One day a teenaged boy came upon a book in the library at McKenzie high school. “I read it cover to cover and it changed my life,” he said. The boy was Meir Weinstein, director of the Jewish Defense League in Canada. The book was Never Again, by Rabbi Meir Kahane.
At the same time, neo-Nazis organized a rally in Skokie, Illinois. That clinched his life’s direction – fighting for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. “It was everything in the book,” he said. “And lack of leadership to combat anti-Semitism.” A situation in Jewish communal life he firmly believes, that exists to this very day.
When he began at JDL, in l979, the focus was on neo- Nazi groups and Nazi war criminals living in Canada. His research on Ernst Zundel which he gave to Sabina Citron and her group fighting to prosecute him, was instrumental in having Zundel deported. He later gave evidence at the Duchesses Commission of Inquiry into Nazi war criminals
Many Nazis and collaborators, escaping prosecution in their countries, became leaders in their ethnic communities in Canada and the US and found platforms for their anti- Semitic rantings. Meir gave the example of The Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Valerian Trifa, a commandant with the Romanian Iron Guard who lived in Grass Lakes Michigan and had parishes in Toronto , Hamilton and many other cities.
“We had people translate what he was saying and succeeded in having him deported to Portugal.”
But in the last few years the focus has shifted to Islamic extremism and the small group of JDLnicks has swelled to over 1800 and rapidly attracting more and more people to the JDL brand of activism; non violent confrontation, education and awareness. “While everybody talks, talks, talks, we’re out there doing”, he grinned.