The head of the Canadian branch of the Jewish Defense League wants to get the truth out, saying that violence is “ugly,” but when necessary, his group will defend Jews from intimidation and assault.

I’d like to make a statement on actions that occurred at the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. It’s very important that we understand what took place, the truth, and that we spread this truth. There has been a lot of defamation, serious accusations against the Jewish Defense League and I’d like to address that.

At the AIPAC conference when the Jewish Defense League arrived, there were already anti-Israel gangs there that blocked the entrance. And we had serious concerns about the security provided for the attendees of the conference. Police and various security services allowed protesters to block all the entrances and prevent[ed] Jews from attending the conference through the main entrances into the building, into the convention center. The attendees had to go across the street to another building and use that as an entrance to the convention center. his is outrageous. People who lawfully want to go to the AIPAC conference and hear politicians from both sides of the aisle speak about support for Israel, that they are to be prevented from going in. What we observed also outside were anti israel gangs calling for death to Israel, death to Zionists.

Let me roll back to the previous year. Last year at the convention. Last year at the convention, Jews were beaten up. Jews were beaten. Many Jews were prevented from going in safely. And so the Jewish Defense League wanted to go there this time to mount a counter protest to the hate and incitement and ensure that Jews and other supporters of Israel will have a safe entry to the conference. We spoke with the police prior to arriving at the convention center. Conversations with the police have been ongoing for the past month. We were given a specific area to assemble and stage our counter protest against the anti-Israel gangs. There were neo-Nazis there as well, accusing Jews of everything under the sun.

‘What Was Not Shown in Selectively Spliced Videos’

Anti-Israel gangs engaged with the Jewish Defense League’s members on a number of occasions. What has not been shown in these selectively spliced videos circulating the internet now is many of these gangs elbowing members of the Jewish in the ribs, knees to the groin. Members of the Jewish Defense League were assaulted. This was brought to the attention of the police. Nothing was done.

One of our women there was choked around the neck. Nothing was done. People were attacked and people were told that the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist. And for brief moment, for a very brief moment, some members of the Jewish Defense League responded in self-defense. Even the organizer, the main organizer of the anti-Israel Islamic protest, admitted on his Facebook page, and we will post that, that they had saboteurs for their event, which led to an increase in violence at the AIPAC conference.

The Jewish Defense League came to the conference with the best of intentions, not looking for any violence, but let me make it very clear: We’re not going to allow ourselves to be assaulted, and we’re not going to allow people to repeat that which was done last year, and many times throughout this year, of Jews being assaulted. And in the context of all the hate and all the violence against Jews and supporters of Israel, members of the Jewish Defense League shown in selectively spliced videos stood their ground and defended themselves.

Videos Calling for ‘Death to All Zionists’

We’re going to be releasing a lot more information to put everything into context. There have been a lot of postings already as a result of those videos circulating that were calling for death to all Zionists. We’ve seen this and we’re posting some. We’re going to be educating the wider community about the extent of the hate and defamation going on.

But as our name is clear, Jewish Defense League, we defend ourselves, we defend our rights. It would have been much better if there were not a security breakdown at the AIPAC conference. But again it’s completely outrageous that the security forces there at AIPAC allowed the anti-Israel gangs to block the entrance, to threaten the guests and to assault people. That should never be tolerated and it was tolerated.

We’re going to be sharing a lot more information with the public and we will get the truth out. I hope I’ve cleared up some concerns people have had about what people consider excessive force. We’re looking into that and let me be clear about the issue of violence. I don’t like violence. I don’t like any fighting. People pay a lot of money to watch boxing matches; in mixed martial arts they see violence, they see blood, they see gore. I don’t like that, justified or not; it’s ugly. And if no one from the anti-Israel gangs and the neo-Nazi gangs had attempted to assault the Jewish Defense League’s members, I doubt there would be any violence at the AIPAC conference.

‘Let’s Expose the Deception and the Lies’

On the flip side, we’ve received so much support from the wider community – people calling people, emailing, so much support. We’re looking to expand all across in major cities. We want the JDL back, and people want the JDL back. At the conference, at the after parties there, the support we are receiving from people was incredible. It’s time to change. It’s time to end intimidation and assaults on Jews. This should be the challenge for us now, to turn a corner.

As for the Jews who protested side by side with the anti-Israel, pro-jihad gangs – what do they want? They want Israel to pull out of the Golan Heights and give over the territory to either ISIS or Iran. The same with the mountainous region of what’s widely called the West Bank – Judea and Samaria. And they think that’s moral.

Let’s get the truth out. Let’s expose the deception and the lies.”

Article by Meir Halevi Weinstein

Meir Weinstein is the national director of the Canadian branch of the Jewish Defense League.