Is the JDL trying to start a race war in New York City?

Close up of a man's face and Israeli flags

Members of the Jewish Defense League of Canada, headed by Meir Weinstein, have been documented or accused of violently attacking supporters of Palestinian rights from Washington, DC, to Toronto.

Tara Walton ZUMA Press

The Jewish Defense League of Canada has announced its intention to descend on New York City in the next few weeks to “fight Black Nazis who are brainwashed into hating Jews.”

Meir Weinstein, the Canadian leader of the JDL, posted on Facebook that his group plans to hold an “information meeting” in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn on 2 February. Based on the organization’s history, violent JDL actions in the streets cannot be ruled out.

One of the group’s announcements labels congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, as well as Arab American activist Linda Sarsour, as “anti-Semitic, anti-American traitors.” Offering no evidence, the announcement blames them for brainwashing “Black Nazis.”

All three have endorsed Bernie Sanders, who would be the first Jewish president of the United States if he wins November’s election.

White supremacists have targeted Omar and Tlaib with death threats and intimidation in recent months. Now there is an international threat originating with the Canadian branch of the JDL.

Sarsour, Women’s March board member Carmen Perez and politically exiled former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick are targeted in a separate JDL announcement.

Kaepernick is evidently being vilified due to a recent tweet following President Donald Trump’s assassinations in Iraq. He highlights that “There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism.”

The JDL’s definition of anti-Semitism is very broad and extends beyond those who have engaged in anti-Jewish violence recently in New Jersey and New York – as in Monsey – and elsewhere. The organization is exploiting these horrific attacks to smear Trump’s opponents as anti-Semites merely for criticizing US or Israeli actions.

The group has repeatedly criticized supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, at times engaging in violence against advocates for Palestinian freedom and equal rights.

The group’s focus in New York on “Black anti-Semitism” rather than white supremacy that targets Jews points to the organization’s own anti-Black racism and the real possibility that it will exacerbate tensions in New York. It certainly isn’t there to calm matters and substantively address the situation. Rather than stop an anti-Semitic attack, the chances are much greater that they will leave the situation worse than when they arrived.

International violence

In a report on “terrorism” in 2000-2001, the FBI described the Jewish Defense League as “a right-wing terrorist group.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors extremism, notes that Baruch Goldstein, the settler from Brooklyn who massacred 29 Palestinians during Ramadan prayers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron in 1994, was a member of the JDL.

The JDL of Canada comes out of the violent milieu of Goldstein and the organization’s founder, Meir Kahane, the late Brooklyn rabbi and former member of the Israeli parliament who advocated that all Palestinians should be expelled from their homeland.

The Israeli party he co-founded – Kahane Chai, or Kach – is designated by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.

This background raises the question of whether the Canadian JDL activists will even be allowed into the United States.

Entrance did not however prove a problem for the group in 2017, when members provided an aggressive presence at the annual AIPAC conference.

A chilling video shows JDL activists beating Kamal Nayfeh, a Palestinian professor from North Carolina, outside the conference.

Weinstein, who heads the Canadian group, can be viewed approaching the assault with a large yellow JDL flag at the 15-second mark.

JDL activists attacked other people on the same day, including activists with the Jewish progressive group IfNotNow.

At least one of the activists appearing in this violent AIPAC conference video – commenting with goatee and long hair at the 1:23 mark – also appears in JDL promotional material for “security training” lessons offered in Canada.

Canadian JDL member Yosef Steynovitz and self-described “Christian buddy of the JDL” Brandon Vaughan, along with anti-Muslim activist Rami Lubranicki of New Jersey, all faced charges for their actions outside the AIPAC conference.

More recently, the JDL of Canada engaged late last year in violent attacks against York University students protesting a Reservists on Duty event organized by the anti-Palestinian Herut organization, according to witnesses and video.

With this recent record of violence both in the US and Canada, there is the alarming prospect that extremist JDL members are about to enter the country and bring more chaos and brutality, this time in New York City.




Keep those terrorists out of the Good Old USA!

Michael F. Brown

Michael F. Brown is an independent journalist. His work and views have appeared in The International Herald Tribune,, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The News & Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and elsewhere.