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Savaged for Daring to Name Savagery: Pamela Geller Attacked by Critics of Free Speech

The ads are already running on the sides of San Francisco buses, they began running today, September 24th, in New York City, and they were scheduled to begin appearing in the Washington, D.C. metro system. However, the DC system balked, citing the violent rioting by Muslims allegedly inflamed by a YouTube video which represents, so Geller initiated an emergency court action at the end of last week to enforce her First Amendment rights.

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller

- The anti-Jihad ads are running in San Francisco, but with equal-sized disclaimers put up by the San Francisco transit agency running alongside them, and AFDI’s counter-counter-counter-ads running on still other buses.

- The anti-Jihad ads are running in New York City, after nearly a year-long delay during which AFDI had to sue the MTA in order for its First Amendment rights to be upheld.

- The anti-Jihad will not run in Washington, D.C. until it is ordered to by the federal court in which AFDI has filed suit to enforce its First Amendment rights.

Public Reaction

In most of the dozens of stories that have already been written about AFDI’s ads, Geller and her ads are harshly criticized, although some, grudgingly, agree that the US Constitution protects Geller’s political speech. The most consistent critics quoted by the media are representatives of groups like the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR consistently attacks Geller and her organizations as “designated hate groups,” and describes itself as a “civil rights group.” The “hate group” designation of  Geller’s group was one made by the now frequently discredited Southern Poverty Law Center.  On the other hand,   U.S. government representatives have described CAIR as a front group for Hamas.  CAIR was named on a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorism-finance trial in U.S. history.  Although an appellate court later ruled the list itself should not have been made public, the designation of the group was never in question.  That court opinion stated that “the government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR” and other groups “with Hamas.”

Another frequent critic of the anti-Jihad ads are representatives from the virulently anti-Israel organization Jewish Voice for Peace, a leader in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Both the anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union agree that the ads are protected by the First Amendment, although both hastened to distance themselves from the ads with the executive director of the New York City ACLU, Donna Lieberman, describing them as “patently offensive.” However,  Lieberman added that it was important the ads run because it would be more offensive  to “ violate the guarantee of free expression of all ideas regardless of how distasteful they are,” she said.

The ADL website has a page devoted to Geller on which it refers to her as a “conspiracy theorist” and her positions as “virulently anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Abe Foxman, executive director of the ADL said that Geller’s anti-Jihad ads are  “bigoted,” “anti-Muslim” and “highly offensive and inflammatory.”  Foxman disagreed with the ACLU’s Lieberman, as well as with Judge Englemayer, and said that “continuing to run the ad is irresponsible.”

When Geller was asked by The Jewish Press what Jewish or pro-Israel groups have been publicly supportive of the anti-Jihad ads, she could only come up with “a few Zionist Organization of America districts.”  That’s it.  She added, “the same kind of submission and acquiescence to annihilationist rhetoric we saw in pre-war Germany.”

When asked to compare the televised ads that ran in Pakistan with statements by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton in an attempt to make clear that the United States was not involved in making the”Innocence of Muslims” movie and that it does not represent Americans’ attitudes towards Islam with her own ad anti-Jihad ad, Geller had this to say:

What did Obama achieve by running apology pro-sharia campaign ads in Pakistan?  He sanctioned the motive.  He sanctioned the brutal, anti-human blasphemy laws under the sharia. The result?  A Pakistani minister has issued  $100,000 bounty for the head of an American filmmaker.

Geller is regularly referred to as an anti-Muslim bigot, a term she considers highly offensive, and, she believes, reveals who are the real bigots.  Geller says she is highly, justifiably critical of people who commit unspeakable acts of violence against innocent civilians – people who are savages, that’s her point – in the name of Islam, but she doesn’t consider Muslims who do not commit such acts and who are opposed to such activity to be savages.

“They are the ones blurring the lines, not me,” and Geller adds, “I believe that Muslims are more victimized by Islamic supremacists than even non-Muslims.  Muslims as well as non-Muslims would benefit if free societies prevail over the Islamic supremacist  imperative to impose Sharia.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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19 Responses to “Savaged for Daring to Name Savagery: Pamela Geller Attacked by Critics of Free Speech”

  1. Liad Bar-el says:

    Great blog Lori.

    I might add that the Obama apology pro-sharia campaign ads on Pakistan TV cost the American taxpayers $70,000.

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    This ad is about the least offensive thing Geller has ever promoted.

  3. Jean Ready says:

    There is nothing wrong with the Ad, that speaks of so much truth. Thank you Pamela.

  4. I admire Pamela. She shows great leadership and I wish her well.

  5. Tim Upham says:

    Nothing but classic side taking. Say something awful about the other side, to really play it up how bad they are. I think the American Constitution needs an amendment outlawing obnoxious behavior.

  6. Liad Bar-el says:

    Charlie, to those who believe falsehood, truth is offensive. Geller speaks the truth. Our Jewish sage, apparently not yours, Rambam, spoke the truth about Muhammad centuries ago, 1172, that he is a false prophet and insane. How would you like to have this truth posted on buses and in subways throughout the world?

