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Who is defending Pam Geller’s liberty?

Who is defending Pam Geller’s liberty?

Free Speech Makes Strange Bedfellows.

The Pamela Geller incident, and the reaction to it amongst pundits and the press, has demonstrated some disturbing yet important truths. Mainly, it has highlighted how many people are willing to offer what Salman Rushdie called (in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders) the “Yes, but…” defense of free speech, which he rejects as no defense at all. Free speech means freedom for speech with which you disagree, by people you don’t much care for.

The incident also brought out the virulence of the verbal attacks against Geller by her critics in this country. Both those who defend Geller’s right to free speech and those who shy away from it don’t necessarily break down neatly into the left vs. right camps.

There are certain liberals like Jonathan Zimmerman, for example, who absolutely loathe Geller, and yet pause in the midst of their vilification* to heartily and strongly defend her right to speak. His article is even titled “Je Suis Pamela Geller;” at the same time, though, he’s also calling her an “appalling bigot” and “hateful” in it. And yet some on the right (or who are often regarded as being on the right) and who might actually agree with some of her premises have said she should have kept quiet and not offended Muslims’ sensibilities.

Yet Zimmerman, who clearly despises her, is also defending her. Steven Lubet at TNR does almost exactly the same thing as Zimmerman—calls Geller a “a nasty-hearted Islamophobe” and calls her campaign to stop the ground zero mosque “despicable” and “repulsive anti-Islam activism.” Yet he adds:

Blaming her, even partially and conditionally, for an act of terror stretches moral reasoning beyond the breaking point…

There comes a point…when defiance is the only feasible response to censorship. In a better world, we would all respect the religious sensitivities of others, and no one would have cause for offense. Alas, we live in a world where atheist bloggers are hacked to death in the streets of Bangladesh, and Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris has been forced into hiding for four years after being placed on an Al Qaeda hit list. Self-silencing—at the point of a machete—is not the answer to this problem.

Lubet then makes sure the reader knows how much he hates Geller:

I stand second to no one in my contempt for Pamela Geller and everything she represents. Her derision of Islam and Muslims is morally wrong, but that does not make her morally responsible for the attack in Texas…

The defense of free expression should become stronger in the face of violent threats, not weaker.

It is to the shame of American liberalism that the assertion of such an essential ideal has defaulted to reactionary hatemongers such as Pamela Geller.

Like the NY Times, Lubet seems to feel little obligation to illustrate what he’s talking about when he excoriates Geller. Other than the cartoon contest itself, which is hardly evidence of vicious hatred on her part, the only specific offense of Geller’s he even mentions is her opposition to the ground zero mosque—a position which, by the way, was shared by the majority of Americans and New Yorkers (by enormous margins). If that’s her offense, then most Americans are reactionary hatemongers, too.

I find this to be one of the most curious aspects of the entire episode, although very emblematic of the leftist mind as I’ve come to know it. It is open season on Geller, and few seem to feel the need to prove that she deserves such contempt. Geller wasn’t a household name until this incident, so it’s not as though readers are familiar with her work; and yet some of the same people doing this also manage to defend free speech with some vigor, while the majority of their fellows (and some on the right as well) do not.

The distinction seems to come down to which people still value liberty at all. Some have lost that sentiment entirely, it seems.

[NOTE: *In the comments to Zimmerman’s article (at the moment, it’s the one at the top of the list), Geller herself offers this video in refutation of Zimmerman’s claims about what she actually said at the event he is describing in his article.]

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Perhaps if Ms. Geller says she is gay the media Prometheus will rise to her defense? Probably not — gender bias and homophobia are just multi-cultural diversity when it comes to Islam.

The multi-culturists have fallen through the Looking Glass.

Geller is not a bigot: she just takes Islamists at their word. Islamists claim that they kill in the name of their god and their prophet, and far too many “peaceful” Muslims are happy to not only let them do it, but defend them.

You know, it’s interesting…

“Piss Christ” got Federal taxpayer money.

