Tommy Robinson, EDL Chief: "Any Rogue Elements Within the EDL That Go Against Our Mission Statement will be Removed from the Organization"
Tommy Robinson, leader of the EDL, just issued this statement to SIOA moments ago. I am relieved that they recognize they have a problem and intend to address it. I will carefully watch how events unfold.
Here is Robinson's statement on the conflict within the EDL:
The English Defence League was formed two years ago. One of the fundamental beliefs that this movement was built on was its support for Israel’s right to defend itself. In our first demonstrations, we went to Birmingham, and we flew the flag of Israel, the Star of David. In the first public speech I ever gave, I wore the Star of David in Leeds. The reason for this is because Israel is a shining star of democracy. If Israel falls, we all fall. This is what our movement has been built on for two years.
The English Defence League will not be deterred from its support for Israel and the Jewish people. Recently, in the EDL there have been internal arguments, which are nothing more than that. Every large family has its disagreements, but when push comes to shove, we all stand on the same side.
Meanwhile, some people on the fringes of this movement wish to direct it toward their own agenda. This will never happen. Israel is a beacon of democracy amid repressive Arab states. Recently some people have jumped on the EDL bandwagon and tried to use our platform to express anti-Semitic views. These statements are not in accord with the fundamental beliefs of the English Defence League. These people are not welcome, never have been welcome, and never will be welcome within the EDL. We reject all anti-Semitism. The EDL stands where it always has stood, which is side-by-side with Israel.
We repudiate any individual, group or writing that favors anti-Semitism, neofascism, and any race-based ideology. Any rogue elements within the EDL who go against our mission statement and our beliefs will be removed from the organization; we are determined to remain true to our mission. Anti-Semitism will not ever be tolerated within the EDL.
The EDL stands for freedom. It always has, it always will. We want the Jewish people and all free people to remain free forever, and we all stand together in this fight against Islamic jihad.
I was an early supporter of the EDL. I liked who they were and what they were doing. When the EDL first came on the scene, I noted their strong support of Israel: Israeli flags at their rallies, and forthright expressions of solidarity with the Jewish State in its resistance to the same relentless jihad that is advancing in Britain. Almost immediately there came the inevitable charge from the jihad-loving Left that the group was "neo-Nazi," "neofascist," "white supremacist," and more. So I started investigating. I found that they rejected the British National Party's racial orientation, and that they had members who were Sikhs, Pakistanis, gays and other minorities, and even, eventually, a Jewish division. The idea of pro-Israel neo-Nazis is a myth of the Left, and so the presence of the Jewish division was decisive. I was troubled by the photos of EDL members giving the Nazi salute, but discovered that the EDL was aware of neo-Nazi attempts at infiltration, and had a policy of expelling anyone who expressed any kind of antisemitic or neofascist sentiments. They even refused to allow people to be members of both the EDL and the BNP. So it seemed to me at the time that the EDL was a genuine anti-jihad group, strongly pro-Israel as every legitimate anti-jihad group must be, since Israel is at the front lines of the global jihad, and resolutely rejecting racism and any form of actual neofascism.
However, it has become increasingly clear that the EDL has morphed and diverged from its original course. They now have clearly been infiltrated by the worst kind of influences, something that had successfully staved off for years, and they're no longer staving it off. Roberta Moore, the leader of the Jewish Division, has broken with the EDL. Perhaps the decentralization of the group or the loose grip Tommy Robinson held on its tether is responsible for this terrible shift in the EDL's direction -- I don't know. But whatever the case may be, the EDL has done a Charles Johnson. And they are now unrecognizable to me. I am sure regular Atlas readers have noticed that some time ago I stopped covering their events -- I was waiting to see how things would shake out. I was waiting to see if the forces of good would recapture the heart and soul of the group. Alas, it was not to be.
Now that the person whom I most trusted in the EDL, Roberta Moore, has resigned, as she was increasingly uncomfortable with the neo-fascists that had infiltrated the administration of the group, I too am withdrawing my support from the EDL. I hope that genuine anti-jihadists in Britain will also leave the EDL and work with Roberta on starting a new group that will resist definitively and firmly all attempts to divert it from its mission of fighting against jihad and for human rights.