The past several days have seen a feeding frenzy by the mainstream media and left-blogosphere trying to blame Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer for the murder of dozens of innocents in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik. It was a horrific crime which deserves universal condemnation.
The theory goes that because Geller and Spencer were cited in Breivik’s manifesto, Geller and Spencer caused the crime.
As Mark Steyn points out, Breivik’s manifesto also was lifted in significant part from Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto, quotes Steyn himself, “as well as several friends of NR — Theodore Dalrymple, Daniel Pipes, Roger Scruton, Melanie Phillips, Daniel Hannan (plus various pieces from NR by Rod Dreher and others) — and many other people, including Churchill, Gandhi, Orwell, Jefferson, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, not to mention the U.S. Declaration of Independence.”
The blame game being played at The NY Times, The Atlantic, Salon.com and elsewhere will convince no one other than their small circle of friends because the rest of us live in the real world, where we have endured over 30 years of Islamist and radical Islamic violence. Speaking out against this violence is not the same as calling for violence.
Long before Geller and Spencer had blogs there was the Ayatollah Khomenei, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, the first World Trade Center attack, and a host of other atrocities committed in various places around the world; those atrocities continued unabated including in Bali, Madrid, London, at Ford Hood, and in attempts on airplanes to ignite shoe bombs and underwear bombs.
We also live in the real world where there are no-go zones in several European cities for Jews because of Islamist and radical Islamic intimidation, including Malmö, Sweden which has been almost emptied of its Jewish population. A Jew cannot wear a Jewish star or yarmulke in sections of Paris. American anti-Semite David Duke gives speeches in Tehran. Arab media outlets regularly spew anti-Semitic venom. A well-known female reporter was sexually assaulted in public in Egypt as the crowd shouted “Jew.”
Who caused that hatred and violence, and what were those people reading? If we are going to claim that a reading list is the cause of violence, then the people who are attacking Geller and Spencer will find themselves in an uncomfortable position when it comes to the cause of so much of the violence in the world. I hold the people responsible, not the texts, which is why you will never read me blaming “Islam” as opposed Islamists or Islamic radicals.
To the extent Geller and Spencer blame Islam, as opposed to Islamists or Islamic radicals, I disagree with them. But that does not mean that they have called for or are the cause of violence.
It also bears mention that whenever there is violence the first reaction by the mainstream media and left-blogosphere is to blame the “right wing” and Tea Party in the absence of any evidence and even in the face of contrary evidence: Jared Loughner, The Cabby Stabber, Bill Sparkman; Amy Bishop; The Fort Hood Shooter; The IRS Plane Crasher; The Pentagon Shooter.
But don”t even go that far. What about the people who issued death wishes against Sarah Palin and Scott Walker on Twitter. What were they reading? I guarantee you it was The NY Times, The Atlantic, Salon.com, and many of the left-blogs who almost daily attack Palin and Walker in the most vile terms. What if one of them had acted on the threats, would The NY Times put itself on trial?
There are people who exhort others to violence, and those people should be condemned regardless of which side of the political or religious spectrum they occupy.
There also are people who go too far in their rhetoric on all sides, but that does not equate to a call to violence or put them in a position of responsibility for people who cannot distinguish.