CNN host attacks Pamela Geller on the Muslim art exhibit, but only embarrasses herself

I know Pamela Geller is a controversial figure, and that her group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has been labeled an anti-Muslim “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. I also have objections to her political conservatism, her misguided attacks on building an Islamic center near the 9/11 attack site, and I don’t sympathize with her religiosity (she’s Jewish).

But until now I’ve done what many of us do, which is to go with the tide of liberal opinion and simply accept what we hear about her (and others who are demonized) from vocal Leftists. They may well be correct in calling Geller an “Islamophobe”—that is, somebody who hates Muslims rather than just Islam—but I’d rather find out if that’s true from reading her statements rather than from listening to liberals who dislike her. After all, we’re supposed to be skeptics. The failure to exercise proper skepticism, for example, is what led liberals like Garry Trudeau into misguided denunciations of Charlie Hebdo. They simply didn’t do their homework. And when it comes to religion, especially Islam, it’s unwise to follow the tide of liberal opinion without due diligence. So I’m going to start at the beginning and say that although I don’t agree with Geller on some things, I’m not yet convinced that she hates individual Muslims rather than Islam and what its religious dictates portend for Western democracies.

Below is an interview Geller did with Alisyn Camerota of CNN after the attack on the Texas “Muhammad art exhibit”. Camerota displays the typical liberal attitudes, deploring the violence but somehow managing to suggest that the AFDI was just asking for it (being “provocative”) by exhibiting drawings of Muhammad.

Geller schools her, arguing that she, Geller, doesn’t hate Muslims as people (go to 4:50), but does deplore extremist Muslim ideology. You can doubt that if you want, but make your decision based on evidence. Although the interview is 14 minutes long, I urge you to listen to the whole thing. It shows how someone commonly seen as a reactionary is, on this issue at least, on the right (meaning correct!) side, while the liberals are flailing about in cognitive dissonance.

(By the way, we now know that the two attackers, who were killed by a security guard carrying only a pistol, were both Islamic jihadists armed with assault weapons. There are reports that ISIS is taking credit for the attack, but I’m not yet convinced.)

Here’s a microcosm of the dilemma faced by liberals, which shouldn’t really be a dilemma:

Note that at about 2:02 Camerota says the fateful words that damn all liberals: “But what people are saying [i.e., what Camerota thinks] is that there is this fine line, you know, between, freedom of speech and being intentionally incendiary and provocative.”

There you have it: the fine line—the same line that, according to many, was crossed by Charlie Hebdo and everyone said to engage in “hate speech.” Sorry, but the center doesn’t hold, for all controversial speech is “intentionally incendiary and provocative”, including the words of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. (I take “incendiary” as meaning “designed to ignite a movement or opinion”.) Geller schools Camerota about this, and Camerota, from her horrified expression, seems to realize that she hasn’t thought this issue through! As Geller says at 8:14, “You should be directing your barbs at the enforcers of the sharia and those who seek to destroy and crush freedom of speech as they did in Paris and Copenhagen.”

Note too, that at 9:45 Camerota seizes on Geller’s characterization of murderous terrorists as “savages,” claiming that Geller was painting all Muslims as savages. That’s simply not true, as you can hear from Geller’s own words, and is just a diversionary tactic on the interviewer’s part. (Camerota finally abandons that line of inquiry as a mere “semantic game,” but she’s the one who raised it as a serious criticism of Geller—as the very issue of Islamophobia!)

Finally, Camerota tries to defend herself by claiming that “This [interview] is not an attack; this is a conversation,” but that’s not true, either. Camerota was on the attack. She just didn’t pwn Geller in the way she wanted.

Geller finally says the money quote: “Who gives voice to the voiceless?” By that she means the women, the gays, the apostates, and the Christians murdered and oppressed by Islam, who are always neglected by the liberal media and their running dogs like Ben Affleck and Glenn Greenwald. By concentrating on rebuking people like Geller for “provoking” militant Islam, while pointedly ignoring the excesses of militant Islam, liberal venues like CNN simply exacerbate the problem.

The problem isn’t those who exercise free speech: the problem is those who murder people who do, and who want a society in which not only is speech muzzled, but women are second-class citizens, gays and non-Muslims are under a death sentence, and yes, all “fun” is sublimated into religious duties.

h/t: Jeffrey Tayler

289 Comments

  1. Xuuths
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I had this same . . . discussion… at home last night. I argued against the idea that there should never have been a “draw the Prophet Mohammad” event in the first place, and that free speech shouldn’t be purposely offensive.

    It is difficult to square that circle. I despise so much of what pam geller does, but I have to defend the idea that she shouldn’t be under threat of murder for doing it.

    I think every newspaper in the USA should run drawings of Mohammad on the front page every day for a week. There are simply too many of them to have even a large number attacked, or credibly threatened with attack. And the ‘offense’ — which is not a historical fact, as Dr. Coyne has repeatedly pointed out — will be so widespread that it will diffuse the problem.

    • steve oberski
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      And if western media had republished the original Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in every newspaper, magazine and news show at the time, none of this would be happening now.

      And most likely the murdered staff at Charlie Hebdo would still be alive.

      It would be possible to publicly criticize Islam just like any other bad idea and Muslims around the world could actually start to participate in an dialog on how to fix the problems with their belief system.

      This is where the blame really lies, the irresponsible and cowardly actions of our media have resulted in much human misery.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        And if western media had republished the original Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in every newspaper, magazine and news show at the time, none of this would be happening now.

        And most likely the murdered staff at Charlie Hebdo would still be alive.

        Profoundly sad–and true.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:35 am | Permalink

        None of which removes the obligation of an employer – any employer – to have appropriate regard for the safety of their staff – all of their staff.
        No, it’s not a circle that can be squared, particularly with difficult issues such as “freedom of the press” where the printing press is operated by people who don’t even read what they’re printing – thy just look at the words to check for smudging, misalignment of colour over prints, etc, and where the janitor is more likely to open the acid-bomb parcel than the journalist loudly trumpeting the freedom of the press.
        I just lost my lunch to a 2 hour in-service training presentation on how not to blow up an oil rig, with repeated reminders that it’s my personal responsibility to look after the safety of my fellow workers. Which is something I’m very well aware of, thank you Mr Safety Ossifer. And repeated reminders that it is my obligation to raise safety issues in the workplace and at home.
        So, consider the matter raised. And again I’ll say that I know it isn’t possible to square this circle. The employers do have an obligation to protect the safety of their staff, regardless of whether the individual staff wish to do dangerous things.
        You may dislike the actions of the “Western Media” in this respect (I do too), but don’t be under the impression that they had any real option to not follow the “do not publish route” ; their only credible option – the Nelsonian “I see no message” trick – was rendered useless by the Charlie Hebdo attack. They’re caught between a rock of employment law and a hard place of public (your) opinion.

        • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          None of which removes the obligation of an employer – any employer – to have appropriate regard for the safety of their staff – all of their staff.

          ‘Tis a serious duty, to be sure…but this is also a case of a foreign power declaring war upon us, and responsibilities and expectations are different in war.

          If publishers give the censor’s pen to the Islamists, we concede defeat to them and grant them the keys to the kingdom. Safety be buggered; that’s exactly what generations of (at least American) soldiers have killed and died for. They, our finest youth, by the millions, took bullets so we could speak freely; the least we can do is share a small fraction in this modern echo of that hazard.

          b&

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            Unless I’ve missed something, no sovereign state has declared war on the US of A over it’s recent middle eastern involvement.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

              Depends on what you mean by, “sovereign.” DAESH is most emphatically the ruling authority in that part of the world these days, and that pair that tried to take potshots at Ms. Geller and company seem to have sworn allegiance to them and been acting in their name, at their command, and with their blessing and approval.

