THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 286
Chapter 8: Wherever There Is Jewish Pain
 
 
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286 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

bI began by looking at the wealthy youngsters who had never bknown and never raised a voice on behalf of Jewish poor, bthe oppressed Jewish neighborhoods, Soviet Jews, and said: b“Dear NFTY, I am ashamed at your silence.” The byoungsters sat and listened for an hour to things they had bnever heard before, and when I left, the seeds of another brevolution had been sown in at least a few more young bJewish hearts.

bIn August 1971 the Omaha, Nebraska, ADL-Community bRelations Committee followed national orders and dutifully bvoted to condemn the JDL—except for one voice. Mrs. bMickey Gerelick, the editor of the local paper, the Jewish bPress, said she was opposed to many of the JDL activities but bwas “disturbed” by the vote, asking: “Do we really believe bthat by ignoring or opposing them, the JDL will go away?”

b“I’m not sure,” she continued, “where JDL activities fail. I bam sure, however, that there were thousands of Jews who bwent silently and nonviolently to the gas chambers in Ger- bmany. Is nonviolence always the best policy?

b“It is commendable for JDL to support the ‘law of the bland’ but there would be no Jew alive today had we not bbroken the laws of Pharaoh, the Philistines, Antiochus, bHitler, etc. Would there be an Israel today without the b‘illegal’ activities of the Irgun . . . ? We may not like it, but bcountless young Jews have been ‘turned on’ by Kahane and bthe JDL . . .”

bIt did not matter. On the one hand, nothing could change bthe Jewish Establishment; and on the other, the Jewish bmasses were flocking to hear the JDL. In vain did the B’nai bB’rith order its chapters not to give JDL speakers the right to bappear; tens of chapters ignored the order and sought JDL bspeakers. And when synagogues sought Establishment bspeakers to debate, they fled like the plague after having bseen the results of some of the early forums.

bThe JDL grew and spread all over the country. A New bYork Times story of June 28, 1971, headlined “Jewish De- bfense League Gains Adherents in Cities Across Country,” bhit the nail on the head, but perhaps the most honest and bcorrect observations were made by Simon Bloom, editor of b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 286
Chapter 8: Wherever There Is Jewish Pain