Leaders of the Jewish Defense League have been arrested in failed bombing conspiracy.
Irv Rubin, the abrasive chairman of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), was arrested Dec. 12 for his part in an alleged plot to bomb the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa and the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Calif.
Rubin, 56, and JDL West Coast Coordinator Earl Krugel, 59, were indicted in January on charges of conspiracy, attempted arson, possession of illegal weapons and possession of a destructive device. If convicted, the two men could face life in prison. Both were being held in solitary confinement as they awaited trial.
The arrests highlighted the burst of xenophobic hate crimes that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. "Arabs need a wake-up call," said Krugel, according to court records detailing secretly taped conversations. "The JDL needs to do something to their filthy mosques."
The JDL, listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has a long history of bombing, assaulting and threatening its perceived enemies. Its targets have included the Soviet Union, neo-Nazi activists, Palestinian leaders, prominent black Americans, and even Jewish moderates.
JDL members and other Jewish radicals have also tried to kill each other in bouts of infighting.
Although the bulk of JDL violence occurred under different leadership more than a decade ago, Rubin, who has been arrested some 40 times, previously has been accused of such acts.
He was arrested in 1972 for investigation of the attempted murder of an American Nazi Party leader, but not charged. In 1978, he reportedly offered $500 to anyone who "kills, maims or seriously injures" a Nazi Party member.
JDL members were also suspected but never charged in a 1985 bombing in Santa Ana that killed Alex Odeh, the West Coast director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. The group's current Web site lauds JDL founder Meir Kahane, an Arab-hating racist who was assassinated in 1990.
The JDL claims to have 13,000 members, but apparently has a few dozen at best.
The anti-Semitic Nation of Islam (NOI), a Black Muslim group, reported on the arrests in its newspaper The Final Call. Without any evidence, the NOI also accused the FBI of helping Jews cover up a much wider anti-Islamic conspiracy.