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Liberal Hypocrisy on Religion and Speech

Somehow it has become acceptable to dump on Christian Zionists for their political activities, but absolutely taboo to criticize Muslim groups, some of which support Hamas or Hizballah.
Pamela Geller's Speech at the Great Neck Synagogue was cancelled due to an intense campaign of pressure directed at the shul and member families.

Pamela Geller's Speech at a Toronto area Chabad synagogue was cancelled one month after the Great Neck Synagogue also banned her.

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Most Americans are absolutely committed to the ideas in the First Amendment, in particular to freedom of speech and religion. Although the Bill of Rights only deals with actions taken by government, these ideals permeate the culture.

But particularly in the case of the liberal elite — academics, media and entertainment people, intellectuals — there are limitations.

For example, “religion” has a special meaning for them: in the liberal view a “religion” ought to only be about “spiritual things” which by definition do not impinge on a believer’s public actions or politics, and “ritual,” which consists of silly behavior on Friday, Saturday or Sunday (depending on the religion).

They are extremely uncomfortable with religion when it crosses the line into actions that might affect others. So, for example, it is considered a damning (no pun intended) indictment of anti-abortion activists to accuse them of holding their position “for religious reasons.” Such reasons, they insist, can’t justify actions which might affect anyone other than the believer.

Unitarian Universalists, Reform Jews and liberal Protestants tend to be politically liberal, and while they might say that their politics are determined by their religion, it’s probably the other way around. Catholics, Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians are more likely to derive their politics from their beliefs, which bothers liberals.

And then there is Islam. Islam is the most political of religions, in theory at least, calling for the implementation of Sharia in any society where Muslims live. And Judging by the actions of many believers, this is not just theoretical. Since Sharia establishes a strict hierarchy of rights with male Muslims on top, it very definitely affects non-Muslims.

But while liberals, especially Jewish liberals, object strenuously to religion-based politics among Catholics and Evangelicals — take this, for example — there is total, deafening silence from this quarter about Islam. The inconsistency is striking.

Somehow it has become acceptable to dump on Christian Zionists for their political activities, but absolutely taboo to criticize Muslim groups, some of which support Hamas or Hizballah. Using language identical to that applied to neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan, organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) accuse anyone who is critical of political Islam, or who suggests that radical Muslims present a threat to democracy in the U.S., of “hate” and “bigotry.” Here is SPLC’s list of “active anti-Muslim groups” which even includes the blog “Sultan Knish“, and of course the provocative “Atlas Shrugs” of Pamela Geller.

Interestingly, the SPLC’s classification of “hate groups” by ideology doesn’t include a category for radical Islam!

The mention of Geller brings me back to the ideals of the First Amendment, in particular, freedom of speech. This Sunday, Geller was scheduled to speak at an Orthodox Synagogue in Great Neck, Long Island, on the subject “The Imposition of Sharia in America.” A great deal of pressure was applied to try to stop the event, from the extremist Jewish Voice for Peace group, to the liberal Rabbi Jerome Davidson, retired rabbi of a Reform congregation in Great Neck, and Habeeb Ahmed, an officer of the Islamic Center of Long Island and a member of the county’s Human Rights Commission, as well as the Interfaith Alliance — Long Island Chapter, etc.

The synagogue resisted the pressure until yesterday, when they threw in the towel in response to a threat to stage a march on the synagogue on Sunday morning (during Sunday school). Here is the statement by the synagogue’s board (obtained by Geller):

As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and it’s [sic] member families. In an era of heightened security concerns it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate. Accordingly, the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club will no longer be sponsoring the appearance of Pamela Geller this coming Sunday, and no event will be taking place in our facility.”

Executive Board
Great Neck Synagogue

I think it is clear from this that the board has not accepted the arguments of the left/liberal/Muslim opposition that Ms. Geller is a dangerous hate speaker who should not be given a platform (Robert Nuxoll of the Interfaith Alliance said her talk was “the equivalent of a church in the 1930s inviting a representative of the Nazi Party to speak,” and Habeeb Ahmed called her “the personification of an Islamophobe”).

Nevertheless, they have been frightened by an implicit threat of violence into canceling the event. I have personally faced a mass demonstration of angry Muslims, and can tell you that it is scary.