              If we had officially recognized the state of affairs on the ground, we’d be calling them foreign agents of an hostile government. The only thing missing from the equation is our side recognizing that their side is in control of their territory — and this, of course, despite all the rest of our rhetoric and military action aimed at kicking them out of said territory.

              b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                I’m sure you don’t really think the US should formally recognise Islamic State? That’d make it harder to try and kick them out of ‘their’ territory, wouldn’t it?

                And I think it’s an unwarranted conclusion on your part as to what millions of US soldiers died for. You can’t invoke that. They may have had many motives, good and bad. A cynic would say their motives were irrelevant and the real reason was the Domino Theory (remember that? – that worked really well didn’t it?), or more recently Halliburton’s bottom line.

                [Insert quote from Southey’s ‘After Blenheim’ here…]

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

                I’m sure you don’t really think the US should formally recognise Islamic State?

                Whatever diplomacy and strategy and the like calls for, I really don’t care. The fact of the matter is that DAESH is the governing authority and they’ve demonstrated an ability to send or recruit agents abroad.

                And I think it’s an unwarranted conclusion on your part as to what millions of US soldiers died for.

                The rhetoric for forever, both in the press and recruitment material, is that our soldiers fight to protect our freedoms — and the freedom of speech is almost always cited as our most important freedom.

                I’m sure many, if not most, of our soldiers died more immediately in an effort to protect their brothers in arms…but they ostensibly volunteered or didn’t desert in order to protect our freedoms.

                Back to the point…imagine, at the height of the cold war, Soviet agents had attempted to shoot up the lobby of the Times in response to an editorial cartoon that depicted Stalin in a less than complimentary fashion. I would hope that there wouldn’t have been calls for the Times to moderate their rhetoric in response out of a sense of corporate duty to protect the safety of their staff. I see no reason why anybody’s reaction today to the current threat should be any different.

                b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 1:05 am | Permalink

                Actually, Ben, I just saw your comments on the invasion of Iraq in another post and it’s the strongest condemnation I’ve ever seen of it. So I know you’re not waving the ‘patriotism’ flag and my comments were maybe a bit harsh.

                It’s just that ‘what our soldiers fought for’ has been used to justify many things, some of them questionable (the ‘right to bear arms’ for example) so it instantly makes me suspicious.

                I would say that if you (the impersonal ‘you’) are killed, knowing what you’re fighting for, on a mission that makes your death worthwhile, you’re one of the lucky** few. The vast majority are either fighting on the wrong side, or in a pointless war, or are casualties of some stupid mistake by the generals… maybe only 10% could hope to be celebrated as heroes in a just cause by history. The rest are collateral damage.

                (**For sufficiently small values of ‘lucky’; given slightly larger values, you’d still be alive.)

                To get back to your point, if ‘everyone’ drew cartoons of Mohammed, maybe it would diffuse the kickback in the longer term, though short-term it might actually lead to a rise in attacks. Given the omnipresence of that other aggressive modern religion whose adherents react furiously to any questioning of its orthodoxy and its mantra of ‘somebody must be Held Accountable’ – I refer to ‘health&safety’ – I can quite understand Aidan’s point about managements wanting to avoid risks at all costs. This is a real phenomenon.

  2. Maria
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I watched this clip in its entirety. Amazing, really.

    We may have to hold our noses when we agree with Pam Geller, but she is absolutely right here.

    It’s interesting to note that Camerota’s last job was with Fox News.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I recognize her from that. Odd that she is now arguing from the left. The far left side at that.

  3. Lesli
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    My impression of Geller is that she is more self-aggrandizing than principled; and that she is more than happy to whip true haters of Muslims as individuals into a frenzy while still arguing plausible deniability for herself. HER hands are clean. Even though she put a giant sign on buses implying all Muslims want to kill Jews as part of their religion.

    In other words, we’ve got some serious dog whistling going. That’s probably what the interviewer was clumsily getting at.

    I dislike that sort of thing because, to me, all of these discussions need lots of light and very little heat–whereas Geller and her sort are all heat and very little light.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      This sign on buses DID NOT imply that “all Muslims” want to kill Jews. It was clearly stated that those were the words of Hamas (as they really were) and the picture which was on the sign was of a masked jihadist. How did you jump from that to all Muslims?

      • Maria
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        You’re right, Malgorzata. I think Ms. Geller tries to be very careful about that.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        That’s why I said “imply.” Maybe there’s a better choice of word. Insinuate? I cannot find an image of the sign again, but when I saw it, the very, very large type was something like, “Killing Jews is my Jihad” or whatever. Everything else was in comparatively small type.

        And you know how bad people are at reading fine print.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          The full quote of the words said by one of the leaders of Hamas is: “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah”. Those were his exact words. And even if they were big, the picture of a masked jihadist was bigger. You would not imply that people are drawn more to words, no matter how big the print, than to a big picture?

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          I think it’s what you infer, not what the “add” implied.

          Do you think that a statement like “The Fatherland demands that Jews are eradicated” (with a small-print attribution to Himmler or similar) next to a picture of a Nazi SS officer would imply anything about “all Germans”?

          /@

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      whereas Geller and her sort are all heat and very little light

      In this interview she came across as reasonable to me.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Check out all the bus ads her group has sponsored. They’re all heat and no light.

        • Jeff Rankin
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          Sure, I don’t doubt that as a conservative she’s said and done many things with which I would disagree.

          However, in this interview she was clear and rational.

          • Delphin
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            You are missing the point. You can find one thing she said that’s wrong, can’t you? Somewhere, sometime, on some topic? So then you can just cite that to ignore everything else she says, forever, when you find it convenient to do so.

            I saw one guy cite an arithmetical error a famous economist had made once years before to dismiss entire books, papers, and blog posts. It was impressive!

            • Jeff Rankin
              Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

              Well, I’m certainly missing your point.

              I’m quite sure I can find many things wrong with what she’s said on other topics.

              WRT to what she said in the video, I agree with her 100%.

            • DireLobo
              Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

              In this case, it’s more like she’s said 100 completely batshit things and only 1 normal thing. Imagine if Ken Ham tomorrow said he was in favor of free speech – you going to hold him up as some kind of example of smart thinking, because he said ONE thing you agree with? I think it’s one thing for people to hear her words and say “She agrees with us on this” – but then, let’s step back and not give aid and comfort to the crazy and destructive by giving her kudos. No, she doesn’t deserve any kudos for saying one smart thing because of the 100 other completely insane and destructive things she has said in the past.

              • Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

                Yet we give Newton credit for his work on mechanics, gravity and optics, despite his batshit crazy ideas about alchemy and planetary motion … ?

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

                “…you going to hold him up as some kind of example of smart thinking, because he said ONE thing you agree with?”

                And who is doing that here re Geller? I seem to recall several caveats in the OP.

                You are straw-manning.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:07 am | Permalink

                Absolutely agree with DireLobo here. Just Google Geller to find out what she’s like. I think the analogy with Ken Ham is very apt.

                The analogy with Newton is false – we remember his groundbreaking scientific work because it was significant, we forget his loony religious theories because they’re of no account. Whereas Geller has said nothing in regard to free speech that a hundred other people haven’t said.

              • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:52 am | Permalink

                And the things she’s said that were objectionable? Nothing that a hundred other people haven’t said. So what?

                /@

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

                @ant

                Do some Googling and sum up the totality of what she’s said and done. Do you _really_ want to cosy up to her because, just this once, she isn’t being a batshit-crazy bigot?

              • Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:26 am | Permalink

                Who’s cozying up to her?

                /@

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:57 am | Permalink

                OK, ‘cozying up’ was an overstatement. Substitute ‘giving her far too much credit’ for this one time where she finds it convenient to invoke ‘free speech’.

              • Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:32 am | Permalink

                If she’s right, she’s right. It doesn’t matter how badly wrong she is at any other time.

                /@

              • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

                Imagine if Ken Ham tomorrow said he was in favor of free speech – you going to hold him up as some kind of example of smart thinking, because he said ONE thing you agree with?

                No, but I’m certainly going to commend him for standing on the side of civilization against the barbarians.

                If the Hamster were to ask me to join him in a free speech rally, I’d happily do so — after, of course, gently reminding him that my own speech would be highly critical and inflammatory of him but that I would welcome and heartily cheer a response in kind.

                b&

        • Jeff
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Malgorzata convinced me that you are wrong about the bus ads are nothing but heat. Those bus ads are directly attacking Hamas and jihadis. Sounds direct.

          • colnago80
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

            Re Ant

            I hate to keep beating a dead horse but the criticisms of Newton for his alchemy activity, which essentially amounted to trying to turn lead into gold via chemical processes, although entirely wrong, was not off the wall in his day. Remember that there was no knowledge of the periodic table or nuclear theory at the time so it is not surprising that he didn’t realize he was tilting at windmills (the concept that there was such a thing as an atomic nucleus was beyond the ken of 18th century scientists).

            As for the motions of the planets, as Neil Tyson explained in a number of presentations available on the internet, Newton was certainly capable of inventing perturbation theory but, at the time, had other fish to fry (chasing counterfeiters in his capacity of Director of the Mint for instance). It should be recalled that the problem wasn’t solved until more then 100 years later by Laplace so there were a number of other smart guys who couldn’t solve it either (e.g. Liebnitz, Lagrange, Huygens, etc.).

            • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

              Oh, I *know* I was stretching! 😁

              But about the planets, it’s not an issue that he didn’t solve it, just that he invoked supernatural caretaking, rather than simply leaving it unexplained.

              /@

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      I agree; while she absolutely has a right to speak freely and we should defend that right, she is not principled about respecting the freedoms of others and seems to me more of a “free speech for me, but not for thee” sort of person.
      Here she is arguing against muslim immigration. So evidently she has a right to be here…but they don’t.
      Here she is complaining that Subways offer halal sandwiches. So evidently Pamela Geller is free to speak, but a private company ought not be free to offer certain sandwiches. She also takes the opportunity to complain that Common core.

      There are probably other examples others can find of her arguing against muslims being allowed the freedoms other are in the US; the ground Zero mosque issue springs to mind. I will uphold her right to free speech, but I won’t hold her up as a role model or example of dedication to free expression, because frankly I don’t think she has any dedication to it. For her, free expression is the tool she can use to try and take away the freedoms of people she doesn’t like and considers dangerous.

      • reasonshark
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Here she is complaining that Subways offer halal sandwiches. So evidently Pamela Geller is free to speak, but a private company ought not be free to offer certain sandwiches.

        Good, because something as morally disgusting as halal shouldn’t exist in the first place, and screw religious “freedom”. Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are among the few countries to outright ban it, and it’s frankly appalling that the UK and the USA don’t.

        • Thanny
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          Halal slaughter has precisely the same brutality as kosher slaughter. Are you arguing against that as well?

          I disagree with both, for the record.

          • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            I know you were asking reasonshark, but since I endorsed them, I’ll answer: I would. Why would you think we wouldn’t be consistent about animal cruelty, regardless of religion?

            /@

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              WARNING!
              DON’T READ THIS COMMENT IF YOU’RE A VEGETARIAN OR WOULD PREFER NOT TO KNOW WHERE YOUR MEAT COMES FROM. IT MIGHT UPSET YOU.

              In abattoirs etc in NZ set up for halal and kosher slaughter, the animals are electrically stunned to insensibility prior to death. They do not suffer any more than any other animal killed in an abattoir that meets all regulations. Animal welfare is important, and is constantly monitored by trained, independent inspectors, who are on the killing chain at all times. The process and regulations were developed by veterinarians.

              • Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

                My recollection (maybe faulty) was that some Jews and, or, Muslims didn’t accept that stunning was consistent with kosher and, or, halal slaughter …

                /@

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

                There are some extremists who complain, as always. The process was developed in consultation with religions scholars, imams etc as the meat was mostly being exported to the Middle East. They approved it. I was working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (as it was called then) at the time.

          • reasonshark
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            At the risk of going off topic…

            While we’re at it, I’m also arguing against the atrocious animal welfare standards of secular farms, mostly those ones that industrialize agriculture to the point of skimping on the workers’ welfare, never mind the animals’. Unfortunately, that US model of food production seems to be trying to infiltrate the European market too. And this is before we get to the whole debate over killing animals for food at all.

            It’s hard enough saying the so-called humane ideal of “stun-before-eating” is anything worth aiming for. I’m certainly not giving superstitiously motivated brutal animal killings the thumbs up.

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Hear, hear!

          /@

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Immigration – and even shortly visiting another country – is a privilege, not a right. So, unless we say that a certain country should accept every single person who wants to immigrate, I see no problem with people restricting immigration of certain groups. Personally, I think that whatever immigration quota a Western country has for Muslims, should be used for true refugees (such as Syrians fleeing war) and for those “Muslims” who want a place where they can freely not practice “their” religion, and even abandon and criticize it if they like – people like Ensaf Haidar. I think that true Muslim believers, i.e. those who take the Koran literally and want to push Islam down everybody’s throat, shouldn’t be allowed to immigrate into the West.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        “…but I won’t hold her up as a role model or example of dedication to free expression…”

        Who is doing so here? Again, I call straw-manning.

  4. Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Needless to say, though, I support her right to say it.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      It clearly is needed to be said. Not from you; but generally, and loudly, so that the religious censors will be put out of business.

  5. Les Robertshaw
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Camerota is not a reporter.
    Clearly she was only trying to get an angry response from Geller and had no real interest in the topic of freedom of speech.Camerota is not a liberal; she is a performer To her chagrin and embarrassment Geller is an intelligent , forceful woman who will not allow others to distort her opinions and language.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      That could explain what I was puzzled about from above. Thanks.

    • Frank
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Ms. Camerota’s fundamental mistake is that she starts with the premise that it’s ok to be anti-jihad, but it’s somehow not ok to be anti-Islam. Why not? Like Christianity, Judaism, and lots of smaller religions, Islam is a thriving wellspring of bad ideas and represents a CODIFIED source (in the Q’uran and Hadith) of misogyny, intolerance, bigotry, etc. As Sam Harris correctly points out, Islam has surpassed Christianity as the world source of ideas that lead to bad behavior. If she is sincere, Camerota has swallowed the kool-aid that says 1)all religions automatically deserve respect and 2)any religion with millions or billions of followers must be doing something good for the world (I wonder, would we “respect” the wackiness of Scientology if it were more popular?). History shows us the popularity of ideas is quite independent of their merits.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. Also, she repeatedly conflated Muslims and Islam, which is a frequent problem when discussing this issue. My own argument, for example, is with Islam, not individual Muslims unless they have done something bad.

