"...perhaps TBR is the real ‘radical fringe Jewish group’ [that] they accuse the JDL of being. I await TBR’s statement of condemnation of recent Islamist terrorist actions in Canada, London and Boston, and especially in Israel. I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time. They seem to only criticize right-wing Jews. What a bunch of hypocrites who claim to be liberal."
It bears noting that the President of the Toronto Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, has appeared with Dr. Zakir Naik. Naik is banned from entering Britain for jihadist hate preaching. He was one of the hate preeachers at the university of the London jihad beheaders who killed Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week. The Islamic Society at Greenwich University, where both of the London jihad beheaders studied, hosted a series of Muslim hate speakers and distributed extremist literature (including Naik's).
But Rabbi Fryman-Kohl condemned me.
"Rabbis’ declaration divides community" Atara Veck, The Jewish Tribune, May 28, 2013 (thanks to Meir)
JERUSALEM-TORONTO – News about the condemnation of American political commentator Pamela Geller by the Toronto Board of Rabbis (TBR) reached Israel quickly and was a topic of discussion among several Canadian-Israelis.
Some assumed that Geller – widely known for her fight against Radical Islam and commonly labelled an Islamophobe – must be a hatemonger of sorts, having earned such strong denunciation by a group of rabbis who rarely issue such statements.
The impetus for the attack against Geller was her recent talk in Toronto on the spread of Radical Islam.
TBR expressed concern that the “only sure result of this event will be increasing tensions within the Jewish community and between Jews and Muslims in Toronto.” TBR also referred to the Jewish Defense League Canada (JDL), which hosted the program, as a “radical fringe Jewish group.”
Toronto-born Bracha Barbara Goldman, who moved to Israel decades ago, was troubled.
“It reflects a ‘galut’ [Diaspora] mentality,” she said. “Pamela Geller is not at all racist. She doesn’t speak against Muslims. But she warns that there’s Radical Islam out there, and that it’s not just against Jews and Israel; it’s a threat to Western civilization. TBR is not serving the community well by maligning Geller…. There are serious threats out there, and we have to face them.”
The event took place at the Toronto Zionist Council (TZC) building, where JDL is a tenant. It was originally booked at a synagogue where the rabbi – Mendel Kaplan of Chabad@ Flamingo – is a York Regional Police (YRP) chaplain. Due to intervention by YRP, which claimed that the event didn’t conform to YRP’s values of inclusivity, the program was moved to the Toronto Zionist Council (TZC) building on Lawrence Avenue. No other synagogue offered its premises.
TZC president Joe Winter was approached by journalists from mainstream Canadian newspapers, asking him why he had agreed to the event.
“I said that we have several tenants, all non-profits and supportive of Israel…. All of them have the right to use our meeting room. The only requirement is not to do anything to break the law.”
He accused TBR and others of “giving a bad name to Geller…. She is not a radical. JDL is also being abused; it definitely is not radical.”
Prominent Toronto community activist Larry Zeifman fumed, “While TBR can’t seem to find the time to condemn Islamism and terror, they find it appropriate to condemn a Jewish community event that aims to address that threat.
“Whatever one thinks of Geller and the JDL, perhaps TBR is the real ‘radical fringe Jewish group’ [that] they accuse the JDL of being. I await TBR’s statement of condemnation of recent Islamist terrorist actions in Canada, London and Boston, and especially in Israel. I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time. They seem to only criticize right-wing Jews. What a bunch of hypocrites who claim to be liberal.
“Also, I find it shocking that the only coverage that the Canadian Jewish News gave to this event was the condemnation by TBR. A real community newspaper would cover all important community events and not just those that Toronto’s most liberal rabbis support. We have such a community paper. It’s called the Jewish Tribune.”
During a television interview with JDL head Meir Weinstein before the event, popular Toronto talk-show host Michael Coren said that Geller would be speaking on his show and that he’d even promote the JDL event.
“She believes in tolerance. She speaks out for persecuted minorities,” and has “no [criminal] convictions,” Coren said.
According to Coren, Geller is “an important voice to be heard.”
Although Coren said he would feature Geller on his show and promote the JDL event, he never did.
At an event last week at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda synagogue, the panelists – Daniel Pipes, historian and political analyst; Western University Professor Salim Mansour, Father Raymond de Souza, National Post columnist; and Fred Litwin of the Free Thinking Film Society – while discussing Islam vs Islamism, affirmed that they are not “students of Pamela Geller.” The audience, most of them concerned about the current threat of Radical Islam and supportive of Geller, was reportedly disappointed by the focus on academics rather than what they see as pressing political issues.
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl participated in the fourth annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in 2005, which included a number of speakers who are on the record for promoting intolerance and terror.
In an email exchange, the Tribune asked why that event was acceptable to him and whether any of his views have since changed. Also, could it benefit peace-loving Muslims to have someone speak out against Islamism? He replied, “The TBR statement speaks for itself.”