We are appalled at the possibility that two leaders of the Jewish Defense League may have been involved in a plot to bomb a mosque and the office of a Congressman of Lebanese descent. Yet such are the charges against JDL Chairman Irv Rubin and member Earl Krugel. They are accused in a federal complaint of planning to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California and the office of freshman California Rep. Darrell Issa.
Investigators were apparently tipped off by a government source about a series of meetings where the plot was allegedly worked out. Rubin and Krugel were arrested after the final component of the bombs ? explosive powder ? was delivered to Krugel's home.
However, unlike some Jewish organizational leaders, we are not rushing to judgment. As much as we are troubled by the allegations, Rubin and Krugel have not been convicted of anything and they are entitled to their day in court. In today's electrified climate, with the unfortunately necessary wholesale detentions of individuals of Arab descent, one has to keep somewhat of an open mind as to whether Rubin and Krugel were involved in something real or in some fantasy which is now being hyped in the interests of evenhandedness.
We are especially interested in the role of the “informer” who apparently kept the FBI fully advised of the goings on every step of the way. Indeed, some reports have it that it was the informer himself who delivered the explosive powder to Krugel.
Thus, while it would appear that Rubin and Krugel were probably up to no good, there is the real sense that, left to their own devices, this may have been a classic “gang that couldn't shoot straight” caper. Certainly, given the level of FBI penetration, there was little danger of any harm coming to anyone.
We hasten to note that we do not have any problem with the notion of vigorous action against those who engage in the sort of thing Rubin and Krugel are charged with, whether or not a serious threat was posed. And we are not suggesting that the case against them has been manufactured. What we are suggesting is that sometimes, because of an excess of zeal, someone adding up the evidence arrives at an overstated total.