Meet New York City's Terror-Linked Political Kingmaker
Bob Turner, the Republican candidate campaigning to replace disgraced Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, picked up a crucial endorsement last week when Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind threw his support to him. Hikind is the former leader of the the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which the FBI lists as a terror organization. He was also a confidant of the fanatical Israeli settler leader Meir Kahane, who called for the "slaughter" of Palestinians. Under Kahane's direction, Hikind operated a front group with the JDL cadre Victor Vancier (aka Chaim Ben Pesach), who served 10 years in prison for carrying out numerous firebomb attacks on innocent people, and openly contemplated killing the renowned Palestinian professor Edward Said. According to journalists Michael Karpin and Ina Friedman, "Hikind had been suspected [by the FBI] of similar activities" including a string of six bombings against Arab-American targets across the United States.
Hikind once told the journalist Robert I. Friedman that he supported a Jewish terrorist underground that assassinates Nazis. "If it is a group that is made up of people who are intelligent professionals and their goal is to execute those clearly responsible for killing tens of thousands, then I would have no trouble with that," Hikind said. Hikind added that he also favored the assassination of Arab-American supporters of the PLO. The JDL was widely suspected of killing Arab-American Anti-Discrimination committee western regional director Alex Odeh in 1985, though the FBI was never able to apprehend the likely perpetrators. In 2001, JDL leaders Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel were arrested for conspiring to blow up a Los Angeles-area mosque and assassinate Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who is of Lebanese descent.
Hikind's terrorist links were never raised by Bob Turner's Democratic opponent, David Weprin. Instead, Weprin joined Turner in the pro-Israel competition that has become a hallmark of American political campaigns, attacking President Barack Obama's policy towards Israel as "outrageous."
Despite -- or perhaps because of -- the fact that Hikind has never renounced his past activities, he has become a kingmaker in New York politics capable of turning out thousands of Orthodox Jewish and Russian-Jewish voters en masse for the candidate of his choice. His support proved essential in the election victories of Republican former Senator Alfonse D'Amato, former Republican Governor George Pataki, and ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And with Hikind's help in a Democratic stronghold, Turner appears headed for victory.
Turner's probable victory will be chalked up to Obama's political weakness and the mediocre performance of Weprin. But the value of Turner's endorsement by Hikind, a Jewish extremist who spent much of his career involved with terrorist groups, can not be understated.
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