As most readers will remember, back in July the leader of the Jewish Division of the English Defence League resigned her position after accusing the EDL leadership of being infiltrated by “neo-fascists”.
European Son has posted an interview with James Cohen, the new head of the Jewish Division. In comparison with his predecessor, Mr. Cohen has a very different view of the role the Jewish Division should play in the EDL.
Some excerpts from the interview are below:
The former leader of the English Defence League’s Jewish Division, Roberta Moore, publicly resigned, citing anti-Semitism among its membership. In September, James Cohen, who resides in Canada, took up the position. European Son spoke to him in early October, to find out why, and to find out what he makes of the controversial political movement.
ES: Mr. James Cohen, why did you join the EDL, and why did you accept the position of head of the EDL Jewish division. How did that come about?
JC: I’ve been working for various organizations in different capacities, trying to stem the tide of what you could call extremely conservative [Islam]… a tidal wave of theocracy around the world… in defense of classical liberalism. As part of the process one tends to meet a lot of people [and I came into contact with] the principles of the EDL.
I haven’t personally met Tommy Robinson — although I’d certainly like to — but I’ve spoken with many other people… who are central to the EDL, and they always struck me as being decent, gentle, and intelligent, in contradiction to the propaganda one hears about them. I have found [them] to be very high quality people.
I hadn’t really followed the Jewish division. As everybody knows, I don’t live in England; I live in Canada. I knew that the person that was running it — who did go to marches, and did do quite a bit of hard work — had decided at one point that she felt that the EDL was anti-Semitic, and there was a lot of stuff she didn’t like about, and she quit fairly publicly. And, that certainly isn’t my experience. The EDL works with anybody and everybody who is keenly interested in the preservation in values that are uniquely English. Despite the fact that I’m Canadian, or perhaps more because I am Canadian, my values are very much British values… [e.g.] Habeas Corpus, the notion of individual rights and liberty, first expressed through the Magna Carta, and then through the US Constitution, These are ideas that are really worth fighting for, and the EDL seems to want to do that.
ES: Stepping back a minute, what were the organizations you were working for at the time?
JC: I was for a while on the board of the International Free Press Society. And, I still occasionally post articles there, but I just found that there wasn’t enough hours in the day to do the kind of job it deserved.
ES: You say your experience of the EDL is that they’re very nice and not anti-Semitic, but, constantly in the press — especially lately — we see a lot of very rowdy individuals looking pretty tough and maybe not entirely genteel.
JC: Look, here’s how reality works… People go with what options they have. And they go with whichever thing they think is going to advance their goals. And the British government has — and I would say it’s possible, deliberately — disenfranchised its own people so that there could be no resistance to massive immigration and the destruction of British culture — as an end goal, not as an accident of the process — disenfranchising any British person who says, ‘hold on, I think our culture has something of value worth preserving’ — suddenly they’re a racist and a bigot. So what are you going to be left with? The EDL seems to be the only movement in England that actually has any desire to preserve and maintain British values, and there’s going to be an awful lot of people who maybe haven’t graduated university, that maybe they don’t know which fork to eat dessert with, and some of those people are going to be pretty angry and pretty violent. Based on numerous conversations with EDL leaders, they very genuinely are trying to weed out anyone whose attitudes are not in line with what their [the EDL’s] goals are.
ES: You mentioned British values that they’re defending. The media has talked a lot about ‘so-called British values’ and — another phrase — ‘what some people call British values’. So, what would you say they are?
JC: I find the fact that the British media would use those phrases to be first class proof of exactly what I’m talking about. It’s trying to insinuate that there aren’t any [British values]. I would say that British values begin with the notion of individual rights and liberties, and of individual rights before the law [as opposed to group rights]… But, beyond British values, why is it so wrong for indigenous British people to want to have a place for them to be [with their culture]?
In Canada some of the farthest on the Left try to make the flimsy argument that people of European descent in this continent should just pack up and go home. You can’t even make that argument about the indigenous people of Britain. They are home. Where are they supposed to go? Are they supposed to just disappear?
ES: What can you do from Canada? What are you doing for the EDL?
