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June 11, 2015 12:47 pm

After Pamela Geller is Silenced, Who’s Next?

avatar by Dexter Van Zile

Email a copy of "After Pamela Geller is Silenced, Who’s Next?" to a friend
Pamela Geller, whose organization hosted the Muhammad cartoon event in Texas that was attacked by shooters. Photo: Pamela Geller.

Pamela Geller, whose organization hosted the Muhammad cartoon event in Texas that was attacked by shooters. Photo: Pamela Geller.

In early May, I was on a New York subway speaking to a friend of mine that I had not seen in three decades. I spoke to him about my work and the distant prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Peace with the Palestinians is simply not in the offing, I told him. Israel has done everything it could to achieve peace with the Palestinians, only to be met with continued terrorism and violence.

“What did you say?” another passenger asked, with a mixture of incredulity and hostility. He spoke with a slight accent, but not too strong. I looked the young man over and concluded that he was from the Middle East, maybe even from the West Bank.

I looked him dead in the eye and said, “Israel has done all it can to make peace with the Palestinians.”

“That is so not true,” he said.

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Logically, he had a point because Israel can always “do more” to make peace with the Palestinians, but on a practical level, I had the better case. The dream of land for peace has become a nightmare of land for rockets.

“We’ll just have to agree to disagree,” I said.

He moved his way angrily through the crowd to get away from me, but remained within earshot. I kept talking. I talked about the Islamist assertion of supremacy toward non-Muslims and about how this tradition had fueled anti-Jewish and anti-Christian violence for the past several decades (centuries, actually) in the Middle East.

I told my friend that at one time there was a tradition of interpreting the Koran in light of current circumstances, but the door of interpretation (bab al ijtihad) been closed in the 11th century. Principled Muslims are struggling to reopen it and non-Muslims are learning about the impact of Sharia, so there is hope, but also a lot of work to be done.

My viewpoint was clearly offensive to the hostile young man who was still listening to me a few feet away, but I kept talking. If I went silent, I’d be granting my antagonistic listener veto power over my free speech.

When he walked past me to get off the subway, he looked me in the eye and said, “I’ll see you later.” The menace in his demeanor and tone was unmistakable.

The next day, two Muslim jihadists were killed in Garland, Texas, as they tried to murder attendees at a “Draw Mohammad” cartoon contest organized by Pamela Geller, a well-known anti-jihad activist.

In the days and weeks after the attack, a number of commentators argued that Geller was somehow culpable for the attack. A prominent Arab-American journalist stated that Geller, who has been the target of death threats for years, was “worse than ISIS.”

To its everlasting shame, the New York Times directed more of its ire at Geller than the people who wanted her dead. People condemned Geller – not her would-be murderers – for failing to exercise restraint. The underlying message was that Geller was too vulgar to participate in public life in America.

The very segment of the body politic that was pointing the finger of blame at Geller had either remained silent or had watched in glee as Christian and Jewish sensibilities had been offended on a regular basis over the past few decades.

When confronted with this double standard, the people who condemned Geller responded with lame assertions that they found attacks on Christian and Jewish sensibilities to be rude and contrary to the ethic of civil society.

But the fact remains that they waited until two Muslim gunmen died in an attempt to kill dozens of people in Garland, Texas, before expressing their concerns over anti-Christian and anti-Jewish polemics. If they found these provocations so rude and offensive, why hadn’t they said so before?

The criticism against Geller was not rooted in principle, but in fear.

The fear is justified. Commentators and artists who offend Catholic sensibilities might get a letter from the Catholic League. Offend Jews and you get a letter from the ADL or the local Board of Rabbis.

Offend Muslim sensibilities and you might get shot. Just ask Theo Van Gogh and the staffers at Charlie Hebdo magazine in France. If you’re lucky, you won’t be killed but merely driven underground like Salman Rushdie or Molly Norris, a cartoonist who is still in hiding for years after organizing an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” in Seattle a few years back.

In the days after the botched jihadist attack in Garland, Texas, I thought back to the young man on the subway in New York City who told me, “I’ll see you later.”

I had been seeing young men like him for years.

