March 12, 1998 in Nation/World

Jewish Activist Won’t Be Deterred Leader Of Jewish Defense League Refuses To Rule Out Confrontation With Aryan Nations

Ken Olsen Heather Lalley Contributed Staff writer
 

The leader of the Jewish Defense League says he’s not traveling all the way from Los Angeles to Coeur d’Alene to get into a fistfight.

But Irv Rubin’s resume belies that.

Rubin’s Web page biography brags that his actions “on behalf of Jewish people” have led to more than 40 arrests. “He’s lost count,” the electronic chronicle says.

And the FBI’s joint anti-terrorist task force in Los Angeles contacted him Wednesday morning to “talk about the Coeur d’Alene situation,” Rubin said, referring to his plans to stop an Aryan Nations parade planned for the Lake City.

Many other members of the Jewish community openly disdain Rubin’s tactics and rhetoric as too confrontational.

For several weeks, Rubin has said he will come to Coeur d’Alene to confront the Aryan Nations during a march planned to commemorate Adolf Hitler’s birthday. Until Wednesday, the Aryans had said they would hold the parade on April 18, which also is the last day of the Jewish celebration of Passover.

Now, Aryan officials say they will change the march to July in conjunction with the Aryan World Congress.

Rubin’s application to hold a parade simultaneously with the Aryans’ April event was rejected Tuesday by Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Judy. Coeur d’Alene cannot handle two such events at the same time in the same place, Judy said.

Rubin is hardly persuaded to stay home.

“I’m going to move fire and water, heaven and hell to get the permit,” Rubin said. If that fails, “we will be there.

“The media doesn’t want to see a passive response - they want to see a confrontation,” Rubin said.

Does that mean there will be violence?

“Anything is possible,” Rubin said. “My bottom line is I don’t want to see a passive response, but to see an angry assemblage of people, Jew and Gentile, all colors…I want Mark Fuhrman to join us.

“Every time they yell ‘White Power’ and ‘Zeig Heil,’ I want to yell ‘never again,”’ Coeur d’Alene police, meanwhile, aren’t saying what sort of preparations they are making in anticipation of the Aryan Nations parade or a confrontation between the Aryans and the Defense League.

But they have asked for outside help in less-dicey situations. Last Fourth of July, police summoned help from the Idaho State Police Crowd Intervention Team based on crowd problems the previous year.

Much of the Jewish community is working hard to distance itself from Rubin and the Jewish Defense League.

“Everyone has their crazies, including us Jews,” said Rabbi Jacob Izakson of Temple Beth Shalom in Spokane. “We reject 100 percent the Jewish Defense League, or more specifically Irv Rubin’s opinions.”

Jewish leaders in Los Angeles also have little regard for Rubin or the Jewish Defense League.

“They tend to be extreme and intemperate,” said David Lehrer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “We find their methods reprehensible.”

The Defense League has virtually no constituents, Lehrer said. And Rubin uses arrests to get attention.

The unfortunate result of Rubin’s tactics is to shift the focus from the Aryans or other hate groups to the Defense League, he added.

Lehrer takes seriously Rubin’s threat to come to Coeur d’Alene and get in the Aryans’ faces.

“That kind of counterproductive confrontation is what the Jewish Defense League is known for,” Lehrer said. “And unfortunately the Aryan Nations and Jewish Defense League’s interests coalesce in a confrontation because both end up getting attention on the nightly news.”

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

New date

The Aryan Nations says it is rescheduling its 100 Man Flag March from April 18 to July 25 to coincide with the Aryan World Congress in Coeur d’Alene. The Rev. Richard Butler, leader of the group, said Wednesday he has applied for a new parade permit. City officials had planned to make an announcement today about Butler’s application for an April 18 permit. They said they had been unaware of the change of plans and are assessing the situation.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Ken Olsen Staff writer

Staff writer Heather Lalley contributed to this report.

This sidebar appeared with the story: New date The Aryan Nations says it is rescheduling its 100 Man Flag March from April 18 to July 25 to coincide with the Aryan World Congress in Coeur d’Alene. The Rev. Richard Butler, leader of the group, said Wednesday he has applied for a new parade permit. City officials had planned to make an announcement today about Butler’s application for an April 18 permit. They said they had been unaware of the change of plans and are assessing the situation.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Ken Olsen Staff writer Staff writer Heather Lalley contributed to this report.

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