EDL woos Canada's Jewish far right

January 13, 2011
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Tommy Robinson speaking at another English Defence League event recently

Tommy Robinson speaking at another English Defence League event recently

The leader of the extreme right-wing English Defence League has urged members of a militant Jewish group in Canada to fight against Islam "for freedom".

Tommy Robinson appeared by video link at a Jewish Defence League Canada rally in Toronto on Tuesday night.

He told the audience of around 50 JDL supporters that Canadians must "wake up" to the "Islamisation" of their country.

Mr Robinson said: "We're fighting for our children, we're fighting for our freedom. Islam stands fundamentally against everything we stand for."

It is thought Mr Robinson was first introduced to Meir Weinstein, national director of JDL Canada, by a mutual acquaintance and the pair have since spoken by telephone.

Mr Weinstein is believed to have been attracted by the EDL's support for Israel.

Last year the EDL launched a "Jewish division", encouraging members of the community to "lead the counter-Jihad fight in England".

An EDL pro-Israel rally outside the Israeli Embassy in London in October was supported by American rabbi Nachum Shifren.

But the Canadian Jewish Congress said the JDL invitation to Mr Robinson was "disappointing".

Bernie Farber, CJC chief executive, said: "Islamic fundamentalism is a real threat. But fighting it with generalised hatred against Muslims, as does the EDL, is only a recipe for fuelling more conflict.

"We join with all the leading British Jewish organisations in condemning the intolerance and violence that the EDL represents."

The JDL has links with the extreme-right Kach movement, founded in New York by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the 1970s.

Last month 27-year-old Mr Robinson - whose real name is Steven Lennon - expressed his intentions to link the EDL with groups in Europe and North America. He has previously supported controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party.

Promoting the event, JDL Canada said: "The outrageous intimidation of Tommy Robinson is nothing more than a politically motivated crime on the part of the British establishment. They don't like the truth that he speaks because it contradicts establishment policy. His treatment at the hands of the state shows that the people of Britain are already living in a tyranny.

"The EDL needs international support to help it support the values of freedom that Britain was once famous for. Now is the time to step forward and stop Political Islam. The British establishment is following the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain. We must revive the Winston Churchill policy of direct confrontation."

The Toronto-based Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid campaigned against Tuesday's event, with around 30 anti-Israel groups signing an open letter denouncing the rally.

Outside the venue a number of protesters were arrested as police on horseback attempted to control the demonstrations.

Last updated: 1:01pm, January 13 2011