The first time was outside the Israel Consulate in Boston in late 2008. I was part of a group of pro-Israel activists who had come to stand across the street from a crowd of “pro-Palestinian” (read anti-Israel) activists who had gathered to protest Israel’s attacks on Hamas, which had launched rockets into Israel. During the first part of the rally, the anti-Israel crowd was made up of mostly far-left peace activists from nearby Cambridge and Somerville.

The Israeli Consulate had become a regular gathering point for them in recent years, serving as a symbol of everything they rebelled against – the nation state, the military, the use of force in the international system, and the right of national self-defense. They were loud, but not frightening. They weren’t trying to intimidate anyone, but merely draw attention to themselves.

Then a dozen or so young men showed up all wearing a similar uniform of dark clothes and leather boots. They took up a position at the front of the rally and started chanting “Down Down Israel!” There were at most 20 of these young men, but they generated as much noise and energy as the rest of the crowd put together. They moved in unison, chanted in unison and projected an aura of hate, hostility, and a threat of violence.

I observed more protesters like this at rallies during yet another confrontation between Israel and Hamas, this time in 2014. Early on in the summer, the protests were mostly attended by college students and hippy leftists.  But as the summer progressed, a growing number of women in hijabs and men in keffiyehs started to show up at the rallies, which were organized and publicized in part by the local school bus driver’s union and the Boston chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.

At all of the rallies, people chanted “Intifada, Intifada, Long Live the Intifada!” There have been two intifadas in Israel and the disputed territories; both were marked by shocking acts of violence. Calling for an intifada in a city that one year previously had endured the Marathon Bombing perpetrated by two jihadists from overseas seemed bad form, to say the least.

The culmination came on July 25, when protesters gathered to demonize Israel in honor of Al Quds Day, a worldwide celebration of anti-Israel and anti-Western hate organized by Iran. People here carried signs that equated Zionism with Nazism.

By carrying signs like this and chanting for an intifada, the people who participated in this rally declared themselves enemies of the very civilization that allowed them to gather and protest.

Local media outlets portrayed the protests as “peace” rallies when in fact, they were part of a propaganda war designed to promote hate and hostility toward Israel and its supporters, Jews especially, in the U.S.

I took pictures of the protesters and their signs to document what local newspapers and television stations would not cover – a reservoir of anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, and naked anti-Semitism in Boston, the cradle of freedom.

Fortunately, pro-Israel activists showed up to counter the anti-Israel rallies. Most of the time, they were outnumbered. At one rally, the crowd of anti-Israel zealots physically surrounded and shouted at the smaller crowd of pro-Israel activists that had shown up to counter them. (It was at this rally that pro-Israel activist Chloe Valdary was assaulted.)

The radicals who hate on Israel in America’s public square are motivated by an anti-democratic agenda. Israel is not the only democracy they seek to harm.

What is most troubling is that a number of people who should know better seem intent on making it easier for jihadists to destroy our public square with their threats and intimidation.

One way they do this is to point the finger of condemnation at Pamela Geller and not at those who are intent on murdering her.

In the headline to a Reuters article about the planned attack, Business Insider described Geller as the “Head of anti-Muslim hate group.” Whoever wrote this headline is legitimizing jihadist hate and violence against Geller by portraying Geller, and not those who would kill her, as the problem.

It didn’t start with Pamela Geller and it won’t end with her.

Now it’s Pamela Geller’s turn.

Who’s next?

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  • freedomspeak

    I am and will continue to be a supporter of Pam Geller and of
    the State of Israel.I am an Australian citizen and here we are facing the same ignorance both with the media and politicians who are hell bent on attempting to push the agenda that Islam does not advocate violence. But we also have a more pressing issue. Those of us who wish to speak out
    in public or by written word are then issued with a court order and asked why they are islamaphobic and racially intolerant. This is causing fear amongst us but also reducing those who choose to fight to huge debt in lawyers fees and having to move their families to safer accommodation. To me this seems so incredible when, in a country so young that has given safe haven, jobs, overseas aid and military support to those in need we are now being vilified in such a frightening and vicious way.I wish Pamela god speed and wish I could see her some time but my age makes travel a bit difficult these days. Also thank god Benjamin Netanhyu is so brave and strong against those who wish to condemn Israel. What the Israelis have accomplished with technology, land reclamation and a determination to pull together no matter what the cost makes me believe that Australia can do it too..we just need to believe.

