- The Southern California JDL head isn't the outcast the
Jewish community is now trying to portray him as. In fact, he was selected
to be the presenter to the former Prime Minister of Canada of an honorary
Degree from Tel Aviv University at a Synagogue in the most exclusive
of Montreal in 1994.
- He also was in Montreal just last month at Concordia
University trying to stop a student protest against the treatment of
- He was supposed to speak tonight or tomorrow in Montreal
but this had to be cancelled by his arrest in L.A..
- Roots Of A Militant Lie In
- By Ingrid Peritz
The Globe and Mail.com
- MONTREAL - Irv Rubin became
a radical in California, but the path that led him there began 56 years
ago in Montreal.
- Mr. Rubin, arrested yesterday in Los Angeles for an
bomb plot against a mosque, has often said that the seeds for his militant
beliefs were planted on the streets of Montreal, where he experienced his
first taste of anti-Semitism.
- Mr. Rubin became chairman of the Jewish Defense League
but never let his sights stray far from his hometown -- even though his
confrontational creed did not find a receptive audience there.
- He has repeatedly declared plans to open Jewish Defense
League chapters in Montreal, only to be given the cold shoulder.
- "The Jewish community of Montreal completely rejects
hate-inciting groups," David Birnbaum, head of the Canadian Jewish
Congress, Quebec region, said yesterday. "There's no place for the
Jewish Defense League in Quebec. There are sentiments of anti-Semitism
around the world, but it's not true that the situation is more aggravated
- Mr. Rubin left Montreal for southern California with
his parents when he was 15. In 1971, he heard a speech by JDL founder Rabbi
Meir Kahane, a seminal moment that transformed him.
- "If you see a Nazi," he recalled Mr. Kahane
saying, "don't try to convince him you're a nice guy." Instead,
Mr. Kahane told his listeners, "smash him."
- The moment transformed Mr. Rubin from a self-described
"nice Jewish boy who obeyed every law" to a radical linked to
violence and arrested more than 40 times. The JDL was set up by Mr. Kahane
to mount armed response to anti-Semitism in New York. Its members were
linked to bombings, mostly against Soviet targets because of the treatment
by the Soviet Union toward its Jews. By 1972, Mr. Rubin, at 26, had become
the group's West Coast co-ordinator.
- His profile in the United States rose as he appeared
regularly on the nightly news taking on neo-Nazis and Arab activists. But
his efforts to tackle supposed enemies in Quebec were never taken
- Despite his brushes with the law, he appears to have
had access to mainstream-society events. In 1994, he attended a social
function at a synagogue in Westmount to present an honorary degree from
Tel Aviv University to former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
- Along the way he married Shelley, a writer who is active
in Jewish causes. They had two children and, in her words, scraped by on
contributions from the JDL and Mr. Rubin's occasional part-time work as
a jack of all trades.
- In 1994, he announced plans to set up a vigilante-style
group in Montreal to protect Jews from what he described as nationalist
francophone Quebeckers. He repeated the intention after the 1995 referendum
- In 1999, his plans for a Montreal office went as far
as placing classified ads in Canadian newspapers to recruit members. He
maintained a JDL presence was warranted in Montreal as an "insurance
program" to protect the Jewish community. The plans always made
but never bore fruit. Jewish groups said they did not need protection and
disassociated themselves from his group.
- A current Web site attributed to the Montreal chapter
of the new Kach movement -- the group that Mr. Kahane founded in 1970 and
that is outlawed in Israel -- extols Mr. Rubin as a "great
and calls on Montreal Jews to "make a new revolution."
- The Web site refers to the creation of a new group called
the Jewish Defence Force and attributes the new threat to Jews as coming
from Islamic and Arab groups, not Quebec nationalists.
- But Mr. Birnbaum said that to his knowledge, Mr. Rubin's
group has no organization in Montreal.
- Copyright © 2001 Globe Interactive,
a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.