Pam Geller can’t get the FBI to return a phone call after a jihadist attempt on her life and that of 200 others.

Makes you wanna say…hmmm…

The animosity being shown to Pam Geller regarding her petty, small minded stunt to deliberately insult the religion of Islam is akin to the animosity shown to the Westboro Baptist Church members for their petty, small minded stunts to insult the memory of our fallen heroes. Both have the right to say what they want and people have a right to be disgusted by it. The two terrorists/idiots who reacted violently to Geller’s insult got what they deserved.

    meyou in reply to mwsomerset. | May 9, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Her petty, small minded stunt?? Please give us your petty, small minded explanation of EXACTLY what you mean.


    yet another content-free, emotion laden assertion against Geller & an event where you haven’t seen any of the images.

    thanks for playing, dhimmi

    Radegunda in reply to mwsomerset. | May 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Muslims define “insult” to their religion in extremely broad terms, and large numbers of them are willing to kill over a mere rumor of such an “insult.”

    An English woman who dedicated herself to educating Muslim children was sentenced by Islamic authorities to a flogging because she honored those children’s request to name a Teddy bear “Muhammad.”

    Muslims fly into a rage if they imagine that the abstract swirls on an ice-cream cup resemble the name of their deity.

    Such a religion deserves to be derided.

    Islam deserves to be despised because of its exceptional capacity to engender violent hatred of anyone and anything outside its control; because of its long and ongoing campaign of bloody conquest and totalitarian domination; and because of the death penalty it officially imposes on anyone who wishes to escape its suffocating grip.

    A little familiarity with Islam shows that its heart and soul is hatred of everything non-Muslim, and that its central command is to force the whole world to “submit.” How it could be considered wrong to “insult” a creed that has caused immense suffering for so many centuries is a mystery.

    Ragspierre in reply to mwsomerset. | May 9, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    The moral compass repair shop is open ’til 3:00 on Saturdays.

    Better get on down there…

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to mwsomerset. | May 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Muslims know what our society’s values are when they move here. Free speech is part of the deal.

    If you don’t like it, get therapy. If therapy doesn’t help, consider moving to an Islamic theocracy or a Muslim majority country. There are plenty to choose from.

    LukeHandCool in reply to mwsomerset. | May 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    What happens when a bunch of goofy high school kids decide to lampoon Mohammed in their school newspaper?

    What? Me Worry?

    Pam Geller may be the most obnoxious, self-aggrandizing person in the world for all I know. Perhaps I wouldn’t like her as a neighbor or a coworker. But that is totally irrelevant.

    She’s acted as a catalyst. A necessary one. To show those who are hard-of-believing that no experiment mixing mockery with Islam is too small a determinant to start a violent chain reaction eager to blow up our pluralistic lab.

    Yes, call me a weekend Professor of Chemistry if you must, but I’ve found a new element of hard-of-believing nuclei in the left threatening to suck us all into its black-hole defiance of the universal laws of sense and sanity.

    Oh, what the hell. She’s a hateful, obnoxious meanie.

    So what if a fatwa has been declared on her and neither the FBI nor Homeland Security is said to have contacted her?

    It beggars this bugger’s belief.

    If things continue this way, I’m bailing on this country and moving overseas.

      Eskyman in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      LukeHandCool, you’ve got me puzzled.

      “Pam Geller may be the most obnoxious, self-aggrandizing person in the world for all I know.”

      “Oh, what the hell. She’s a hateful, obnoxious meanie.”

      Well, for all I know, LukeHandCool may be the most obnoxious, self-aggrandizing person in the world, who is also a hateful, obnoxious meanie. However, I don’t know that.

      So I’m not going to say it about you. Why did you have to include those phrases about Ms. Geller?

        LukeHandCool in reply to Eskyman. | May 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm


        And here I thought my sarcastic cry of late-stage exasperation fatigue collapsing into resignation … “Oh, what the hell. She’s a hateful, obnoxious meanie” … was obvious.

