Below are the video and transcript to Robert Spencer’s keynote speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 20th Anniversary Restoration Weekend. The event took place Nov. 13th-16th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Robert Spencer: This a momentous occasion actually, because I've decided to take this opportunity as I stand before so many patriots and lovers of freedom to announce my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. Now, you might think this is a joke and of course it is. I have no political experience, I've never held elected office, never even run for office. I have no organization, no staff and no money. I am not now and have never been a member of the Washington establishment. In other words, I'm just the man for the job.
There's a serious point that I'm making here. The point is that the problem is not Barack Obama. The problem is not the Democrats. Barack Obama and the Democrats are just symptoms of the problem. The problem is an entrenched Washington establishment that keeps failing again and again and yet it keeps on applying the same failed solutions to problems. Presidents come and presidents go, but this establishment is forever and no matter how many times its remedies fail, it keeps on applying them without an ounce of self-reflection.
What we need is a massive housecleaning. What we need is a genuine outsider elected with a mandate to do this housecleaning, to really open up the windows in the State Department and let in the sunlight and clear out all these failed ideas that are doing nothing less than leading this nation into disaster.
The entrenched establishment is operating, of course in all areas but I'm going to concentrate on foreign policy because if we don't stop making some of the major foreign policy mistakes that we are making, then we won't have to worry about domestic policy before too long.
Chief among these is the millions that we are showering upon the Palestinians and the so-called peace process. Obama of course blames Israel for failing to make peace and blames the failure of peace talks on the so-called settlements in the West Bank and gives the impression that he believes or wants us to believe that if this settlement construction is stopped then peace will ensue and everything will be okay.
There's just one word to show that that is obviously howlingly false and that one word is Gaza. We heard this song before. In 2005, we were told that the occupation was the problem and if Israel withdrew from Gaza the Gazans would pursue peace. Mortimer Zuckerman spent $14,000,000 to buy the greenhouses that the Israelis had constructed in Gaza in order to give them to the Palestinians so they would have gainful employ. The Palestinians gratefully received the greenhouses and immediately gutted them and converted them into weapon smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza to get weapons to Hamas.
Obama and John Kerry want us to withdraw, want Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, that is the West Bank, and they say the same things that we heard about Gaza. This will bring peace. This time, this withdrawal from this occupation, this is the one that's going to do it and everything that will happen after that will be the result of the good benefits that come from this occupation. In other words, it will take the wind out of the Jihadi sails all together.
We saw that this didn't work and yet keep trying it again. Why would the establishment of a Palestinian state now after the Muslims rejected it in 1948, rejected it in 2000, rejected many other times, why is it going to bring peace now? How could it when the goal of Israel's total destruction which Hamas has repeatedly and recently reiterated still remains? Why would another Israeli withdrawal accomplish what the others never have?
And of course, Israel is not the only victim of our fantasy-based policy making. Another one is us, the American taxpayer. Another false assumption that is the basis of policy after policy is that poverty causes terrorism. Late in 2013 the U.S. and Turkey announced what they call the global fund for community engagement and resilience and John Kerry said that this will provide more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment into Jihad groups.
Now look, we just saw on the news this morning another beheading of the U.S. hostage, Peter Kassig, Abdul-Rahman Kassig, whose conversion to Islam did not save him because he was still considered as a military veteran to be an American Crusader. The people who beheaded him, the people who were standing there in that video and issuing warnings to the United States and the free world, they were considering themselves to be the warriors of the law. They were considering that they were at the vanguard of a global revolution that will bring the law of God to the world and defeat the enemy infidel powers. Do you really think that if we gave them an opportunity to say, “Welcome to McDonald's, may I take your order please,” that they would give it all up? That they would turn away from what they think is a glorious struggle in which they are the soldiers of God for a job at Walmart? It's not going to happen. This is just going to be more hundreds of millions of dollars down the drain.
Not only that, but study after study has shown that terrorists are actually better educated and wealthier than their peers. Just yesterday the news came that another doctor from the UK fled the country and has joined the Taliban. He's a doctor. He was well off, even with the socialized healthcare system in Britain. But nonetheless he went to Jihad.
