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Groups Protest Unholy Alliance Between Jewish Defense League and English Neo-Fascists

by Michael RomandelMegan Kinch

These activists gathered at a peaceful vigil at Lawrence and Marlee. There were two separate groups of counter-demonstraters.
These activists gathered at a peaceful vigil at Lawrence and Marlee. There were two separate groups of counter-demonstraters.
Without provocation, police charged the Anti Racist Action group with horses and and arrested 4 activists.
Without provocation, police charged the Anti Racist Action group with horses and and arrested 4 activists.

On January 11, 2011, the alliance of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) and the English Defence League (EDL) were challenged by counter-protests from anti-racist and human rights activists.  The JDL and EDL alliance was supposed to be cemented in Toronto at an event held by the JDL in support of Tommy Robinson of the EDL, who addressed the Zionist group about his recent arrest.  While the JDL is known for their militant anti-Palestinian or ‘pro-Israel’ activism in Toronto and has a long history as a militant Zionist organization in the United States and elsewhere, their alliance with The English Defence League, a neo-fascist organization based out of Britain that focuses on anti-Islamic street activism, seems surprising considering the history of the relationship between Jews and fascist states and movements.

Although the EDL does not claim to be fascist in any of their publicity and is not linked in any way to traditional neo-Nazi groups, the nationalist nature of their movement and their tactic of scapegoating one particular religious group to justify their broader political agenda betrays their underlying fascist politics. However, the JDL is on the extreme right-wing of the Zionist movement and organizes in a manner that is eerily similar to traditional fascists and white nationalists, with very disciplined organization and a major focus on building a militant national ideology among their rank and file. 

In response to this JDL/EDL alliance, two separate counter-protests gathered, but organizers from both publicaly expressed their solidarity with the other.  One was an explicitly peaceful vigil outside Lawrence Square with candles and music, organized by the CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group and Christian Peacemakers Team and was also attended by several other groups. Another protest, more militant in dress and slogans but still simply a demonstration, was organized mainly by a new incarnation of Anti-Racist Action Toronto.

The ARA press release stated: “Their [EDL] claim of opposing “Militant Islam” is a cover for their racist campaign of whipping up hatred against Muslims. Their organizing principles of opposing the ‘spread of Islam’ in the United Kingdom clearly show that they are not only against militant Muslims, but rather seek to destroy ALL Muslims regardless of political ideology. The EDL has organized violent street marches that target Arab and Muslim communities, demonstrating the fact that they target ALL Muslim people simply for being who they are.”

Across the intersection of Marlee and Lawrence, 20 people at the vigil played music and gave speeches, holding signs that said “fight Islamophobia”. A car with 5 young women, several of them with full niqab, were simply driving by when they saw the signs and stopped to join the vigil briefly.  “Personally I find it very compelling to see people here who are not even Muslim literally braving the elements for this cause.”  Another woman said “The Koran says ‘to you be your religion and to me mine” in chapter 109, and everyone has the right to their own religion.

Standing with the peaceful vigil, Andy Lehrer from Independent Jewish Voices said: "The JDL are an extremist group with a violent history, yet they have been allowed to organize within the Canadian Jewish community with impunity. It is not enough for self-appointed leaders of the Jewish community like Bernie Farber to say they are 'disappointed' by the JDL. It is time for the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bnai Brith and other community institutions to join IJV in saying unequivocally that the JDL has no place in the Jewish community."

The Police formed a line between the JDF/EDL outside the building and the ARA protesters.  About 10 people, mostly older men, stood outside the building.  The National Post claims there were 50 people inside.  One man standing with them raised up his hand in a fist in a manner resembling a nazi salute. One man raised his hand and called out “Hindu Pride”. “Do you think that these people will make a distinction between Muslims and Hindus when they are running through the streets beating brown people?” one counter-protester asked. He replied by chanting “tear gas’.

About 50 ARA protesters chanted “EDL- go to Hell” and “Smash, Smash, Smash EDL”. One protester spoke to cars driving into the JDL lines “I’m Jewish, I’m from this area and I don’t support what you are doing. No one here supports what you are doing. You should be ashamed of yourself”.  The police forced protesters aside by pushing them to allow cars of late-arriving JDL people to move through.

