I have long been very chary regarding the Jewish Defense League. Having attended a junior high school where the Jewish kids were countable on the fingers of both hands even after my sister and I transferred in, I do understand firsthand the need for an able-bodied Jewish kid to resort to physical measures in dealing with bullies. Done correctly, certain countermeasures can put a stop to the bullying, as indeed, they did for me. The prospect of supportive confraternity ostensibly offered by the JDL can be very enticing indeed, especially to the Jewish youth who has experienced anti-semitic verbal taunts and worse.
But I saw early on that what the JDL stands for on paper is not what the JDL always brings into actualization, and so declined over the years a number of invitations to join. Specifically, the JDL has a special draw for misfits in Jewish society who, for all of their pride and concern for their fellow Jews, fail to properly discern the time and place to employ -- and not to employ -- physical violence. Too many times, overzealousness has been very misdirected, to the discredit of the JDL and the Jewish community at large.
And unfortunately, Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the JDL, condoned such intemperance overly much. Accordingly, while I have had occasion to cooperate with some of the more rational and reflective members of the JDL in matters of valid concern (e.g., providing a physical presence on "Mischief Night" at the home, located in an overwhelmingly anti-semitic neighborhood, of a widow whose adolescent daughter had already been attacked, and whose windows had already been broken), I have never cast my lot with joining the JDL as a member.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, I do, from time to time, consider a situation and wonder "What would Rabbi Kahane do?"
One such situation is in the process of occurring at Brooklyn College. A group of pro-Arab and anti-Israel activists are now slated to present a one-sided program for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel on the Brooklyn. The Department of Political Science is a sponsor of the event. Karen Gould, the President of Brooklyn College, insists that "academic freedom" requires that the program go forward (though she has yet to explain how the boycott, ostracism and exclusion of academics from Israel because they are Israeli constitutes academic freedom).
The protests against the upcoming program (it is unlikely to be scrubbed) are growing increasingly intense by the hour, and New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has called for Gould's resignation.
What would Rabbi Kahane do?
It is a known fact that much of the research and development of Intel's computer technology has taken place and continues to take place in Israel.
If the Political Science Department insists on supporting a boycott of Israeli products, then maybe computers with Intel chips do not belong in the Department's offices. How about a mass incursion of able-bodied Jewish (or, for that matter, gentile) men and women into the Brooklyn College Political Science Department to confiscate the computers and walk out with them?