Mondoweiss: Another Morphing Muni ad and a Hat Tip to Ayn Rand

Thanks to MondoWeiss for the link and the tip. Love the morphing ads.:

by Allison Deger (Mondoweiss)

Pamela Geller’s defeat the “savages” San Francisco Muni advertisements created a firestorm among local culture jammers who are challenging the pro-Israel pundit’s message by re-designing the originals ads. See the latest makeover above.

Rand appearing on Donahue said Arabs are “primitive savages.”

Incidentally, Geller is an avid follower of objectivist novelist Ayn Rand who is also an ideological compass for the presumptive GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. On August 14, 2012 Loonwatch noted Geller’s fondness of Rand goes beyond her website’s name, Atlas Shrugged, after the philosopher’s book, Atlas Shrugs.The text of Geller’s Muni ad is derived from a 1979 Rand quote from the Donahue Show. At the time Rand said:

If you mean whose side should we be on: Israel or the Arabs? I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages. [Emphasis mine]

By comparison Geller’s ad reads:

In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad. [Emphasis mine]

Screen shot 2012 08 21 at 1 19 07 PM
Meme recap of the evolving San Francisco Muni ads. (Image: Facebook)

For more background on Geller’s attack ads paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, see Annie Robbins reporting herehere, and here.

Islamophobia, Not Islam, Will be the End of Israel

A very good article from Bradley Burston of Haaretz.:

Islamophobia, not Islam, will be the end of Israel

by Bradley Burston (Haaretz)

SAN FRANCISCO – Everyone knows how it works. Everyone knows what it sounds like. Everyone knows how easy it is to get away with it.

Everyone knows, deep down, that hatred feeds on tolerance. That however well-intentioned, a society’s forbearance for the toxic slur, for the poison of ethnic or religious or racial prejudice, does hatred invaluable service.

No one knows this better than professional bigots. People like Pamela Geller, who pass themselves off as supporters of a worthy cause even as their hatred and prejudice stain and undermine anything and everything worthy about that cause.

For years, in the guise of supporting Israel, Geller has engaged in promoting hatred of Islam. In recent weeks, in a campaign timed to coincide with Muslims’ observance of the sacred month of Ramadan, her American Freedom Defense Initiative has run caustic, self-styled “pro-Israel” advertisements on the sides of public transit buses in San Francisco.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” the ads begin, white letters on black. Below it, in blue letters flanked by Stars of David, it read “Support Israel” and below that, in red, “Defeat Jihad.”

Last year, when Geller’s group tried to place the ads on public buses in New York, the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority rejected them as violating its prohibition on messages that demean individuals or groups. But in July, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the Geller group had been denied First Amendment guarantees of free speech. That same day, the ads went up in San Francisco.

Geller told ABC News that the purpose of the ads was to counter “fallacious and dangerous” ads on San Francisco area transit trains a year ago, urging cuts in U.S. aid to Israel. “If I had my way, the (“support Israel” ads) would be in every city in the United States of America, and if I can get the funding, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

To its credit, Muni, the San Francisco transit agency, did more than simply mount Geller’s message. It condemned the ads. Alongside them. In bus ads of its own.

In a move without precedent, Muni said in the new ads that its policy “prohibits discrimination based on national origin, religion, and other characteristics, and condemns statements that describe any group as ‘savages.’”

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said that while Muni is bound by the First Amendment, “Obviously we think the [Geller-sponsored] ads in place right now are repulsive and they definitely cross the line.”

Of late, in tandem with anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab attacks by radical settlers and Arab-hating Jewish youths in Israel and the territories (“He’s an Arab. He deserves to die,” a 14-year-old assault suspect told a court on Monday), there are troubling signs in America of a tendency to conflate hatred of Muslims with support for a Jewish state.

“The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures,” a “pro-Israel” NGO called the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights quotes Geller’s ideological inspiration as having said in a 1974 speech. “Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are.”

In this light, Bay Area Jews are to be especially commended for denouncing Geller and her works. J., the community newspaper, said that “any right-thinking person, Jewish or not, must oppose these ads.” The Anti-Defamation League called the ads “highly offensive and inflammatory,” and the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Committee issued a similar denunciation.

At root, this is what Geller denies: Israel can only exist as a democracy if it continually acts to foster and equalize the rights of its Arab citizens, not abrogate and dismiss them. It can only exist as a democracy if it actively works to end the unperson status of the Palestinians of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A true democracy cannot treat bigotry with understanding. It has to fight it, or its sense of democracy has no meaning.