Jenny Peto from Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA): "The JDL and EDL both have histories of violence against Arab and Muslim people. As Palestine solidarity activists we have experienced the bullying and intimidation tactics of the JDL for years now. This rally in support of the Islamophobic English Defense League should leave no doubt in anyone's mind that the JDL is an extremist, racist organization. As long as groups like the JDL and EDL are spreading their hatred and violence, we will be here to oppose them."

Despite there being no violent provocation by ARA protesters, riot police and mounted police arrived to clear them from the street.  Eight police horses charged the ARA crowd, effectively clearing them from the western side of the road and forcing them onto the sidewalk on the east side, while riot police proceeded to arrest people from the crowd. Demonstrators from the vigil watched in solidarity, and some did close observation of the arrests at a risk to their own safety.  The police singled out one individual at a time for arrest while pressing back the crowd into the fence on the eastern side of Marlee Avenue. Three had been released as of 1 AM this morning. One remains in custody and early reports indicate that he has been beaten. [he has since been released]

[This story relies more than normal on anonymous sources, because of the known history of intimidation from the JDL against activists who oppose them, which has also been targeted at their families.]

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is a writer and editor with the Toronto Media Co-op.

992 words



Please forward widely!

ARA protest against far-right, Islamophobic EDL speaking at Zionist Centre results in 4 arrests, 1 still in jail.
Wednesday, January 12, 10:00am
1001 Finch Avenue West

On the evening of January 11th, activists responding to a call by Anti-Racist Action (ARA) ( blocked Marlee Street in Toronto, in front of the Zionist Centre of Toronto, where a planned support rally for the English Defence League (EDL) was being hosted by the Jewish Defence League. 

The English Defence League's principles are virulently anti-immigrant and Islamophobic, and their street marches have resulted in violent racist attacks on Arabs and Muslims. Their rhetoric is explicitly anti-Muslim, and they hide behind sentiments of being against only "certain Muslims", but this is only a cover for their widespread hatred of all Muslims. 

Two demonstrations happened in solidarity with each other, one a candlelight vigil organized by community groups and supported by over two dozen community groups who signed an open letter denouncing the JDL's hosting of the openly Islamophobic group. 

A second demonstration "Evict the EDL" was called by the Toronto Anti Racist Action, who marched to where the support rally was being held and stood in the middle of the street. Police pushed and shoved demonstrators, forcibly shoving them to the sidewalk, driving horses into the crowd and violently arresting four activists. 

One protester was badly beaten, when police stomped him in the head and kicked him in the face. He is still being held in police custody. Two people were arrested for videotaping the arrests, one had his videocamera confiscated, and he was released without charge. The other was also released without charge, but the contents of her videocamera had been erased by the police. 

At all times, both demonstrations (the candlelight vigil and the ARA action) were in solidarity with each other, and had publically expressed support for each other's diversity of tactics and diversity of political expression. There was constant communication between the groups, and an agreement of mutual support which was consistently respected. 

The message was sent loud and clear, no amount of police repression can prevent this movement from standing together in unity against threats to our communities such as the EDL. We will continue to send a strong message of unity and resistance against all forms of racism, especially as we become conscious in confronting the daily, systemic racism against marginalized and oppressed peoples which happens every day in this city. 

Again please show your support at court tomorrow for the activist still being held in police custody, at 10am, 1001 Finch Court in Toronto. At this time, this is not a public rally. 

Justice in the streets!!!


So when will you guys be helping out at the synagogues and coptic christian, and christian churches around the world that are constantly have to endure appalling threats against them from Islamists? Soon the only places of worship that will NOT have to have constant security 24/7 will be mosques. It seems its fine for Islamists to behave in a racially disgusting way and threaten other faiths but its not ok for those threatened and discriminated against because of their faith and race to defend themselves. Time will tell, because the world tension is becoming worse than at any other time in history, and total destruction will be the  result.


