THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 3
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper
 
 
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Soviet Jewry 3

bfrom the Soviets). “We want to pray to G-d in front of the bsynagogue.”

bFallek, a Jew himself, could barely hold back his smile as bhe replied: “Come on, Rabbi, you don’t really want to pray.” bBut I did, I told the inspector and, furthermore, I intended bto exercise my freedom of religion immediately unless he bgave me a good legal reason why it was allowed to picket in bfront of any legitimate building for higher wages while it bwas illegal to pray in front of a synagogue because it hap- bpened to offend the Soviets. I intended to do exactly that, bimmediately. It was at this point that a high-ranking officer bannounced over a bullhorn that no one would be permitted bon the block and that we were ordered to move immediately. bWe did.

bI pushed my way into a barrier and into the TPF men bbehind it and the crowd surged forward. Clubs began to fly band fists in return. A 75-year-old spectator, Dr. Morris bZucker, fell to the ground from a police blow on his head, bbut the riot had begun.

bA moment before I had told the press, which had de- bscended upon the scene as they had never done for any bother Soviet Jewish demonstration, that “until the Soviets bmake concessions they will have no peace.” The raging riot bthat suddenly erupted was the first shot in the violent war bthat would break out over the next three years, resulting in bangry condemnation by the government and the Jewish bEstablishment and in the release of tens of thousands of bSoviet Jews to Israel.

bFor the second time in twenty-four hours I spent several bhours in jail, this time charged with felonious assault, riot bharassment, and disorderly conduct. In addition, however, bI learned the next day that the police had capitulated. From bnow on, they announced, a limited number of demon- bstrators would be allowed to picket on the block of the bmission itself where the Soviets could see and hear them. bViolence was always bad, but sometimes successful.

bIt was only the beginning.

bWhat did the JDL want? Was this violence the proper broad for Jews to take? What conceivable good could emerge b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 3
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper