THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 257
Chapter 7: Aliyah: Time to Go Home
 
 
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Aliyah 257

bThe press featured the conference prominently under bsuch headlines as “JDL Begins Return to Israel Drive” and b“Go to Israel, Kahane Asks Jews.” In order to keep the bmomentum going and to publicize the idea of emergency baliyah, we decided to show up that week in Cleveland, Ohio, bat the biennial meeting of the American Jewish Congress. bThis organization is by far the most dangerous of all to bJewish interests. Not only has it not worked for proper bJewish interests, but it is so foreign to everything Jewish that bit was the major opponent of the public aid to Jewish educa- btion while leading the stupid and dangerous fight against bprayers in schools and Christmas symbols on any public bedifice and property. I knew that they had not the slightest bintention of emigrating to Israel; their president, Rabbi bArthur J. Lelyveld, spent far more time worrying about battacking US policy in Vietnam than on Jewish problems. So bwe announced with great fanfare that I would appear on bThursday, May 11, and ask permission to address the dele- bgates on the subject of mass aliyah. Having been barred bfrom two conferences, I had begun to realize how much bmore effective it was not to be allowed to speak.

bAnd indeed, when I arrived at the Sheraton-Cleveland, bwhere the conclave was being held, the hotel was filled with bpolice, newsmen, and television people. It was difficult to bcontain my laughter at the sight of this overreaction, which bwas so precisely what I wanted, and I told our youth leaders bNeil Rothernberg and Eli Schwartz, “We can always count bon them to help us.”

bThe nervous AJC officials barred me from entering, and bas I told the reporters and television men why I had come, bAJC chief functionary Will Maslow watched in obvious pain. bThe news media did the job we wanted them to do. The New bYork Times, for example, carried a full-column story headed b“Jewish Congress Keeps Kahane Out” and gave promi- bnence to the issue of emergency aliyah, including an unusu- bally long quote of Lelyveld’s hysterical reaction:

b“We disagree utterly with Rabbi Kahane’s hysterical opin- bion that Jews in the United States face a new Holocaust and b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 257
Chapter 7: Aliyah: Time to Go Home