Senate candidate joins critics of Nazi, Confederate flag burnings

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2000

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Democratic Senate candidate Ed Bernstein joined critics of the Jewish Defense League's burning of Nazi and Confederate flags in Reno, a demonstration against hatred that divided the local civil rights and Jewish community.

The militant Jewish group burned the flags in front of the federal courthouse where five self-described white supremacists pleaded guilty last week to charges in an attempted firebombing at a Reno synagogue.

Bernstein added his voice to concerns also raised by civil rights groups and the rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, which was slightly damaged in the attack in November.

''I would have preferred to see the Jewish Defense League working in an education process instead of a process that attempts to inflame,'' said Bernstein, a Las Vegas lawyer active in the Jewish community.

Irv Rubin, international chairman of the Jewish Defense League based in Los Angeles, led the flag-burning.

He urged Jews to arm themselves against a growing number of attacks across the country, including firebombings at three Jewish temples in Sacramento in the past year.

Jonathan Bernstein, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in San Francisco, said the Jewish Defense League is a fringe group that does not represent the Jewish community.

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