When was it, or is it "ok for Islamists to act in a racially disgusting way and threaten others", as you purport? Um, what?

Your comments are ridiculous, and exactly what anti-racist groups protest against. Using the small minority of muslim extremists to condemn the entire religious group of people is racist; and worse, your comments make you look like you believe all muslims are terrorists, or at least threaten to be.

Finally, you dont think that the entire Muslim population in the world has collectively, and wrongfully suffered because of 1. extremism that has nothing to do with, and is itself condemned by the majority of muslims, and 2. racist ignoramus' who paint all muslims as terrorists, or wrongdoers, with the same heinous brush.


Hindu? Would this be the 'Canadian Hindu Advocacy' ??

This new group is talking .. no, crowing .. about their role last night, look at their release at !!


no ara at jdl, but plenty of pro-zionists at george galloway

funny how the ara folks were blocked from getting anywhere *near* the zionist community centre where the edl was spreading its hate, but when george galloway came to town, pro-zionist media bragged about jewish students (their words) actively disrupting galloway's speech, often times shouting him down.

so, pro-zionist forces are allowed to silence (in the case of galloway's first attempt to get into the country, quite literally) their opposition, but when residents of toronto and beyond attempt to challenge the racist and violent discourse of the edl and the jdl they are arrested and beaten without getting near the community centre where this hate party is happening.


hmmmm. fuck the police, anyone?

Different strokes

National Post quotes Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, decrying the message the English Defence League is propagating: “We join with all the leading British Jewish organizations in condemning the intolerance and violence that the EDL represents.”

Notice that Farber refrains from condemning the Jewish Defence League which is, in fact, hosting the speech broadcast by the EDL leader.

Does the CJC deal with the JDL through the side door service entrance, I wonder? . . .

Read more:

Thanks for this great

Thanks for this great reportback folks.

Any other updates about the person still in custody would be appreciated as well.


Ill informed

"betrays their underlying fascist politics"

The English Defence League have no interest in politics. They are a multi ethnic, diverse single issue group, all about highlighting the threat of Militant Islam within the UK. If there was no threat of Militant Islam, there would be no EDL. Simple as folks.

The EDL are not Fascists

I don't understand why some people are accusing the EDL of being Fascist.


One of the EDL's leaders is a black man, and the leader of the EDL's youth division is mixed race. The EDL also have many non-white supporters.


The EDL have a Jewish divsion, as well as a gay division. So how are the EDL Fascist?

They have nothing else to say but 'fascists'.

People who call the EDL fascist, basically have NOTHING else to say, its just the usual catchcry and we can all see through it. They say they spread hate, hahaha, well what do muslims do when they tell us women we are indecent and deserved to be raped, that our way of life is degenerate, all the time taking advantage of our laws, which if they were in muslim countries, would make life even more difficult for their daughters, wives etc. What do they do when they threaten churches and synagogues around the world???? HMMM???? Thats NOT hate???? HMMMM????? Only mosques do not need protection, but christian churches, synagogues and temple do. ITS the usual catchcry to to say they spread 'hate' and we can ALL see through that too. What we see they do is spread hope, justice and they give us belief that somone is prepared to defend us and our long traditions and way of life. They should be applauded for their incredible bravery considering the v considerable malice they endure and the danger they put themselves in.  Remember it guys, most of us in our hearts are SOOOOO proud of you, our soldiers in our defence and this is a most terrible war, far worse than any before because you face an enemy that even some of your own countrymen belong too. I pray daily for the EDL and its affiliates.

Neptune and Alan: Fascism is

Neptune and Alan: Fascism is not based on hating Jews or even necessarily racism.  It is based on organizing the poor, backward elements of the working class and elements of the middle classes (like small shopkeepers) for a mass anti-communist/anti-leftist street movement.  The purpose of such a movement is to move the government of a country to take on more right wing and authoritarian policies.  Such movements have often benefitted by organizing a racist campaign against one particular group of people (like Jews or Muslims) and mobilizing on an explicitly nationalist basis.

