A few days ago, I published an exposé which profiled several key leaders of JDL Canada and their ties both to white supremacist groups in that country and to Kahane Chai. The latter Israeli settler movement is labelled a terror group by the U.S. and Israeli governments. This story is so interesting, I’ve continued doing research and interviewing witnesses to the violence in DC last week perpetrated by the JDL.
Danya Nayfeh, the daughter of the most seriously injured protester in the DC riot, Kamal Nayfeh, spoke extensively to me about events that day. Her parents had traveled to DC for a family day with their daughter, who is studying at Georgetown law school. As they walked downtown Nayfeh, who is studying international human rights law, wanted to find out more about the anti-Aipac protest at the Convention Center. So they walked over to the If Not Now demonstrators.
She and her mom were separated from Kamal for a few moments, when they heard a violent commotion and her mom said: “I think that’s your dad.” Danya immediately began running toward the gaggle of JSL attackers who surrounded Kamal. She began screaming repeatedly: “That’s my dad.” Just then, nearly 90 seconds after the attack began, a single police officer pushed his way through from the opposite direction to stop it. As a result, she was thrown back on the ground. She promptly got up and again ran toward her father and was thrown again to the ground.
After she reached her dad, whose eye and back was badly injured, the police tried to shoo the family off to one side. Dana couldn’t make sense of this. She looked over at the attackers who were still milling brazenly near the site of the attack. The police were doing nothing to question them. When she was convinced the police were taking no action, she decided to confront the perpetrators herself. The police warned her not to as it might be dangerous. But she was not to be deterred.
She walked over to the JDL and began demanding to know who had attacked her father. No one replied. So she confronted Steynovitz directly and asked: “Did you attack my dad?” She repeated the question several times and he finally admitted: “We did it. That should teach him a lesson.” She looked at the policemen standing nearby to see if they would act. When they didn’t, she challenged them saying: “You heard what he just said. He admitted he did it. What are you going to do?” Their refusal to act made her frustrated and she began screaming at them demanding that they arrest the culprits.
They did respond finally, by threatening that if she didn’t stop they would arrest her for “inciting a riot.” At that point Steynovitz, who was standing with Lubranicki, began to walk away from her. She pointed this out to the officers, who told her not to worry because an undercover cop was following them. Given how uncooperative police had been to that point, she was unsatisfied with their answer.
She told them Steynovitz was getting away and she would not let that happen. She told them she would follow the two suspects. The police again warned her against this as it would be dangerous. She told them if they were worried about her safety they’d have to join her in the pursuit. At that point, she and a small group of witnesses began following Steynovitz and Lubranicki who, in the meantime, were now running away at full gallop. By the time Dayna turned the corner to catch up with the JDL suspects, police had tackled both of them to the ground and arrested them. If they had not decided to flee the scene, who knows whether they would’ve been arrested at all.
The good news is that the U.S. attorney has taken jurisdiction and is prosecuting the case. The bad news is that the U.S. attorney’s boss is Jeff Sessions who if anything, supports the goals, if not the methods of the JDL.
It’s astonishing how feeble the DC police performance was at the protest. They were bystanders. They tried to separate groups but they did nothing to prevent violence or take control after violence flared. For example, in the case of INN member Ben Doernberg, he was struck on the head from behind by Steynovitz with a wooden flagpole (see video of the incident above). Though he sustained a concussion, the police did nothing more than take Steynovitz aside and remove his mask. A fellow JDL member accompanying Steynovitz did more to reprimand him than the police. Afterward, Steynovitz put his mask
back on and then next attacked Kamal. If this is policing, then why have any police department? To this day, no one from the police or U.S. attorney’s office has had any contact with Doernberg. This is shameful, willful malfeasance on the part of law enforcement and the justice system.
It appears generally, that the police and security agencies in both the U.S. and Canada are far more interested in pursuing Islamic militants than white supremacists or Jewish terrorists. If this isn’t so, then why isn’t the JDL on official government terror lists in either country?
As if the JDL hasn’t offered enough outrage, it has the unmitigated chutzpah to launch a crowd funding campaign on behalf of the two suspects charged for these hate crimes. The JDL follower who established the project not only sought to defend the suspected criminals, but to smear the victim, Nayfeh, as part of their project statement. The site, Funded Justice, founded by a Chicago lawyer who supposedly wanted to help social justice causes to fund their legal defense, has been “honored” as the venue for this sham. I asked the site if they understood the nature of this cause and whether it adhered to their mission and terms of service. No one has responded. The JDL has raised $2,000 thus far.
