Violent demonstration opposes Jewish defense alliance


TORONTO (JTA) — Violence erupted during a demonstration by anti-racist groups opposing an alliance between the Jewish Defense League and the Britain-based English
Defense League.

Four protesters were arrested and a police officer was injured in Tuesday night’s violence. 

Demonstrators representing several anti-racism and social action groups shouted slogans and taunts at members of the JDL, whose Canadian leader, Meir Weinstein, announced recently that his group would ally with the British organization, which is known for violence and extremism. Police on foot and horseback managed to control the protest, but not before one officer reportedly suffered a broken rib.

The English Defense League, formed last year in Britain, has been denounced as Islamophobic, violent and extremist. British Jewish organizations have opposed the group even though it openly supports Israel.

The JDL said it is forging ties with the British group to "take a stand against the forces of political Islam."

In an online hook-up with English Defense League founder Stephen Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, the Briton said Canadians "need to wake up. The Islamicization of your country is on its way."

The Canadian Jewish Congress has opposed the alliance between the two rightist groups, saying that while Islamic fundamentalism is "a real threat," combating it with "generalized hatred against Muslims, as does the EDL, is only a recipe for fuelling more conflict."

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