Montreal Jewish community cool to effort to revive JDL

Marcy Oster

MONTREAL (JTA) — Efforts to revive the Jewish Defense League in Montreal in the wake of a Gaza conflict-related surge in anti-Semitic incidents have gotten the cold shoulder from the city’s Jewish community.

Rabbi Reuben Poupko of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the Jewish community’s official advocacy body, called the group “marginal” and “superfluous.”

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The JDL has been inactive in Montreal for decades.

Toronto-based Canadian JDL leader Meir Weinsten, 56, was scheduled to meet on Aug. 3 with prospective supporters in Montreal. He had announced in late July the possibility of also setting up JDL branches in Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.

Poupko said the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs was satisfied by the police’s response to incidents, which have included isolated physical and verbal assaults on Jews. The response has included stepping up patrols of Jewish institutions.

A Quebec anti-Islamophobia group urged the Quebec minister in charge of public security to ban the JDL and launched an online petition to that effect.

The FBI identified the JDL as a “right-wing terrorist group” in reports on terrorism in 2000 and 2001, citing a thwarted bomb plot in 2001 against a California mosque that involved members of the organization, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.