Sunday, January 16, 2011

The JDL and Free Dominion: Strange Bedfellows

We sometimes find it remarkable how much attention the folks at Free Dominion pay towards our little home on the Internet (and now that we mentioned their name, FD user Ogopogo will no doubt dutifully report that we are writing about them now). Objectively, we shouldn't matter to Free Dominion. On a good day we may get a little over 400 hits on our blog in a 24 hour period (we usually average in the 200 to 300 range, with a record of around 800 hits back in March 2009), but we suspect that the Free Dominion forums likely receive closer to 400 an hour. We're realistic enough about ourselves to admit that compared to Free Dominion, or even our friends and fellow bloggers BCL and Dr. Dawg, we're pretty small potatoes.

And yet, they have devoted entire discussion about ARC, often involving elaborate conspiracy theories, nefarious plots, sinister criminal exploits, and government honeypot programs, none of which bare anything close to an objective reality. Mark Fournier even claimed here that ARC, though we believe he actually meant the ARA which they conflate with ARC, was responsible for most of the political violence in Canada during the past 20 years (considering our oldest writer was about 12 at the beginning of this time frame and living on a farm in Balgonie, Saskatchewan which isn't exactly a hotbed of political intrigue, this claim may seem a bit far fetched). We appear to have become a Dr. Moriarty or Keyser Söze caricature to them, a shadowing figure who's tentacle's reach into almost every aspect of the underworld.

Suffice it to say we find it all a bit funny, though their leaps of logic still often leave us scratching our heads.

We have most recently been mentioned in a thread that dealt with the EDL/JDL meet and greet that took place in Toronto last week, however we're a little more interested in the beginning of the thread than where we were specifically mentioned by name:

We believe that Connie's claim that the ARA marched with the Aryan Guard against Israel is in part a commentary on a post that she took umbrage with a while back. We had noted that she and her husband shook hands with Paul Fromm (pictured here speaking before a crowd attending a, "No More Wars For Israel" Rally which was organized in the United States) while they were attending one of the Warman "John Doe" hearings. In her post she angrily denounced the, "guilt by association" tactics she believes ARC was engaged in while at the same time engaging in those tactics herself by writing about the Aryan Guard showing up uninvited to a pro-Palestinian march in Calgary, either to illustrate why she believes such behavior was wrong or to actually play the guilt by association game herself.

Connie ends her post with the following statement:

Heartwarming, isn't it? The Aryan Guard and Anti-Racist Action, putting aside their differences to show their outrage at Israel.

You know what, idiots? I will shake anyone's hand that I damn well please...but, unlike you guys, you will NEVER find me attending any rallies against Israel.

If you want to find anti-Semites, perhaps you should start by looking in your own freaky little organization.

Our readers don't need to be reminded that the Aryan Guard were not welcome at the rally and were eventually compelled to leave by the organizers (though they were there long enough to find their way onto conservative blogs to serve as, "proof" that progressives are virulent antisemites), but this continues to be the narrative spun by the Fourniers. Still, Connie is correct. We don't doubt that Connie or Mark would never attend a rally that they considered to be anti-Israel. Sure, they would shake hands with a man (pictured here holding David Duke's antisemitic screed, Jewish Supremacism) who routinely attends such rallies (as well as marching willingly with the Aryan Guard and attending a number of their speaking engagements) or attend award ceremonies and receive awards from people who denounce Israel and question the right of the country to exist, but they would never participate in such a rally themselves.

We don't actually expect Connie to believe us, but the reason we posted the comment about her and Mark shaking hands with Paul Fromm wasn't to try claim either Connie or Mark were antisemitic; we're quite certain that they are not antisemites in fact. It was to comment on their naivety and how the responses to Mr. Warman's activities have created bizarre bedfellows. And of course there was the irony that these two staunch supporters of Israel would be friendly with a person who is hostile to the very concept of Israel and Jews.

Anyways, back to the most recent thread.

Mark eventually chimed in. It appears that Mark makes a case that the opposition to the JDL is new proof that the ARA is antisemetic:

We find it interesting that while Mark has accused the ARA of being a terrorist organization (the most dangerous in Canada, in fact) despite any credible proof to support this position, he is now claiming that the ARA is Antisemitic because it is opposed to the Jewish Defence League which actually HAS committed terrorist attacks as defined by the United States, Canada (under the Kach movement moniker), Israel (also under the Kach movement), and the European Union (note that we changed the original wording to be more precise). In fact the JDL has been linked directly and indirectly a range of terrorist activities, including (but not limited to the examples provided) vandalism (here), assaults, bombings (here, here, here, here) murder (here, here, here), harassment, and even attempted political assassination; the former leader of the JDL in the United States, Montreal-born Irv Rubin, (pictured above; Rubin is the taller of the two men on the right) was arrested along with a co-conspirator of plotting to bomb a mosque and the office of Darrell Issa who is a Republican Congressman of Lebanese Christian descent. Even in the case of the arson of Ernst Zundel's Toronto home, often claimed as an example ARA terrorism, it was a group linked to the JDL that claimed responsibility, though the link may actually be somewhat tenuous according to the Canadian Jewish Congress who stated at the Jewish Armed Resistance hadn't been in existence for some time (there was also speculation that the fire was an insurance scheme, but there is no proof of this either way as well).