    • Baba

      Thank you for your wonderful comments. I, too, admire PAMELA and am thankful that she has given voice to our legitimate concerns. It’s funny how we are silenced with our objections but the Muslim agitators are allowed to spew horrid chants as to the death of the Jews and Christians and never called Jewophobia or Christianaphobia. Their hate is never silenced in the media or in government. That’s the problem with POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. IT ONLY APPLIES TO THE OFENDERS CALLING FOR OUR DEATH WHILE THOSE THAT OPPOSE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ARE DEMONIZED FOR SPEAKING
      THE TRUTH. DOUBLE STANDARDS RULE OUR CURRENT WORLD AND THE TRUE HATERS ARE PRAISED WHILE THE NON-MUSLIMS are vilified!

  • Ree Ality

    Pamela Geller is a true American Patriot and a great Jewish media defender of Israel and the Jewish people. She should be lauded, admired and emulated in today’s world of cowardly, left-wing water carriers for the jihad.
    May G-d protect her always, and may we soon see the victory of Truth and the people of Israel!

  • “Head of anti-Muslim hate group.”

    The author rejects this title saying: “legitimizing jihadist hate and violence against her.”

    No, just because she is the head of an anti-Muslim hate group does not legitimize violence – although I think there might be a good argument that the anti-Muslim hatred would stimulate hatred towards her… and possibly increase hatred of others who are Jewish.

    I supported Geller when she was anti-Jihad. But the Texas event crossed the line to anti-Muslim.

    Freedom of speech is like many powerful things. It can be used to constructively or it can be used destructively.

    Yes, we are legally allowed to say and do things that offend others. But is that how we want to use Freedom of Expression?

    Aggrandizing cartoons of Mohammad is like taking a knife and stabbing the heart of what is precious to Muslims. What else is it if not an expression of hatred?

    The headline is correct. Geller’s event was anti-Muslim and an expression of hatred.

    When I am in Eretz Yisroel I interact with Muslims. I don’t hate them. I just don’t. Is there something wrong with me? I feel no need to insult them or hurt them.

    The Texas event changed Geller from anti-Jihad to anti-Muslim. She knew she would lure extremists to try to attack the event and she was prepared. It was an ambush that pushed would be terrorists over the line to being active terrorists. Why not try to push them the other way and try to get them to have other goals in life? Yes, there are people working to do that.

    If anything good is to come out of Geller’s campaign it is not to support her – but to realize the need to upgrade our awareness and efforts against the Muslim extremists in America in a dignified manner.

    I listened to the audio book by Zak Ebriham, the son of the man who murdered Meir Kahane and was involved in other terrorist attacks. He tells of how his father was lured into being an extremist/terrorist. A lot of it has to do with social issues. Things that can be addressed without the distasteful, hateful tactics of Pamela Geller – tactics that make Jihadists dig in their heels and try harder.

  • Ramesh Joshi

    “Appeasement makes aggressor Greedy”This is what exactly happening with this pakis, they want benefits of minority where they are in minority and no minority for others where they are in majority. Israel is doing the perfect thing they deserve and I have the sympathy for the brain functioning of those people who criticize Israel for it.

  • Europe

    It’s too late for Europeans though. There are few anyway who support Israel, but those that do must speak in whispers in their own cities. You are never more than 100 meters from a mosque these days.

  • I can only see 6 comments. The headline says there are 24.

  • Gerald

    Pam: YOU can/should persevere with best efforts. If those fools (islamists) are that stupid regarding threats to you and something occurs; Then mainstream America will surely awaken. Be Extremely careful, take care and warrior on. You have support.

  • Kenneth Mathews

    “The criticism against Geller was not rooted in principle, but in fear.”

    Not in fear but in cowardice. Fear is a universal emotion but not everyone gives up on doing what’s right because of it. Geller hires bodyguards because she fears what these islamist maniacs might do but she still stands for what’s right. Geller is brave. The journalists who criticize her are cowards.

  • JOSEPH WHITSON

    There Will never be A LASTING PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. LULLS in the fighting but NO LASTING PEACE! GOD GAVE, “THE PROMISED LAND TO ISRAEL AS AN EVERLASTING POSSESSION.” THE PALESESTINIAS HAVE NO CLAIM TO THE LAND.