At root, the Geller and pro-Kahane brand of “support of Israel,” is little more than a slash and burn Arab–hate that, if left unanswered, will tear apart the Israel and the Jewish community from within. It blinds people to solutions. It convinces people that there are no solutions. It persuades people that there are no options apart from violence, both of word and deed.

Israel has elaborate defense systems against military attack and terrorism. Its defenses against its own extremists are much more porous.

The Gellers and Kahanists attack Israel at the root. An Israel torn apart from within doesn’t need an external enemy to destroy it. The enemy is right here.

Pamela Geller of AtlasShrugs: Bus Ads Inspired by Ayn Rand’s Racist Views of Arabs and Muslims?

 SIOA, Geller and Spencer’s ad campaign

“If you mean whose side should we be on: Israel or the Arabs? I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savagesAyn Rand (1979, The Donahue Show)

Pamela Geller so adores the “objectivist philosopher” and author Ayn Rand that she gave her blog the name Atlas Shrugs, in homage to Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged.” Is it then a coincidence that her most recent hate campaign contained the text: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.”? Geller’s chosen description almost exactly parallels Ayn Rand’s statement regarding the conflict in Palestine, with the exception that she cowardly omitted who she intends by “savage.” As you can see from the quote above Rand described the conflict as one between “civilized” Israelis and the “savage” Palestinians and Arabs.

There is no doubt in my mind that in light of these facts the AtlasShrugs/SIOA/JihadWatch ad campaign is a racist and Islamophobic one. So far the ad campaign has run in New York and is running on buses in San Francisco. New York’s transit authority (MTA) initially refused to run the ads, Geller sued and won on free speech grounds. San Francisco has admitted that it fears being tied up in litigation and has decided to allow the ads even though they contradict its policy on “political advertisements.”


This is not Geller’s first foray into bigoted advertising campaigns.

The looniest blogger ever is a big fan of advertising her bigotry and hate of Islam, Muslims and Arabs on buses, taxis and other forms of transportation across the United States. Previously, Geller and Spencer teamed up for an advertisement campaign that claimed the pretense of helping those who want to “Leave Islam,” but weren’t able to out of “fear.” In reality, her message was not one of help but hatred, as was well covered. Geller’s aim was to defame American Muslims as an oppressive community that was secretly holding an untold number of former Muslims who want to leave Islam hostage.

These bigoted endeavors are generally attempts to gain publicity by Geller, but just ignoring her will not do–not this time.

Geller and Spencer’s recent ad campaign in the name of their hate group SIOA portrays Israel as “civilized” and its critics as “jihadists” and “savages.” The campaign is in response to advertisements that call on US citizens to tell Congress to stop sending aid to Israel, such as this one:

Melrose Walnut r

I believe this to be a worthy message and agree with it, but even if you don’t, even if you disagree with this advertisement on political grounds, to react as Geller and her ilk have is abominable. In characteristically hyperventilating and loony verbiage Geller and Spencer consider such advertisements to be not only “anti-Israel” (which they aren’t) but “anti-Semitic” and “genocidal!” Such a dilution and abuse of the very serious term “anti-Semite” should not only be condemned but countered by all those who expose bigotry, especially national Jewish organizations.

Geller claims that her ads are not about hate, and that the “savages” she is talking about are “suicide bombers,”

Because any targeting of innocent civilians is savagery. Mothers and children on a bus are targeted, and that is savagery. Kidnapping and murdering is savagery. The U.S. does not conduct war that way, and neither does Israel [this is a lie, which we have proven over and over–Ed.]. Now, there is sometimes the accidental death of civilians, which is far different than the targeting of innocent civilians.

The truth is Geller isn’t referring only to suicide bombers. She is putting forward a type of double-speak. Geller is reaffirming Ayn Rand’s racist position on Israel-Palestine, this is why the language is so similar between the two.

You will never hear Geller condemn Rand. I hope Geller gets questioned about this striking parallel between her ad and her hero and idol, Ayn Rand’s words:

(h/t: magicredpil)

A local ABC affiliate in San Francisco has some good coverage on the ad campaign and reaction from  residents and San Francisco’s city transportation (Muni), Geller makes a cameo as well:

There is a petition calling for the ads to be stopped. They seem to have a good case considering the fact that Geller’s ads are steeped in implicit racism and bigotry against a whole people and community.

UPDATE: A direct quote from Ayn Rand that is nearly identical to the words on Geller and Spencer’s Bus Ads  (h/t: BelievingAtheist).

“The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. WHEN YOU HAVE CIVILIZED MEN FIGHTING SAVAGES, YOU SUPPORT THE CIVILIZED MEN, no matter who they are.”