THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 138
Chapter 4: Violence: Is This Any Way For a Nice Jewish Boy to Behave?
 
 
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138 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

btheir own painful experience. Williamsburg was a case bin point.

bWilliamsburg is a poor, run-down neighborhood in bNorth Brooklyn between the East River and other such brun-down areas as Greenpoint and Bushwick. It is a racially bmixed neighborhood with many Puerto Ricans, a small bnumber of Negroes, and a large number of mostly Hassidic bJews. The robberies, muggings, and beatings that have, btaken place there are written on the police blotter of the b90th Precinct. The rapes of Jewish women are not, because bof the shame involved.

bIn June 1970 a young Black girl darted from between two bcars and was run over by a truck in Williamsburg. The bdriver was a Hassidic Jew and the accident touched off three bnights of escalating attacks on Jews that included assaults band firebombs. The police were nowhere to be found, while bthe newspapers imposed a total blackout on the events. JDL, bnotified, came down and for two consecutive nights fought bwith the hoodlums. In one memorable instance the JDL bpeople—from all over the city and including religious and bnon-religious Jews—chased the mob into their own en- bclaves, burst into the club that served as the center for their bactivities, beat up those they found there, and sprayed the bclub with mace, a concoction used by police that causes bcoughing, choking, and tearing. The most important part of bthe evening was the fact that large numbers of Hassidic byoung men from the neighborhood also took part in the bdefense of Williamsburg and joined with JDL in smashing bhoodlums’ heads, throwing garbage cans through windows, band other things that are only allowed to be done by “the bother side.” That is the happy part of the unhappy story.

bThe sad part—aside from the fact that I as well as a bnumber of other JDL people were arrested—was the reac- btion of the official Williamsburg Jewish Establishment, bwhich hastened to inform the press that they “had not binvited the JDL down.”

bThese were some of the things which hindered and even- btually wrecked JDL efforts to create permanent and success- bful patrols in New York City, in the Mattapan-Dorchester b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 138
Chapter 4: Violence: Is This Any Way For a Nice Jewish Boy to Behave?