        It’s the same with Christianity – I have a problem with the religion but not individual Christians (without reason), and most people have no problem understanding that concept, but they can’t apply it to Muslims and Islam.

        People, especially in places where racism is still a big problem, are conditioned to assume any criticism of a person of colour is racism, and conflate the issues.

        • Serge
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          Racism? There is no Moslem race, by the way. Mohammedans come in all colours and shapes.

        • mikeymo
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          If an ideology is bad, then it is OK to say followers of that ideology are bad.

          Here comes Godwin:

          Hitler and Goebells ‘invented’ National Socialism. It was a bad ideology.

          Are we meant to pretend that they weren’t bad people?

          Or many other lesser Nazis?

  6. Alex SL
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Whether one agrees with her politics or not, or some cartoonist’s politics or not, nobody deserves to be killed unless in self-defence (or the equivalent help in need). And yet:

    Somebody gets shot in the back by a police officer, people say, but he had a criminal record.

    And a cartoonist gets shot by religious extremists, people say, but he was a racist and islamophobe.

    Even if those accusations were true, how would that excuse the deaths? What do people actually believe they are saying when they say these things? Shouldn’t it be clear that when facing a killing on the one side and, well, really any other offence except one so violent that it clearly justifies self-defence on the other side, that it is the killing one should focus on?

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      As Rushdie put it not long ago: “…disgusting ‘buts’…”

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      People were killed over some cartoons. End of moral discussion. (From Sam Harris.)

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      + 3!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        +4!!!

  7. jay
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with your point, Jerry.Too many people are too quick to place an iideologocal label on someone, then accept o eject statements based on that label.

    In defense of free speech, often you NEED to provoke. And it should not be at issue the person’s label.

    [BTW Over the years I have come to place very little value on SOLC’s judgements. Deep down, they are not allies in defense of freedom]

    • jay
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      apologies for typos

  8. Sastra
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Watched the video and was impressed by how doggedly Camerota of CNN kept trying to equate Islam with identity. If you criticize Islam then you are going after the individual believers. Let’s focus there. Say that “Islam has no humor” and you’re saying that every single Muslim is humorless. Insult the prophet Mohammed and you’re insulting the individuals who hold the prophet sacred. Forget the ideology, forget the dogma, forget the fact that the ideology and the dogma drive and excuse acts of terrorism.

    Many Muslims laugh, shrug off blasphemy, and are against acts of terror. Therefore, we can never talk about “Islam.”

    Unless it’s to say something positive by allowing these Muslims to define “Islam.”

    If there was an event criticizing American policy or Big Business, would Camerota be whining about US citizens or workers being lumped together by bigots? No. It’s understood that you can say something like “the Democrats/Republicans don’t care about the middle class” and the focus is on issues rather than individuals.

    I think a good part of this disconnect comes out of the fact that anything connected to faith is sacrosanct. Don’t think of the mad bomber; think only of the sweet old lady who bows to Mecca. Don’t consider the misogyny, the hatred, the truth claims of a religion. Narrow it down to a one-by-one analysis. Religion is not like politics: it’s like race. It’s Little People who need to be left alone to believe.

    And this I think is where it’s eventually going to get interesting for the Christians. By supporting the uncoupling of religion from identity, they’re placing religion into the public sphere of ideas it’s okay to talk about, debate, insult, and mock. Yes, they often change their tune when their own ox is being gored — but the more they make this argument the harder it will be to take it back.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      In fact there’s a point to be made by contrasting the humorlessness of Islam with the fact that many Muslims do indeed appreciate a good joke: religion is often anathema to what our natures; it often tries to prohibit those things that make for a rich, worthwhile life. It often demands that we squelch instincts with which there’s nothing wrong, and that’s twisted.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Not sure where that errant “what” came from.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          I hadn’t even noticed it until you pointed it out! 🙂

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        A great example would be our celebration of Muslims dancing in defiance of Islamic prohibitions against it. (I’m sure there was a post about that months ago, but I can’t quickly find it.) That is clearly not anti-Muslim!

        /@

      • Sastra
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Another good example would be the Muslim student reaction to an atheist group’s “Draw Mohammed Day” activity on a campus (I don’t remember which) a few years ago.

        Atheist students with chalk had gone around the campus sidewalks writing the name “Mohammed” with an arrow pointing to a stick figure. Blasphemy.

        The Muslim student organization then went around with chalk scribbling the word “Ali” under “Mohammed,” giving the stick figures little boxing gloves.

        That’s pretty funny. On both sides.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Sastra – I am consistently astounded at your ability to get to the meat of a problem and succinctly express it. After seeing your responses to posts on several websites for a few years now, I just had to say it.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Join the club!

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Me too. Well, three now. 🙂

          • gluonspring
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

            It’s a big club. Easily a first printing of that book worth.

        • Les
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

          Me, too. Amazed at the consistent quality of the responses.

    • Steve
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      Yes! Here’s something to notice. When people say “Islam is a religion of peace.”, aren’t they to be criticized for generalizing that all Muslims are peaceful? That ALL Muslims are peaceful is clearly false.

      So why do only “negative” truthful statements (that often aren’t even generalizations anyways, but rather statements about particular true events or groups) get criticized as Islamaophobia?

      Why don’t the oh-so-concerned about generalizing to a group from a single person or event get as concerned about “the religion of peace” being “Islamophelia”

  9. Randy Schenck
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I saw this interview yesterday on CNN and also reviewed it again today. Geller simply mopped the floor in this discussion and left the CNN interviewer in the dust.

    I do not know Geller at all but she sounded a whole lot like Sam Harris and many others on this issue. Our media need to either pick up a book or two on the subject or stay out of the conversation all together, which is usually what they do when it comes to anything religious. This way they will not do so poorly in a so-called interview on CNN

    • colnago80
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Oh come on,there is no comparison between Geller and Sam Harris, except in the fevered imagination of PZ Myers. Harris is a thoughtful critic of Islamic extremism, Geller is, quite possibly, clinically insane.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Based on this interview — show me the insanity. Don’t give me her history or other items about her you may know. I said that I did not know the person at all. Based on this interview alone, where is the insanity?

        • colnago80
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          I left a link to an article below which itself has links to a number of things Geller has said in the past. Just being an admirer of Ayn Rand is enough to question her sanity.

          • Randy Schenck
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

            As I stated above and still wait — where is the insanity in the Interview?

            The Encyclopedia of Loons Blog — that sound very clinical.

          • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            I think colnago80 is right in that, in the context of this interview, Gellar is reasonable.
            And, must we really get wrapped up in identity politics like that? Of course Ayn Rand’s ideas are ridiculous and unworkable, but being a libertarian is a bad policy position, it doesn’t make one “insane” or a bad person.

            • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

              I meant I think Randy Schenk is right, my mistake.

              • Randy Schenck
                Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

                And just for the heck of it, let me look at it from another angle. I’m pretty sure the Professor knows the history on this person, yet he put the interview up there and did a pretty true review of it. If the baggage on her was a big influence he probably would never put it up and we would not be having this fun conversation.

          • Jeff Rankin
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

            I think Ayn Rand sucks too (although I enjoyed Anthem as sci-fi analogous to THX-1138) but I wouldn’t take admiration of a sign of insanity. Bad taste, maybe.

