Update: Robert Spencer Whines and Whimpers After Being Exposed

Robert Spencer: Exposed

Robert Spencer: Exposed

We recently wrote about the bruhaha that occurred when it was revealed that anti-Muslim polemicist Robert Spencer was invited by the ALA (American Library Association) to participate on a panel discussing the topic, Perspectives on Islam: Beyond The Stereotypes.

To summarize, close to the date of the event one of the panelists, Dr. Marcia Hermansen, discovered that Spencer would be on the panel. She informed the other panelists, one of the panelists decided to drop out in protest while Hermansen and the other panelist decided to stay on.

In the meantime various scholars, ALA member librarians, concerned citizens contacted the ALA to lodge their protest and demand to know why a notorious Islam hater was on a panel meant to dispel stereotypes about Islam, as did groups like CAIR-Chicago and CIOGC later on. The ALA lagged in their response and the remaining two panelists decided to drop out which lead the ALA to cancel the event.

It turns out the ALA did not know a thing or two about Spencer when he was curiously lobbied for by Ellen Zyroff, the co-chair of ALA’s EMIERT’s Jewish Information Committee and a leader at the San Diego chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, and were caught like a deer in headlights when it later became apparent to them that they had invited a discredited hatemonger. They are not entirely innocent however, how they let Zyroff decide who gets to be on a panel about Islam as opposed to someone on the Islamic Information Committee (if one even exists) is an untold story in and of itself.

In response to the cancellation and unanimous rejection to his participation Spencer started to cry “bloody censorship.” He accused CAIR of orchestrating a campaign to silence him and attack free speech when in reality all of the panelists had decided to drop out independently of CAIR contacting the ALA. By their own admission, they cited the ALA’s “failure to address their concerns” as well as the ALA actively misrepresenting the event to them.

As a result of most self-respecting people not wanting to associate with his rabidly anti-Muslim discourse, the apocalyptic Spencer and his shock troops began to cry that our whole Western Civilization was now under threat.  Closer to the truth seems to be that increasing incidents, such as these involving Spencer, reinforce his marginalization and highlight who he is: a bitter, bigoted Islamophobe with an ego the size of Alaska.

Unable to let the incident go with one 2300 worded diatribe, he penned another (shorter) assault in which he turned his venom from his former ally Charles Johnson onto CAIR-Chicago Director, Ahmed Rehab, in what seems to be an outrageous display of juvenility and senility that further exposes his lack of serious academic prowess or professional standards. In it, he claims that Ahmed Rehab “strong armed” the ALA into canceling the event, and that it is all part of his campaign “against free speech” and the so-called “truth of Islamic Jihad.” In reality, Ahmed Rehab had performed his organization’s stated mission of fighting bigotry by simply exposing the facts about Robert Spencer’s discredited methodology that would earn him an F in the academic world.

Ahmed Rehab, in his own article on the Huffington Post, articulately laid out the facts and even pre-empted this obvious line of attack from Spencer by stating that,

In fact, CAIR-Chicago’s call on the ALA to rescind Spencer’s invitation was not about Spencer but about the ALA, specifically: a) questioning why a respectable organization like the ALA would secretly invite an Islam-basher for an event designed to dispel stereotypes about Islam, and b) demanding that the ALA take responsibility for its misrepresentation of the panel event to the other panelists involved and to the public, and to provide an appropriate remedy for their error.

In Spencer’s self-inflated grandiose world he is unable to see that what concerned the diverse coalition of Americans that rejected him had nothing to do with him, or censoring him, but everything to do with the ALA and what it stands for, as well as the obvious incongruity in providing a platform to someone who makes a living from perpetuating stereotypes to speak on dispelling stereotypes.

Is that really so hard to understand?

Spencer further claimed that the participants knew about the event a month in advance, but he seems to be caught in a contradiction. On July 6, a few days from the event, Dr. Marcia Hermansen discovered that Spencer would be on the panel,

From: Marcia Hermansen
Date: July 6, 2009 8:07:26 AM CDT
To: xxxx@LISTS.xxxx.EDU
Subject: Marcia Hermansen and Robert Spencer
Reply-To: Marcia Hermansen

Thanks–I didn’t know about this–I thought I was on an informational panel for librarians–I guess this turns up the heat!

