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Geller’s Talk Cancelled, L.I. Shul, Sun. School Kids Threatened

Geller was dismayed that her talk was shut down, but once her opponents were willing to put the safety of Jewish Sunday School children at risk, or simply to persuade the parents that there was a risk to their children, she understood her talk would be cancelled.
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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The freedom to speak amongst Jews about their enemies was just dealt another blow.  The talk Pamela Geller was to give at the Great Neck Synagogue this Sunday, April 16, “The Imposition of Sharia in America,” was cancelled tonight, after months of intimidation inflicted on the synagogue’s rabbi, his board, the synagogue members, and the parents of the children in the Sunday School program.  It was shut down by those who are more frightened by the idea of a slim Jewish woman speaking to a group of Jews on a Sunday morning than they are by the enemies of the Jews, about which Geller planned to speak.

Less than three weeks ago The Jewish Press spoke with Geller, the rabbi of Great Neck Synagogue, Dale Polakoff, and the primary opponent at the time of Geller’s shul appearance, Habeeb U. Ahmed, who is a vice president of the Islamic Center of Long Island.

When the story ran, and until just a few hours ago, the synagogue had held firm.

But no one involved with the event anticipated the relentless crush of intimidation, the piling on of additional opponents not of the dangers posed by Sharia law, but of one Jewish woman.

They shut it down.

The rabbi, the members of the shul’s men’s club – that is who invited her to speak – the parents of the children in the GNS Sunday School, everyone was beaten down.  They were beaten down by those who hear Geller’s name and don’t see a sassy woman with long hair, they see a waving red cape, like the one held by matadors.

Geller’s opponents become so enraged by the thought of Geller speaking – speaking, mind you, not striking, not hitting, not bombing, not shooting – that they metamorphosed into a herd of stampeding bullies.  Geller is the capa, these guys heard her name and they started pawing the ground, snorting, and threatening clergy members, Sunday School children, and parents.

But it isn’t really Geller herself they cannot bear, it is the way she speaks  – without apologies – about the dangers of Islamic ideology embodied in Sharia, and that she warns without hesitation that it is encroaching upon this country.  That they simply cannot abide.

Geller was scheduled to speak this Sunday.  She was going to be introduced at the talk by Greg Buckley, whose son, Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley, Jr., was one of three U.S. Marines killed in a “Green on Blue” insider attack on a military base in the Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Aug 10.

When Geller heard of the cancellation on Wednesday evening, April 10, she was sad, but not shocked.

“There’s a war on free speech, which is exactly what my talk was going to be about.  The synagogue board ‘was unable to bear the burden of the extraordinary pressure’ placed on them,” Geller said, quoting from the statement released by the synagogue.

Geller said she understood how it was that the synagogue was unable to withstand the thuggery and intimidation by those who simply could not bear to allow her to talk.

“The synagogue didn’t turn on me, it did what it felt it needed to do to protect the Sunday School children.  Once the thugs announced they were going to organize a mob march of leftist Jews and Muslims on the shul on Sunday morning, when all the children are there to attend Sunday School – the parents were terrified and the shul had to respond,” Geller told The Jewish Press, just hours after she learned of the cancellation.

“Still, it’s a sad day.  The synagogue should not have had to make a choice between protecting Sunday School children and allowing me to speak about the dangers of Sharia.”

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld is a well-known pro-Israel New Yorker.  He happens to be a member of the Great Neck Synagogue, and he spoke with The Jewish Press shortly after Geller’s speech was cancelled.

Wiesenfeld described some of the tactics Geller’s opponents engaged in, in what was ultimately a successful campaign to block her talk at the shul.

“Rabbi Jerome Davidson became involved, and he really riled up their forces.  He let it be known that he was organizing a march with some of his congregants and some Muslims from the Westbury Mosque.  When parents got wind of that, they turned to the head of the local Jewish day school, and he then turned to the rabbi and began demanding indemnification and who can withstand that kind of tsunami,” asked Wiesenfeld.

Davidson, rabbi emeritus of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, New York, and Michael White, the senior rabbi of Temple Sinai of Roslyn, New York, co-authored an article in The Jewish Week in which they called Geller’s proposed talk “hate speech,” and enthused about their deep and abiding love for their Muslim neighbors.

“We state unequivocally that Geller’s inflammatory rhetoric does not represent us or the great majority of Jews in Great Neck and on Long Island. Hate speech has no place in synagogues. Synagogues should be places for worship, positive dialogue and reasoned political debate,” rabbis White and Davidson wrote.  They did not mention the planned march or the waves of orchestrated phone calls, or the threats to the Sunday School children’s physical and emotional well-being.

