The long-dormant, controversial Jewish Defense League announced it would set up shop in Montreal next week despite opposition by local Jewish and Muslim groups.
“There is no need for a Jewish self-defense group in Montreal,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko of the Jewish community’s main advocacy group, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, or CIJA.
JDL leader Meir Weinstein of Toronto said he would be setting up the country’s second branch outside that city on Feb. 16 to stem the rise of “radical Islam” in Quebec and to help the pro-Israel Conservative Party government return to power in a national election slated for the fall.
Weinstein, 56, said he planned to have local JDL members aggressively monitor and “infiltrate” radical Islamic groups. In August, Weinstein, in the wake of some incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in Montreal, organized a local meeting to gauge interest in reviving the JDL after decades of inactivity.
About 50 people reportedly attended the meeting.
Rabbi Poupko has said that such anti-Semitic incidents have been successfully dealt with by local authorities and has called JDL “marginal” and “superfluous.”
In the United States, the FBI in 2001 labeled the JDL, founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, a violent “right-wing terrorist group.” The group has been inactive in the U.S. for years.
No reports exist showing that the JDL in Toronto has been involved in violent incidents.