Is this any way for nice Jewish boys to behave?

The Jewish Defense League (JDL) started out as a so-called “self –defense" movement in New York City circa 1968 by one Meir Kahane. It seems that many Orthodox Jews were the subject of attacks by the local gangs that occupied the same neighborhoods. In an effort to defend themselves they formed their own groups of vigilantes ( I’m having a hard time picturing Jewish vigilantes) that patrolled the streets and escorted members of their faith as they made their way throughout the city.

It wasn’t long before the Jewish Defense League broadened the scope of their activities and started to voice their concerns regarding the whole of the Jewish community throughout the world.

Today the JDL is viewed by most folks as extremists and fanatics and many mainstream Jewish organizations have gone out of their way to distance themselves and denounce their radical ideas. The following might be one of the reasons. Its called the five principals of the Jewish Defense League and is taken verbatim from their website (And here I thought only the Muslims were the only ones portrayed as fanatics.)


The Jewish Defense League came into being to educate the Jewish people to the concept of Ahavat Yisrael... one Jewish people, indivisible and united, from which flows the love for and the feeling of pain of all Jews. It sees the need for a movement that is dedicated specifically to Jewish problems and that allocates its time, resources, energies and funds to Jews. It realizes that in the end... with few exceptions... the Jew can look to no one but another Jew for help and that the true solution to the Jewish problem is the liquidation of the Exile and the return of all Jews to Eretz Yisrael... the land of Israel. It sees the immediate need to place Judaism over any other "ism" and ideology and calls for the use of the yardstick: "Is it good for the Jews?"


JDL teaches the concept of Hadar... pride in and knowledge of Jewish tradition, faith, culture, land, history, strength, pain and peoplehood. Hadar is the need to have pride in Judaism and not allow it to be disgraced and defiled by beating and desecration of Jewish honor. This is the concept that the great Jewish leader Zev Jabotinsky attempted to instill in the oppressed and degraded masses of Eastern Europe during the holocaust over 5 decades ago. The Anti Semite's hatred and contempt for the Jew is an attempt to degrade us. It is an attempt to instill within the Jew a feeling of inferiority. It is an attempt that all too often succeeds in promoting Jewish self-hatred and shame in an attempt to escape one's Jewishness. Hadar is pride! Hadar is self respect! Hadar is dignity in being a Jew!


JDL upholds the principle of Barzel... iron... the need to both move to help Jews everywhere and to change the Jewish image through sacrifice and through all necessary means... even strength, force and violence. The Galut image of the Jew as a weakling, as one who is easily stepped upon and who does not fight back is an image that must be changed. Not only does that image cause immediate harm to Jews but it is a self-perpetuating thing because if a Jew runs away or because a Jew allows himself to be stepped upon he guarantees that another Jew in the future will be attacked because of the image he has perpetuated. JDL wants to create a physically strong, fearless and courageous Jew who fights back. We are changing an image born of 2000 years in Galut, an image that must be buried because it has buried us. We train ourselves for the defense of Jewish lives and rights. We learn how to fight physically, for it is better to know how and not have to than have to and not know how.


Mishmaat... discipline and dedication... creates within the Jew the knowledge that he (or she) can and will do whatever must be done, and the unity and strength of willpower to bring this into reality. It was the lack of discipline and unity that led continually to the destruction of the Jewish people. It is Jewish unity and self-discipline that will lead to the triumph of the Jewish people.


Faith in Ha-shem our God and in the greatness of the Jewish people, our Torah, our religion and our land of Israel is Bitachon. It is a faith that is built by our belief in Ha-shem... The Jewish God of Hosts and the incredible saga of Jewish history that has seen us overcome the flood of enemies that have arisen to wipe us out in every generation. It is this faith in Ha-shem our God and the permanence and survival of the Jewish people that in turn gives faith to the ultimate success of the Jewish Defense League. No matter how difficult, no matter how impossible the task may seem... if it is a good task... if it is a holy task... it will succeed because it must.

Still not enough for ya? How about this statement issued by the JDL upon the massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron by one Baruch Goldstein.

"We feel that Goldstein took a preventative measure against yet another Arab attack on Jews. We understand his motivation, his grief and his actions. And we are not ashamed to say that Goldstein was a charter member of the Jewish Defense League."

Over the years, the FBI and CIA have implicated the Jewish Defense League in upwards of 50 (what they call) terrorist attacks.

I ask you again, is this any way for a nice Jewish boy to behave?