EDL picks new Jewish Division leader

The English Defence League has selected a new leader to run its Jewish division.

James Cohen, a Canadian writer and activist, was installed in the role last weekend. He is expected to work to boost membership numbers and recruit supporters of Israel.

Mr Cohen has worked with the International Free Press Society, which claims to promote free speech, and the Free Thinking Film Society.

He will replace Roberta Moore, who stepped down from her position as division leader in July.

In June the JC revealed that the Jewish division had around a dozen members, only a few of whom are actually Jewish.

In a statement on its website, the EDL said: "Unfortunately, under the previous leadership, the Jewish division allied themselves with some of the extreme elements that exist within the larger body of individuals and organisations that campaign against sharia law and other forms of Islamic extremism. This was a move that we were unwilling to condone.

"However, there is certainly still a place for Jews in the EDL. We fully expect that James will able to help expand upon the great work that our Jewish division members have already done.

"The JD will continue in its unwavering support of the state of Israel and in its efforts to educate people as to why that support is so important in the larger struggle against radical Islam."

The statement said the Jewish community comprised "proud patriots" who would "fight to preserve our country's traditions of tolerance, justice and fair play".

The Board of Deputies, CST and other communal groups have repeatedly warned British Jews against supporting the EDL.

    Last updated: 12:31pm, September 8 2011