Jewish Defense LeagueThe Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a tiny Jewish "self-defense" movement, considered a terrorist organization by the CIA and FBI. It was founded in 1968 by Meir Kahane, and began as a vigilante group with the goal of protecting Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York City from attack by various gangs, and to protest local instances of violence. The JDL soon broadened its concerns to the global situation of the Jewish community, and sought to defend Jews from perceived threats through the use of violence.
The JDL is widely viewed as extremist and no mainstream Jewish organization has ties to it. There are, however, several right-wing movements that have links to and support the JDL, not least within the settler community in the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank (eg. the Kach movement). Newspaper reports indicate that membership in the JDL appears to have been limited to a few hundred people by the year 2000, with a much smaller number actually being active in the organization.
JDL terrorist activity
In these cases an anonymous caller would claim JDL responsibility for the bombing, which was then denied by the JDL leadership, although often they would say that, although they had nothing to do with it themselves, they were happy the attacks had occurred: for example JDL chairman Irv Rubin said Odeh "got what he deserved", although they insist the attack was done by Arabs, not by them. (Sources: , )
JDL has also defended the massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron by Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a former JDL activist, in February 1994, saying "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." ().
After 1987, when several JDL members were convicted on terrorism charges, there was a lull in reports of JDL terrorism. On December 12, 2001, Irv Rubin, the Chairman of JDL, and Earl Krugel, a member of the organization, were officially charged with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism. The two were allegedly caught in the act of planning a bombing of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa's office and the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles. The two were arrested as part of a sting operation when they received a shipment of explosives at Krugel's home in L.A.
Shortly after his arrest Irv Rubin died of injuries sustained in jail while awaiting trial for the mosque bomb plot. Officially, the injuries were self-inflicted (suicide). On February 4, 2003, Krugel pled guilty to conspiracy charges stemming from the plan. The arrests of Rubin and Krugel effectively finished the JDL as a viable organization.