The first joint initiative to combat Jewish support for the English Defence League within the community has been launched.
The “Not in our name – Jews against the EDL” campaign is backed by more than a dozen organisations, including the Board of Deputies, Community Security Trust, the Israeli Embassy, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians. More than 500 people have already pledged their support.
The initiative of the Union of Jewish Students, the campaign is a response to the creation of a “Jewish division” by the extreme right-wing anti-Islamic-fundamentalist group earlier this year, and the EDL’s pro-Israel protest outside the Israeli Embassy last month, which was supported by American rabbi Nachum Shifren.
The “Not in our name” group’s founding pledge states: “The Jewish community has always been at the forefront of anti-fascism. From Cable Street to defeating the BNP at the ballot box, we have been unafraid to speak out against those who seek to spread fear and hatred in our communities.
“Now our community faces a new threat. The EDL claims to be our allies in the fight against extremism. In reality, they are violent racists with BNP members and Nazi sympathisers among their ranks. It is time for the Jewish community to come together as one to expose the EDL as the racist thugs they are.”
UJS campaigns director Carly McKenzie said: “We felt this was a prime opportunity to bring the whole community together with one loud voice.”
Edie Friedman, director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, which is backing the initiative, said: “It’s terribly important for different sections of the community, as well as individuals, to stand up and say categorically, ‘not in our name’. It’s unbelievable that such an organisation can appropriate Jewish support.”
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “At the HET we educate about the dangers of racism and discrimination and it is vital that we stand up against groups such as the EDL who preach hatred and division in our communities.”
Jewish Chronicle, 11 November 2010
An Orthodox California rabbi running for state senate under the Tea Party banner marched yesterday with a far right-wing anti-Islam group in Britain outside the Israeli Embassy.
Rabbi Nachum Shifren, an ex-lifeguard known as the surfing rabbi, is considered a long shot to represent west Los Angeles in the California senate. He has spoken at Tea Party events and says he is a member of the group.
The English Defense League has said it wants to foster ties with the American Tea Party, a right-wing group that has also taken anti-Muslim and anti-immigration stances, and the rally, at which Shifren spoke, was meant as a first step toward that goal.
“I am coming to the UK to express my solidarity with the patriots in England who are on the front line in the war on jihad and stealth jihad,” Shifren told the Jewish Chronicle last week. “Multiculturalists have brought us to the brink, insisting on degrading our own cultures while pandering to forces of darkness that threaten to completely transform our societal foundations.”
According to the Chronicle, Shifren previously trained Israeli paratroopers and worked as a driver for Kach head Rabbi Meir Kahane.
The rally was meant as a show of support for Israel and Shifren was invited to give a speech about Sharia law.
The EDL boasts a tiny Jewish division, but most Jewish groups in Britain reject its nationalist stances.
“EDL actions are violent and intimidatory, attacking police and random Asians. Any Jews thinking that they can shape such dangerous forces and find shelter there are utterly deluded,” the Community Security Trust, a Jewish British group, has said.
At a rally earlier this month, 1,000 EDL activists clashed with police and anti-fascist demonstrators in Leicester.
Because I read a lot of British newspapers, I’ve read a good bit about the English Defense League in them and came to the conclusion that they are a racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, “far right,” “fascist” violent group of thugs composed largely of football (soccer) hooligans and rowdy drunks. That would be the reasonable conclusion anyone would draw from reading the depiction of them in the newspapers. So I was quite surprised yesterday when I clicked on an article about a protest demonstration the EDL was holding in Bolton, along with a counter demonstration by the UAF (United Against Fascism) that included a link to the local Bolton news site that was providing live coverage on the web. Out of curiosity, I checked it out.
One of the first things I noted was the Israeli flag waving in the midst of the EDL folks. Hrm, I thought, what the hell is that doing there? Then I noted the contingent of gays and lesbians marching with them. Funny bedfellows for a group that is supposed to be fascist and racist, I thought. The next thing that struck me was the violence that was occurring and what the police were saying about it…”Today in Bolton we have seen some small evidence of this protest in the form of flag waving and vitriolic name calling – but we have also seen groups of people, predominantly associated with the UAF, engaging in violent confrontation. It is clear to me that a large number have attended today with the sole intention of committing disorder and their actions have been wholly unacceptable. Turning their anger onto police officers they acted with, at times, extreme violence and their actions led to injuries to police officers, protesters and members of the public.” Now when you read newspaper reports covering the incident, you see only the last two sentences of this quote in the coverage.
EDL members, and their families homes raided by armed police
Members of the English Defence League have been arrested and denied their civil liberties when attempting to join the Scottish Defence League for a peaceful protest in Edinburgh on Feb 20th. The EDL members were detained without cause and arrested for “incitement to cause a breach of the peace”.
Supporters who arrived at Waverley train station were forced back onto trains heading away from Edinburgh by the Police. Those travelling by road were stopped; some had their vehicles damaged by aggressive Police officers. In the City itself, the Police threatened anyone who attempted to protest with immediate arrest. Meanwhile, far-left so-called ‘anti-fascism’ protesters were allowed to wander the streets without any Police opposition. These same protesters made numerous attempts to attack EDL and SDL supporters, while nearby Police officers turned a blind eye. It is clear that today’s Police actions were politically motivated and that the Police Force as a whole can no longer be considered to be politically neutral. They have chosen their side. No further confirmation is needed other than the statement of the Scottish ‘Justice’ Minister, Kenny MacAskill (SNP), when he said that the “fact that the SDL didn’t make it out of Waverley Station is testament to good policing”. This comes as no surprise as this is the man who, just last year ordered the release of the Lockerbie Bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi. The word “Dhimmi” springs to mind.
While in custody the team members homes and their families homes were raided by police armed with automatic machine guns which terrified their families, including small children and older family members. Computer equipment was seized during the 3 hour raid. Team members were banned from attending any meeting with more than 3 edl members then bailed to return to a police station in Sheffield in the near future. We are asking every member of the EDL to be available to protest outside the police station when the team has to answer bail. (date to be confirmed). We need to get the message across that we will not be silenced by being bullied by the authorities and our struggle against muslim extremism will continue. We have agreed to cancel the Bradford demo as a small concession but will be announcing further protests as a result of the disgraceful treatment of our leadership team.
When the Scottish Defence League attempt to reassert their civil right of freedom of association, we, the English Defence League, shall once again support them. Todays actions by the police are nothing short of a travesty for democracy, how can the police take action that flies in the face of the European convention of human rights? How are they allowed to act with impunity to subdue the right to freedom of speech and protest as outlined in the universal declaration of human rights.