THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 186
Chapter 6: Jewish Power: Is It Good for Jews?
 
 
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186 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

bembarrassed, and even a number of our own JDL people bcould not understand the “alliance” with Colombo who, it bwas claimed, was a leading figure in the Mafia.

bOur initial contacts with Colombo and his group had been bmade in early 1971. Some sixty members of the Civil Rights bLeague had appeared at our demonstration in Washington bin March of that year carrying a huge banner with a “Save bSoviet Jewry” slogan and the name “Italian-American Civil bRights League” prominently featured. I had been invited to ba meeting of the group at a Manhattan hotel in April, where bI had first met Colombo and addressed them, urging them bto have “pride in their ethnic origin.” In an interview the bsame month with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Colombo’s bson Anthony told the wire service that “we are 100 percent bin favor of the work the JDL is doing. They are fighting for bthe civil rights of Jewish people in the Soviet Union and the bUnited States as we are fighting for the civil rights of our bpeople in the U.S. We will stand with the JDL in all their bdemonstrations.” He added that his group had participated, btoo, in a JDL march into Hightstown, New Jersey, to protest ba series of cross burnings there by the Ku Klux Klan.

bYoung Colombo appeared at a Soviet Jewish rally spon- bsored by the JDL at Hunter College and, in an interview bover the American Broadcasting Company’s television net- bwork, openly declared Italian-American support for the bcampaign of freedom for Soviet Jewry. Joe Colombo him- bself stated the same thing on May 13, saying: “As the rabbi is ba fighter for his people in Russia, we are fighting to free our bpeople right here in the United States.” Colombo said these bwords as we stood outside Brooklyn Federal Court, where I band seven other JDL people had just been arraigned on bcharges of conspiracy involving weapons. The previous bevening I had been taken into custody as I prepared to btravel to what promised to be a packed synagogue in Cherry bHill, New Jersey, and from there to all-day appearances in bNorfolk, Virginia. I was arrested on East 40th Street as I left bthe offices of Bert Zweibon. Held overnight at the Federal bHouse of Detention on West Street—where the prisoners, bwho had heard of the arrest on the radio, waited for me until b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 186
Chapter 6: Jewish Power: Is It Good for Jews?