Beyond the waste of money, our foreign policy is characterized these days by an appalling incoherence. Take Obama on Syria. The president of course has long wanted to take out Bashar Assad, but he's been stymied by the fact that the only significant opposition to the Assad regime are, of course, Islamic Jihadis. The so-called vetted moderates. Some of the vetted moderates last year ransacked churches and drove Christians out of their homes in three Syrian towns. But now Obama is actually pursuing the strategy of removing Assad because he thinks that Assad is causing the Jihadi recruitment. So if we take out Assad then the Islamic State will melt away. We won't even have to fight it. The raison d'être for the terrorists will be gone. Now he actually thinks this despite the fact that the Islamic State has made it clear that they don't intend to stop with toppling Assad but they want to control not only all of Syria, but all of Iraq as well as Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan and continue on after that. And so, the main problem with this idea is this. If he removes Assad he creates a power vacuum. What is the force that is the only one in position to take advantage of that power vacuum? The Islamic State. And so what he's saying is in order to defeat the Islamic State we have to give the Islamic State what it wants and let it win. This is insane. And this is the policy of the United States government.
Now, this is all part of the idea that if we bring democracy to the Middle East, then peace will once again ensue, and so the United States decided to pursue a policy of toppling the dictators that we had previously supported in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein of course was first to go, and then Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya. Of course, he was never a friend of the United States, but the idea was the same. That if these people were gone and the people in those countries had self-determination, then they would establish Western-style secular republics and once again there would be peace. Instead, of course there's been chaos. The people that Barack Obama turned out to be supporting in Egypt and Libya were Muslim Brotherhood. They are in Syria as well. They did not want to establish western style secular republics but Sharia regimes. They did do so in Egypt for a year and they so alienated their own people that 30 million took to the streets and toppled them at that point. And yet, this policy is still in place and we are still pursuing it.
So, when I get to the Oval Office on January 20, 2017, and I promise never to put my feet on the desk, I will begin to sweep away all this and implement new policies.
First of all, no more aid, no more U.S. aid, not a penny to countries that engage in Sharia oppression. Just recently a Muslim mob murdered a Christian couple accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. And a Pakistani Christian leader called on Obama to make U.S.A. to Pakistan contingent upon the repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy laws by which so many innocent people have been victimized, brutalized, murdered. Of course Obama ignored it but he should not have ignored it. He should have implemented it immediately and gone farther than that. There should be no more aid to any country or group that allows for or advocates the Sharia oppression of women and non-Muslims and that curtails the freedom of speech in accord with Islam's prohibition on criticism of Islam.
And as for the Palestinians, they should get nothing at all, nothing, until they stop the genocidal incitement on Palestinian TV, teach their children that Israel must exist, that they have a right to that land, that it's their land and that they must live peacefully with the Israelis. There is appalling genocidal incitement on Palestinian TV on a regular basis and it's funded by us. This has to stop.
My second executive order will be to require that government intelligence and law enforcement agencies speak honestly and tell the truth about the threat we face. Of course, we know, as Geert Wilders reminded us yesterday, that immediately after a Jihad plot or a Jihad attack these days, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, David Cameron in the UK, a host of other leaders rush to the airwaves to tell us this has nothing to do with Islam. Well, they have nothing to do with rationality and common sense. And the problem is that this fantasy kills people. In Fort Hood the superiors of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Ford Hood Jihad murderer. They knew that he was in touch with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Jihad leader in Yemen. They knew that he himself was preaching Jihad and frightening his coworkers by preaching it. What did they do? Did they reprimand him? Did they fire him? Did they demote him? Did they prosecute him? No, they promoted him and praised him and said U.S. troops can learn a lot from him about Islam. And you know what? They did. But the lesson has still not been learned and the unreality still prevails.
Also, the Boston Marathon. The FBI disregarded, as Michele Bachmann told us yesterday, disregarded intelligence it received from the Russians about the bombers. The Russians said they were Jihadis. Right around this time, the FBI on orders from the Obama administration was removing all mention of Islam and Jihad from counter-terror training materials and had fired people who trained FBI members, including me, about the motives and goals of the Jihadis. And so they were being taught that Jihad is a benign spiritual struggle that ought to be encouraged. The Russians said this guy, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is a Jihadi and they probably thought, oh how nice, and didn't do a thing. And so more people were killed and some people were maimed for life and it is the result of this unreality.
