Toronto Board of Rabbis Denounce Pamela Geller

A very welcome condemnation of Pamela Geller by prominent Toronto area Rabbis.

One small issue I have is with describing Geller’s activities as “criticism.” Criticism is not the right word but understandably the more accurate “batsh** crazy rants” to describe Geller’s activities wouldn’t fit the professional language required of an official press release.:

Toronto Board of Rabbis Denounce Pamela Geller

Toronto Board of Rabbis

President Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl Vice-President Rabbi Debra Landsberg Secretary Rabbi Martin Lockshin Treasurer Rabbi David Seed Executive Director Rabbi Michal Shekel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 13, 2012

The Toronto Board of Rabbis (TBR) expresses its profound disappointment that a local Jewish organization has extended an invitation to Pamela Geller, a blogger who is known for her extreme criticism of Muslims in language that is intended to shock and ridicule.

The TBR is a strong supporter of freedom of speech for all, including Ms. Geller. Ms. Geller’s voice and message are already well known here in Canada and beyond. There was no sense in inviting her here to Toronto to speak before a Jewish audience. Sadly the only sure result of this event will be increasing tensions within the Jewish community and between Jews and Muslims in Toronto.

The TBR, which represents rabbis from all denominations of Judaism, wishes to make clear to all that it finds the invitation distasteful, just as it finds Ms. Geller’s views distasteful. We dissociate ourselves from the actions of the radical fringe Jewish group that extended the invitation. We call for more events here in Toronto that will build up friendship and understanding between local Jews and Muslims.

Media Contact: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, TBR president 416.781.3511
4600 Bathurst Street Toronto, Ontario M2R 3V3

Please note that our members will be unavailable from sundown Tuesday through sundown Thursday due to the observance of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks).

Tel: 416.849.1004 Fax: 416.631.6373 e-mail: informaton@torontoboardofrabbis.org

Via. Loonwatch

Toronto: Pamela Geller Lies About York Regional Police

Toronto: Pamela Geller Lies About York Regional Police

The National Post covers the story about York Regional Police taking a firm stand against one of their chaplains hosting a hate-preacher.

Jewish activists say a Toronto-area rabbi has been pressured by an area police force to change plans to host a controversial anti-Islamist speaker, prompting accusations the force is squelching free speech.

By “Jewish activists” what they mean to say is a small cadre of unrepresentative extremists, i.e. Geller-followers who hit the internet and contact media claiming their “free speech” rights have been violated by Islamic extremists.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, of the Chabad @ Flamingo Synagogue, cancelled plans to host a talk by Pamela Geller, an American blogger known for her criticism of Islam. She is co-founder of Stop Islamification of America, a group that opposes the proposed building of a mosque at Ground Zero and sponsors anti-Islamic ads in U.S. cities.

Police dispute allegations that there were any threats of intimidation, saying instead that “a discussion” took place Tuesday between Insp. Ricky Veerappan, leader of the York Regional Police force’s diversity, equity and inclusion bureau, and Rabbi Kaplan, who is also a volunteer chaplain with the force. Insp. Veerappan said that during their discussion, the rabbi was presented with more information and a decision.

“If he had not cancelled the event – and again, that was his decision – then we would have had to re-evaluate his relationship with York Regional Police because it would be clearly be in contravention of the values of our organization,” said Insp. Veerappan.

“Our concern is that Rabbi Kaplan is also a representative of the police, he wears a police uniform, and some of the comments that have been attributed to Ms. Geller really posed a conflict situation for us at York Regional Police.”

Here is the full statement of York Police:

York Regional Police wishes to clarify information that has appeared in the media regarding the appearance of Ms. Pamela Geller at a York Region synagogue led by one of the York Regional Police chaplains.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is one of eight volunteer chaplains at York Regional Police who serves the needs of our members and their families through religious and spiritual support. He is also the founder and spiritual leader of the Chabad@Flamingo synagogue in Thornhill.

Free speech is the right of every citizen and York Regional Police recognizes that. However, some of Ms. Geller’s previous comments clearly conflict with the values of our organization and our continuous work to enhance relationships in all our diverse communities.

Rabbi Kaplan’s connection to Ms. Geller’s event posed a concern for York Regional Police as it would put our organization in conflict with our long-held position of inclusivity.

As a result, Rabbi Kaplan, a volunteer member of our service, was provided with additional information regarding the proposed guest speaker by Inspector Ricky Veerappan, the officer in charge of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau.

Subsequently, Rabbi Kaplan decided to cancel Ms. Geller’s appearance as it would place him in conflict with the values of our organization which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.

Reports that Rabbi Kaplan was ‘threatened’ by York Regional Police are a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts.

While York Regional Police supports Ms. Geller’s right to free speech, there is an expectation of all members of our organization to act in accordance with our values and the expectations of our community.

For more information contact Inspector Ricky Veerappan at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 6089.
May 2, 2013

Canada: “Walk Your Dog In Front of the Mosque Protest” a Miserable Failure

An update to a previous feature we wrote about anti-Muslim groups organizing a” Canada: Walk Your Dog in Front of the Mosque Day” protest, it has turned out to be a miserable failure. Only 20 demonstrators showed up with about three dogs. They were greeted by a few Muslims who brought their own dogs, as well as other Muslims who engaged them in conversation.

