THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 195
Chapter 6: Jewish Power: Is It Good for Jews?
 
 
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Jewish Power 195

balong the line someone may have asked me a question. We bshould cooperate with any public agency in terms of trying bto be of help.” He then stressed that the ADL has made befforts at “countering the JDL,” noting that “we are op- bposed to the JDL as all Jewish organizations are.”

bWhen the news broke, Jews were outraged and even bmembers of Jewish organizations expressed their shock bsince few things were more horrifying and distasteful in bJewish history and tradition than the treacherous informer. bFollowing hundreds of years of a central prayer with a set beighteen-prayer-blessings format, the problem of Jewish binformers during the Roman era caused the Sanhedrin to badd a nineteenth one beginning with the words: “And may bthe informers have no hope . . .” Jewish halacha goes so bfar as to allow the death penalty for Jewish informers even at ba period when, due to the dissolution of the Sanhedrin, the bdeath penalty is not in practical effect. Now, Jews were bstunned to find a major Jewish group descending to the bdepths.

bRabbi Bernard Berzon, president of the Rabbinical bCouncil of America, stated that to inform on any Jew is bcontrary to Jewish law; Henry Steigman of the Synagogue bCouncil of America vigorously attacked the informing; and bat a special meeting of the bi-weekly intellectual publication bSh’mah, editor Eugene Borowitz stated that the action of the bADL was “an intolerable development in the Jewish com- bmunity.” Bernard Deutsch, prominent philanthropist, ac- btive in Soviet Jewish affairs, and former ADL Brooklyn bregion chairman, demanded from B’nai B’rith President bWilliam Wexler that the group destroy all its files on JDL.

bWhile noticeably stung by the criticism, the ADL de- bfended its action, with its national director Benjamin R. bEpstein saying:

b“The FBI calls us very frequently for information in our barea of concern. We cooperate with them as we do with all bgovernment agencies and with all the responsible institu- btions and with the press. To put an invidious interpretation bon such action by the ADL is mischievous and even slander- b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 195
Chapter 6: Jewish Power: Is It Good for Jews?