We also have to end the exaggerated deference being paid toward mosques and the fact that the Islamic Society of Boston, which was not only where the Tsarnaev brothers went, but where you saw the Jihad video yesterday that Michele had, and that video was produced by a member of the Islamic society of Boston. Aafia Siddiqui went there. She's serving 86 years for plotting to murder American soldiers in the name of Islam and Jihad. Tarek Mehanna went there. He's doing 17 years for aiding al Qaeda, and the mosque itself was founded by Abdurrahman Alamoudi who is now in prison for funding al Qaeda. And yet the only time the FBI had been there was for outreach. Outreach. In other words, reassuring Muslims that the U.S. government is not Islamophobic. People are dying because of these things.
I will likewise as president call upon Muslim groups to renounce the aspects of Sharia that contradict constitutional freedoms. The U.S. government should call upon advocacy groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations to renounce in a sincere and genuine manner any intention at any point in the future to replace the U.S. Constitution with Sharia. And to implement in American mosques and Islamic schools, in a transparent and open way that is easily able to be inspected, programs to teach against this understanding of Islam that these groups ostensibly reject but have done nothing to counter. Did you know that the United Arab Emirates is more realistic about this threat right now than the United States? The UAE is cracking down on Muslim Brotherhood groups, and yesterday it listed as terrorist organizations a number of Brotherhood-linked groups around the world, including the Council on American Islamic Relations. Meanwhile, CAIR is meeting with FBI agents and with administration officials and is the go-to group for the mainstream media about Islamic issues. The UAE knows better.
Coming to an abrupt end on January 20, 2017 will also be all U.S. government cooperation with such groups and with any groups linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. As Wilders said yesterday, we also have to end immigration from Muslim countries into the United States. This is a simple matter of national security. It will of course be condemned as racism, but the harsh reality is that you cannot tell peaceful Muslims from Jihadis in any discernible manner. And so it is simply ridiculous and suicidal to continue to import whole communities of Muslims from hot Jihad areas like Somalia and Syria and Pakistan into the United States and drop them down into American communities. The strife has already begun in those communities and it's going to get worse.
We need to reconfigure our internal alliances, which are based on old and outmoded cold war models. I mean, for example, we're depending on Turkey to do so much to aid in the fight against the Islamic State, and yet the Turkish government has actually refused when John Kerry asked them to stop the oil sales by the Islamic State, which is financing their Jihad, the Turks said no. And the Turks are allowing ready passage of Jihadis through Turkey into the Islamic State and from the Islamic State through Turkey into Europe. And ultimately, no doubt into the United States.
And finally, we must begin a Manhattan Project to find new sources of oil and viable and new energy sources so that we end our foreign policy dependence upon states that aid and support Jihad. And of course, this means all of the options that are available. Offshore drilling, pipelines from Alaska and Canada, fracking, concerted research to find alternatives to petroleum. This should have been done on September 12, 2001, and every day we don't do it is another day we lose that we could have started to turn this thing around.
And for the truth to prevail, there's one more thing above all that we have to fight against. It's a stronger enemy than the Islamic Jihadis, and stronger than Russia and China. And that is, of course, the entrenched culture that comes from the left, the culture of self-hatred that denigrates everything American and exalts the most inveterate America haters as heroic and underdogs striving valiantly against brutal behemoths like Israel. That entrenched culture is the foremost obstacle to our defense against Jihad terror, and it's a never-ending tale of obfuscation about a genuine threat and slander of those who call attention to it. And we need to call upon the educational establishment to reject the revisionism and self-hatred that dominates textbooks today and more and more comes out every day about this. And to teach that Western civilization and culture are seriously threatened and worth defending. Islamic Jihadis are counting upon and calculatingly employing the rhetoric of inclusion and multiculturalism to gain for themselves entrée into highest levels of influence in the United States government, in the media, as well as the final edit of discussion on these issues in American textbooks. We have to demand a stop to this, relearn our own history, value it and teach it to our own children, teaching them to revere and not find new ways to deride those who built the political and legal institutions of this country.