If you still aren’t convinced of the severity of the threat, let’s explore the story of Meir Gerichter. He is a current JDL member from Toronto who formerly served as a sergeant in the IDF. On his Facebook page, he boasts that he wants to be a police officer. In preparation for this, he apparently is a private security guard. One of his assignments has been to work in the security detail for the U.S. consulate in Toronto. He calls it “the best job ever, and writes that he works “in the embassy.” If true, that would refer to the embassy in Ottawa. More likely he erred and confused the embassy with the consulate.
At any rate, one has to wonder what sort of vetting the State Department and its Canadian security contractor did, not to have uncovered that an adherent of an organization the FBI called “a right wing terror group” in a 2000 report, managed to infiltrate the security of a U.S. diplomatic mission.
Another fascinating figure in this Ship of Fools aka JDL Canada is Sandra Solomon. She seems to serve as the Arab den mother of this motley crew. She boasts that she is PLO royalty as the niece of a founding father of Fatah who was one of Yasser Arafat’s closest confidants. She claims (without proof) that after decades of hellish sexual exploitation, she finally extricated herself from Islam and the Palestinian cause. She now espouses Zionism and is “more Catholic than the Pope,” as it were. She accompanies “the boys” on their “outings” and can be heard both in Toronto and DC bellowing insults at the Muslims against whom they’re protesting. She accuses Justin Trudeau of being a “jihadi” in disguise and proudly calls herself a “Jewish Islamophobe” (though she isn’t Jewish).
Ex-Muslims like Solomon are a dime a dozen. The phenomenon goes back a decade or more to Walid Shoebat, who falsely claimed he was a Palestinian Muslim who’d turned away from terrorism and Islam to embrace Zionism and Christianity. Both Israeli Lobby and evangelical groups trotted him out as a prized pet, who served their purposes well in the religious jihad against Islam. Tawfiq Hamid is yet another example of this strategy. Muntasir (“Mark”) Halawa is another Arab who was adopted by Aish HaTorah and became it’s apostate Muslim poster-boy. Halawa falsely claims his grandmother was Jewish, thus making his fully Jewish. His family denies this vociferously and Halawa offers no proof to support it.
Israel too has cultivated its own apostates from the Islamist cause. The Shin Bet “turned” the “Green Prince,” Moab Yousef, whose father Hassan was a founder of Hamas. After the former provided them all the inside intelligence he could on Hamas, the Mossad turned him into a Zio-dog and pony show. They offered him to the media and persuaded an Israeli filmmaker to make a breathless kiss-and-tell documentary about him. In his tale as in Solomon’s, there is sexual humiliation in the form of childhood rape, which supposedly scars him for life. This theme reinforces the notion of Islam as a primitive religion founded on notions of blood lust and sexual degradation.
Curiously, none other than Walid Shoebat takes exception to Yousef’s claim of conversion. Apparently, he doesn’t take well to competition among the Christian evangelical crowd for whom they’re both trolling for big bucks. It seems that there is a financial angle or personal vendetta in almost all of these “conversions.”
Let’s also not forget another key element of this “script.” The former terrorist must not only renounce his family and his nation. He must also renounce his religion, as Hassan has done. He is now an evangelical Christian, just like Shoebat.
This phenomenon, in which the predominant culture must persuade itself of its own virtue by converting the enemy to its cause, and then parading them before its followers and the world, reminds me of 19th century displays of indigenous natives at carnivals and fairs. They were displayed as anthropological curiosities, which both confirmed the western observers as enlightened, and affirmed their superiority over the primitive savage.
This was the theme of “Wild Bill” Hickok’s Wild West Indian shows which traversed the nation in the late 19th century. As late as 1906, New York’s Bronx Zoo displayed an African pygmy, Ota Benga, in the monkey house. In a single day, 40,000 visitors followed him everywhere he went in the zoo, even poking him in the ribs and tripping him on purpose as if he were a comic prop.
In ways that are even more toxic, Zionism doesn’t merely see Islam as a curiosity, but as a mortal enemy. One way of demoralizing the enemy, and at the same time instilling pride in Israelis, is to cultivate this sort of religious-ideological conversion. It’s a fraudulent process that shames its practitioners and fools only the gullible.
NOTE: An eyewitness to the DC attack has identified two of the other JDL members who brutalized Kamal Nayfeh as Brandon Vaughan and David Modlin.
In an update to my last post on JDL Canada, I featured a video filmed by JDL-UK and posted on its website. It depicted Zaza Vili and other JDL leaders on a pilgrimage to Meir Kahane’s grave. Asa Winstanley just informed me that the video was shot by Roberta Moore (whose name is called out in the video by another member of the group). She is the chief of JDL UK and was recently convicted of assault in a UK court after she sprayed paint in the face of the director of a Palestinian literary festival. An appeals court overturned the conviction, finding that the prosecution had botched the case (perhaps intentionally) by losing evidence.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.