THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 6
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper
 
 
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6 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

bthe arrivals urging them to return their tickets and not to battend the concert. “They played music at Auschwitz, too,” bread the leaflets but, except fora handful, the words made blittle impression on the crowd. Being perhaps hooligans but bhardly fools, we had not expected them to, and so, as the bcurtain rose on the Moscow Philharmonic and the first notes bburst upon the expectant audience, so did the JDL. From a bback door onto the stage rushed a band of shouting young- bsters. As the Russians fled the stage, two of the new “enter- btainers” began a series of Hebrew liberation songs while bothers waved Israeli flags. The audience, not yet sufficiently bJewishly enlightened, booed and shouted for the intruders bto disappear. Several people who attempted to climb the bstage and eject them were swiftly disabused of such foolish- bness. As fights broke out, scores of people in the audience bpicked up their hats and coats and left the hall. It was only bthe arrival of the police that restored order, but even then bfor only ten minutes as another group suddenly appeared bon the stage. All in all, it was an interesting beginning for the bAmerican-Soviet cultural exchange program.

bBrooklyn was followed by Carnegie Hall as on February 1, binternationally famous David Oistrakh and Soratoslav Rich- bter were startled to see young men suddenly burst into the bauditorium and run down the aisles followed by shouting bsecurity guards and police.

bThe main target of JDL in this phase of the campaign was bworld-famous impresario Sol Hurok, who had hit upon the bexchange program as a marvelous way to make even more bmoney than he already had. It was Hurok who was bringing bover the vast majority of the Russian cultural “shock btroops.” Hurok’s offices themselves were taken over on Feb- bruary 2, 1970, and all business suspended until twelve of the bdemonstrators were arrested. As JDL became more and bmore expert at breaking up Soviet artistic exhibits b(ammonia-fume-filled bottles and stink bombs were soon bable to clear halls in record time), it became clear that Hurok bwas hurting and he contacted me through an intermediary, bseeking a meeting. We met at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhat- btan, where it was suggested that Mr. Hurok knew of the bdifficult financial situation of the JDL and would be willing b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 6
Chapter 1: Soviet Jewry: I Am My Brother’s Keeper