Since I'll never get a chance actually to deliver an Inaugural Address, I'll end with an excerpt from the one I had prepared: We do not seek war with Muslim nations. If war is brought to us however, we will defend our nation, our allies, our freedom and our families. We will not be subjugated. We will never be subjugated. This is a different kind of war from the wars we've fought in the past. It is an ideological war and a war fought by believers in certain ideas rather than by soldiers from particular nations. And so we will, therefore, fight this new kind of war in a new kind of way. No nation of the world will be a friend to the United States if it holds the beliefs that led to the heinous attack on this nation on 9/11 and others after it. I invite and call upon the Muslims of the world to choose a society based on the principles of the freedom of speech and the equality of rights before the law of which the United States has been the foremost exponent. And make no mistake, we will defend those principles and we will prevail. Thank you.
Question over here? Richard?
Questioner: First of all, I want to let you know that you have five pledged delegates from the new Red State of Illinois.
Robert Spencer: The bandwagon is moving!
Questioner: Okay. The description before by Mike Finch of what groups are comfortable and where our people might be comfortable, there is a group within the Republican Party that wouldn't be comfortable here. That's the Grover Norquist wing which accomplished some serious infiltration during the Bush administration and David, really, and his organization, were the first to point that out and make that an issue. I would make a serious suggestion which is you draft what you have, put it in the form of a statement and provide that to all the potential Republican candidates for president and let's see who's serious about this issue.
Robert Spencer: Thank you, Richard. You know, that's actually the idea of my framing it in this way. I'm hoping that these things, it seems to me this is just common sense matters of policy that should have been implemented right after 9/11 and I would hope that some candidates will have the courage to take them on. Yes, sir.
Questioner: Good morning, Robert.
Robert Spencer: Good morning, Mr. Cutler.
Questioner: Thank you so much, sir. I just want your forbearance instead of asking a question, just a fast comment. You were talking about the Tsarnaev brothers. And you know, yesterday I spoke about immigration. What most people don't know -- and this is why I'm so concerned about the single-minded focus on the Southwest border -- the Tsarnaev brothers apparently committed fraud when they applied for political asylum. Yet their sister was first arrested about one month ago for threatening, it seems to be a family pattern, of blowing up her ex-boyfriend. Now, this isn't lowhanging fruit. This is fruit in the basket. Why in the world were these folks still out and among us when they could have all been rolled up for having committed apparent fraud.
What I want people to understand is that if we don't go after the integrity of the immigration system, not only admitting them, but providing political asylum and other abilities to embed themselves, we're in deep trouble.
Robert Spencer: Absolutely.
Questioner: So what I suggest is don't limit it to the Southwest border, folks. Think of immigration as a system and that's where we've got to hammer the politicians. Don't let them give you the copout of just looking at the border. They need to address the entire system. And thank you for indulging my comment.
Robert Spencer: Thank you. I couldn't agree more. That's extraordinarily important. The refugee resettlement program, which heavily favors Muslim communities and brings, as I said, whole communities and puts them in the middle of American towns and cities. That has nothing to do with the Southern border at all. It's a matter of people flying in to the country by the sanction and invitation of the immigration service and the State Department and so on. And this has to be addressed.
Questioner: Ken Abramowitz. Thank you for your comments. You didn't mention anything about Iran. Iran has promised to kill everyone in America. Death to America. Death to America. Do you see any non-military solution to the Iranian situation?
Robert Spencer: A military solution to the Iranian situation would be very difficult.
Questioner: Do you see a non-military solution?
Robert Spencer: Oh, a non-military solution. No. I think that the strategy that the Israelis are apparently pursuing of strange accidents happening to Iranian nuclear scientists and strange technical failures at Iranian nuclear plants is very good and I hope that it continues on a larger scale. Militarily it would be very difficult to go into Iran. It's a lot more formidable than Iraq or Syria or Afghanistan. And of course, now, with the impossible rules of engagement that the military is saddled with and the weakness of the military as has been explained here at this point after 13 years of war, it would be very difficult to get involved in Iran at this point. But I do think that there are other ways and ultimately will probably need to bomb some of the nuclear facilities as well.
