"Not only did it give Gentiles the idea that we were violent," he told The Times, "it also turned off many Jews and closed tens of thousands of doors to us. We became the black sheep of the family . . . militancy, in people's minds, is one step removed from terrorism."
A native of Montreal, Rubin often said it was experiences with anti-Semitism there that made him receptive to the JDL's militant stance. He moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was 15. In 1971, he heard the JDL's founder, Rabbi Meir Kahane, give a speech at Cal State Northridge.
"If you see a Nazi," he recalled Kahane saying, "don't try to convince him you're a nice guy." Instead, Rubin said, Kahane told his listeners to "smash him."
By 1972, Rubin, at 26, had become the group's West Coast coordinator.
That year, Rubin was arrested for attempted murder after someone fired three shots at an American Nazi in El Monte. A few months later, he was arrested again in connection with a pipe bomb explosion outside the home of a Palestinian. Though he would be arrested many times, Goldberg said Rubin has never been convicted of any serious charges.