Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller was a speaker (see the video above) at a pro-Israel rally in New York City Sunday that also featured Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat. Engel’s presence at a rally that invited Geller, a blogger and activist whose bread and butter is casting aspersions on Muslims, raised eyebrows on Twitter and elsewhere.
Engel is a liberal Congressional Democrat, though he is a hawk on foreign policy issues. Geller is a far-right anti-Muslim blogger whose organization Stop Islamization of America was labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Geller has called President Barack Obama “a muhammadan” and floated theories that Obama is the child of Malcolm X and was involved with a “crack whore.” And she is allied with Tea Party groups.
But those stark political differences melt away when it comes to showing up to support Israel’s assault on Gaza. Engel’s and Geller’s speeches were delivered to a rally featuring hundreds of people chanting things like “Israel wants peace, Hamas wants war” and “We are the Jews and we are not afraid.” The show of support for the Israeli assault on Gaza, which has killed at least 375 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, was reportedly organized by local New York Jews.
Here’s more footage of the rally from VIN News:
“I urge you to stand with Israel today,” Geller said at the rally. “But if you don’t, the devil will be at your doorstep tomorrow. Am Yisrael Chai!”
Geller is a staunch advocate for Israel, and has repeatedly created controversies by buying ad space in cities and putting up inflammatory anti-Muslim messages on them. One ad she has put up in New York and elsewhere reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Below those words and in between two Stars of David, the advertisement read: “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” She repeated that message at the rally.
Engel’s ardent support for Israel has lead him to appear alongside right-wing figures in other venues. In 2008, Engel came under criticism from progressives for speaking at the Christians United for Israel conference.
Fox News is again trying to drum up “controversy” around the Park51 Islamic community center in Manhattan. On Sunday, Fox Nation re-published a New York Post article claiming that “community programs” no longer exist at Park51, just Muslims praying. From there, Fox and Friends discussed the latest “development” on Park51. “It’s all pray and no play,” host Gretchen Carlson said and complained that the center isn’t hosting community programs and is instead attracting Muslims for prayer. Noted Islamophobe Donald Trump cited the oft-repeated far-right claim that Muslims built the community center to celebrate victory on 9/11:
GRETCHEN CARLSON: It’s all pray and no play. The controversial Ground Zero Mosque was supposed to be a cultural center, but it turns out it’s now an empty space with no community programs. Dozens of worshipers gather at the site for prayer services, but that’s pretty much the only activity in the building aside from a small martial arts class.
BRIAN KILMEADE: … Donald, do you want to finance the mosque downtown?
STEVE DOOCY: The Mosque-erade
DONALD TRUMP: No, I don’t think so, I’d certainly buy the site. But I don’t think it’s an appropriate use of the site. A lot of people don’t. You know, in the Arab world, when they have victory, they like to build a Mosque at that site. It’s very strongly out there. I think this is a terrible idea. It shouldn’t be done and let’s see what happens…
Fox is recycling rhetoric from more than two yearsago when anti-Islam activists like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer led an all-out war in their attempt to prevent the cultural center from opening. At the time, Fox News became a major broadcaster of their Islamophobicagenda. Back then, Fox gave anti-Islam activists a platform to make their virulentattacks against the proposed Park51 community center.
Multiple news organizations, like the Washington Post, debunked the fearmongering, pointing out that the “stated point of the project is creating a world where Jews, Christians and Muslims connect again in a way that builds mutual understanding and respect. This is precisely the opposite goal of the 9/11 terrorists.” Conservatives like Orrin Hatch supported Park51. And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke up in favor of the center as well, saying that freedom of religion should be tolerated.
As far as Fox’s new angle goes, it’s hardly a new development that the center serves as a place of worship; it was always slated to provide a home for Muslim worshipers in Manhattan. And the lack of cultural events likely has more to do with the center’s perceived financial issues than with a sinister plot: last year, a rental dispute between the center and its landlord went to court.
But unlike two years ago, the center faces no legal hurdles from the city to continue operating in the site. New York City’s Landmark Preservation Commission approved the center in 2010 and Mayor Bloomberg agreed. Park51 opened up last year without protests and little to no fanfare.
Pamela Geller is using and abusing the symbolism of the Twin Towers and coupling it with verses from the Quran again, she says,
“I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages.”
Of course for the racist Geller, anyone, especially a Muslim who criticizes her and exposes her loonieness is a savage. She just goes out of her way to display hate. I’m thinking this campaign will be another dud with various interfaith organizations and representatives of mainstream religious groups condemning her and the wider populace ignoring her crazy rantings.
The outspoken blogger and Executive Director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has just purchased a slew of advertising space in several subway stations and on numerous Metro-North platforms in order to display her newest anti-Islam message.
Her latest ads, shared exclusively with The Observer, will feature a panorama of the sky the moment the World Trade Center burst into flames in 2001, accompanied by a quote from the Quran that reads “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.”
However, an MTA disclaimer taking up 25% of the ad space will be presented in conjunction with Ms. Geller’s message for the first time. “This is a paid advertisement sponsored by American Freedom Defense Initiative. The display of this advertisement does not imply MTA’s endorsement of any views expressed,” it reads.
The MTA’s new disclaimer policy came in September of this year following an incident in which protestor Mona Eltahawy, 45, was filmed spray-painting another AFDI advertisement, which equated Muslims with savages.
Following the September incident, Ms. Geller has been busy crafting new advertisements for her campaign beginning December 17. The new ads will be plastered across at least 50 different locations, the MTA confirmed, the result of an ad buy worth more than $10,000.
“I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages,” Ms. Geller told The Observer.
Your right to draw anything you want, anyway you want it, without fear of violence is a right that must be protected, even if it is offensive.
But should you draw Prophet Mohammed as a dog and then join the hate group SION for an anti-Muslim hate-bash to commemorate 9/11? I believe that says something about where you are coming from in regards to Muslims, and it is not good, but hey I guess Lars so hates the Muslim community now that he would be willing to accept an invitation from the KKK if it was about bashing Muslims.
Swedish artist Lars Vilks has defended his decision to speak at an anti-Islamic conference in New York on September 11th, claiming he would also accept an invitation from the Ku Klux Klan.
Vilks, the Swedish artist who enraged Muslim groups with his depictions of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, agreed earlier this month to speak at a conference organized by the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).
Last week, however, an art gallery in northern Sweden booted him from a planned group exhibition because of his decision to accept the SION invitation. Several of the other participating artists pulled out in solidarity with Vilks, stirring up a debate in Sweden this week about artistic freedom and Islamophobia. The art exhibition, which was due to open on September 30th, has since been cancelled.
In a lengthy interview published in the Aftonbladet newspaper on Thursday, Vilks defended his decision to speak at the SION event. “If the Ku Klux Klan had invited me, I would have gone,” he told the paper.
“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“–Ayn 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:
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:
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.”