Questioner: So much of what's happening with the Jihadis is related to social media and my question is does anybody have the authority to require this social media to shut down and is that a good idea in your opinion?
Robert Spencer: Does any -- I didn't hear.
Questioner: Does anybody have the authority to request that the social media shut this down and in your opinion is that a good idea?
Robert Spencer: I don't think it's a good idea. I know that they are recruiting in social media and in Facebook and Twitter you can see Islamic State supporters and, of course, I was just this morning working on Jihad Watch and saw the video of the beheading readily there. You Tube took it right down, but it was up at another site and I'm not sure that this should be stopped. Because I'm a strong advocate of freedom of speech in general but, this is not really a matter of freedom of speech, it is propaganda from an enemy during wartime. The problem is that I'm afraid that if you say to Facebook and Twitter that you need to stop the accounts of extremists, that they'll stop mine. And those of people like us, rather than those of the Islamic State and other Jihadis. If we had a sane society and a sane group of people at the head of those organizations then it might be different, but not in the present climate.
Questioner: Does Islam exist without Jihad and Sharia?
Robert Spencer: Islam does not exist without Jihad and Sharia. There has never been a form of Islam that did not include the teaching that Muslims must fight against non-Muslims and impose Islamic law upon them and Islamic law denies them basic rights. There is no sect, no school of law, no understanding of Islam that has ever been in history that did not teach that. And so the idea that this is a tiny minority of extremists who have twisted and hijacked the teachings of the religion is absolutely false on the face of it.
Questioner: As we have a head of the CIA who is a self-admitted Muslim, do we have a Muslim in the White House?
Robert Spencer: Well, you know, the head of the CIA is not actually a self-admitted Muslim. He is apparently a Muslim. John Guandolo, who was an FBI agent for many years, he says that when he was in the Bureau it was an open secret and it was well known that Brennan had converted while he served in Saudi Arabia. But Brennan has never actually publically addressed this either to confirm or deny it. And there was a story in, I believe, the New Yorker, a lengthy story about our counter terror apparatus a few years ago that identified a high level counter terror official as a convert to Islam, and that's probably Brennan, but he has not openly admitted this. In any case, is Barack Obama a Muslim? I don't know. He doesn't answer my emails or return my calls. But I can tell you that, of course, in terms of Islamic law he is a Muslim because his father was a Muslim and his stepfather was a Muslim. He himself says that he got in trouble for making faces during Quran class. In one of his autobiographies he says this. In Quran class. In Indonesia you only went to Quran class if you were a Muslim. The Christians didn't go to Quran class. Later on, of course he joined Reverend Wright's church and during the 2008 campaign somebody called Reverend Wright's church and said I'm a Muslim but I'd like to join your church. Is it okay? Can Muslims be members of your church? And they said, oh yes, absolutely.
And so, the thing is, ultimately though we do not know what Barack Obama's personal beliefs are and I'm not sure he has any except for certainly Marxism and socialism. But there's no doubt that everything about his foreign policy has been in line with the Muslim Brotherhood agenda, every aspect of it. And you can say, well no, he killed Bin Laden and al-Awlaki. Well sure. The Muslim Brotherhood has a different strategy. They do not generally pursue violence. They won the election in Egypt and took power. They didn't bomb everything in Egypt and take power. It was a difference of strategy however, not of goal. And everything about the Muslim Brotherhood's goal to bring Islamic law to various countries, Barack Obama has aided. So, whether he's doing that because he is himself a Muslim or just because he thinks that Islamic law is a good thing for societies and that seems to be clear. I don't think it makes really a difference in terms of his policies.
Questioner: When Hillary runs do you think it's a good idea that our side would introduce her connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, Huma Abedin, that whole section and would that be a beneficial route to take against her?
Robert Spencer: Well, the first way I'll answer that is to say that if the Republicans bring up Hillary's connections to the Brotherhood and Huma Abedin's connections to the Brotherhood during the campaign, it will backfire on them and they will be denounced as racists and bigots and hate-mongers and so on. And so that is never going to happen. But what does need to happen in a larger sense is that there needs to be a general challenge to the idea that any talk about this is racism and bigotry and hatred and we have to stop tolerating it on the right. And all too often we do and people in the Republican establishment, they're either with Grover Norquist as has been said and Grover Norquist is tied to the Brotherhood, or they are too afraid because they don't want this controversy and they don't want these charges of racism and bigotry so they're too afraid to touch this issue. But that comes with a high price. As I said before, people are being killed because of our refusal to confront this issue honestly and so if we do not take it on, then it is only going to make things worse in the long run. It has to be confronted sooner or later.
