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The Jewish Defense League Returns to Canada By: Dave Gordon
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 28, 2008

The Jewish Defense League, which began some forty years ago, with chapters in the US, and eventually various parts of Europe, reestablished its Canadian office more than a year ago from over a decade hiatus, and endeavours to counteract anti-Israel activism, while proactively filling a void they say is left by the established Jewish community.

The JDL made its most recent public event in March when it hosted a lecture featuring Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin in Toronto for about 350 attendees.

On Thursday July 31 at noon, the Jewish Defense League of Canada will picket the offices of the Canadian Arab Federation in Toronto at 1057 McNicoll Ave to draw attention to the latest anti-Semitic violent hate-crime in Calgary, Alberta. Attacking a Jewish girl and the friends who came to her rescue has landed a Muslim man, Mustafa Taj, a one-year jail sentence. He must also serve a year of probation following his release for what Judge Bill Cummings ruled was a racially motivated assault. Taj, 21, was convicted for attacking four teenagers at a subway stop the night of Nov. 3, 2006, saying “I’m Muslim and I hate Jews” and “You Jewish piece of crap.” He was found guilty of kicking one in the chest, throwing another onto the train tracks, and harassing the others. This protest will start a campaign to confront groups that do not condemn anti-Semitism in the Arab community.

In this FrontPage exclusive interview, the National Director for the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in Canada, Meir Weinstein, describes his organization’s perspective on the Arab/Israeli conflict, and offers his point of view on recent events.

For additional information email jdlcanada@jdl.org

DG: What was the catalyst to restart the JDL in Canada?

MW: We noticed with the most recent war in Lebanon that there were huge pro-Hizbollah demonstrations in Montreal and Toronto, attended by thousands, calling for the destruction of Israel. There were Hizbollah flags waving proudly. We knew that Hizbollah was designated by the Canadian government as a terrorist organization. There is major support for them in Canada… and now they have become a major threat, given the growing support for Hizbollah and Hamas. I have worked with investigators over the years who have infiltrated Neo-Nazi groups, and now these terrorist groups are working as proxies … going back decades working for the PLO… When I saw the [emergence] of Hizbollah and Hamas’ support in Canada, we realized we had to do something, because certainly the established Jewish community wasn’t doing enough.

DG: What is the mandate of the JDL, and what kinds of initiatives are you planning?

MW: We brought in [in March, Member of Israeli Knesset] Moshe Feiglin because he’s for a Jewish state. He is not for what they call a two-state solution. The majority of Jewish groups are for a two-state solution, but we see it as a tragedy and that’s what happened with [the] Oslo [Accords]… We believe that the Jewish people face a threat. Those threats must be exposed. There are so many [anti-Israel] groups that use simplistic terms, like “boycott” and “racist” in terms of Israel, and that is a code word for delegitimizing the State of Israel, or its destruction. That small state is surrounded by much larger Arab and Muslim states that make no apologies for their existence. We’re advocating a strong Israel and a Jewish Israel. We don’t believe that’s racist. On the contrary, we believe we’re being backed into a corner. We’re the ones being targeted by bigots; bigots who target the Jewish people… We will be taking on those who question our right to self-defense. We will be drawing people’s attention to the 800,000 Jews from Arab countries who were kicked out, and had their belongings confiscated. With no apologies.

DG: How will you draw people’s attention to these items?

MW: We will be mounting a campaign and picking the offices of CUPE Ontario [a union who is boycotting Israel], on a regular basis. Another way is that the Hamas and pro-Hizbollah and anti-Israel demonstrations in the future, we will be there countering them, to nullify their message, and to draw attention to the Jews from Arab lands who were refugees.

DG: What did you think of the prisoner and body exchange recently for Israel’s soldiers, Regev and Goldwasser?

MW: It is a terrible policy by Ehud Olmert. He should do the Jewish people a favor and step down. Kahane proposed a law that any terrorist with blood on his hands should face the death penalty. There’s none of this bargaining to release hundreds or thousands that have terrorized in the past. It’s a terrible way to negotiate. They’re not negotiating in any position of strength. There is no deterrent factor if terrorists know they will be released.

DG: Tell me what the JDL’s vision for a peaceful solution in Israel would be?

MW: We don’t believe there’s a peace plan out there that’s viable. We don’t believe that any of these plans have provided peace. They provided bloodshed. The best you can do is have a security plan. We also back the right of Arabs to leave Israel and to go to other countries. The government should make incentives. This is so that Israel doesn’t find itself in a demographic nightmare. It’s so that a Palestinian country will not be a threat to Israel and a war ground from which to target Israel. It was the case with Gaza, and Lebanon… Israel needs to flex its security muscle. The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, not the Arabs.

DG: Then what is the Jewish State, to you? Does it include the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, or perhaps extended borders that the Jewish people had in antiquity?

MW: The land of Israel is larger than what we have right now. But that doesn’t mean you initiate a conflict to seize additional Jewish land. Israel should be ready to hold on to every inch of land that they have right now. It belongs to us. We’re not seeking an aggressive war to seize more land, that really historically belongs to us… What people don’t realize is that the West Bank overlooks fairly major cities along the coast. Yes, that’s where guns would be pointed at us from higher levels [if the area was ceded.] Every scenario of a pullback is a nightmare. That land belongs to us, so there’s no reason for any pullback.

