Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Jewish Identity and the JDL

Jewish Identity and the JDL

Janet L. Dolgin
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 210
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Jewish Identity and the JDL
    Book Description:

    To understand the situation of the Jewish Defense League in the United States, Janet Dolgin spent fourteen months with the JDL in Jerusalem and in New York City. In this book she considers how its members relate to each other and to outsiders, and places these relationships in the context of American society as a whole.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6809-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface Motionless Dance: “Basic Attitudes”
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    After Rome’s destruction of the second Temple, the Jews were scattered into the diaspora. In Europe and Russia, the Jews protected themselves against the next expulsion, the next pogrom, in the defending sanctity of ghetto faith. Jewish emancipations came with the Enlightenment in Western Europe during the nineteenth century; paths emerged from the ghettos; the despised defamers of Christ became a “race.” Not severed from society any longer by the rituals of a strange, infidelic religion, the Jews of Western Europe were allowed to enter society but were marked as biologically separate, precipitating a situation no less precarious for Jews...

  5. CHAPTER I The Activities of the Jewish Defense League
    (pp. 10-49)

    In February 1973 a swastika was painted on the door of a house in Queens, New York. Those responsible were not identified, but the intentions of the “artists” (a word used by the owner of the house) were clearly threatening. A man claiming to represent the Hebrew Defense Association (HDA) arrived to offer his movement’s “solution” for the family’s “problem.” Family members, already frightened and anxious, disputed the morality and viability of the militant reaction suggested by the HDAer. Some took sides against the HDA, characterizing the association as “strong-arm” and “vigilante”; the father of the family, however, found the...

  6. CHAPTER II Motionless Dance
    (pp. 50-64)

    “If,” writes Sartre, “it is true, as Hegel says, that a community is historical to the degree that it remembers its history, then the Jewish community is the least historical of all, for it keeps a memory of nothing but a long martyrdom, that is, of a long passivity” (1965:66-67). Since Sartre wrote these words other modes of historic identification have emerged for the Jew with, particularly, the re-creation of the State of Israel; but still, Israeli politicians, for instance, bemoan (or occasionally justify) a fear, a certainty, or at least an awareness of a “Massada complex,” represented through images...

  7. CHAPTER III Scholar / Chaya
    (pp. 65-99)

    At its inception JDL was composed of lower-middle-class adults, concerned primarily with the personal hardships of everyday life. Although Kahane had just published a book dedicated to the “enslaved Jews of Russia,” the members of JDL were far more alert to the “Jewish problems” in Crown Heights and Williamsburg than to those in the Soviet Union. In 1968 there were no JDL seminars on “Jewish history” or “Jewish identity”: these were hardly at issue. Yet by the early 1970s the league was receiving headlines in major newspapers throughout the U.S. for its “militant” campaign against the Soviet Union; the small...

  8. CHAPTER IV Upright Kneeling
    (pp. 100-140)

    “What thus seems to take place outside ideology . . . in reality takes place in ideology. What really takes place in ideology seems therefore to take place outside it. That is why those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology . . .” (Althusser 1971:163). In these words Louis Althusser is implicating the most normal, mundane, and unquestioned aspects of daily life as ideological. Just when ideology seems farthest afield—as when, following Althusser’s example, one responds to a greeting in the street—one is reacting from and within ideology. Those actions and beliefs that appear...

  9. CHAPTER V Silent Screaming
    (pp. 141-174)

    JDL Ideology “found itself” in a permanent opposition between the anti-Semite and the Jew, and most JDLers unhesitatingly upheld the dictum that all non-Jews were potential anti-Semites and all Jews, potential victims. This simplicity, however, concealed a significant variation in JDLers’ beliefs about and interactions with different groups of non-Jews. Not unaware of these contrasting constructions of Self and Other, JDLers were caught in a pull between apprehending an unequivocal division of Jews and non-Jews and understanding a more complex universe of social interaction. The inclusion of nationalism into league Ideology, especially since that nationalism could be and was enacted...

  10. CHAPTER VI Parable of the Motionless Dance
    (pp. 175-178)

    “I am told,” writes Sartre in concludingAnti-Semite and Jew,“that a Jewish league against anti-Semitism has just been reconstituted. I am delighted; that proves that the sense of authenticity is developing among the Jews” (1965:151). Sartre proceeds to express doubt about the possibility of this league’s succeeding insofar as Jews “hesitate to participate because of a sort of modesty” (1965:151). Yet when a Jewish league against anti-Semitism was established in New York twenty years after Sartre wroteAnti-Semite and Jew,its project was somewhat unlike that envisioned by him. Sartre’s “authentic” Jews would sacrifice assimilation, but only so that...

  11. Bibliography: Works Cited
    (pp. 179-184)
  12. Index
    (pp. 185-190)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-191)