        • Barney
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          She’s a birther who posted a long screed that suggested that Obama was the secret love child of Malcolm X – and then tried to make the excuse that she was only passing on what someone else thought: http://pamelageller.com/2008/10/how-could-stanl.html/

          That’s either genuine paranoia, or a cynical attempt to use other people’s paranoia for political ends by pretending to be one of them.

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        The clinical insanity didn’t come across in this video.

        • Randy Schenck
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          I would say – and this is not a clinical opinion, the baggage on Geller that some carrier around, prevent them from listing to the person.

          • Randy Schenck
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            sorry it should be listening to the person

      • Frank
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        I would not agree with your characterization of Harris. He is not merely a thoughtful critic of Islamic extremism, he is a thoughtful critic of Islam, period (including, of course, the extremism). And so are many non-believers. You may be betraying your own sentiments by suggesting that Harris only criticizes extremists. His whole point is that Islam routinely codifies and promotes bad behavior, as did Christianity before people started to ignore the many wicked or insane ideas in the Bible.

  10. Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Sub

    • Filippo
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      sub

  11. Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Alisyn Camerota just doesn’t seem capable of distinguishing between Islam, and Muslims. Islam having no sense of humor, doesn’t mean Muslims have no sense of humor.
    The fact that Islam considers apostasy, homosexuality, and blasphemy crimes punishable by death does not mean all Muslims are savages who support those tenets.

    • gunnerkee19
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I agree with you, Mike. It seems to me to be the same thing that happened on Bill Maher’s show with Sam Harris and Ben Affleck. Ben conflates Islam with all Muslims the same way Camerota was doing in this interview, seeing the critiques of the religion of Islam and its ‘motherlode of bad ideas’ as a critique of all Muslim people.

      I try to flip things sometimes to see if something closer to a truth becomes evident. I’ve seen expressed a few times by those of the liberal persuasion on various blogs or comment sections something along the lines of “I hate Republicans”, often in stronger language. While it’s true that many Republicans are perhaps lost wholly to wrongheadedness, perhaps it’s a person by person case? Most of the ideas of the Republican party can be said to be misguided, perhaps, but I would be hesitant to dismiss individuals I don’t yet know based solely on their political affiliation. It might put me on guard with anyone newly acquainted, just as first meeting someone who associates with being Christian, Muslim, or Mormon might, but until that person is proven to be beyond hope, so to speak, I can’t dismiss them outright. Can someone be conservative in general but not be religious, for instance? Maybe someone has associated with the Republican party, or with Islam, most of their life because that’s what they know, but coming in contact with alternate ideas and positions might begin to influence them in such a way as to reconsider.

      This, of course, is speaking generally about people. As for the persons of this interview, I now nothing of either at this point and can only take them on the value of what transpired here. I take it from many commenters, though, Ms. Geller is someone who generally demonstrates less open-mindedness than she does here?

      I certainly am not wise enough to know the truth of these things, I only know the conclusions to which my measly brain has taken me at this point.

  12. colnago80
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I think the issue here is that Geller is the proverbial stopped clock in this instance, being right twice a day (for a 12 hour clock). However, I think she is being just a little disingenuous in her claims of not being prejudiced against individual Muslims.

    I posted a link to this site yesterday which is an evaluation of Ms. Geller’s attitudes. However, more interesting, perhaps, are the links, both in the host’s post and, even more, in the comments. I mean posting a photoshopped photo of SCOTUS associate justice Elena Kagan, who is Jewish, wearing a NAZI uniform. Hardly in good taste.

    Having concluded that Geller is a raving lunatic, the attempted attacks on the participants of the event are beyond the pale and all kudos go out to the gendarmes who prevented the mayhem that the two miscreants planned. A Darwin award for those two.

    http://goo.gl/WyAtOH

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      The proverbial stopped clock is a good analogy (at least IMO).

  13. Jeff Rankin
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Watched the entire video – I didn’t disagree with a single thing she said. “Moral inversion” is spot on.

  14. God Is Not Great
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on God Is Not Great and commented:
    #creepingsharia CNN host attacks Pamela Geller on the Muslim art exhibit, but only embarrasses herself!

  15. muffy
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Regarding the lack of skepticism shown by the illiberal left, I can’t help but be reminded by a *very* PC liberal friend of mine who, upon being shown PCCs post here on what CH is really all about, doggedly stuck to her guns and stated that CH really is racist to the core, and that she has loads of evidence to prove it. Of course, she conveniently refused to discuss the issue any further, so I never got to see this so-called evidence.

  16. quiscalus
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Drawing cartoons of mohammed is “provoking islamic extremists”, as is being a woman, going to school, being “western” being gay, marrying outside the faith, reading anything that isn’t the koran, not praying the “right way that those with the guns say to pray, what you wear, what you say, what you think, what you don…yep, provoking islamic extremists, you really have to go out of your way to do that.

  17. Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The simple fact of the matter is that free speech as a concept only exists for provocative speech. If free speech was only for non-provocative speech then we wouldn’t have had to come up with protective measures for it because — surprise — no one would be offended by it and try to silence it.

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Also, there would be very little to fill the space we call the internet.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        LOL!

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Pellucid.

      /@

  18. Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    As you said, all controversial speech is provocative — that’s its whole point.

    Are we to only defend freedom of speech when that speech is easy, when it is non-controversial?

    Who gets to decide what is tepidly non-controversial enough to pass the muster of all people claiming to be “victims” of insults: Ignorant, armed, religiously-deranged thugs?

    Wake up people!

    And, as has been pointed out many times: If you are offended by the speech, switch the bloody channel! Don’t look at the cartoons! You are trying really hard to be offended here.

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Sam Harris came to a sad but accurate conclusion about these rabid liberals who are determined to see Islamophobes around every corner and he expressed it in his latest podcast: people like Greenwald aren’t interested in having a conversation; they have decided their “enemy” is despicable and will do anything to show him/her as so. It is a real shame and in my opinion comes out of both a hatred to hear opinions that contradict your own opinions (a human cognitive bias) and the desire to win at all costs: a sort of alpha competition.

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, I heard that one too. And when the Greenwalds’ of the world reach down to the level of personal attacks on Sam Harris – it only means they have lost the argument.

      • colnago80
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Well, PZ Myers is a two fisted Sam Harris basher.

        • Allison
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          …from the safe confines of his blog.

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          And a PCC basher, too …

          /@

    • colnago80
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Glenn Greenwald believes that the State of Israel is the worst evil (except possibly for the USA)in the world, despite the fact that it is the only country in the Middle East where he, as an out of the closet gay man could visit with some expectation of leaving other then feet first.

  20. frankschmidtmissouri
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    On the other hand, all criticism of the Israeli government’s policy regarding Gaza or settlements on the West Bank is clearly anti-Semitic.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Please clearly state who the target is for your claim of hypocrisy.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I know some people who criticized the Israeli government’s decision to withdraw from Gaza, and still didn’t look quite like anti-Semites to me (sarcasm).

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      PCC is anti-Semitic?

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Posted accidentally before indicating sarcasm…

    • colnago80
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      The notion that all criticism of the Government of Israel is antisemitic is piffle. However, all too many of Israel critics go over the top and ignore the predations of its neighbors. Glenn Greenwald is a textbook example, beating up on Israel and ignoring the actions of those neighbors relative to gays; a rather amazing omission by an out of the closet gay man.

      By the way, speaking of the IDF’s actions in Gaza during the recent unpleasantness, I would cite the testimony of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey, who said that he was amazed at the steps that the IDF took to limit civilian casualties. The implication was that they went well beyond anything that the US military does in that regard. I would criticize some of those steps as placing in jeopardy the lives of Israeli soldiers.