Basically, fascism is a mass movement for capitalist dictatorship, meaning the eventual banning of all workers' organizations and real opposition parties or leaders while maintaining a capitalist economy.  The EDL has yet to become a real mass movement, though this is their goal.  While they don't say they are fascists and are very different from traditional neo-Nazi organizations in their multi-racial form of fascist organizing, they definitely exhibit the politics I have described here.  In many ways, the JDL does as well, and so does the Hindu group they have allied with, who apparently only have one person in Toronto.  


If we think that humans are

If we think that humans are capable of a way of life . ie a glorious utopia, where individual groups do not condemn other groups for ie,' way of life, religion, laws, various cultural activities, and we all live together in happy harmony we are living in fairy land. If we think that humans will NOT wish to exert power over others and force their 'own' particular way of life over others we are also living in fairy land. Time and time again 'utopian' views have failed and they will fail again over the next 30/50 years. We humans are like all animals,( even though we think we are not) and the desire for 'power' and control and enforcement of our 'particular groups' ideology over others to control them for great wealth, and great power is uncontrollable. Is this what you call 'fascism'? We are territorial creatures. Is this what you call 'fascism'? Whatever you call it, when one group feels threatened by another, real or imagined, ( in this case there is some reality to it, given the continual violence all over the world, one may wish to live in denial about it) then 'territorial' behaviour ensues. Harmony can only happen if a 'group'( faith or ideology) leaves others alone, and does not wish to change laws (which is happening in England viz the appalling blasphemy laws passed recently, which upset Rowan Atkinson btw) and other intrusions. If 'intrusion' occurs, then so does retaliation, and frankly, MAYBE IT JUST SHOULD, working class, upper class, 'chattering class' middle class, capitalism, communism,dictatorships, blah blah blah, fascism, 'use the people class, 'they are using the working class' class, blah blah blah, its meaningless,  call it what you bloody want, when threats occur, so does DEFENSE. End of story.



The EDL is a neo-con Zionist group. Its aim is to ferment an intifada between Muslims and non-Muslims in towns and cities up and down the country. Their backer is a Zionist businessman called Alan Lake. America intends to attack Iran with nuclear weapons on behalf of Israel, and Israel will use the war on Iran as cover for genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza. For more details paste this link:

The usual anti semetic rant

Hahaha now the EDL are secret Zionist operatives, intent on starting a war. Watch out, they are coming to a town hall near YOU, armed with their star"s of David and missiles. Strange though, since jewish people are v good at maintaining a back seat in other people's countries throughout the ages. Not that it helped with the Nazi's. Here's an interesting quote from the Koran to ponder, its from the Chapter of Women, sura 35...........'Men stand superior to women, in that Allah prefers men, those whose perverseness ye fear, ( that is women's perverseness) admonish them, remove them into bedchambers and BEAT them, ( yes, thats right, BEAT them) but if they submit, then do not move against them'....Now, how are we to take to a culture moving in amongst us that advocates violence against women in its most holiest of books? Since in OUR (far superior culture BTW) it is an anathema to us to hit women, or anyone or creature weaker than oneself. And this violence is suggested if women DO NOT do completely as they are told, even if it is something that may offend their sense of morals or choice. These people are not interested in integration, they are interested in 'colonisation' and they wish us to change to be like them. You may disbelieve this now, but within 5 years you will all have changed your minds. I suggest if you wish to comment on Islam then read the Koran first and not just take on board on what certain muslims would like you to believe, find out for yourselves. I did, and frankly I was alternatively, appalled, stunned, shocked and outraged at what I read. This 'peace' business DOES NOT relate to non muslims, only other muslims, as Mohammed ( in a vain attempt) was trying to stop them always attacking each other. Didnt work did it?  If you think we are going to welcome a tribe of people who condone violence against women, the so called 'unbelievers" and also mistreating certain animals into our lands, the Islamic apologists are in for a rude shock, world wide, viz David Cameron's v interesting speech recently is just the start, well its already under way in Europe to show these people whats expected when you immigrate into other people's lands. INTEGRATE OR

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