The head of the Jewish Defence League in Canada is conferring with police, after he received explicit threats for expressing opposition to a rally that was being planned by anti-Islamic and white nationalist groups in Toronto.
Facebook messages directed at Meir Weinstein from the far-right Canadian Nationalist Front threatened physical violence because Weinstein had opposed an Aug. 11 rally in Toronto’s Nathan Philipps Square.
Over the weekend, the Canadian Nationalist Front posted the following on its Facebook page: “Will carve a swastika in Weinstein’s face. I will crush your throat with my jackboot your [sic] a slimy dirty Jew,” and “Weinstein your [sic] getting punched out you dirty kike and anti Canada peice [sic] of s–t.”
The Toronto rally had been planned by the Calgary-based Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) and was expected to include representatives of other nationalist and far-right groups, such as Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys and the Northern Guard.
The event alarmed many anti-racist and Jewish groups, and was to take place on the first anniversary of the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Va., which culminated in the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer.
The Toronto event was postponed, however, after organizers faced scheduling problems and a planned counter-protest from anti-racist groups, amid rumours of in-fighting among far-right groups.
Three days before the rally was to take place, Weinstein noted that in Charlottesville, white supremacists and neo-Nazis had led a torchlight march and chanted “Jews will not replace us.”
“That torchlight rally and anti-Semitism must be condemned and should never be tolerated in Toronto,” Weinstein wrote on Facebook on Aug. 8. “Patriotic Canadians must stand united against such hate.”
Weinstein said that police in Toronto and York Region are taking the threats he received “seriously.”
“I’m not going to let it rest,” he told The CJN. “They’ve got to be put out of business.”
On its website, the Canadian Nationalist Front describes itself as a “nationalist organization that would like to see proper immigration reforms such as real border security and border fence, a moratorium on the flood of mass immigration and a return to Canada’s traditional ethnic demographics. We are here to educate, inspire and organize activists who are awake and ethnically aware. We encourage letter writing campaigns, handing out literature, protesting, marching, networking, logistical support and working together with other nationalist organizations.”
The website has links to Stormfront, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke and other far-right groups.
That torchlight rally and anti-Semitism must be condemned and should never be tolerated in Toronto.
– Meir Weinstein
Its leader, Kevin Goudreau, has a large swastika tattooed on his chest and there are photographs of him giving the Nazi straight-arm salute.
Goudreau is a long-time figure in Canada’s racist movement. He has claimed that he was active in the neo-Nazi Heritage Front in the 1990s and that he supported Ernst Zundel, the former Toronto hatemonger and Holocaust denier.
Weinstein said the Toronto event’s connection with the deadly U.S. rally kept him and his followers away.
“When I heard about it, there was no mention of Charlottesville. I thought the rally would address border security, illegal immigration and probably radical Islam,” he said.
But “as we got closer, it became very apparent to me that the person who … spearhead(ed) this rally wanted (it) connected with Charlottesville. At first, I didn’t realize it was a year after Charlottesville. It became a no-brainer for me to let people who consider themselves to be on the right or ultra-conservatives know that the person behind this rally (did) in fact want a connection with Charlottesville and even entertained the idea of having a torch-lit march (in Toronto).”
Weinstein said that “many” on the right saw his warning “and said, ‘we want nothing to do with Charlottesville and torch-lit marches.’ ”