The liberal attitude to free-speech-that-they-disagree-with is never nice. In fact, my motivation for writing this blog was originally that my attempts to publicly present Israel’s case — even to Jewish audiences — was frustrated by “liberal” objections.

As reported in the Jewish Press, Geller has been invited to speak on Sunday at a Chabad house in Great Neck and another synagogue in New Jersey, and intends to do so.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

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About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.


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10 Responses to “Liberal Hypocrisy on Religion and Speech”

  1. Luke Tullar says:

    How to spell HYPOCRITE without using an H: LIBERALISM

  2. Rick London says:

    I wouldn't call Ms Geller a hate monger. However I would most definitely call her "nothing original". How many days do I wake up (a liberal/moderate Jew very supportive of Israel), only to hear a "trial by fire" that I've lumped Christian Zionists into some general entity of which I've never done, but, through her projection, seems to have done for me. One of my favorite entertainers, the late great Johnny Cash (of whom some family members I know) was a Christian Zionist and was known to be possibly the biggest contributor to Israel in entertainment history. But guess what Ms Geller; he leaned left..very left….and like me, cannot be pigeonholed into "far left" or "liberal" or whatever your label du jour. I hope your making your fair share of gelt off your unfair labeling, because it surely makes absolutely no sense in the real world. Everyone has different feelings about many things, that you cannot possibly define, except for your own limited experience. I can't either. The difference…I KNOW I can't.

  3. Greg Siemasz says:

    Liberalism is a mental disorder! The liberal mind is warped! It is skewed! It is the same mind that sent many innocent lives to their deaths. They don’t believe in a Creator so they think they are only accountable to no one other than themselves. Situational ethics was born in the mind of the liberal.

  4. Religion is a human disease for which evolution is the only cure.

  5. Howard Rose says:

    congregation BETH EL IN EDISON N.J. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  6. I don't know a single liberal nor anyone who identifys as 'left' who concerns themselves with issues of religion and especially church/state separations who view Islam in anyway whatsoever in the way the right likes to describe. Maybe instead of wanting to honestly advance your arguments to the 'other side', you are a little overly concerned with bashing the left first. That doesn't do much of anything to advance your cause or convince people that could and should be your allies.

  7. Brian Kent says:

    It was because of the sympathy generated by liberal intimidation that Pam Gellar got 1,000 people to listen to her and attend her rally in Nassau County. People don't like being told what they can and cannot listen to.That is why the response to Gellar was such a huge victory.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    In addition to having called kosher slaughter "torturous" to animals and supporting those who wish to ban it, and publicly professing the ideology of the notorious anti-religious atheist hedonist Ayn Rand, she also promotes holocaust deniers:

    http://hatthief.blogspot.com/2013/04/pamela-geller-sides-with-holocaust.html

    How long will it take for the right wingers who write and comment here to realize that she is an enemy of Israel?

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    In addition to having called kosher slaughter "torturous" to animals and supporting those who wish to ban it, and publicly professing the ideology of the notorious anti-religious atheist hedonist Ayn Rand, she also promotes holocaust deniers:

    http://hatthief.blogspot.com/2013/04/pamela-geller-sides-with-holocaust.html

    How long will it take for the right wingers who write and comment here to realize that she is an enemy of Israel?

  10. Howard Rose says:

    New Voice For Jewish Nationalism.

    We can no longer allow the state of Israel to be attacked by political, economical and media means.

    Israel it too busy attacking and undermining itself, having confused and scrambled message and it needs help.

    Here, in the United States, the Jewish organizations, the Rabbinical leadership and Jews, by last name only, lack all consciousness and thus attack Israel constantly and on a daily basis.

    Europe is just about to be Judenrein (Judenfrei [free of Jews]] and Jews in America – blind and deaf similar to the way Jews acted when Adolf Hitler came to power.

    When the question is asked, 'can the Holocaust happen again' the answer is, YES; one nuclear bomb to fall on Tel Aviv and it is all over for the Jews.

    We have decided that we have to be the voice of Israel and Jews.

    We are a grassroots group of people, spread all over the world, and our full intention to give honor and prestige and to protect Jews throughout the world.

    'Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e., Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.' (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin – http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_97.html).

    RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

    Shalom, Nurit

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