  21. Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    This really shouldn’t have anything to do with liberal or conservative. I’m as liberal on policy as the day is long but Pamela Gellar is absolutely, 100% correct on the issue of free speech. When someone responds to pictures or words with bullets, the criticism needs to be directed at those firing the bullets.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      This is where I disagree.
      Being shot at should not immune Gellar against criticism.
      But, of course, being an asshat isn’t a crime. Shooting at people is.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        To be clear, I think that she was excellent in the interview and I agreed with her.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          In other words, you don’t disagree (with bobsguitarshop) at all.

          • Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            My disagreement was with this part:
            “When someone responds to pictures or words with bullets, the criticism needs to be directed at those firing the bullets.”
            Of course firing bullets warrants criticism, but this does not mean that we cannot also criticize those the bullets were fired at.

            • Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

              She shouldn’t be immune from criticism, but I think we agree that the Lion’s share of criticism isn’t being directed where it needs to go, at an ideology that far too commonly defends itself from perceived insults with violence.

  22. steve oberski
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    To truly get the measure of Ms. Geller and her associates what say we run a “Piss Christ” exhibit right beside the Texas “Muhammad art exhibit” and then let’s see how free speech they really are.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Geller actually mentioned that in the interview. So I guess she’d be OK with it.

    • Lesli
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I doubt Piss Christ would bother her. She’s a practicing Jew. Torah burning, maybe.

    • steve oberski
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I was thinking of the audience for the “Muhammad art exhibit” as well, I suspect the reaction of some might be more in line with the two attackers.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        You really think it a significant probability that some gun loving Islamaphobic Texans would attack a Piss Christ exhibit with automatic assault weapons? On a par with the probability that extremist Islamists would attack people dissing their prophet?

        • steve oberski
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Christians have murdered doctors who perform abortions, bombed abortion clinics, parents of children who speak out against the teaching of religion in public schools are threatened and assaulted on a regular basis, so yes, I do think that some sort of armed response would be a typically Christianist reaction to a perceived slight of their religion.

          Or do you think that violent response is specific to religionists of the Muslim stripe ?

          • darrelle
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            No, but if we are going to compare the two, it is obviously more prevalent at present in “western” countries than Christian violence is. Significantly more. If you are saying, as you seem to be, that degrees don’t matter, then yes, we disagree.

            I also think that bringing up the “well, they do it too” argument in response to a specific incident like this pretty much amounts to victim blaming. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and all that. When Christians kill people for saying or doing things they don’t like, they too are inexcusably wrong. That Islamic extremists made fun of their religion, or otherwise disrespected it, will not be a valid excuse then either.

          • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            Wrong analogy. Christian “pro-life” murderers grab the gun to protect living human fetuses, not the memory of a long-dead alleged prophet.
            For the record, I am pro-choice.

            • steve oberski
              Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

              Really ?

              Aren’t they doing this in the name of another long-dead alleged prophet ?

              So let’s see, one big book of bad ideas tells one group that the rights of an invisible to the human eye mass of cells trump those of the human being carrying them and so we will murder anyone who thinks otherwise.

              And this is not a good analogy to the actions of another group whose big books of bad ideas tells them to murder anyone who draws pictures of their long-dead alleged prophet ?

              • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:04 am | Permalink

                When you defend the pro-choice position, you very-very soon are defending the right to terminate not “an invisible to the human eye mass of cells” but a fetus with fully human external shape and internal morphology, with some reflexes and, with modern technology, closer and closer to viability.
                E.g. abortions due to prenatal genetic diagnosis are well into the 2nd trimester. The test involves measurements of the fetal head and femur, i.e. the “mass of cells” already has these structures. After all, if the fetus to be aborted was just a mass of cells, pro-life legislators wouldn’t bother to mandate pre-abortion ultrasounds.
                I know many pro-life people who aren’t pro-life because of any prophet (some are even atheists) but because they are disabled and do not want people like them to end their lives so early; and they advocate for all fetuses because it doesn’t sound coherent to say that you’d accept abortion only if the fetus looks non-disabled.
                To be pro-choice means to say that freedom trumps life. You cannot say that the fetus to be terminated hasn’t human appearance, because it has. You can speculate that it has not yet developed perception of pain, but I don’t see how this can be verified.

              • muffy
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:53 am | Permalink

                1) pro life legislators mandate 72hr waiting periods and medically unnecessary, invasive ultrasounds because it inconveniences women, especially the poor, who neither have the time nor the extra $400 dollars to pay for the *unnecessary* ultrasound. It is a tactical delay, nothing more. It is also meant to humiliate and infantilize women.

                2) abortion doesn’t kill disabled people – it prevents healthy and certain disabled fetuses from eventually bring born. Some of us here live in the real world, and not every disabled life is a wonderful success story. Unless the people who are advocating that *every* fetus be born are willing to pay millions in fees over that disabled child’s life to keep it going, and to suffer the emotional trauma that comes with caring for a severely disabled child for 40+ years, they can butt out.

                And I know plenty of disabled people who are pro choice. Pro lifers are only interested in exploiting people’s sad feelies about the disabled, which is why they invoke the subject in the first place. It’s part of an attempt to cast women as brutal psychopaths who will kill over a cleft lip.

                3) yes, it is possible to ascertain when a fetus can feel pain, and that isn’t until well past the 28th week, as prior to that, the fetus lacks the necessary brain structures that enable sentience ie the ability to perceive, are not yet functionally mature. And less than 1% of abortions take place past 20 weeks, as women who do NOT want to be pregnant do not have a late term abortion for funsies.

                Also, fetal pain is a non issue because if the fetus is big enough, the heart is stopped prior to delivery. Yeah, third trimester fetuses are delivered because they are so big. So, if delivery = torture, then perhaps birth should be outlawed period, eh?

                Your post reeks of ignorance. Sorry.

                Oh, and pro life legislators want to give personhood rights to zygotes. Only, zygotes have zero human qualities. Can’t easily humanize a cell, which is why you are spouting the nonsense above – the pro life lobby has succeeded in convincing the ignorant that every zygote is a cute widddle baby thinking googoo gaga thoughts in the womb as the big evil horrible woman brutally murders it so that she can “keep being a slut”.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:34 am | Permalink

                @mayamarkov
                For someone who claims to be ‘pro-choice’ you seem to be arguing the ‘pro-life’ position pretty well.

                You also seem to be arguing that murdering abortion doctors is somehow more justifiable than murdering cartoonists. Really?

                I’m with Steve on this.

              • colnago80
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

                Maybe I missed something but I don’t recall Yeshua ben Yusef of Nazareth saying anything about abortion.

              • colnago80
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

                Re mayamarkov

                Yes but so-called pro-lifers often go well beyond that. Many of them claim that fertilized eggs are fully human and devices to prevent implantation are abortions. This is absolute rubbish as 1/2 of all fertilized eggs fail to implant naturally, which, according to their mentality, make god the worlds most prolific abortionist.

              • muffy
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

                A representative from Personhood USA told me that women who have sex, knowing that a fertilized egg will be prevented from implanting due to a thinned uterine lining, are murderers and should spend life in jail for their crimes.

                And Republicans just canceled a very effective IUD program for teens in Colorado (which lowered the abortion rate) because, apparently, IUDS “kill innocent little children”.

