The images of Soldiers of Odin (SOO) that have made the news and been circulated across the Internet are far from flattering. They purport to show members of the club – which has been labeled racist, extremist and Islamophobic – engaged in violence with anti-racist protesters.
Meir Weinstein has seen the images too. The organization that he heads, the Jewish Defence League (JDL), was present at the event April 1 at Nathan Phillips Square, in front of Toronto City Hall, jointly providing “security” with SOO, when SOO clashed briefly with the self-styled anti-racist protesters.
Weinstein believes the Soldiers of Odin have gotten a bad rap.
Both groups had been asked to provide security for Sandra Solomon, a Muslim apostate who has been a vocal critic of Motion M-103, the private member’s motion that called on parliamentarians to condemn Islamophobia and other forms of racism.
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Anti-fascist (antifa) agitators – who are supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel – provoked the altercation, Weinstein said.
Weinstein acknowledged that he had been concerned about potentially associating with what has been described as a racist organization, so he met with members of Soldiers of Odin Canada and asked them “pointed questions about the allegations.”
Weinstein was told that the group, which includes armed forces veterans, was avowedly anti-racist. In fact, one member of the organization was married to a Jewish woman, another to a black woman, he said.
“They disowned racism and they’re against radical Islam. If we found out it was all BS and they were racist, we’d have nothing to do with them,” he added.
Soldiers of Odin Canada have been in the news lately, as a result of clashes with members of an anarchist antifa group in Toronto and at an event in Vancouver.
News reports have indicated that the Canadian chapter of SOO has splintered with the original organization, based in Finland, which is anti-immigrant and a proponent of white supremacy.
CBC News reported last week that Bill Daniels, head of Soldiers of Odin Canada, called the group’s parent organization a “racist, unorganized, reckless wannabe thug collaboration.”
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The group’s focus on Muslim immigration is apparent on its Facebook page. In a lengthy video, a SOO spokesman pays homage to Solomon, a Saudi-born apostate from Islam who is attempting to warn Canadians about the Muslim agenda. He goes on to say that the United Kingdom has seen a huge increase in its Muslim population over the past 11 years, and that the newcomers are advancing civilizational jihad.
“They’re following the code of the Muslim Brotherhood to a tee,” he said. “They’re infiltrating through refugees. Not all refugees are bad. Please don’t get me wrong. A lot of them need help. But all it takes is one. Look at London.” The latter was likely a reference to the knife and car attack outside the British Parliament that killed five and injured 50.
Bernie Farber, a longtime observer of extremist organizations, doesn’t believe SOO Canada is anything but “an old neo-Nazi motorcycle club,” whose views are derived from a racist ideology and whose animus is aimed at the Muslim community.
He called the JDL’s association with it “a shanda (disgrace). I can’t even conceive of it. It takes my breath away.”
Farber, the executive director of the Mosaic Institute and former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said the JDL and SOO are brought together by a shared “Islamophobic” viewpoint.
Weinstein said he had met with members of SOO on May 3 to plan security for another demonstration featuring Solomon, which was scheduled to take place at Nathan Phillips Square this past weekend, to protest M-103. Weinstein said he expects antifa protesters to attempt to disrupt the event.
Ties between the two groups are “ad hoc,” Weinstein continued, though he expects they might collaborate again in the summer, to protest the annual Al-Quds Day rally at Queen’s Park. That event was conceived by the government of Iran to oppose Israel’s existence and its control over Jerusalem, and has featured a number of speakers repeating anti-Semitic stereotypes and espousing violence against Israelis.