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A Right-Wing Nationalist Zionist in Britain?

James Marlow, London

Despite admiration for Israel, Tommy Robinson puts British Jewry on edge

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

 Mishpacha image

Tommy Robinson (left) is fonder of the Jews than Jewish organizations are of him (Photos: Flash 90, AP Images, AFP/Imagebank)

"T he most amazing trip I have ever experienced” is how the former leader of the far-right English Defence League described his trip to Israel this week.

Tommy Robinson, who spent time in a British jail for an “actual bodily harm offense” against an off-duty police officer, said he enjoyed engaging both Israelis and Palestinians during his tour. Robinson said he wanted to understand better a conflict that has fascinated him since he was a young boy.

But Jewish organizations in Britain are still keeping a distance from Robinson, who has declared for years that he’s a Zionist.

“The Jewish community expects solidarity,” one senior Jewish community insider told Mishpacha, “and when an individual is seen as whipping up hysteria and hatred against Muslims, we cannot embrace him.”

In a statement, the Community Security Trust (CST), a British-Jewish group responsible for the safety of British Jews, said it would be “foolish” to ally with a person like Robinson. “As a community, we understand how racism works, which is why British Jews are perfectly capable of opposing radical Islamists without embracing the ugly tactics and rhetoric of groups such as the English Defence League.”

Robinson founded the English Defence League (EDL) in 2009 to fight the spread of Islamism and sharia in Britain. He was bothered that Muslim immigrants to Britain were demanding the right to live under sharia law and showing a lack of respect for British values and culture. The League even put up candidates for the British general election on a platform of tackling extremism and controlling immigration.

But Robinson publicly split from the group he founded in 2015 after he said it was infiltrated by neo-Nazis. These days, he is leader of Pegida UK (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) another group that fears a Muslim takeover of Europe. He was previously a member of the far-right British National Party. He later left the organization, claiming he did not know non-whites could not join the group.

Despite his expressed admiration for Israel, media and Jewish organizations have branded Tommy Robinson a racist. Robinson believes the organized Jewish community shuns him because it fears more Jews would join his protests otherwise. “They want to prevent that from happening because they think it will split their community,” he said.

Robinson claims he has no problems with Islam per se but still fears Muslim encroachment in Europe. “If they advocate violence and demand sharia law, I’ll speak out against it.”

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