Jewish Defense League

From Academic Kids

The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a highly controversial Jewish activist movement. JDL was founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane as a militant group to protect Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York City and to protest local manifestations of Anti-Semitism. The JDL soon broadened its scope to include concerns of the global diaspora communities, and sought to defend Jewry from perceived threats through physical confrontation.

Missing image
Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the JDL, speaking

The JDL describes itself ( as, "the most controversial, yet the most effective, of all Jewish organizations. Founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane, the activist group has been responsible for bringing such issues as, but certainly not limited to, Soviet Jewry, Nazi war criminals, black & white antisemitism/Jew-hatred and Jewish self-defense to the front page of every major newspaper. Never Again, the JDL motto, opposes the mainstream opinion that Jews shouldn't make waves or fight back when they are under attack. Such an attitude was sold to the Jews of Europe 60 years ago and the result was the murder of the Six Million." The JDL is widely viewed as extremist and most mainstream Jewish organizations reject it. Newspaper reports indicate that membership in the JDL appears to have been limited to a few hundred people by the year 2000, with a much smaller number actually being active in the organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a controversial anti-hate group, has added the JDL to its list of watched groups.


Defense of Baruch Goldstein

Missing image
Dr. Baruch Goldstein in medical clothes. Hebrew sign says rofe ("[Medical] Doctor")

JDL defended the massacre of twenty-nine Arabs in Hebron by Dr. Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli physician and JDL activist, in February 1994. The organization's FAQ section ( states, "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. And we are not ashamed to say that Goldstein was a charter member of the Jewish Defense League."

Imprisonment and death of Irv Rubin

 (1945-2002), Jewish Defense League International Chairman from 1985-2002.
Irv Rubin (1945-2002), Jewish Defense League International Chairman from 1985-2002.

On December 12, 2001, Irv Rubin, JDL International Chairman, and Earl Krugel, a member of the organization, were charged with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism. The two were accused of planning attacks on Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa's office and on the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California. Rubin and Krugel were arrested as part of a sting operation, after an FBI informant, Danny Gillis, delivered explosives to Krugel's home in Los Angeles. The JDL defends the plotters by claiming that that no explosive devices were manufactured and no one had yet been harmed.

The JDL maintains that the prosecution of Rubin and Krugel was the result of rogue elements within the FBI which conspired to neutralize the JDL by infiltrating the organization, implicating its members and imprisoning them unjustly. Furthermore, members claim the FBI targeted Rubin in a bid to demonstrate even-handed pursuit of terrorists in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks

Rubin proclaimed his innocence and was reportedly eager to wage a vigorous court battle in his defense. Yet, after awaiting trial for eleven months, he allegedly committed suicide on November 4, 2002 at Los Angeles' federal Metropolitan Detention Center. Federal officials said Rubin slashed his own neck with a prison-issued razor blade and then jumped over a railing to fall 18 feet to the concrete floor below. He was in a coma for ten days before dying. [1] (

On February 4, 2003, Earl Krugel pled guilty to conspiracy and weapons charges stemming from the terrorist plot and was expected to serve up to 20 years in prison. However, Judge Ronald Lew recently ruled Krugel “broke conditions set on his deal and ordered him to face trial on further charges” (BBC News) ( If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to 55 years.

Although a few JDL members proclaim their determination to sustain the organization despite Rubin's death and Krugel's convictions, the group has not been active for several years.

See also

External links

fr:Ligue de Défense Juive


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