Wiesenfeld waxed philosophical. “these people think that by shutting down someone like Pamela Geller, they’ll be just a little bit safer.  They don’t get it.  There was no Pamela Geller at the El Al ticket counter in LA (July 4, 2002 terrorist shooting attack by a Muslim, one person was killed, five injured), there was no Pamela Geller at the Riverside Jewish Center when it was targeted by an Islamist terrorist group in 2009, and there was no Pamela Geller at the Seattle Jewish Federation Building (in July, 2006, a Muslim man entered the offices and shot six women, one fatally).”

“With each success in stifling any discussion about our mortal enemies, it becomes that much harder to have that discussion at the next event.  And once the discussion cannot even be held, it becomes that much easier to take the next step, and things will not be good for your children and your grandchildren,” intoned Wiesenfeld.

“What’s next?” Wiesenfeld asked rhetorically, then answered his own question, “they’ll be dancing in the streets.  Our enemies laugh and say to each other, ‘we know how to screw these Jews, these Jews are just chickens, while we believe in what we do and we will fight for what we believe.  Nah, actually those liberal Jews will do the fighting for us, they’ll help us to bury those other Jews.’”

Wiesenfeld has seen too many fights like these lately to be anything but bitter.

Geller was more subdued than usual.  She was dismayed that her talk was shut down, but she understood that once her opponents, the Muslims and the liberal Jews alike, were willing to put the safety of Jewish Sunday School children at risk, or simply to allow their Jewish parents to believe there was a risk to their children, her talk would be cancelled.

The willingness to be barbaric enough to use children as a pawn proves Geller’s points about who are the savages and their enablers, but it is a hollow victory.

“It’s a shanda,” Geller said, as the interview ended.

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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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51 Responses to “Geller’s Talk Cancelled, L.I. Shul, Sun. School Kids Threatened”

  1. Nanette CohenRayman says:

    well, I could stand that kind of tsunami…so the mosqueteers were going to march..so what? The Neo Nazis were going to march in Skokie and Rav Kahane said: We will be there! What is wrong with Jews that they are so afraid of their own shadows? If the muslims and muslim sympathizers marched, we should march back. If they attack, we attack back. Are Jews and Jewish rabbis so schmendrick, such pansies, that they don't know how to march or to fight? I am disgusted. They are acting like the rabbis in Nazi Germany who told Jews to not leave Germany and/or not to worry. Where are the new Rav Kahanes? If I were there, I would have marched back….I stood up to weasel feisal rauf of ground zero mosque and his wife, "daisy." What is wrong with Jews these days? GROW SOME COJONES or they bullies will keep on bullying…have we not learned this from the Inquisition, kings of Europe, the muslims in "falestine", the muslims all throughout history, THE HOLOCAUST…..wow….what PANSIES.

  2. Please be more clear: Sunday school children were threatened, or people intended to protest where and when the speech was going to take place…which was the same time and in the same general area where children attend Sunday school?

  3. Anya Khan says:

    are the police looking into the threats?

  4. a real shande as she says for the Jewish community in Great Neck. No backbone, no principles, no belief in God!

  5. Geoff Clein says:

    It is really a matter of free speach – apparantly if you are willing to rant on about leftist issues it is acceptable but if you cause the community to think by presenting to them something our of the ordinary, it is forbidden. That's why we both live here Fred, I realised it was a dead cause there when I went to Skokie to be booed by the liberal Jews just because I wanted to beat the sh*t out of the Nazis. And no, I wont call them "neo" – a nazi is a nazi no matter what generation he belongs to.

  6. It is a dead end cause and I really have little sympathy for any of the Jews still living there.

  7. Tim Upham says:

    We do not need Pamela Geller to spew her hatred, paranoia, and factual inaccuracies. Having her talk cancelled is the best for all of us.

  8. Tim Upham says:

    We do not need Pamela Geller to spew her hatred, paranoia, and factual inaccuracies. Having her talk cancelled is the best for all of us.

  9. monstrous and cowardly for Jews to align themselves with our virulent enemies. tragic. ms. geller is a light. I am more proud to be a Jew whenever I see her or hear of her extraordinary selflessness.

  10. Lee Smith says:

    does the truth hurt? You sound like a queer to me

  11. Lee Smith says:

    Where are the JDL and the Klan when you need them there has to be blood shed every once and awhile.

  12. Gil Gilman says:

    Nonsense! I can't say that I agree with everything or anything Ms. Geller has to say, but a threat to free speech by you, or by those who stop up their ears, shout and waggle their tongues is a service to no one. If people will be persuaded by Geller & Co. there is nothing you can do about it. I certainly can only scoff at those afraid of free speech. As far as factual inaccuracies…she and her wing of reality does not have a monopoly on that issue.

  13. Gil Gilman says:

    Those who silence free speech by tactics like this lend more not less credibility to the opinions silenced. And let's examine for a moment wherein lies the true fear. It lies with those who are afraid to hear viewpoints opposite to their own, and are afraid to let others hear them as well. Yes, the shul caved. There were other measures which could have been taken. Maybe it is a toss-up about who is the most fearful. The ranters and the demonstrators against free speech remind me nothing more than of the souls wailing in torment in Gehenna. They are so tormented by the opinions of others that they are wailing and gnashing their teeth in advance. Their stance must be on sand (and you know which sand I mean), not on bedrock.

