A Canadian member of the Jewish Defense League was indicted by a grand jury in last week in Washington, D.C., for charges that include the assault on a Palestinian-American at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in March.
Yosef Steynovitz faces three assault-related charges, the Canadian Jewish News reported, including attacking a man with a dangerous weapon and beating Kamal Nayfeh, a 55-year-old community college teacher who was reportedly walking to the conference when the attack happened. A photo of the bruised and bloodied face of Nayfeh circulated widely after the incident. At the time, JDL leader Meir Weinstein claimed videos and photos of the incident were incomplete and said his group was acting in self defense.
One of Steynovitz’s charges includes a hate crime enhancement for anti-Arab bias that would lead to a greater penalty if Steynovitz is convicted, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
The Jewish Defense League was founded by the ultra-nationalist politician and writer Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1971. According to the FBI, the JDL has been involved in plotting and executing acts of terrorism within the United States. Since Kahane’s assassination in 1990, the group has fractured and has been dormant for years. Over the last months, though — amidst culture wars convulsing the nation — some acolytes of Kahane have sought to bring his ideas back into the mainstream.
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.
Jewish Defense League Member Indicted For AIPAC Assault