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      That analogy may be inapt but ask her if muslims should be allowed to build a community center near ground zero, in an area legally zoned for it, and she’ll say no. Because she has said no. She also thinks we should ban immigration of muslims.

      Its all very much ‘freedom for me but not for thee.’

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        I disagree. There is freedom of speech but there is no such thing as freedom to immigrate (immigration is a privilege and not a right) or freedom in urban planning. Those who advocate for the “community center” near Ground Zero actually say that, because some supporters of Islamist terror have much money, they should be allowed to build a trophy mosque to celebrate their achievement on Sept. 11, and the victims’ families should put up with it because they haven’t enough money to buy the spot.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:36 am | Permalink

          Keep right on digging, you’re doing a fine job. [/sarcasm]

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        But neither of those is a freedom of speech issue, is it?

        /@

    • Bob Michaelson
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. If Geller had actually been trying to present a “free speech” exhibition, why didn’t she include a version of “Piss Christ,” plus cartoons of the “Virgin” Mary portraying her as a whore, plus pages from a Torah used as paper for satirical bashing of Judaism. I would have been fine with that, but would Geller? And does Geller think – does anyone think – that there wouldn’t have been violent reactions from Mariolators, Orthodox Jews, etc.? I mean if she were to seriously address the issue, rather than just, as in the interview, make a fatuous reference to Piss Christ that elides the violence of the reaction. Some of the reaction: “On Palm Sunday in 2011, for instance, a group of radical young Christians stormed a gallery in Avignon, France, which was displaying Piss Christ as part of an exhibit. They made their way past security, threatened a guard with a hammer, broke through the Plexiglas protecting the image, and slashed it with a sharp object. In 1997 at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, the work was also vandalized, and gallery officials received death threats for showing it. In 2007, a group of neo-Nazis attacked a Serrano show in Sweden (though Piss Christ was not on display there).” Those instances, of course, were not in Texas, where 2A nutcases reign.

  23. Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I’m really not familiar with Ms. Geller. I likely wouldn’t have had a clue about who you were referring to before yesterday.

    And I still know nothing about all her Randian Birther conspiracy theories and what-not.

    But…her performance in that interview is most admirable. She may be nuts with respect to other positions, but she’s spot on here with absolutely nothing worthing of criticism.

    b&

  24. krzysztof1
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Maybe EVERYONE should “draw Mohammed.” They can’t kill us all!

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Agree!

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      (((:~{>

      • krzysztof1
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Excellent!!

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:47 am | Permalink

          Not original with me. Wish I were that creative!

          • krzysztof1
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

            Now they should only be offended if someone types that and says “This is Mohammed.” Otherwise, it’s just some symbols strung together.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:50 am | Permalink

        👳🏽 ☁️🐖☁️

        Mohammed ascending to heaven on flying pig.

        /@

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:20 am | Permalink

          Oooooh, talk about blasphemy! 😀

  25. ridelo
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Maybe one should introduce a new term; ‘Muslimophobe’ besides ‘Islamophobe’. Would make discussions clearer. Like; “I’m an Islamophobe but not a Muslimophobe.” when I dare to criticize Islam as a religion.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Worth considering.

  26. Mike
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with her.

  27. Nicolas Perrault
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Like it or not Islam is the favorite religion of terrorists. They constantly justify their appalling crimes and cruelties by referring to Islamic sacred texts. Any of them would be delighted to kill any and all of the readers of this site. Is it unreasonable to enquire about Islamic dogma and the violent behavior perpetrated in the name of Islam? If a link is found between the former and the latter why not openly criticize the teaching of Islam? The left of course does not agree but Islamic violence is not easily explained by leftist ideology. The same can be said of the ideology of the right.

  28. squidmaster
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Well, as Pam Geller is jewish, maybe she wouldn’t much care about piss-christ competitions.

    She might, though, object to an atheist competition to see who, for example, could produce a work that was offensive to the largest number of religions in a single work. Entries would have to be clever and not just a collage of eucharist defiling, muhammed resembling, shallit wearing buddhas.

  29. krzysztof1
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I’m seeing in some of the comments a possible error of thinking. If one has formed a negative opinion of someone, there’s a common tendency to dismiss statements from that person that one might otherwise find reasonable. Only if one issue is contingent upon the other is it reasonable to do that. For example, everyone here knows that Christopher Hitchens had views on the Iraq war such that people dismissed him even though they agreed with his views on religion.

    I was at the FFRF conference where Hitchens received an award. A number of attendees were trying to arrange a formal protest that he should not have received it because of his views on the Iraq war. I didn’t sign on.

    • Lesli
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      I agree. I’m finding that there’s less disappointment in life if I follow ideas, not people.

  30. mecwordpress
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Geller is right and I agree with her position here but, FSM help me, I feel like I need to take a shower every time I hear her speak and find myself agreeing.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I hear you, pal. It’s sad when we find closer affinity to right- than to left-wingers on these issues!

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • msavage
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Why? Why is it “sad”?

  31. Benjamin
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I’d heard a number of bad things about Pamela Geller, but she was truly excellent in this interview and gave a very good defense of free speech and the principles behind it.

    The UK government banned her from entering the UK a few years ago (for being Islamophobic of course…can’t have people like that in the country now can we?).

    If she had been allowed in, I might have known a bit more about her.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      The UK government banned her from entering the UK a few years ago (for being Islamophobic of course…can’t have people like that in the country now can we?).

      And of course if her speech is considered SO offensive, and hateful that governments believe she should be banned from their country to prevent it, they’re giving a degree of approval to killing her if that’s not an option.

    • Davey
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Headmasters in the UK are complaining that in the wake of the Trojan Horse affair, with Islamism being taught in schools, that the government aren’t doing enough to combat hard-line extremists intimidating people outside the schools.
      The schools are trying to combat homophobia and getting a backlash of death threats, with dead animals being hung on school fences, and dismembered cats in the playgrounds.

      If only they were as effective in banning the hate speech that happens within the UK.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/trojan-horse-headteacher-received-death-threats-for-speaking-out-against-homophobia-10222271.html

  32. DrDroid
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I had never heard of Pam Geller prior to this shooting and know nothing about her other than what I have now heard her say on the CNN video clip. With regard to what she actually said in this clip I think there is little that Ayaan Hirsi Ali would disagree with based on what she has written in her new book “Heretic”. Pam Geller may endorse a number of beliefs and ideas I don’t agree with but I think we need to listen what people are actually saying and judge it for what it is rather than dismiss them simply because they have the wrong letter on their forehead. Christopher Hitchens was someone I greatly admire though I have misgivings about his support of the War in Iraq. As Sam Harris has said, it is a shame (on liberals) that people on the right often speak most clearly about the dangers of Islam.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I’ve been waiting for a place to weigh in on the Sam Harris/Noam Chomsky confrontation, but now that you’ve brought Sam up, perhaps this is the place. I’d love to hear Jerry’s take on it:

      Notes on Harris and Chomsky going at it.

      Sam Harris begged for a fight with Noam Chomsky; and Chomsky, reluctantly, gave it to him. Neither side barred any holds, and I don’t think they’ll grace a stage together any time soon. Each called the other a nincompoop. More or less. It didn’t help that, after Chomsky reluctantly agreed to correspondence, Harris began with a lengthy quote of his own material where he took Chomsky severely to task. It went downhill from there.

