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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.

RACISTS ARE NOT WELCOME IN OUR CITY!

Signed (in alphabetical order):
Anti-Racist Action (ARA) – Kitchener-Waterloo
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
Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly
Guelph Sense Of Security
Independent Jewish Voices Toronto
International Jewish Anti-Zionish Network (IJAN), Toronto
KW Spot Collective
Labour for Palestine
No One is Illegal – Toronto (NOII)
Not in Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG-Toronto)
Palestine House Community Centre
Socialist Project
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA-UT)
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA)
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Women in Solidarity with Palestine (WSP)

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