Jonah Goldberg
Lock 'em up. They are terrorists, and they should get the stiffest punishment allowed by law. The "they" I'm referring to? Jews, specifically two criminal members of the Jewish Defense League, a fringe group of zealots rejected by the overwhelming majority of Jews. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, Irv Rubin, the chairman of the JDL, and an accomplice, Earl Krugel, were accused of planning to blow up the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles as well the offices of Lebanese-American Congressman Darrell Issa. They were arrested, with the aid of an informant, when explosive materials were delivered to Krugel's home. There's some evidence that Rubin and his henchman did not intend to kill anybody, just blow up some buildings. However, a secret tape recording of conversations between the conspirators and the secret informant are hardly exculpatory. When the informant warned Krugel that an Arab might be killed at the congressman's offices, Los Angeles Times reported, Krugel replied, "C'est la vie." The fact that they didn't kill anyone will keep them from getting the chair, but that doesn't mean -- assuming the prosecutors can prove their case - that these incandescently idiotic thugs shouldn't go to jail for the rest of their natural lives. It's not like Rubin hasn't been looking for trouble for a very long time. He replaced the virulently racist Meir Kahane as the head of the JDL in the 1980s (Kahane was assassinated in 1990 by an Egyptian radical). He's been charged and arrested scores of times. In 1992, he was charged with conspiracy to commit murder but was released for lack of evidence. In 1980, he was acquitted for soliciting the murder of U.S.-based Nazis. Not that I'd object if God threw a few lighting bolts at all Nazis, but attempted murder is still attempted murder. Which is something I wish someone would tell the man in charge of prosecuting Rubin and Krugel. At a press conference, John Gordon, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, declared, "Not long after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I announced my office's promise to vigorously prosecute hate crimes." He continued, "Last night's arrests confirm that we meant what we said." Hate crimes, shmate crimes. These guys are terrorists or at least would-be terrorists (and "hate crimes" is one of the dumbest new fads in American law). I don't have a perfect definition for terrorism, but I'm at a loss to figure out how these guys don't fit the bill. The race or religion of the intended victims should be as irrelevant as the race or religion of the alleged criminals. Dragging in the issue of "hate crimes" just muddies the water. Moreover, President Bush has issued a single standard for the war on terrorism: Harbor or coddle terrorists and you are a terrorist. So, it would be absurd to think that the United States of America wouldn't come down hard on perpetrators within our own borders. In fact, my feelings about hate crimes notwithstanding, I'm hoping the United States will be extra tough on these guys -- because they're Jews. In the chaotic realm of public opinion at home and abroad, Jews have a hard enough time. In the United States, Jews still face the charge of "dual loyalty" to Israel. Abroad, they are pilloried for being "no better" than the terrorists of the Middle East. The last things Jews should be doing is helping either of these slanders. That's why I have no sympathy for Jonathan Pollard, the convicted spy who gave classified U.S. materials to Israel. Pollard betrayed his country, and for that alone he should rot in jail. But he also betrayed the hard-earned trust Jews have earned in the United States, and for that American Jews should denounce him. Similarly, these twisted yutzes in Los Angeles seek to tear down the one thing on Israel's side: moral authority. For Israel's critics, Jews everywhere are, in effect, Israelis. And when these morons plot to blow up mosques and possibly kill civilians, they make all Jews guilty by association in the eyes of much of the world. Israel and its defenders have a hard enough time combating the notion that Israel's military attacks on legitimate military targets (e.g. terrorist cells, bomb-making factories, etc.) aren't "terrorist" acts akin to the deliberate murdering of teen-agers in pizza joints and discos. The recently released videotape of Osama bin Laden reveling over the murder of innocent Americans is obvious proof of what happens when a religion or cause gets hijacked by murderers. There's little chance that the Jewish community would ever follow the lead of the likes of Rubin, but even unsuccessful hijackers should get the book thrown at them.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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