Community Advisory: ADC Alarmed by Hate Groups, Re-emergence of JDL

Washington, DC | | November 15, 2023 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is alarmed and deeply troubled by the hate expressed at yesterday’s Israel sponsored March in support of Genocide, held in Washington, D.C. We are alarmed by the strong showing of support and presence of supporters of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a terrorist organization. The JDL is responsible for the 1985 bombings of ADC offices, one of which killed our Southern California Regional Director Alex Odeh, and the 2001 attempted assassination of Rep. Darrell Issa. This display came just one day after the New York Daily News published an opinion piece titled “Confronting bigots for Jew hatred: A new Jewish Defense League is what is needed”. It is revolting that any media company would allow for the promotion of a terrorist organization, but in the current environment of anti-Arab racism it is just par for the course.

In addition to allowing the antisemitic Christian Zionist leader John Hagee to speak, the crowd shouted down any speaker who dared to say that Palestinians were humans deserving of basic dignity. The estimated 20,000 who gathered explicitly called for the massacre of innocent Palestinians, with signs such as “Let Israel Finish the Job”, “Civilians Who Praise the Slaughter of Jews are not Innocent”, and “Many Gazans Civilians are Hamas In-Training”. Signs were waved that contained horrific and hateful stereotypes of Arabs, and in an irony that is completely expected from Zionists, many signs co-opted “from the river to the sea” to specifically call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “The openness with which the JDL is being represented and promoted is a serious threat to Arab Americans, Palestinian Americans, and every American who stands up for Palestinian rights. The JDL and its ideology is a threat and must be rejected by all levels of government and all Americans of conscience.”

The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a Jewish far-right religious-political organization in the United States and Canada, whose stated goal is to “protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary”. It has been classified as “a right wing terrorist group” by the FBI since 2001, and the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled it a hate group. The FBI has linked the JDL to various acts of terrorism within the United States.

Founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York City in 1968, the JDL’s self-described purpose was to protect Jews from local manifestations of antisemitism. Its criticism of the Soviet Union increased support for the group, transforming it from a “vigilante club” into an organization boasting a claimed  membership of over 15,000 at its peak. The JDL took to bombing Arab and Soviet properties in the United States, and targeting various alleged “enemies of the Jewish people”, ranging from Arab-American political activists to neo-Nazis, for assassination. A number of JDL members have been linked to violent, and sometimes deadly, attacks in the United States and in other countries.

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