JC: I’m trying to manage the EDL Jewish division Facebook page. What I’m trying to do is create a space where Jewish people in England feel that it’s more reflective of themselves and their values, and [I hope] they’ll join and participate. Hopefully they’ll form a bigger component of the EDL, because for Jewish people who feel threatened by the EDL — and that may be a good proportion of them, actually — I think the best answer to them is to participate, and help form and shape the EDL, as well as the Jewish division of the EDL, into something more reflective of them and their values. Because I can say with absolute certainty that the greater the presence of Islam in the UK, the greater the threat to Jewish people is going to be. The evidence of that is overwhelming. If you look at FBI statistics in the States. If you look at crime statistics where there are large populations of Muslims, Jews are attacked with greater frequency… this starts with Medina… which is now Judenrein, and Mecca, which is Judenrein, and frankly the whole country of Saudi Arabia, to Malmo, Sweden, which is nearly completely Judenrein. It’s simply an empirical fact. So I would suggest that people who are identifiable as Jewish, join the EDL and help shape it into what it is it ought to be.
ES: So what do you say to the fact that every major Jewish organization has condemned the EDL?
JC: Ezra Levant frequently speaks about ‘professional Jews’; that there are Jewish organizations that claim to represent Jewish people, and then say and do all sorts of things. They’re typically not very reflective [of Jews in general]. You have different groups in Canada that are anti-freedom of speech, and they’re very positive about the hate crime laws, because they are still stuck in a paradigm which existed shortly after World War II, where people had this notion that if people were allowed to speak freely they’d say bad things about Jews and cause another Holocaust. What they haven’t noticed is that those laws existed when Hitler was preaching in Germany — they had those laws already. Secondly, hate speech laws are always selectively enforced… these laws are never, never being applied to Muslims. It’s just if you want to catch the low ranking, neo-Nazi, drunken thug… So when Jewish organizations say they don’t like the EDL, it’s of no consequence of me.
Today, unfortunately, one has to assume that what is and what isn’t a Jew is being defined by the enemies of Jews, not by Jews themselves. A person might feel no identification with Jewish people, but could be identified using some other definition — as Jewish — by outsiders who hate Jews… well, that’s how it was during the Holocaust. Many people were absolutely stunned to be arrested, enslaved, worked to death, or worked and then gassed. Who never saw themselves as Jews, but as Germans first and foremost… many of whom had fought for Germany in World War I. So, I would suggest that people who know they would be identified as Jews by anti-Semites might want to have a think about how they view their alliances.
ES: And you’re going to recommend the EDL?
JC: I’m simply saying it’s an option… The EDL is a force that openly supports Israel as a Jewish homeland, [and] as the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. Whereas the British Government is no friends of Israel.
ES: No, no, Britain is now pretty much hostile to Israel.
JC: That’s right, and the UN certainly hostile to Israel. So, I would think that if you look at the fact that you have an organization that’s willing to carry an Israeli flag on the street, you can’t call these people ‘anti-Semites’ and you can’t call them ‘fascists’; you just can’t. As I say, the EDL is a street movement of the actual indigenous people of England to defend their own values, and if they’re going to include in those value to have a safe home for Jews in England and in Israel, I think Jewish people would be served well if they were to embrace that, to participate in it, and help ensure that it is what it is. Because if they turn against the EDL, then it makes the EDL a more hospitable environment for extremists. An organization is who it’s composed of. The EDL is very much a loose collection of people. So I would hope that Jewish people and that all kinds of really decent liberal people join it and help shape it into what its leadership actually wants it to be.
ES: So, the EDL is standing up for British values? And it’s largely composed of the indigenous British, you say…
JC: But not entirely…
ES: But there’s a Jewish division and a Sikh division, so how does that fit in at all? Why should these other divisions even exist? Why shouldn’t they just exist as one big organization?
JC: I think it’s because the Government is feverishly trying to paint the EDL as one that is entirely race based, that it’s a racist, fascist organization that’s xenophobic. So the EDL — because it isn’t — has had to form all these different groups in order to present to the public that we have a Jewish division, a Sikh division, and whatever other divisions. They have that because they need to have that.
Read the rest at European Son.