  • phillip ley

    Come get me. I will not be silent. But rest assured,it will not be easy. You may get me, but some of you will die. At the end, on balance, you will have lost ground.

  • Alan Varney

    SPEAKING FOR MYSELF, I THINK PAMELA GELLER IS AN INCREDIBLE WOMAN AND I LOVE HER IMMENSELY. PAMELA IS WHAT THE REST OF AMERICA SHOULD BE—A TRUE PATRIOT. BUT THOSE CORRUPT JERKS IN WASHINGTON, WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING “WE THE PEOPLE.” ARE SELLING THIS COUNTRY OUT. OBAMA HAS GIVEN ORDERS THAT U.S. MILITARY IS NOT TO RESPOND TO ISIS IN ANY WAY. OBAMA ISN’T GOING TO BE SATISFIED UNTIL THE U.S. MILITARY INVADES WASHINGTON. I BELIEVE THAT ISLAM IS A BLOOD-CULT COMPOSED OF PSYCHOTIC KILLERS WHO SEEK JUSTIFICATION FOR COLD-BLOODED MURDER; RAPE AND SLAUGHTER ALL IN THE NAME OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMED. THE PROPHET MUHAMMED WAS A COMPLETE DISGRACE TO HUMANITY AND INSANE AT BEST SO, TO WRAP IT UP, IF CHRISTIANS INTERPRETED THEIR BELIEFS IN THE SAME WAY MUSLIMS INTERPRET THE KORAN THEN, MOST LIKELY,THE LAST WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED BEFORE 1950. MUSLIMS ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF SCUMBAGS. THANK YOU.

  • There will be no end to people stepping forward to confront Islam once they learn the truth about its creator. Here’s someone who has already stepped forward. Check these out: http://itsallaboutmuhammad.com/depictions-of-muhammad/

    The truth about Muhammad is the BEST weapon that can be used against what he created.

  • Silence equals complicity and consent to carry out such vile and vicious behaviors by masquerading the quiet as reasonable humanists who stand for equality and benevolence driven by a philosophy of pragmatism and altruism toward the more primitive among us as those savages seek to maim, mutilate and kill those with differing opinions or who oppose the union of mystics and totalitarians over science [reason\ and individual liberty.

    I applaud Ms. Geller’s courage, tenacity and activism to promote free speech and expose just how dangerous Islam attached to Shari’a [church and state] truly is. If Islam cannot exist without Shari’a; it can never represent peace or the concept of liberty.

  • This article is saying that ‘something is better than nothing.’
    That is not always true.
    Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something that will make things worse.

    People tried to reason with Geller about her proposed subway signs. The signs were tongue in cheek. They were sarcastic. They were based on the assumption that the sign readers would ‘get it’. The signs praised killing Jews and Pamela was sure subway riders would know she meant the opposite.

    You don’t have to be an expert in advertising to know that you have only a few seconds to get your message across. People are not going to think twice and figure things out. And who says that subway riders are against killing Jews in the first place? That is a big assumption. Remember the cover of the NYPost with the picture of a religious Jew and the headline – Who Wouldn’t Want Him Dead? The headline was not sarcastic. It was validated by the article inside. (Based on anonymous hearsay.)

    When people tried to reason with Geller – she would not budge. She claimed that any criticism of her work was madness and that they were siding with the terrorists. Just as this article says “People condemned Geller – not her would-be murderers.”

    Just because someone criticized Geller does not mean they are supporting the murderers. It means they are criticizing Geller.

    Geller supporters condemn her critics. They have Emmunah Shlaima in Geller, no matter what she says or does, and how many innocent lives she puts in danger, as she goes around in her hefty vehicle with her body guards.

  • abby

    there will always be someone next, volunteering to step into the line of fire. (that’s paraphrased from the movie casablanca.) look at yourself, not even jewish, i think?, and neither is chloe valdary. well done.

  • Avrohom Bilgrei

    I’M NEXT BABY, TAKE ME!

