Shunning the English Defence League

Late but important:

That’s the EDL.


18 Responses to “Shunning the English Defence League”

  1. BobFromBrockley Says:

    Thanks for the link. I have now collected most of my EDL posts into one category here:

    This is probably the key one from the Engage point of view, as it touches on the way left-wing anti-Zionists used the mythical “Jewish Division” of the EDL to call all Zionists fascists: (see extensive comment thread, including contributions from Tony Greenstein)

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    It is interesting to note this comment from the CST article:
    “Israel Connect’s David Cohen expressed his relief that the EDL did not make an appearance, saying: “We wouldn’t have stood for it, and nor would the police or the CST.” “

    Particularly if we then connect it up with this extract from the letter to The Guardian from many of the usual “as-a-Jew” suspects (names below), also linked via the CST article:
    “Waving Israeli flags, bringing shame upon the Star of David that it carries, supporters of the Zionist Federation lined up alongside fascist hooligans from the English Defence League to praise the commando killers and damn the dead and injured. Like the rapist seeking justification for his crimes, Zionism blames its victims for “provocation”…

    Ruth Clark, Mike Cushman, Deborah Fink, Sylvia Finzi, Tony Greenstein, Selma James, Michael Kalmanovitz, Michael Kendall, Leah Levane, Rachel Lever, Bruce Levy, Beryl Maizels, Miriam Margolyes, Martine Miel, Simon Pirani, Roland Rance, Alexei Sayle, Inbar Tamari, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Ben Young

    Actually, this raises an interesting point of fact: if Israel Connect’s David Cohen is correct, then this lot can’t even get their facts right. They appear to assume that because EDL said it was going to counter-demonstrate in support of Israel and against Islamists, then it must have been there. In turn, this suggests that none of the signatories were there, nor any of the other IJV, JfJfP, etc, crowd, so they’re whistling in the wind. I’d also like to hear some proper argument as to why “Waving Israeli flags” brings “shame upon the Star of David that it carries”, not just ungrounded assertion. Most importantly, they appear to think the end of that sentence (“to praise the commando killers and damn the dead and injured”) is an explanation and justification of the beginning of it.

    So much for the right of sovereign states, members in good standing of the UN, to defend their territorial integrity and the safety of their citizens. There is a good argument and discussion to be had as to whether _this_ was a particularly good or sensible way to do this, but the letter as published falls far short of even starting that argument/discussion.

    While I’m on the subject (sort of) of the EDL, I thought that James Bloodworth’s ruminations on the EDL (via the link from Bob from Brockley’s website) left a lot to be desired. While he mentions Nick Lowles of Searchlight, he fails to mention (an elementary oversight) Searchlight’s “Hope not Hate” campaign throughout the General Election campaign, and, indeed for long before it. Searchlight has been on the case for years, and to ignore their insights into the far right is either to reinvent the wheeel or show one’s ignorance of what is actually happening.

    Maletesta (both via Harry’s Place and BobfromBrockley) appears far mor insightful into the EDL.

    Finally, I think that Eamonn McDonagh’s piece is worth a posting in it’s own right. How about it website editors? Here’s the direct link. For those who haven’t yet followed it, it’s a deconstruction by Eamonn (of AWL) of an article by an old friend of ours, Tony Judt:

  3. Absolute Observer Says:

    And not only the EDL, I was told by a UAF spokesperson at a public meeting that the reason UAF remain quiet about antisemitism is that there are “Jewish members of the BNP” (as if that was even relevant!)

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      So far as I know, the BNP has one member who claims to be Jewish, who they used to like to wave around in front of everyone to try and distract from their still very active anti-Semitism. I haven’t heard any more about her recently, though, so I’m not sure what happened.

      As for the EDL, their waving of Israeli flags is something that needs to be confronted. That shouldn’t be too difficult – according to someone I know who was at a counter-demonstration against the EDL, a couple of the EDL members who were waving Israeli flags were also wearing poorly-concealed neo-Nazi insignia of various sorts at the same time. One man in particular was, while waving an Israeli flag, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of one of the crematoria at Auschwitz on it, with “Zyklon-B” emblazoned over it in large, gothic letters. After that, it’s difficult to take seriously all these claims about the EDL “supporting Israel”. Anyone who genuinely does support Israel needs to stay alert for the EDL trying to piggyback on their demonstrations, and take appropriate measures to keep them away, to marginalise them, to strip them of any claim to legitimacy and to show them up for what they really are.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        “So far as I know, the BNP has one member who claims to be Jewish, who they used to like to wave around in front of everyone to try and distract from their still very active anti-Semitism. I haven’t heard any more about her recently, though, so I’m not sure what happened.” Perhaps she lost her council seat last time. If she was a BNP councillor in Barking & Dagenham, then she certainly did.

  4. Bob Says:

    Re Brian:

    Good points about the as-a-Jews. Tony Greenstein actually admits in his post’s comment thread to being dishonest to “smoke out” (i.e. wind up) Jonathan Hoffman. Disgraceful, given the stakes.