    “Time to wake up, smell the coffee and see the writing on the wall.”

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    Rambam never engaged in the kind of hatemongering against Muslims that Geller has. Not that the anti-religious Geller would care about what Rambam said.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    also note which side of the Third Crusade Rambam supported.

  9. Ltc Howard says:

    Pamela Geller on CNN: Erin Burnett cuts segment at Hamas-CAIR description, AUDIO secretly taped.
    This video is an interesting exercise in interviewing and response.

    A CNN interviewer , Erin Burnett, certainly has a prepared agenda and certainly she got more pushback than she bargained for.

    Pamela Geller on CNN: Erin Burnett cuts segment at Hamas-CAIR description, AUDIO secretly taped.

  10. Liad Bar-el says:

    Rambam literally saved the Sephardic Jews from great persecution by giving them advice which they followed…without an IDF. All Jews everywhere need to learn and follow his advice even today.

    Charlie, go study and learn before you open your mouth against Rambam.

  11. Grace Acosta says:

    I love Ms. Geller so much! If only the rest of us had her courage (and energy!) just think what we could accomplish for world wide democracy. You GO girl!

  12. The principle about the civilised man and the savage is obviousooy an unsound one. Civilized people have often done wrong to savages.

  13. I agree that the wording of this ad could benefit from some professional Madison Av packaging. The wording is not strategically astute. It isn't too hard to make out a case against Islam and societies based upon the Islamic belief system because of their inherent deprivation of civil and human rights as such rights are ordinarily defined by western democratic values.

    In all societies which are based upon the Islamic belief system and sharia law, there is no freedom of speech or freedom of and from religion. Blasphemy and apostasy are serious, even capital, crimes. Misogyny and homophobia are endemic to all Islamic socieites together with female genital mutilation, child brides, honor killing and Koranic justification for wife beating. In Morocco, for example, the law allows a rapist to go scot free by offering to marry his victim.

    Islamic governance is repressive. Premarrital, homosexual and extramarital sex are serious, even capital, crimes. There is no separation of state because unelected clerics are given authority to trump the decisions of elected officials. Just a day or so ago Egyptain President Morsi, great secularist he, stated publicly that in his view neither a Christian nor a woman was fit to be president of Egypt, but that, ultimately, it was a matter for the religious authorities to decide.

    I support the work of those who struggle like PG and Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch.org to out the civil and human rights abuses of Islam and shria law, but, like the wording of this ad, their struggle is often undermined by unwise strategy. This is especially true when such blogsters expand their criticism of the Islamic belief system to a criticism of American domestic and foreign policy in general. They often shoot themselves in the foot by adopting some very questionable positions, positions that can be reasonably argued to be "rightwing." In the process they alienate liberals and progressives who would otherwise be much more supportive of them.

    They may win the legal battle to have this ad published, but I wonder how much good it will do to their cause in the long run.

  14. Charlie Hall says:

    "go study and learn before you open your mouth against Rambam."

    I praise Rambam, I don't speak against him!

  15. Rose Pappas says:

    WHEN RIFQA BARY RAN AWAY FROM HOME TO SAVE HER LIFE, PAMELA GELLER STOOD UP FOR HER. SHE IS A WOMAN OF GREAT COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR "RIGHT", WHICH SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS ANYMORE. PEOPLE WHO MURDER THEIR DAUGHTERS, PEOPLE WHO BEHEAD THEIR WIVES, PEOPLE WHO POUR ACID ON LITTLE GIRL'S FACES, PEOPLE WHO ATTACK THE INNOCENT AND MURDER ENTIRE FAMILIES, PEOPLE WHO THREATEN TO MURDER HALF OF THE WORLD POPULATION IF THEY DO NOT BOW DOWN TO THEIR "GOD", PEOPLE WHO THREATEN TO WIPE THE JEWS OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH—-THESE PEOPLE ARE SAVAGE, SAVAGE, SAVAGE, SERVANTS OF HELL AND NEED TO BE LABELED FOR WHAT THEY ARE. PEOPLE WHO CANNOT SEE THIS SAVAGERY FOR WHAT IT IS ARE MINDLESS HYPNOTIZED, PROGRAMMED ROBOTS WHO HAVE NO WORKING CONSCIENCE LEFT. HOORAY FOR PAMELA, THE IRON LADY WARRIOR FOR GOOD!!!

  16. Charlie Hall says:

    " SHE IS A WOMAN OF GREAT COMPASSION "

    Her Randian ideology denigrates compassion!

    In addition to being an anti-Muslim bigot, Geller is also a nativist. Bary was an illegal immigrant and Geller would have had her rounded up and deported along with her family!

  17. Devora Khayyat says:

    Do you know how the Rambam referred to Mohammed?

  18. The bottom line is that a behavioral choice, specifically the choice to engage in mindless violence like 9/11, stoning women to death, bombing subways, and so on is neither a race nor a religion.

  19. Charlie Hall says:

    Yes. And he was not pleased with the way Muslim societies treated Jews in his time. But he was even less favorable towards Christianity and sided with Saladin in the Third Crusade.

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