        I’m tired of the trendy but ridiculous idea that if someone is somehow unpleasant in some way that it renders their opinions or deeds suspect or less worthy.

        I think it’s also obvious there are probably people in this world who find LukeHandCool to be a hateful, obnoxious meanie.

        But that doesn’t mean LukeHandCool isn’t always right.

        LukeHandCool (who can vouch for LukeHandCool always being right)

        LukeHandCool in reply to Eskyman. | May 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm

        @Eskyman again,

        Maybe a clearer, more straightforward way of putting it would be:

        I’m not joking when I say don’t take me too seriously.

        Or maybe I should say, don’t always take me too literally.

        Why I said that about Pam Geller is because that’s what her detractors are saying outright or implying …

        … that she’s nuts / obnoxious / extremist / self-aggrandizing / hateful / a b*tch … etc., etc.

        I don’t know and I don’t care if she’s any of those things.

        I just know it doesn’t matter. What matters is she now has a fatwa on her head for holding a cartoon contest … and some people are saying she’s to blame … for provoking these maniacs.

        I’m sorry, but she can stay at home and knit and do crossword puzzles instead of holding cartoon contests …

        … but that’s not going to change these monsters from being short-fused, trigger-happy, bloodthirsty jihadists back into being Ward Cleaver-on-a-Sunday-afternoon types, reading the newspaper on his outdoor lounge chair while he watches Wally and the Beaver mow the lawn as punishment for drawing cartoons of their school principal.

        They never were Ward Cleaver. They don’t want to be Ward Cleaver. They couldn’t tolerate June Cleaver wearing pearls on her exposed neck.

        Some people are mods and some are rockers. I’m a mocker, you see?

        @donb everybody knows you’re a hater and wrong about everything, so I’ll just stick my tongue right back at ya! Actually, I’m not sure which keys do that.

        LukeHandCool (who is supposed to be doing something else and who only came here to procrastinate for a minute or two … not to spend five precious minutes explaining himself, you meanies)

        LukeHandCool in reply to Eskyman. | May 9, 2015 at 8:18 pm

        @Eskyman (for just the third time),

        Or here is another way of saying it …

        (Which is itself another way of me procrastinating … I’ve got a deadline to meet on something I really don’t feel like doing …)

        Larry Flynt was held up by the left (and Hollywood made a movie of this) as a great defender of free speech.

        That’s fine. But I think we can all agree that probably he’s an unsavory character in many ways … again, probably … we can’t know all these people personally and find whether or not their public personas jibe with the way they really are.

        So … Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler (I’m no prude … I’ve always been quite frisky, but even as a young, … let’s just say it … even as a young, horny man … I found it gross and disgusting) …

        Larry Flynt: free speech hero.

        Pamela Geller: suspect, dirty, conniving, self-aggrandizing, publicity-hungry, hateful b*tch.

        ** Note ** I’m not making a declarative statement about Pamela Geller … I’m just showing the irony of the picture her detractors have painted.

        Whether she is those things or not … I don’t care and it doesn’t matter …

        … what matters is that the left holds up a pornographer as a free speech hero …

        … and turn around and holds up a woman holding a cartoon contest as a blasphemous pornographer.

        Please say you understand now and agree with me because …

        … my OCD is especially bad today and I need to get other things done! 🙂

          Eskyman in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm

          Hey, LukeHandCool, I’m really glad I ‘poked the bear!’

          Thanks for all the additional great comments- that you may not have said if I hadn’t been obtuse! 😉

          Eskyman in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

          Oh… and yes,yes, YES! I totally agree with you!
          🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Here’s a true fact…

ONE of the reasons that Collectivist HATE Geller (and THEY are the hateful ones here) is that she simply will not let them have their happy horseshit delusions about sharia and Islamism, or even “moderate Islam”.

What she DOES is militate for a secular Muslim form that CAN exist in a pluralistic Western culture, but she does not “hate” Muslims.

And she DEMONSTRATES that, right here, there are people who will kill you or I in the name of their religion for things all the rest of us tolerate routinely.

