Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I usually steer well clear of the quagmire of Israeli/Palestinian politics, mostly because I think it brings out the worst in the left in North America. There is a fine line between the conspiracy nuts (most prominent in the USA) and their anti-semitism that some feel fit to ignore and "anti-Zionism". Furthermore, no matter what one may think of the expansionist policies of the Israeli state and their not-so-occasional brutality when on the offensive (which is what they usually are) the left in general, true to form, pretty well much engages in "side picking" with the Palestinians as the "unsullied angels". The only reason they are "unsullied" is because they have generally been losing. The obvious fact that if some Palestinian factions such as Hamas were to actually "win" that the result would be a horror that would make what Israel is doing look like puffballs in the wind escapes the average North American leftist. That is way outside of the Manichean viewpoint of leftism here in this part of the world, just like the idea that the best result would be if the two evil sides fight each other to exhaustion and have to make peace. Uh, uh, one side has to be all good and one has to be all bad. I am also very much disturbed about how much attention this particular issue absorbs as opposed to other more important matters, and I harbour a suspicion that there is something ugly lurking under this part of "anti-imperialism". By the way, for the information of the nutbars, "I am not Jewish".

No doubt I am against the policies of the Israeli state, just as are many Israelis, most prominently the Anarchists Against The Wall. But I don't labour under leftist delusions. I report the following because it a report of resistance to the worst in international Zionist politics, resistance to the Jewish Defense League (JDL) and their alliance with the outright fascists of the English Defense League. This 'joint rally' was opposed by the Canadian Jewish Congress, not just the organizations that signed onto the statement below. It should also be noted that some associates of the JDL have even been banned in Israel itself. The JDL has a long history of association with terrorist actions.

Here is a statement opposing the rally that happened today from a number of Ontario organizations, Jewish, Islamic and otherwise. The rally which gathered a grand total of 50 people resulted in the predictable exchange between the police and a larger number of protesters with the predictable arrests. Here is the statement.

-----------Please Post Widely-------------------

Community Open Letter Denouncing the Jewish Defense League's Rally in Support of the English Defense League
On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, the Jewish Defense League of Canada (JDL) will be hosting a rally in support of the Islamophobic English Defense League (EDL) in Toronto. The JDL is hosting an online address from Tommy Robinson, the leader of the EDL. Both groups have a history of violence aimed at Arab and Muslim people. We are community groups that work daily to fight racism. We have come together to condemn the Jewish Defense League for their Islamophobia and for their support for the racist English Defense League.

Who is the English Defence League (EDL)?

The English Defence League is a far-right extremist organization that was founded in 2009. Their organizing principles are to oppose the 'spread of Islam' in the United Kingdom. The EDL has organized violent street marches that target Arab and Muslim people.They operate in the UK, but have been reaching out internationally to make links with extreme-right groups in Sweden, the United States, Canada and Israel. They are part of the alarming rise in fascist, racist and neo-Nazi organizing in Europe over the last few years, including attacks on Muslims, immigrants and Roma people.

Who is the Jewish Defense League (JDL)?

The JDL is a far-right, pro-Israel organization that was founded in the 1960s by Meir Kahane, an extremist who advocated violence against, and even the mass-murder of Palestinians and Arabs. The racist, violent ideology advocated by Kahane, and embraced by the JDL, has motivated hate crimes against Palestinians and other Arab people. An FBI report has identified the JDL as "a right-wing terrorist group" and Kach and Kahane Chai , two groups associated with the Kahanist movement , were even banned in Israel for their extremism.

In Canada, the JDL is allowed to operate with impunity. They have not been condemned by the government and are often interviewed by the media as a legitimate organization. They are led by Meir Weinstein , a longtime follower of Kahane, who was a spokesperson for the Kahanist movement and once joined a Facebook group called "Death to the Arabs". This rally is part of their escalating racist tactics - they have a history of bullying and intimidation of Palestine-solidarity activists in this city.

Who are we?

We are community organizations that are alarmed by the rise of extremist right-wing groups globally. These groups are exploiting the global economic crisis, to stir up racist and anti-immigrant sentiment. We have seen the consequences of extremist right-wing organizing too many times in history. We will fight any attempts to use racism and hatred to divide poor and working people.

As community organizations that work daily to fight racism, we have come together to denounce this racist and fascist rally in our city. As long as groups like the JDL and EDL are spreading their hatred and violence, we will be here to oppose them.


Signed (in alphabetical order):

Barrio Nuevo

Canadian Arab Federation

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)

Common Cause Toronto Branch

Educators for Peace and Justice (EPJ)

Faculty 4 Palestine

First Nations Solidarity Working Group OISE

Greater Toronto Workers Assembly

Independent Jewish Voices Toronto

International Jewish Anti-Zionish Network (IJAN), Toronto

No One is Illegal Toronto (NOII)

Not in Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

Palestine House Community Centre

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA)

Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)

(For the updated list visit http://www.caiaweb.org/ )

We invite groups to sign on to this Community Open Letter Denouncing the Jewish Defense League's Rally in Support of the English Defense League. To sign on, please email endapartheid@riseup.net

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