to the French chapter of the JDL.

JDL Chairmen


According to the organization's official list of Chairmen or Highest Ranking Directors:
  • 1968-1971 - Rabbi Meir Kahane
    Meir Kahane
    Martin David Kahane , also known as Meir Kahane , was an American-Israeli rabbi and ultra-nationalist writer and political figure. He was an ordained Orthodox rabbi and later served as a member of the Israeli Knesset...

    , International Chairman.
  • 1971-1973 - David Fisch, a religious Columbia University
    Columbia University
    Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

     student, who later wrote articles for Jewish magazines and the book "Jews for Nothing."
  • 1974-1976 - Russel Kelner, originally from Philadelphia. Formerly a US Army lieutenant trained in counter-guerrilla warfare, he moved to New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     to direct the JDL's paramilitary
    Paramilitary
    A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

     camp JeDeL, and later to run the national office as chairman.
  • 1976-1978 - Bonnie Pechter.
  • 1979-1981 - Brett Becker, originally from South Florida. He came to New York City to become chairman.
  • 1981-1983 - Meir Jolovitz, originally from Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

    . He also came to New York City.
  • 1983-1984 - Fern Sidman, Administrative Director.
  • 1985-2002 - Irv Rubin
    Irv Rubin
    Irving D. Rubin was chairman of the Jewish Defense League from 1985 to 2002. He allegedly committed suicide in jail when awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to bomb private and government property....

    , International Chairman.
  • 2002–present - Shelley Rubin
    Shelley Rubin
    Shelley Rubin is the wife of late JDL International Chairman Irv Rubin, and is currently the chairman and CEO of the USA based, right-wing group, the Jewish Defense League. She is responsible for ideological and strategic direction, organizational development, activities coordination and daily...

    , Administrative Director (2002–2006); Chairman/CEO (2006–Present). (For information on a period of disputed leadership in that period, see Schism (Oct. 2004-April 2006) as well as JDL's commentary on the subject on its Leadership page.

External links