Pro-Israel Terrorist Group Charged with Hate Crime After Brutally Attacking Arabs, Leftists at AIPAC
Members of an extreme right-wing, pro-Israel terrorist organization have been charged with a hate crime after brutally attacking a 55-year-old Palestinian-American professor, according to a police report and video of the incident.
The Jewish Defense League (JDL), a fascist group, assaulted several activists on March 26 during peaceful demonstrations against the 2017 conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, D.C.
Leftist protesters were also targeted by the JDL, which is recognized by the FBI as a right-wing terrorist organization. JDL leaders have been arrested for plans to bomb mosques and the offices of American politicians.
Canadian JDL head, Meir Weinstein, took credit for the anti-Arab and anti-leftist activity at AIPAC in a video posted on Facebook.
While Donald Trump has attempted to bar visitors from six Muslim-majority countries, supposedly in the name of preventing attacks by Islamist extremists, far-right pro-Israel extremists from a recognized terrorist group have gone largely unchecked.
"I Was Horrified"
In total, four pro-Palestinian activists were attacked by JDL extremists at the AIPAC protest. One man, the 55-year-old Palestinian professor, was hospitalized.
D.C. police identified the victim as Kamal Nayfeh, who teaches technology at Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina. Video posted on Twitter by the journalist Alejandro Alvarez shows the gruesome attack:
The police report notes that JDL members punched Nayfeh in the face, kicked him when he was on the ground and hit him in the eye with a wooden pole.
"When I heard the screams and found out my father was being beaten nearby, I was horrified," Nayef's daughter Danya recalled in a statement. "I ran to him as quickly as I could. He appeared stunned and his eye looked awful, all swollen and cut up."
"They beat him after they heard he was Palestinian," she explained. "He was not threatening at all, it's perfectly clear that my father was brutalized simply because of who he is."
Danya Nayef added that the police "took a long time to make an arrest, despite the fact that my father was assaulted in front of plenty of witnesses." She noted that the JDL attackers "were left to freely walk around for a while before being detained."
"I had to ask the police to take action," she said. "I know they could have done more to keep everyone safe from this group."
On March 30, four days after the assault, two JDL members were charged with hate crimes. The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported that a police spokesperson identified the attackers as Yosef Steynovitz, 32, of Canada, who was charged with assault with significant bodily injury; and Rami Lubranicki, 59, of New Jersey, who was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.
"We're Going to Stand up Against This Fascism"
A source who asked to remain anonymous told AlterNet that there are several more pending charges against the other JDL members who engaged in the violence.
Jason Charter, an organizer with the activist group Americans Take Action, was also violently attacked by the JDL members. He suffered a concussion due to a head injury.
After a demonstration by the progressive peace group IfNotNow, which organized the largest ever Jewish-led protest against AIPAC, the JDL showed up to intimidate protesters. "They were trying to instigate problems with everyone," Charter said of the hate group.
JDL members were stomping and spitting on a Palestinian flag and shouting hate slogans. They repeatedly punched Charter and hit him over the head with a pipe.
"I get beat up, but I'm not that worried," Charter told AlterNet in a phone interview. "I will always continue to stand up for justice and rights for all."
"I don't stand for fascism," he added. "Some of us need to say that we're going to stand up against this fascism."
A bystander captured video of the JDL's attack on Charter and posted it on Twitter:
A History of Violent Pro-Israel Terrorism
Meir Weinstein, the national director of the Canadian branch of the JDL, posted a video on Facebook defending the recognized terrorist group and spreading numerous lies about the peaceful pro-Palestinian protesters.
Weinstein spoke in front of a poster of Meir Kahane, an Israeli-American right-wing extremist who founded the JDL and the fascist Kahanist movement. Kahane, a former member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, was an established racist who called for Israel to illegally annex Palestinian land, expel non-Jews and forbid cultural interchange and romantic relationships between Arabs and Jews.
In 2001, two leaders of the JDL, Irving David Rubin and Earl Leslie Krugel, were arrested for planning to bomb a mosque in California and the office of Congressman Darrell Issa. Krugel said the attack was meant to be a "wake-up call" to terrorize Muslim Americans.
Palestinian-American activist, Alex Odeh, was murdered by the JDL in 1985. Odeh, a Christian, had been a regional director of the civil rights group, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Rubin, the JDL chairman who would later be arrested for the bomb plot, welcomed the assassination at the time, insisting, "He got exactly what he deserved."