    On Hope Not Hate, I may be wrong but I haven’t seen them say much about the EDL. The EDL are quite a different kettle of fish from the BNP (who, rightly, have been HnH’s focus), but I would be interested to see any insight HnH have on the EDL. We urgently need to take the measure of the EDL – and part of that, it seems to me, is to acknowledge their important differences from the BNP.

    P.s. Eamonn “of AWL”??

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Sorry, Bob, a reflex action, as while I’m not a supporter, given their starting point and ideology, their reasons for opposing antisemitism and supporting Israel are impeccable. I just associated Eamonn with them, rather than someone else who was in my mind.

      Further apologies to Eamonn.

  5. Luther Blissett Says:

    I think Tony Archer’s papers (RUSI) on the counterjhad movements attempts to woo Europe’s far-right are pertinent to this discussion. He uses the policy and attitude change in the Vlaams bloc – from antisemitism to Islamophobia – as an example, and its interesting here to note that Vlaams are part of the Counter Jihad Europa project.

    Counter Jihad Europa recently held their conference and two delegates from EDL attended (unsure as to whom). Counter Jihad Europa network provides the ideological well from which the far-right can drink.

    This transformation from antisemitism to Islamophobia is alarming – see Salzberger’s 2007 opinion piece ‘With friends like these’: ( and it’s been reassuring to see the CST and BoD vociferously reject their siren call.

    As to the claims that EDL joined ZF that day – it is clear they did not join ZF en masse, however the EDL PR (American international student Matthew Kaplan) photographed himself within the ZF area, whilst someone involved with both the Counter Jihad Europa project and the semi-ficitious* EDL (Jewish Division), who is active in ideologising EDL members on their forum took photographs from within the ZF area. We know a small number of US Kahanist JTF are actively working within the EDL forums and on the semi-fictitious EDL (Jewish Division) facebook group and we believe it is one of the JTF who are in control of that group and that they also own the blog ‘Juniper in the Desert’. ‘Juniper in the Desert’ may be another of Matthew Kaplan’s nom-de-plumes, but we are only sure of the link between the persona who controls the facebook group and the blog ‘Juniper in the Desert’, not whom the real identity of that person may be.

    *we love this label ‘semi-fictitious’ from Bob and use it at every opportunity!

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “This transformation from antisemitism to Islamophobia is alarming…” Both are alarming, but it’s not clear why this particular shift in right-wing racism should be any more alarming than the original. Given the nature of the right, and the EDL despite it’s ‘semi-fictitious’ Jewish Division – ditto thanks to Bob, surely Islamophobia _and_ antisemitism can be taken for granted, even if the latter is temporarily put to one side.

    • Luther Blissett Says:

      “Both are alarming, but it’s not clear why this particular shift in right-wing racism should be any more alarming than the original.”

      In Britain, Jewish leaders have roundly rejected the advances of the more-Zionist-than-thou BNP, the EDL and the SIOE. However, on the continent, the removal of the DPP and the PVV from the EJC’s list of far-right extremists has emboldened both to new heights of racism and religious intolerance. The antisemitism runs within each of those movements, and as you say, both Islamophobia _and_ antisemitism can be taken for granted. One example would be the way that Jewish leaders there are criticised for interfaith work with Muslim leaders (via the DPP).

  7. UK: Continued focus on Muslims while ignoring the EDL | Yellow Stars Euroblog Says:

    […] to EDL provocation – The EDL and Geert Wilders – English Defence League to welcome Geert Wilders – Shunning the English Defense League ] var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="UK: Continued focus on Muslims while […]

  8. Q Says:

    So what?

    The EDL is trying, with very little success, to coopt English Jews.

    Haters of Israel, or anti-Semites, are using that as an excuse to identify pro-Israeli Jews with the EDL, as a weapon against them.

    Does that include you?

  9. From where I'm standing Says:

    As someone said somewhere, the problem with antizionists is that their hatred of Israel “and its supporters” is so immense that they are willing to believe the lies of nazis rather than what Jews say.
    Despite the fact that every single communal Jewish organisation has condemned the EDL, still the antizionists use quotes by EDL nazis to “prove” that Jews are not only liars, but they are also nazis.

    One wonders just how much lower sections of antizionism can reach.

    Recall that unlike Britain’s tolerance of the EDL, France’s tolerance of the Front National, Israel saw Kahani for what he was and banned his organisation; which still remains prohibited. Perhaps those who think the EDL speak the truth about Zionism would be better focussed on combating racism and fascism in its own country rather than peddling its filth under the guise of “antizionism”.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      It’s also important to remember that the Kahanist ideology, as well as being intensely racist towards non-Jews, is also functionally anti-Semitic. Kahanists believe that they are the only “true” Jews, that all others are corrupt and “inauthentic” (they also actively seek the destruction of Israel, and its replacement with an ultra-right-wing theocracy). As the number of Kahanists is miniscule, this means that they are basically a movement that views all but a tiny minority of Jews with intense hatred.

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