Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller, lightning rod for the hateful fury of the unholy alliance of Islamists and the radical left, is under attack again for daring to run a pro-Israel advertising campaign in New York and San Francisco.
Ms. Geller is executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), in addition to being the author of Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance and The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (with Robert Spencer). For Islamists and the multiculturalist progressives who have bought into the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy of demonizing its opposition as “Muslim-hating,” Geller is the most public face of the mythical “Islamophobia” in America.
Geller’s AFDI advertisements in San Francisco read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” In New York, the ads read, “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01. And counting. It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”
Some public officials in both cities are taking unprecedented steps to denounce and distance themselves from the ads. As Ms. Geller related in a FrontPage Magazine interview, Greenburgh, New York Town Supervisor Paul Feiner announced that he wanted Metro-North to warn passengers that the ads could be upsetting and don’t represent Metro-North’s views or that of the community. Muslims, he said, “should not be discriminated against. The posters encourage hatred, discrimination and do not help the efforts to fight hate crimes.” Peter Swiderski, the mayor of Hastings-on-Hudson, and the Board of Trustees sent out a letter to the village asking residents to write to the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) expressing dismay that the ad was not deemed hate speech. The letter also read,
While the Board respects everyone’s right to free speech, we categorically condemn the bigotry and innuendo expressed by this billboard message. To tar a faith and its followers because of the actions of a few is deplorable, hateful and morally repugnant.
Except that the ad doesn’t refer to all Muslims. It doesn’t even “tar” Islam, which jihadists themselves already do a spectacularly good job of tarring. The ad merely notes the 19,250 deadly attacks (a number that has since risen dramatically) since 9/11/01 carried out in the name of Islam. It underscores the “Islamorealism” that people like Feiner and Swiderski, in their politically correct bubble, prefer to deny and ascribe instead to “Islamophobia.” It refers to jihadists, who have no compunction about killing less fanatical Muslims. Apparently Feiner and Swiderski are more outraged that the ad “could be upsetting” to jihadists than they are about the Muslim victims of their co-religionists. How tolerant of them.
Geller countered by responding to Swiderski and asking why no such mailing went out concerning recent anti-Israel ads run by the MTA. “This speaks to a systemic, institutionalized anti-Semitism prevalent in your administration and among the Board. Care to comment?” Geller posed a rhetorical question to FrontPage Mag interviewer Jamie Glazov, “Why didn’t he react as viscerally when the same kiosks had vicious blood libels posted about Israel?
San Francisco, the city that proudly champions every America- and Israel-hating radical nutball or movement you can name, was of course horrified by what it deemed to be racist hate speech from “notorious anti-Muslim hate blogger” Geller and AFDI (the AFDI has been stamped as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose mission is to designate as such everyone who disagrees with the well-funded progressive agenda).
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, reluctant to open itself up to an AFDI lawsuit for suppressing its free speech, did not refuse Geller’s ad but added a disclaimer: “SFMTA Policy Prohibits Discrimination Based On National Origin, Religion and Other Characteristics and Condemns Statements That Describe Any Group As Savages.”
Not content with posting the disclaimer alongside the ad itself, SFMTA Board of Directors chairman Tom Nolan felt compelled to announce publicly that “the recent ad has no value in facilitating constructive dialogue or advancing the cause of peace and justice.”