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July 16, 2015

Good Terrorists and Bad Terrorists

Reuel S. Amdur

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We see in the media constant attention to terrorists in our midst. There is the danger of what have been called self-radicalized lone-wolf terrorists such as two Muslim converts one of whom shot and killed a reserve soldier at the national war memorial and then stormed the Parliament Building. The other ran down two soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, killing one and injuring the other.

Then there are others who join or attempt to join organized terrorists. 

Dozens of young Muslims have either made their way overseas or have been stopped at the airport en route.  In addition to the concern about their role in assisting a vicious outfit in its human rights violations overseas, the fear is that some will come back having had military training and will constitute a lethal threat here at home.

Who are the internal threats?  Among other things, they are Muslims, though a tiny part of the Muslim population.  However, we find dangerous fanatics not just among Muslims.  In a recent incident in Edmonton it was an anti-Semite whose harassment of a Jewish family led to a visit from the police.  He shot and killed one policeman and injured another before burning down his house and committing suicide. 

People immediately came to the false conclusion that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was the work of Muslims.  It wasn’t.  Instead, it was the work of Timothy McVeigh, a native-born white Anglo-Saxon right-wing extremist. 

Dealing with the problem of lone-wolf fanatics is troubling, but what of organized fanatics?  Quebec has just adopted a wide-ranging program to counter fanaticism among Muslim youth—monitoring social media, training teachers and social workers on identifying budding extremists, and setting up an “anti-radicalization centre,” which will also work on issues such as street gangs.  There will be a hot line where concerned parents and others can call in to identify individuals who may be being influenced by extremism.

While fanaticism among Muslims is top of the mind these days, there are indeed other fanatics out there, as McVeigh and the Edmonton cop-killer have shown.  The Jewish Defense League is a noteworthy example of fanatics that are going under the radar.

The Jewish Defense League (JDL) affiliates have been involved in a series of bombings and shootings In the United States. 

Their targets have included foreign representatives and institutions from Communist and Arab countries, American Arab activists, Jewish groups that fail to follow their approach, and one another, in internecine strife.  Members have even been engaged in violence because of business disputes.  They murdered Christian Arab activist Alex Odeh.  JDL member Baruch Goldstein, serving in the Israeli military as a physician, invaded a Hebron mosque during prayer, and using an automatic weapon killed 29 and wounded 125 others, back in 1994.  The JDL praised the handiwork of their member.

While the JDL has been especially active in the United States, it has also engaged in terroristic acts in Canada, in particular against neo-Nazis, Ernst Zundel being one target.  In Israel, sister organizations are barred. 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith, along with the FBI and various anti-hate groups see the JDL as a terrorist organization.  ADL has a detailed account of its crimes.  So what is Stephen Harper’s take on the outfit?  Last year, he took an entourage on an official visit to Israel.  Along with a bevy of rabbis, a Catholic priest, and a group of Evangelical ministers—no imams of course—there were also a number of Tory politicians, business leaders, and. . . a representative of the Jewish Defense League.

It is common for JDL activists to travel back and forth between North America and Israel.  Some serve for a time in the Israeli military.  Some join fanatic settlers in the West Bank in terrorizing Palestinian farmers and school children. 

Should there be any concern that JDL may be enticing young Canadian Jews to go to Israel, get military training, terrorize West Bank Palestinians, and return to Canada with a need to continue their fanatic behavior? 

Not according to Harper.  Regardless of the views of the Israeli government, the FBI, the ADL, and others, the Jewish Defense League may have a role to play in helping him get reelected.  Harper tough on crime?  He’s soft on terrorism.

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