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Special Reports Last Updated: Jul 10th, 2009 - 00:43:25

Jewish Defense League attacks Arab-owned store in France
By Saed Bannoura

Jul 10, 2009, 00:15

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Four French Jews, members of the Jewish Defense League, attacked and vandalized a book store in France owned by a pro-Palestinian Arab couple.

The four Jewish Defense League (JDL) members, age 16�26, were arrested after allegedly breaking into the store on Saturday wearing masks, smashing computers with clubs and setting fire to the books and merchandise.

On Wednesday, supporters of the store owners held a rally outside the store, saying that supporters of Palestinian rights refuse to be intimidated by the strong-arm tactics of the JDL.

The US branch of the Jewish Defense League has been described by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US as a terrorist organization, due to the group�s use of violence to achieve political objectives.

In a 1986 study of domestic terrorism, the US Department of Energy concluded: �For more than a decade, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States. . . . Since 1968, JDL operations have killed 7 persons and wounded at least 22 . . . Sixty-two percent of all JDL actions are directed against property; 30 percent against businesses; 4 percent against academics and academic institutions; and 2 percent against religious targets.� (Department of Energy, Terrorism in the United States and the Potential Threat to Nuclear Facilities, R-3351-DOE, January 1986, pp. 11-16)

The group was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, a right-wing extremist who openly advocated the extermination of Arabs. In addition to founding the JDL, he is also credited with founding the Kach movement, a terrorist group that is banned in Israel for carrying out multiple acts of violence.

In France, the JDL gained traction in 2006 when a Jewish youth was killed in an anti-Semitic attack in Paris. The French Jewish Defense League claims that they are not connected to the US Jewish Defense League, but they have the same name and philosophy.

The bookstore attacked this weekend was also attacked in 2006 by the Jewish Defense League, but no arrests were made at that time.

Olivia and Nicholas Zamour, who own the bookstore that was vandalized, told the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranoth, �We saw here today for the first time solidarity of hundreds of people for the Palestinian nation, against the pro-Israeli French government.� 

They also said, about the JDL, �This is a fascist organization that does not hesitate to attack people and places. They have no fear because, until today, no steps have been taken against them. However, all of this is going to change. Three years ago, they attacked our bookstore in the middle of the night and broke windows. This time they did it in the middle of the day, fearlessly.�

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