The biased anti-Muslim news network the Toronto Sun reports that,

 A much anticipated dog walk protest outside an east-Toronto mosque Friday turned out to be a hopelessly neutered event.

Around 20 demonstrators turned up outside the Salahuddin Islamic Centre for the Walk Your Dog in Front of a Mosque protest.

Around 20 humans and three dogs – two retrievers and a pomeranian — turned up for the two and a half hour event and converged at the entrance of the mosque, located on Kennedy Rd. south of Eglinton Ave. E.

Hindu nationalist and promoter of anti-Muslim violence Ron Banarjee blamed the low turn out on the “weather and traffic,”

“We wish we had a better turnout, but there were extenuating circumstances,” said organizer Ron Banerjee, citing traffic and rain for the poor attendance.

It seems some of the protesters are still under the impression that only Westerners are kind to animals and tolerant of other people,

One Catholic demonstrator turned up with his pomeranian.

“Being kind to animals and being tolerant of other people shouldn’t be limited to the West,” he said.

Muslims at the mosque were of course bewildered by the protest, saying they don’t see the point, except to cause “friction” between communities,

A group of Muslims belonging to the mosque — men dressed in long thobes and women in burkas – met the demonstrators.

Tabasum Hussain, a Muslim woman, called it pointless.

“I don’t really see the benefit or what it’s supposed to achieve, other than cause friction,” said Hussain, who claims to have had dogs as pets. “There is nothing in Islam to say that we should ill-treat dogs.”

Towards the end, one Muslim arrived with two friendly Siberian Huskies. All the while, both sides bickered about religious and cultural differences, at several points reverting to name calling.

Funny how the Toronto Sun tries to equivocate and say both of these groups are equally at fault. They do point out that there was a rabid anti-Muslim at the event though they characterize Eric Brazou as “anti-Islamist,” I don’t think he makes a distinction,

The event also attracted its share of rabid anti-Islamists. Eric Brazau, a convicted felon once arrested for allegedly harassing a group of Muslim women, turned up to make “a stand.”
“If we look at what is happening around the world today … how is it that we can say that there is no problem with Islam?” he said, referring to recent attacks on U.S. embassies in countries such as Libya and Sudan.

See video of the protest, you can see two Muslims with their dogs as well (h/t: ArabFury):

EDL Holding Rally In Toronto Alongside JDL

Looks like the hate is being imported to North America, courtesy of Robert Spencer’s and Pamela Geller’s favorite British organization: the EDL. The only question is will Spencer be attending?

Controversial anti-Islamist group plans rally in Toronto

TORONTO—A British right-wing group responsible for a wave of violent anti-Islamist street protests in the United Kingdom will attempt to spread its message to Canadians at a rally in Toronto next week.

A “support rally” for the controversial English Defence League is scheduled to take place at the Toronto Zionist Centre on Tuesday night. The event is being organized by the Jewish Defence League of Canada.

Tommy Robinson, the EDL leader, will speak at the rally through an on-line hookup. It is believed to be the first Canadian rally for the EDL, repeatedly linked to violence since it formed in 2009 to counter Islamist militancy in Britain.

“I am disappointed that the JDL would support an organization whose record in the U.K. is one of violence and extremism,” said Bernie Farber, CEO, of the Canadian Jewish Congress. “This is more than unwise and I sure hope they reconsider this decision.”

Dozens have been arrested at EDL protests, including Mr. Robinson, an alias used by Stephen Lennon. He was charged in November with assaulting a police officer at a confrontation with Islamists who burned poppies during a two-minute silence for veterans.

“The root cause of the problem is the Koran, it’s Islam,” he told the BBC on Nov. 19. “And no one has got the balls to admit it and say it and talk about it. We will. We’re not creating these divisions and this extremism. It’s already there. That’s why we formed. If there was no militant Islam there would be no EDL.”

Professor Matthew Goodwin said the EDL has links to football hooligan networks and draws most of its support from the young working class but unlike the traditional far right it is open to all races and faiths.

“It wants members of the Sikh community, similarly members of the Jewish community to become involved as a way of opposing what the EDL calls radical militant Islam, even though it’s actually just talking about Islam,” said Prof. Goodwin, a lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.

Over the past three to four months, the EDL has been trying to forge links internationally and has reached out to Dutch far right politician Geert Wilders and U.S. conservatives, he said. “This is part of that attempt to forge international links,” he said of the Toronto rally.

The EDL support rally is advertised on the JDL website. “JDL supports the EDL,” the announcement reads. “The EDL needs international support to help it support the values of freedom that Britain was once famous [for]. Now is the time to step forward and stop political Islam.”

Meir Weinstein, national director of JDL Canada, said he was visiting Israel when he met someone connected to Mr. Lennon. The two later got acquainted on the phone. He said he was aware Mr. Robison had been arrested.

“I don’t know everything about the leader of the EDL but from what we see they’re on the streets and they’re very vocal supporting Israel, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and standing up to political Islam, so that’s about it.”

Prof. Goodwin said he doubts the EDL message will resonate in Canada. He said it appeals primarily in working class districts of northern England that have little experience with multiculturalism.

“Your nation is on the whole at ease with ethnic cultural diversity,” he said. “So I think the message itself may not resonate. What might be significant is whether this turns into some substantive links between groups in Toronto and the EDL, and whether there’s any financial resources or logistical support that comes out of that because that is what the EDL is lacking.”

sbell@nationalpost.com