DG: During the Yom Kippur War, Syrian jets landed in the Golan Heights, and had that buffer not had been there from the Six-Day War, perhaps Israel’s enemies may have made it all the way in to Tel Aviv. Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister, has been in talks with Syria in a possible land trade deal. Does Israel still require the Golan for strategic depth?

MW: If you look just beyond the Heights, you’ll see Tiberias. Just recall a couple of years ago there were rockets raining down from Lebanon. Syria has been talking about moving a million Syrians into the Golan Heights. That’ll be a nightmare. We’ll eventually get out of this when we have better leadership because so much of the leadership now is corrupt.

DG: Most Israelis, it would seem, are for the two-state solution, so say many polls. Shouldn’t Israelis be making choices about Israel, and what peace plan they want, instead of the Diaspora?

MW: Good question. Israelis vote in whoever they want to. The majority of Israelis do not like Olmert and they want him out. That said, Israelis had a lot of respect for Yigal Alon, whose Alon plan was for minimal concessions… when King Hussein of Jordan wiped his hands of the West Bank, we had to deal with an Arafat. We didn’t trust him to provide a security framework… there’s been some serious demographic changes in Israel. Israelis are becoming more religious than ever before. The geopolitical messages they are sending out are far different than how things were before. Peace Now, once being a mass movement, is not. The Israelis, polls show, want the Arabs to leave. They certainly don’t see every single Arab as a fifth column. But there is substantial support amongst Arabs in Israel for the PLO or Hamas doctrine.

DG: The JDL is thought by many to be a controversial, even extremist group.

MW: I was involved with the Jewish Defense League when the main issue was Soviet Jews. The Soviet policy towards Jews was genocide, through cultural genocide. Jews were sent to Siberia for wanting to go to Israel. When we protested we were told to stay on the other side of the street. But Meir Kahane (JDL founder) would cross over the police barricade and marched right in front. Those activities got front-page news… [however] people would do things in the name of JDL and claim credit for it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we did it…

When it comes to Nazis having the right to march: they may legally have the right to march. But we’re going to block them. And if it means we’ll be arrested for that, so be it. This is something we’re prepared to do. Martin Luther King challenged the law. He was successful and people respect that. Blacks and non-Blacks have respect for Malcolm X, who said, “By all means necessary.” I’m not saying by all means necessary. But we do believe the right to self-defense, and we’ve given a rough ride in the media.

DG: What do you think of some clothing stores selling keffiyehs, or Palestine “resistance” tee shirts?

MW: … I’m concerned when stores like Urban Planning sell t-shirts that glorify the Hizbollah resistance, with pictures of so-called Palestinians carrying machine guns.

DG: What do you mean by so-called Palestinians?

MW: They’re not the indigenous people to that area. Jews are. The fact that the Romans two thousand years ago overthrew us, still does not give them a right to our land. They’re not the natives. The name Palestine was used by the Romans when Jews were expelled from the land. The Jews called it Judea.

Palestine was named after an extinct people, the Philistines, who the Palestinians aren’t even descended from … Every single day since the Jews were expelled, we prayed to Jerusalem and prayed for our return. There always has been some presence of Jews in the land, regardless of who took it over.

DG: Is Islam a religion of peace?

MW: I don’t know. There are certainly scholars who have said it’s not. Israel has good relations with Turkey, a Muslim country. It could be possible to work with Muslims. The issue is what type of Muslim is it? The kind who support the Muslim Brotherhood ideology? Or are we dealing with a different stream of Muslim belief? The Muslim Brotherhood wants no Israel, and they have many support groups in North America and even Israel. When that group spreads, they believe there will be peace, but to our eyes, that will be war. If the Muslim system of beliefs develops the way they have in Turkey, it won’t be like that.

DG: Let’s talk about Israel’s response to terror. Are there any that are too far, too much, in your opinion?

MW: Ariel Sharon changed the dynamic after the Park Plaza Passover massacre that happened. He sent the troops all over Judea and Samaria. It was totally different from [Yitzchak] Rabin or [Shimon] Peres. You cannot give a grain of victory to the enemy. Troops have to be there and they have to believe in the justice of their cause. Whoever is leading Jews has to believe in the justice of the cause. This is not occupation. This is our land…

DG: Your belief is that Bibi Netanyahu, Natan Sharansky and Peace Now are of the same political ilk. Could you explain that?

MW: If you asked them to put a map together, the borders or the boundaries of Israel would not be much different from each other, in the final analysis. Ehud Olmert once said he believed in an Israel on both sides of the Jordan. Now, he has jumped ship and joined the Kadima party and wants to delineate borders… things won’t change until there is a demographic change.

DG: So why this push for a two-state solution from people like Netanyahu, especially when they know there is a security threat?

MW: There’s a lot of pressure from the US and the State Department… Peace Now’s position is in sync with the position of the State Department, who at one time funded them. Peace Now also gets funding from the European Union. And that’s US foreign policy to push for a two-state solution, because of Arab interests. They have trade with Arab countries. On the one hand, US supports Israel, but on the other hand, they have to do business with Arabs.

DG: Why do you think someone like George Bush, who understands the threat of terrorism, and the Biblical imperative of the Jewish State, would want to have Israel cede land?

MW: There’s pressure from the Saudis. It’s oil. When oil is no longer a necessity as it is today, policy will change… Israel is viewed officially as a foreign implant on an Arab land.

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