A Montreal rabbi is questioning why the Jewish Defence League’s leaders believe their services are required here.
"In Montreal, the police are extraordinarily professional and have done a very good job, and they have always been attentive to the needs and concerns of the Jewish community," Rabbi Reuben Poupko from Côte St-Luc’s Beth Israel Beth Aaron synagogue said Thursday.
- Jewish Defence League eyes setting up Montreal chapter
- Jewish Defence League expands to Montreal, hopes to impact federal election
Poupko told CBC Montreal's Daybreak the city has handled itself well when dealing with cases of antisemitism.
"Anytime there’s been vandalism against Jewish institutions, it has been followed by rigorous investigations, arrests and convictions and I’m not really clear on why anyone would believe a self-defence group would be needed or wanted here," he said.
Earlier this week, the ultra-nationalist and controversial Jewish-rights organization said it wanted to establish a chapter in Montreal following what national director Meir Weinstein called an increasing threat from Islamic radicalization.
'I’m not really clear on why anyone would believe a self-defence group would be needed or wanted here.' - Rabbi Reuben Poupko
On Thursday, Weinstein told Daybreak host Mike Finnerty that he wanted to stop the spread of "anti-Semitic, anti-Canadian garbage" and suggested that Montreal needed help in dealing with radicalized people.
"There’s serious problems, serious groups promoting radical jihadism, radical Islam and we monitor these organizations. We provide security at times for Jewish institutions, Jewish events and we’d like to offer that in Montreal," Weinstein said.
Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said he has serious concerns about the JDL and cited an FBI report on terrorism in 2000 and 2001 which identified the organization as a "right-wing terrorist group."
When asked by Finnerty whether Majzoub and Montreal Muslims should be concerned about the JDL’s possible presence in the city, Weinstein said only "anti-Israel and anti-Semitic" people should be concerned.