“xxxx” [xxxx@xxxx.xxxx] 07/06/09 3:06 AM >>>
Dear Colleagues,

I just found out on from the MELA list that Marcia Hermansen and Robert Spencer will be on an invited panel at the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) panel at the American Librarians Association annual meeting on July 12.

What Spencer may not want to admit is that this episode was never about censoring free speech which, when one considers Spencer’s explicit endorsement and support for Geert Wilders who is on the record stating that the “Qur’an should be banned” and that “freedom of religion should not apply to Islam”, seems just a tad bit hypocritical and disingenuous.

It was about principles of consistency, of not giving a platform to Islamophobes just as we don’t give platforms to racists and holocaust deniers. In that vein it seems the overwhelming majority of people agree and as one librarian expressing her own and her colleagues’ sentiments wrote:

Being a librarian I did my own homework. I verify my sources. I can tell that Ahmed Rehab did an excellent job in laying out the facts. Just check the facts again. Call the panelists and ALA organizers. Do your own investigation. The format of this panel was totally UNETHICAL. The main reason was to sneak Robert Spencer and impose a “fait accompli” to other panelists. The whole thing was flawed.

So, let Spencer claim that the world is out to get him and there is a nefarious plot to subvert his free expression of speech. It is his right, under — you guessed it — freedom of speech, but he shouldn’t be such a sore loser when others exercise their free speech and call him out for using his free speech to push lies and support for hatred and bigotry. He can always take solace in that while the sane world rejects him, he will always have his troop of “Crazy McCain ladies” cooing over his innuendo at his David Horowitz-funded extremist blog, “Jihadwatch.”

Robert Spencer Rejected by Academics: Still Supports Geert Wilders

Islamophobes Inc., Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders

Islamophobes Inc., Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders

Recently the American Library Association & the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Roundtable was to hold a discussion around the topic of Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping. For all intents and purposes the forthcoming discussion seemed very promising. It would confront and discuss the important issue of stereotypical portrayals of Islam and all that is associated with it such as myths and smears.

The program ran into trouble when without the knowledge of the other panelists, and seemingly without any sort of vetting, the ALA invited a well known anti-Islam and anti-Muslim blogger and writer — Robert Spencer. To say the least this made more than a few people scratch their heads. How could a reputable organization invite a well known Islamophobe who traffics in perpetuating stereotypes to speak at an event that is supposed to go beyond stereotypes?

To understand just how strange this was just imagine if the ALA had invited David Duke as a speaker on matters of race, say on a panel discussing the topic Perspectives on Race: Beyond Stereotyping. Does anyone believe he would be invited?

This was the very reason that a group of librarians, scholars and individuals sent a letter to the ALA protesting the inclusion of Robert Spencer on the panel. In it they detail their reasons and their apprehension at the severe lapse of judgment and error on the part of the ALA,

Even the most cursory overview of Mr. Spencer’s oeuvre makes it clear that in fact he has no place on a panel whose aim is to dispel stereotypes about Islam. Indeed, we, as librarians, scholars, and individuals are deeply concerned by ALA & EMIERT’s choice of Mr. Spencer for such a panel: Mr. Spencer espouses a view of Islam as a system of belief which is essentially violent, undemocratic, totalitarian, exclusive and at war with all non-Muslims. Mr. Spencer in fact goes as far as to equate Islam with fascism. According to him,

The misbegotten term “Islamo-fascism” is wholly redundant: Islam itself is a kind of fascism that achieves its full and proper form only when it assumes the powers of the state.” (www.jihadwatch.com/islam101)

Hence a question arises as to the justification for inviting a speaker who cannot see anything positive about Islamic beliefs, cultures, societies, histories, etc. to talk to an audience in order to dispel negative views of Islam. We are indeed saddened and puzzled by ALA’s choice for their panel, especially in that this appears to be a rare opportunity to educate people about Islam against the backdrop of an overwhelming atmosphere of ignorance, and negative stereotyping.

The open letter to the ALA resulted in the other three panelists withdrawing their participation in protest against the inclusion of Robert Spencer who they only learned was going to be a part of the panel a few days ago. This resulted eventually in the ALA canceling the event.