  • Who’s next, apparently, are the worshippers at the mosque in Phoenix that had to be protected by police from a rally of armed men, some wearing Nazi insignia, who gathered there in Pamela’s name. Care to comment?

    • Barry G.

      Yea I’ll reply, YOU ARE A LIAR.

    • RalphB

      I just saw a rally of Nazi’s, stray dogs, child molesters, and unemployed circus clowns all picking their noses in Jason Yungbluth’s name. Care to comment Jason?

      Get the point?
      What was yours?

    • Ron Mason

      Want a comment? You are a liar. ANyone protesting a Muzzrat mosque without a weapon to protect temselves would be foolish or dead.

    • JustThinking

      Sure Mr. Yungbluth, I will respond. Please tell me how many Muslims were attacked at the Phoenix Mosque? Anyone show up to the event with AK-47s and start shooting like the Muslims did at Pam Geller’s event? While you are at, perhaps you can share your views on Islam. Do you think Islamic doctrine which calls for the MURDER of anyone who blasphemes the religion or Muhammad, which includes drawing an image of him, is MORAL? Or do you think American laws, which strictly prohibit murder, are MORAL? Which of those laws do you support, Islam’s or America’s?

      Thank you in advance for response Mr. Yungbluth.

    • Why yes, I believe I will comment Jason.

      1) Muslim atrocities against non-Muslims, ESPECIALLY JEWS far outnumber atrocities by non-Muslims against Muslims. That is true in the ME, America and Europe. The stats are undeniable fact.

      2) Here in America Europe,Israel and other more or less civilized locales, the law and police generally protect Muslims from even prospective violence directed against them by non-Muslims, and their rights are upheld.

      The reverse isn’t true anywhere in the Muslim world, except in place like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or the Emirates….because no non-Muslims are allowed to live there, let alone worship there.

      3) If you read the Qu’ran and the Hadiths, you will find that under sharia, violence towards non-believers is approved and sanctioned. In the 9th Sura of the Qu’ran, it quotes Mohammed as telling his followers that they are to fight the unbelievers until they either killed them, converted them to Islam or until they became dhimmis(subject peoples with no rights except as determined by Muslims) who ‘pay the tribute willingly and feel themselves subdued.’ There’s no language like that in the Bible, New Testament or the religious scriptures of any other faith.

      4) Historically, Muslims have killed and enslaved millions more non-Muslims than non-Muslims have killed and enslaved Muslims. In fact, more people have been killed in the name of Islam than for any other cause, including secular Leftists like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

      Granted that peaceful Muslims have the right to pray and live their lives without being molested, your premise – that there is some kind of equivalency between what Pam Geller or even the Phoenix protestors did and what is done in the name of Islam every single day on this planet is a sign of moral illiteracy on your part,with all due respect.

      Or to put it another, simpler way, Islamophobia my a##, Jason.

    • Xavier

      Yes I would. Were there verbal death threats? Was anyone harmed or attacked?

      You lose.

    • john TRAIN

      We have no record of any such occurrence .

      Please provide a link to a reputable source…. not a published claim, but an independent reputable observer.

    • Rev, Churchmouse

      Must have been a false flag operation, Jason. Jihadists and Nazis are allies, have been since WWII.

  • BobCIl

    Dexter Van Zile and Pamela Geller …….

    My advice and hope …. continue to talk and write, louder if you can but don’t use subways and please have security with you.

  • Kafir of Doom

    Brilliant write up. Don’t give into their bullying. And never become a Dhimmi. Die like Mohammed’s own uncle who brought him up. A kafir!

  • Lyone Fein-Bernbaum

    Pam, you are the head of a pro-liberty group. Thank you for devoting your time, energy…….indeed your life to this cause.

  • Yale

    What these people are really protesting is that their view of the world has been shown unambiguously to be wrong. If they had existed in 1969, they would have protested Apollo 11 because it demonstrated that the moon wasn’t made of green cheese. The only sign needed at these rallies is “You’re wrong: Grow up and Live with it.”

  • Ed

    I’m your huckleberry…..

  • Ash Vara

    I cannot understand why there is so little support for Pamela. I guess people have not lived in Middle East / Arab societies to really understand the vice like grip of Islam on people’ lives. Stop Islam now otherwise Islam will stop your freedoms and way of life for ever.

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