  14. 2 cents of a leftist Rabbi a Muslim sympatizer, no backbone to stand up to bullies and radical Muslims and shame on all memberts.

  15. All Members of the Synagogue that thay did not put a fight, what happened to the freedom of speech? you all just caved to the letists and radical Muslims shame on you all no Jewish spirit.

  16. This for Tim the brain washed liberal, her speech is not about hatred but only the truth about Muslims and sharia that is taking place in the US.today, You do not hear about this subject from the liberal MSM. to day.

  17. If someone was giving a similar speech about the "truth" about Jews, all of you Judeo-Nazis would go through the roof. Geller is the would be Ilse Koch of American Zionists and that has so many followers echoes what Moshe Menuhin once described as "the decadence of Judaism in our time." Since Israel was established it has only gotten worse.

  18. Charlie Hall says:

    She should never have been invited. She is an enemy of Judaism. She has publicly stated that kosher slaughter is immoral, she has supported European politicians who want to ban it, she distorts Jewish teaching on Islam, and she is an adherent of the ideology of the notorious atheist anti-religious hedonist Ayn Rand. We would never have invited Trotsky to a synagogue to speak about Stalinism!

  19. Charlie Hall says:

    That all said, threats of violence are beyond the pale. Period.

  20. Eli Neuberger says:

    I thought Islam was all about Peace and Love?

  21. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The ADL..with its hostility and promotion of the hypocrisy that Geller engaging in FREE SPEECH against jihadist provided legitimacy to "Jews and islamists who then proceeded to physically threaten the CHILDREN of the Shul. Time to shut the ADL down, or at least force them to stop pretending they exist to help Jews!

  22. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The ADL..with its hostility and promotion of the hypocrisy that Geller engaging in FREE SPEECH against jihadist provided legitimacy to "Jews and islamists who then proceeded to physically threaten the CHILDREN of the Shul. Time to shut the ADL down, or at least force them to stop pretending they exist to help Jews!

  23. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The ADL..with its hostility and promotion of the hypocrisy that Geller engaging in FREE SPEECH against jihadist provided legitimacy to "Jews and islamists who then proceeded to physically threaten the CHILDREN of the Shul. Time to shut the ADL down, or at least force them to stop pretending they exist to help Jews!!

  24. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    We are seeing a resurgence of the 1939 Jews of Berlin who believed if they kept quiet and shut other Jews up, they would spared – the rest of the Jews be damned!

  25. Yeah, peace and love only if you embrace the pagan God Allah, only if you are NOT Jewish or a Christian, then you are, as they say, subhuman, a pig, son of a monkey, whatever, you deserve death. That's you love and peace of Islam!

  26. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Interesting facebook page jeff. You stop just short of DIRECT quotes from mein kampf but then use the protocols as a main source. I always find it interesting how nazis migrate to Jewish sites to spew forth. But we welcome you. Unlike our ancestors we have no fear of your ilk

  27. Charlie Hall says:

    "pagan God Allah"

    Chas v'shalom. The opinion that Muslims worship the same God as us Jews is basically unanimous across rabbinic sources. We can even pray in a mosque.

  28. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    And you judge her how? Because she speaks out against Jihad? She has repeatedly distanced jihad from islam. But like the Jews of 1939 berlin, you charlie attack any Jew that "dares offend" our enemies." But then, you also go on the warpath with personal attacks every time someone critiques the lord and savior, so no surprise here! "Jewish teachings on islam?" Was that the Jewish teachings after mohammed engaged in genocide on the arabioan peninsula killing tens of thousands of Jews? Or after the grand mufti and hitler declared each other best friends and allies during the Shoah (should I provide you a link on the Shoah charlie?). YOUR ilk are the enemies of the Jews. You would placate those that attack us, so as to appease and "not create more problems.

    (And I noticed your comments about threats on the kids was an afterthought. Was that entered just to provide your hypocrisy some legitimacy.)

  29. Charlie Hall says:

    I notice that Arie can not counter any of my facts. He probably doesn't care about Torah, but for everyone who does, here is a nice essay by Prof. Marc Shapiro on rabbinic attitudes towards Islam:


  30. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Charlie Hall " same God as us Jews is basically unanimous across rabbinic sources."

    The something got lost in the interpretation. I don't recall anywhere being ordered to commit genocide, yet one of mohammed's first "directives" from "allah" was to exterminate the Jews of the Arabian peninsula – starting at banu qurayza – murdering thousands of men women and children – a precursor of things to come. But then, charlie finds ways to excuse that. Perhaps a Jew drew an insulting picture of the profit in the sand dunes that instigated the genocide. After all, isn't that what your "lord and savior" said about the Benghazi Massacre

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