Bomb Plot Charge Only Latest JDL Controversy

ByABC News
March 15, 2002, 5:36 PM

March 19 -- The trial of the leader of the Jewish Defense League, who stands accused of planning a pipe-bomb attack against Arab-Americans, represents only the latest allegation of violent plots and actions in the group's 31-year history as an extremist organization.

With such slogans as "For every Jew a .22" and "Keep Jews Alive with a .45," the group has operated at the most extreme fringes of the Jewish community. The JDL views America and the world at large as strongly anti-Semitic, and insists that only the most extreme forms of resistance, including violence, can protect the Jewish people.

"The world needs to wake up and realize that in the year 2002 Jews are being killed for the fact that they are Jews and for no other reason," the group says in a recorded message at its headquarters.

The Justice Department attributes a number of bombing and arson attacks to the group, and labeled the JDL a terrorist organization in the 1970s, when it was most active.

"During the 1970s and early 1980s, at the height of violent antiwar/left-wing activism, there were dozens of terrorist attacks carried out by Jewish extremist groups (such as the Jewish Defense League and the United Jewish Underground) and other extremist ethnic groups," the Justice Department wrote in a 1999 report on terrorism in the United States.

Charges of Plotting Attack on Mosque, Arab Congressman

Today, JDL chairman Irv Rubin, 56, and member Earl Krugel, 59, face charges in a Los Angeles federal court for allegedly plotting to bomb the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, the King Fahd Mosque, and the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, an Arab-American congressman.

Rubin and Krugel were arrested Dec. 12 after an informant allegedly delivered five pounds of explosive powder to Krugel's home.

The JDL and lawyers for the two defendants claim the prosecution's main witness entrapped Rubin and Krugel.

The two men each face maximum penalties of two life terms in prison, plus a possible additional 75 years for Rubin and an additional 95 years for Krugel.