Now Toronto published a condensed version of this piece earlier this week.
A U.S. federal district court in Washington DC has indicted two leaders of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), one Canadian and another American. They are accused of committing hate crimes against a Palestinian-American professor and an American Jewish progressive activist during last year’s Aipac conference. Yosef Steynowitz, 32, of Thornhill, Ontario and Rami Lubranicki, 59, of New Jersey are charged with assaulting Kamal Nayfeh, a technical instructor at a North Carolina college; and graduate student, Ben Doernberg, with wooden poles and repeated kicks. They also assaulted Galen Vandergriff in a similar fashion, smashing the video camera he used to record the incident.
The indictment, reads in part:
Yosef Steynovitz, while armed with and having readily available dangerous and deadly weapons…unlawfully assaulted and threatened Kamal Nayfeh in a menacing manner and intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly caused significant bodily injury to Kamal Nayfeh
The Grand Jury Further Charges that such criminal act demonstrated the prejudice of Yosef Steynovitz based on the actual or perceived race, color, or national origin of Kamal Nayfeh. (Assault with Significant Bodily Injury While Armed, Bias-Related (Hate) Crime…
Nayfeh was beaten with a pole and his bloodied face required nine stiches. The assault against Doernberg caused a concussion, which forced the victim to take a medical leave from work.
At the time, JDL chief, Meir Weinstein, alleged that the victims had been the ones who insulted and assaulted the JDL members; and that the latter had acted in defense of themselves and Jewish honor:
“They found out,” says Weinstein in a video, “that it’s not wise to lay not even a finger on any of us. We don’t have any patience for this nonsense any more. Anyone who’s going to try and raise a fist to us, push us and assault us, we would be glad to enforce a citizen’s arrest when there’s some semblance of cooperation from the aggressor. Unfortunately, we had to resort to a certain level of force, and we made it very clear the days of Jews being attacked and being docile are long over.”
There is no evidence that any of the victims engaged in any acts of violence against their attackers. Steynowitz had been due to appear in federal court on January 3rd. Assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Massey, has agreed to postpone the arraignment to permit Steynowitz more time to make travel arrangements. He will face arraignment on February 13th. Presumably, he will be spending considerable time away from home in DC over the next year or so!
Toronto continues to be a hotbed of anti-Muslim incitement. Last month, the JDL hosted notorious Islamophobe, Pamela Geller, whose Muhammed drawing contest incited two American Muslims to attack the exhibition hall, where they were killed by police. She spoke at the Canada Christian College. It is well-known as an evangelical hotbed of homophobia and Islamophobia. During her harangue, Geller made a number of provocative statements. Among the most bizarre was this quoted in the Torontoist:
Trudeau may be suffering from PTSD because his mother was “out there, on the front pages, with her lady bits out…”
Geller may be the first person who’s ever claimed that nudity induces mental illness.
Tory-darling, Ezra Levant, joined her on stage that night. Video of their exchange is featured on Kevin Johnston’s website. The latter himself has been accused of a hate crime and arrested by Canadian police.
Though local activists and a media outlet asked the government to ban Geller from entering the country due to her propensity for inciting violence (Britain excluded her in 2013), Canadian authorities ignored the complaints.
Weinstein was invited by the City Council to address the issue of preventing hate speech. The body was asked to suppress annual Al Quds Day rallies sponsored by Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, which had in the past allegedly had included chants which were “anti-Semitic and anti-Christian.” He was given a warm welcome by both council member, James Pasternak and Mayor John Tory.
The JDL also incited a physical attack against journalist and free speech activist, Kevin Metcalf at a Toronto anti-M-103 rally on May 6th. While Metcalf was filming the protest, JDL “security director” Zaza Vili and Max Bocknek first menaced, then attacked Metcalf. They also voiced a death threat heard in the video Metcalf recorded:
“We’re not fucking around here. You’re going to get killed.”
The two have been charged with assault by local police.
In separate developments, Twitter has removed the JDL’s account. Facebook has removed the JDL Facebook page and suspended Weinstein’s own Facebook account for thirty days according to the Canadian Jewish News (CJN). The social media platform told CJN that the account had violated the following terms of service:
Under the section titled, “Dangerous Organizations,” the social media outlet said it prohibits organizations or individuals that are engaged in “terrorist activity, organized violence or criminal activity, mass or serial murderers, or organized hate groups.”
Facebook also removes content “that expresses support for groups that are involved in the violent or criminal behaviour. Supporting or praising leaders of those same organizations, or condoning their violent activities, is not allowed.”