Questioner: Good morning. Thank you very much for that very informative presentation.
Robert Spencer: Thank you.
Questioner: I come here to learn a lot more than what I get from other places, but as I listen to your presentation, why isn't this the same as what happened to our country regarding communism which started slowly and Congress finally had open hearings to bring it the forefront of the American people? Why don't we have something like that now? Because it seems to me the only way to get the Americans on board is to get Congress to have open hearings. Now certainly there are going to be those on the left that disagree and those on the right that are going to be different, but this is not different to me than communism but for one thing. These are groups that are not attached to countries. Communism was. So why not have open hearings in Congress to bring it to the American people?
Robert Spencer: Well, the answer is because it actually is a lot like the communist threat in the sense that the left was in terms of the communist threat and is in terms of the Jihad tied in with the enemy. And you know, you say there were congressional hearings and of course there were. But then, after that came the demonization of every opposition to communism as McCarthyism. And that persisted until the Berlin wall fell. And I remember all the time I was growing up and until I was 27 when it fell, knowing that fierce opponents of communism were stigmatized in the American mainstream and demonized and David Horowitz knows that very well from his own experience.
Questioner: But that's the boldness of leadership. That's the boldness of a Michele Bachmann. People like her that can do that.
Robert Spencer: Yeah. Well, we don't bold have leaders now.
Questioner: And once you have a people that take [inaudible] of the world who give this after and don't hear the demonization and characterization.
Robert Spencer: I couldn't agree more. We need them. We do not have them. I hope that such leaders will emerge. But the sophistication of the propaganda apparatus to demonize and stigmatize anyone who speaks out about this threat and to marginalize them in the mainstream, it is much more sophisticated now than it was even during the Cold War. And so, I think that's one of the reasons why these leaders have not emerged. That it is just political suicide to take on this problem. Pamela Geller and I had a conference at CPAC a few years ago that we called Jihad: The Political Third Rail. You know, the third rail in the New York subway is the one if you touch it you die. And that's how most of our politicians regard this. But I do believe that's wrong. They should not be playing this game and letting these people get away with this. We need a Reagan. I hope he emerges.
Questioner: We have time to make one more question? How about Sandy Usher up front.
Robert Spencer: There it is.
Questioner: Oh. Thank you. Robert, I liked the idea over here of you putting it in a bulletin point. So in putting it on your web site so that I can download it and pass it around.
Robert Spencer: I will.
Questioner: And I also want to tell everybody let's pass it around. We've heard it. Let's get it out there. We don't have those bold leaders. And I send loads of Christmas cards every Christmas. I never send one without some bullet point information. There's too much ignorance going on out there. That stamp costs a lot of money. I want to make it worthwhile. And, Robert, even you dear Robert, use the word mistake. This is no mistake, it's design.
Robert Spencer: Oh yes. Absolutely.
Questioner: Yes. Thank you.
Robert Spencer: It's a mistake in application but I have no doubt that it is on purpose. And actually Thomas Patrick brought this up a couple days ago in the same connection. I don't know if he's here now, but in any case, the fact is that during the 2008 campaign Barack Obama was seen reading The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria, and he was very much engrossed in the book. He was carrying it to one airplane to wherever else he was going with his finger in his place. He wasn't going to miss a minute in reading this book. Now, I don't know if you know the book, but The Post-American World is about how if we want world peace, we have to weaken America, militarily, politically and economically and bring it down to the level of all the other countries and not have any super powers in the world and then there will be peace.
When Pamela Geller and I wrote the book The Post-American Presidency about Obama in 2010, we were arguing that that was the strategy he was pursuing, the Post-American World strategy to weaken America in order to bring about this chimera of world peace. And I think we've been abundantly proven correct in the four years since then.
Thank you very much.