This cancellation served as a continuing repudiation of Spencer by scholars and his growing inability to cross over into the mainstream. Increasingly, Spencer’s voice is limited to the echo chamber that is the cottage industry of Islam-bashing which contains such “luminaries” as Debbie Schlussel, Brigitte Gabriel, and Andrew Bostom (!).

In response to being outed by the academics and librarians Spencer wrote a usual shrill diatribe in which he attacked his former friend Charles Johnson, CAIR and accused the ALA of “caving-in” to pressure. Yet by responding it seems Spencer has just dug himself further in a hole that leaves him wide open to further accusations, of at the very least, brazenly supporting loony anti-Muslimism and Islamophobia.

This is all the more revealing in light of a recent comment on Loonwatch from an obvious Spencer fan by the name of John Jackson on a post about Debbie Schlussel. In it Jackson agrees with another commenter Sami and says, “You do a great disservice to Robert Spencer by lumping him in with Debbie Schlussel as ‘Islamophobes’. Schlussel goes off the deep end frequently. I have never seen Spencer do the same.”

It may be true (though I don’t think so) that Spencer doesn’t go off the deep end “frequently” but he does go off the deep end — a lot. Also he takes issue with Spencer being lumped in with the likes of Schlussel, but why not? The only difference between Debbie Schlussel and Robert Spencer is that Debbie doesn’t hide her hate and vitriol against Muslims or Islam nor does she attempt to couch it in an air of objectivity. Furthermore, it wasn’t Loonwatch that first lumped Spencer in with Schlussel but the excellent report produced by FAIR titled Smearcasters.

In Spencer’s response to ALA’s cancellation he lashed out against Smearcasters and to the chagrin of John Jackson he didn’t qualify his attack by saying that some of the profiled such as Debbie Schlussel go off the “deep end frequently” or that Debbie was a “retard” as Sami wrote,  instead he defended them saying, “In reality, the “Smearcasters” report was a political hit piece on an array of the opponents of CAIR and its allied groups.”

For Spencer those profiled by Smearcasters were the victims of a “hit piece” on mere “opponents of CAIR and its allied groups.” Yes, nothing to do with their hate and bigotry Spencer! This is nothing less than an indirect endorsement of all those in the report, and so it is not us lumping in Spencer with what Spencer supporter Sami called “retards” but Spencer himself.

In the same response Spencer further goes after CAIR and defends his alliance with Geert Wilders, the controversial and fascist European politician stating,

CAIR’s Honest Ibe Hooper doesn’t have to resort to such circumlocutions. I didn’t actually have anything to do with that conference in Florida, but Hoop could just say straight out that I support Wilders. And so should anyone who holds dear the Western values that are threatened by Islamic supremacists — notably, as I said above, the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the equality of rights of all people before the law.

There it is straight from his pen and that’s why Spencer keeps digging himself a hole. His support for Geert Wilders is his downfall because any objective and thorough understanding of Geert Wilders, what he has said and what he represents will prove the lie to the claim made by Spencer that he cares about Democratic freedoms and Rights because if he did he wouldn’t support Wilders and company.

Wilders is on record stating that religious freedom, a cornerstone of the foundation of modern democracies everywhere should not apply to Muslims,

Islam is not a religion… the Quran is a book that calls for hatred, that calls for violence, for murder, for terrorism, for war, and submission…We should also stop pretending that Islam is a religion…the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.

This is not the only place that Wilders has made this statement he has repeated it to roaring applause at Synagogues and conferences.

It is unbelievable that Spencer would now attempt to posit himself as an objective academic researching and writing on Islam when he unabashedly “supports” odious and reprehensible individuals such as Geert Wilders. Who can take Spencer’s grandiose claim seriously that he is fighting for the freedom of speech, freedom of conscious, indeed for Western civilization itself against “Islamic supremacism” when he supports and calls on us to support one who would infringe on the right of individuals to freely practice their faith.

What can you expect though from one who joined a group that aimed for a reconquista of modern day Turkey, forcibly replacing its Muslim population with a Christian one?

Also Read Svend’s take: Joke of the Day: Robert Spencer as Bridge-Builder