And the cowards of the Collective would rather that we all, like them, look the other way and pretend it ain’t so.

Geller won’t let them.

Wonderful Post, Neo!!

I have to grin at hard lefties talking(snicker)”morality”. And, that Pam’s opposition to a mosque at Ground Zero is bigoted, Islamophobic intolerance is a true hoot. Haven’t seen one “outrageous” or “bigoted” thing that Geller has written or said. Pravda(NYTimes) can’t come up with one. NOT ONE.

Christopher Hitchens would be defending her. I’ve never missed him more than I do now.

As for the idea that she’s an “appalling bigot,” grossly false. As she pointed out in her debate with Juan Williams, she never said anything like he said about his fear of traveling on an airplane with Muslims. She has always kept her critique and her campaign focused on radical Islam and the right of free speech. I’d like to see evidence of the “bigotry.” There is none.

    Radegunda in reply to pesanteur. | May 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    What Pamela does, primarily, is gather reports (from many other sources) of Muslims behaving in appalling ways in the name of Islam.

    The daily litany of hatred and deceit, violence and mayhem inspired by Islam or arising from the Muslim mindset cannot be merely the figment of a bigoted imagination. But the leftopaths keep shouting “bigot!” because they don’t want to acknowledge that the main cause of strife and oppression in the world is NOT white Christian men.

    Some clueless conservatives join the chorus because they don’t know Islam very well and they imagine it must be fundamentally good because it’s a “religion” and it involves “modesty” and a lot of praying.

Several years ago Geller raised money to purchase tombstones for two sisters killed by their Muslim father in an honor killing. She has defended Muslims being persecuted by members of their own faith. Her focus has always been on extremism.

    Radegunda in reply to gasper. | May 9, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Yes, but … Muslim fathers who kill their own daughters because of resistance to strict Islamic demands are not necessarily “extremists.” Standing up for women who were born into Islam and want to escape its oppression is not exactly a matter of siding with “moderates” against “extremists.”

    A rational person who reads the litany of Islamic violence and hatred and deceit reported on Geller’s website eventually realizes that ethical pathologies are rife in Islam culture. Further reading (Spencer, Bostom, et al.) reveals that the sickness is rooted in orthodox Islam.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | May 9, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Amen! Amen!

State it again good Neo-neocon!

RE: “Free speech means freedom for speech with which you disagree, by people you don’t much care for.”

Char Char Binks | May 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Ironically, not the ACLU. They need to remove at least 3 letters from their acronym.

Alan Dershowitz rightly observes that MLK routinely provoked others. It is an excellent analogy because the press knew each march would result in violence, and rather than condemn it, they eagerly sent their reporters to observe it, photograph it, and report it. It was guaranteed blood and gore. I don’t recall MLK being accused of baiting the opposition.

Those who blame Geller should be deported to Putin’s Russia with instructions not to provoke him. Or better yet, to ISIS-controlled areas.

Good luck, and write if you get work!

Midwest Rhino | May 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm

These scared conservatives claiming Geller is “not helpful” to the dialogue (or whatever variation of that tut-tutting) … are not so much afraid of the Islamists, but of the PC online crowd and the MSM leftists, as I see it. They’re afraid of being called out by name as bigoted Christians, or hateful and narrow minded xenophobes, or Islamophobes … whatever. They fear those soundbites and headlines, with them specifically named as a hater. So they submit.

These timid conservatives haven’t been directly threatened by Muslims (usually), but they cringe at the thought of that PC electrified cattle prod.

Rush calls Fluke a prostitute … forced to apologize. That’s the sort of headline they want to avoid at all costs, so are conditioned to do some cowering on the controversial. Rush has not cowered on this, but so many have, thinking Islam really is a religion of peace I suppose. And is it really controversial to say radical Islam is wrong for their death threats, just because the PC Religion say we must not blame their religion, or draw murderous Mohammad?

Of course we still refuse to target young Arab males at the airport, and instead fondle women and children to maintain “fairness”, but that is not an excuse for alleged voices of conservatism.