Well, perhaps the Jewish Defence League of Canada is different? The Canadian branch doesn't appear to have engaged in the political violence that their American counterparts have, but they haven't exactly gone out of their way to denounce violence or the perpetrators of violence, such as the mass murder of Palestinians in 1994 by Baruch Goldstein:

"Our organization does not condemn the attack. It condemns the Israeli government for not providing adequate protection for settlers." --- Meir Weinstein (aka Meir Haveli) in his capacity as Canadian spokesperson for the Kach Movement.

We've mentioned on a number of occasions that no member of ARC is a member of the ARA and that we don't always agree with some of the tactics taken by some ARA groups in the past in the effort to fight racism, but if Mark is going to call the ARA terrorists based on the occasional street scuffle during a protest, then one would think he would call out groups that commit real violent acts as terrorist groups. Instead, Paul Fromm (who willingly and enthusiastically marches with violent neo-Nazis and supports the destruction of Israel) is lauded as a free-speech hero, his links to antisemitic extremists glossed over. And the JDL (a group linked to political assassination plots, bombings, assaults, and murders) is lauded as anti-jihadist freedom fighters, their links to terrorism ignored or dismissed.

An added irony is that while the ARA has been accused of being violent, in the close to 20 years it has existed in Canada no ARA member has placed a finger on Paul Fromm that we are aware of. We certainly could be mistaken, but our search hasn't shown a single example of an assault on Fromm being committed by the ARA. In fact the only example of an assault claim by a progressive occurred more than 40 years ago, and those charges were dismissed. However, there was a recent case where two individuals were arrested and charged with assault.

The men arrested for assault were members of the JDL.

Related Update: This actually has more to do with a comment left by a friend of the blog a few days ago that has not yet been published due to ongoing difficulties with our comment moderation system which isn't allowing us to post comments left by our readers. However, it also should also serve to reiterate some of our positions on Israel:

1. We believe that Israel has the right to exist and prosper. We also believe that the Palestinian people also have the right to security, prosperity, and sovereignty. To those who can't even grasp this concept, scroll down to point 5.

2. We believe that, as a sovereign state, the Israeli government has the right to defend the nation's citizens from external and internal threats. However we also believe that there have been times when the defence of Israeli citizens has not been in proportion to the threat being faced, a view shared by some within Israel as well.

3. We believe that groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations that use violence and target innocent people to achieve their aims are criminal in nature and should be condemned by right thinking people. We also believe that extremist groups in Israel, such as Kahane Chai who would deny citizenship to non-Jewish Israeli peoples and have promoted violence to that end should also be condemned.

4. An issue that might put us at odds with some of our friends but supported by others, we don't believe that calling Israel and apartheid state is constructive or even entirely accurate. To be sure we have significant concerns about troubling incidents, such as a recent letter signed by a number of Rabbis that Jews should not rent to non-Jews, the reality is that a plurality of the Israeli population rejects this position and this makes us hopeful. Of course, we're optimists at heart.

5. We believe that in order for there to be a lasting, equitable peace in the region, that there needs to be a two-state solution.

6. It is necessary for both parties to find away out of the cycle of attack and retribution because it puts both peoples' security at risk. That means that both sides are going to have to make concessions if there is going to be a lasting peace.

7. We believe that violence is rarely, if ever, the way to affect real change for the better and it usually results in more negative outcomes down the road, which means we reject violence as a means of enacting change or moving our ideas forward.

There, in a nutshell, is what ARC believes regarding Israel, the Palestinians and peace negotiations. Take it for what you will, since our detractors will no doubt twist it into something negative anyways, (something that happened within minutes of posting this article). ;^)


Harry Abrams said...

"... We also believe that extremist groups in Israel, such as Kahane Chai who would deny citizenship to non-Jewish Israeli peoples and have promoted violence to that end should also be condemned...."

FYI They are already banned as a political party in Israel.

"... we don't believe that calling Israel and apartheid state is constructive or even entirely accurate...."

Thank you. It's become very rare to hear of anyone on the Cdn. left has not bought into Abbas's (and Hamas') asymmetrical war.

The PA supports and promotes this BDS thing internationally which, tragically is the unborn "state" of Palestine's largest export.

Sadly, this is politics too. That's why progress towards a Palestinian state is stymied. They don't want a 2 state solution even though the Jews do.

These "moderate peace partners" still expect to be able to push all the Jews into sea at the same time as receiving international aid and support, instead of just getting on with the business of building a state.

"... we have significant concerns about troubling incidents, such as a recent letter signed by a number of Rabbis that Jews should not rent to non-Jews..."

This was roundly condemned in Israel and among Jews in the diaspora, and does not represent a significant faction. Arab Israelis are mostly integrated into the general population of Israel and have complete civil equality. Which is not to say that there isn't ever any discrimination.

But discrimination happens even in democratic countries and regimes like Canada. Too often, we're seeing big double standards about Israel which are also used to "criminalize" diaspora Jews and their communities.

Anonymous said...