THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 148
Chapter 5: I Am a Jew
 
 
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148 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

blost to Jews as Jews, it is also clear that others have not bdisappeared even though we might have hoped that they bwould.

bThese were the Jewish anti-Semites, the self-haters, the bones who flocked to the Marxist groups; every such move- bment had more than its share of “sons of the covenant.” bThey were the Jews who cheered on the Black Panthers and bsupported them even as they spouted their obscenities bagainst “Zionists.” They were the ones who joined with bArabs at rallies in calling for “the dismantling of the settler- bstate Israel” and the substitution, for it, of “Palestine.”

bAnd then there were the Jewish nihilists, the confused, bthe crazies. The ones who fled from life and leaped into the bworld of drugs, the ones whose search for “meaning” led bthem to Zen, to Indian “masters,” to Jesus. A conglomerate bof troubled, desperate, lost Jews joining the rest, united with bthem in turning their backs on their people.

bIt was this lack of Jewish identity that was also the founda- btion of foundations of all the other problems facing Jews. If bJews did not struggle for Jews in the USSR or in Arab lands, bin great measure this was because so many young Jews did bnot identify with Jewish causes at all. If there was the prob- blem of getting people to defend Jewish crime-ridden areas bor to get benefits for Jewish poor, again lack of Jewish bidentity was the problem. And if there was only a trickle of bJewish youth idealistic enough to want to emigrate to Israel, bonce again it was the absence of Jewishness that was at the bcore of the problem.

bJDL understood clearly that the way to cut through the bapathy and the lack of identity was to give the young alien- bated Jew a cause. The natural willingness of youth to march bfor a cause, to burn with idealism, was the key to winning bback the wandering Jewish youth. At the same time, it was bthe return to Jewishness that was the key to the way back to bJudaism, ultimately the only meaningful and true Jewish bidentity. This was what I meant when I told a packed Beth bJacob, Columbus, Ohio, synagogue in May 1971, “The issue bof Soviet Jewry brought out the identity in many American bJewish youth.”

bWhat was happening to the young Jew who risked some- b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 148
Chapter 5: I Am a Jew