      Harris’s argument, if I can paraphrase it, is that the result of an action can’t be divorced from its intention; why was the act committed? It might have been fine had he stopped there, but Sam is pretty sure he knows the high moral ground when he sees it, so he’s particularly well suited to judging the intentions of the various participants. Sam spends considerable time comparing the intentions of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton. Sam is sure he knows the intentions of both men. Sam compares what he knows of their intentions with his fixed moral standards, and Hussein comes out the loser. It’s all pretty straight forward.

      Provided, of course, that one believes Sam knows the inside minds of other people and that Sam is the paragon of moral standards.

      Chomsky begs to differ. Chomsky was less sure that Clinton’s intentions were a whole lot more noble than Hussein’s. They both agreed that everyone committed a lot of damage.

      And so it went, round and round.

      But for a person who ostensibly doesn’t believe in free will, Sam is quick to cast blame. Largely, it seems, because he knows what’s right from wrong and he knows who is on which side. He is very confident. He is calm, collected, and cocksure.

      And while he’s quick to recognize the pernicious influence of religion, he’s less quick to credit the cultural milieu surrounding the religion. He’s less apt to credit the powers that be with merely using religion as a tool and to credit the damage of religion to its scriptures instead of its application.

      Nor does Sam face the reality that our intervention in the Middle East to rid the world of its monsters has been notably unsuccessful, whatever its intentions. Nor does Sam wonder why we’ve chosen those particular monsters to get exercised about, versus the other equally bad ones that we ignore. Sam couches the conflict in classic Western terms: good versus evil; our fight to bring democracy to the world. Noam thinks we’re there because of economic interests. Noam thinks that both sides are fighting for hegemony with the weapons they have at hand. He doesn’t see one side as morally superior. He does see us as militarily more successful; we kill more people. Sam thinks we do it for a good cause; Noam is less sure.

      It appears that Sam’s atheism gets in the way of his critical thinking. So much of his fame has come from his strident atheism that it has become the hammer with which he pounds down all nails. To be sure, like the other Abrahamic religions, Islam is a fierce demon, especially in the hands of fundamentalist communities. And to be sure, income inequality and extreme social stratification lead to religious fundamentalism. But contrary to Sam’s convictions, religious fundamentalism cannot be successfully fought with guns. (Furthermore, Hussein wasn’t even a religious fundamentalist; those guys came later, after we’d removed Hussein.) We can’t beat ISIS on the ground any more than we could beat the Taliban or Al Qaeda. It’s a multi-headed Hydra.

      An odd contradiction in Sam’s public life is that he’s an atheist, a professed denier of free will, yet a moral absolutist. He is not the only one; a number of putative atheists like to hedge their bets: the compatibalists comprise an entire school. I’m not sure Sam thinks of himself as a compatibalist, but he’s definitely willing to make moral judgements.

      He’s willing to make moral judgements because he knows—after the fact—which actions are morally good and which are bad: the good ones are the ones that contribute to human well-being. You know what well-being is, don’t you? Sam analogizes it to good health. We all know what good health is, right? Sam says there are objective evaluations of health—lack of disease, for example—and that the same is true of well-being. We can scientifically measure well-being, says Sam. According to Sam, well-being is constant across the globe. Like many modern moralists, he’s unwilling to lay down moral strictures; he’s more inclined to judge by results. If what you do benefits humanity, it’s morally good; if it detracts from humanity, it’s bad. (You’ll note that in this case he is judging actions by their results, whereas in the case of the Middle East he judges actions by the perpetrator’s intentions.)

      What Sam doesn’t include in his calculations are the thought processes which lead a person to think that killing another person for being an apostate would be good for both their souls; or that having a person as a slave is better than letting them suffer worse deprivations or stave to death. Sam is pretty sure that, even without an election, he’s got the moral high road.

      I think that’s what infuriates Chomsky.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        My main take-away from Chomsky in that interchange:

        He thinks bombing a pharmaceutical factory is a worse crime (more morally reprehensible) than the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

        He repeated that many times.

        I’m curious if you agree with him? If so, please parse the two acts, especially regarding the intentions of the actors. (I also like Sam’s thought experiments with human shields — this seems like quite a sharp knife for discerning intents.)

        Sam tried to frame it in a parallel thought experiment and Chomsky would have none of that — it didn’t support his contention, so forget it.

        I totally agree that Sam did not do his best in this exchange. Both of them came off as immoveable, not listening. I think Sam acknowledged this clearly in his epilogue.

        I personally think that Chomsky won the smugness contest however. He seems petrified in his opinions. He struck me as “how dare you question me?”

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          I think C.’s point was rather that intensions are hard to discern, and we shouldn’t take *verbal expression* of same as worth very much (because recognized-by-all monsters express the most noble of them).

          Consequently we have to either look for better indicators or disregard.

          Moreover, not realizing one’s actions have (or are likely to have) certain consequences is itself a form of moral obtuseness, sometimes. (Simply *having* other intentions, no matter how sincere, should not be enough to always absolve one of a crime.)

          Are these decisive? That’s the next step.

          • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            Well, I agree with all that; however, the question still stands:

            Does anyone (besides Chomsky, he made this point repeatedly) think that Bill Clinton is more blameworthy for the bombing of the Khartoum Al Shifra pharma factory than the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

            If Bill Clinton wanted to kill Sudanese, he could have done it, easily.

            If the 9/11 terrorists had the powers Bill Clinton had in 1998, what would they have done?

            Were we right to attack the Taliban in 2001/2002 since they were sheltering Al Qaeda? Were the (apparently useless) cruise missile attacks against the Taliban in 1998 acceptable?

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

              I don’t know if I’d pin American culpability on any one particular incident…but I do know that there was absolutely no justification for the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.

              Any other context, we’d call that genocide and not make noises about “Well, it could have been millions dead instead of hundreds of thousands if that’s what the perpetrators really wanted.”

              The response to 9/11 should have been conceived as the moral equivalent of a police action at an international scale. Iraq should never have been mentioned, let alone targeted, let alone invaded, let alone destroyed. Afghanistan should have been issued a warrant demanding their complete dedication to bin Laden’s arrest and extradition. If they refused, that would have been grounds for military action, preferably a simple blockade but potentially justifiably a declaration of war with peace contingent upon either unconditional surrender of the Afghan military and civilian establishments or the delivery of bin Laden, their choice.

              Our deviations from that…make us most reprehensible, as despicable as those of some of the worst scoundrels from history.

              b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 5:01 am | Permalink

                And if Gore had won–well, actually he did, but let’s not rehash that–if Gore had been president there’s a very good chance we mightn’t have had a preemptive war. And if some people had held their noses and voted for him, rather than Nader, he might have won outright. No war, several hundred thousand people still alive.

                So you’re justifying your don’t-vote-for-either-lizard policy how?

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

                And, if Nader had won, we certainly wouldn’t have gone to war.

                And we did the experiment of electing the lesser lizard…and we got Obama. He campaigned on ending the war in Afghanistan “by the end of next year.” Every year he kept promising to end the war “by the end of next year” until just recently, when he promised to keep the war going for at least another fifteen, maybe twenty years. And he was supposed to close Gitmo, end executive execution squads, stop warrantless spying, sunset P.A.T.R.I.O.T.A.C.T., and so on. Instead, he’s been worse than Bush on all those fronts.

                So if Obama was supposed to have been better than even Gore and in reality has been worse than Bush…I shudder to think how much more trouble we’d be in now with Gore. He was Clinton’s right-hand man for eight years, after all.

                That’s the problem with lizards. They’re quite pretty to look at and make such alluring noises…right before they eat you alive.

                b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

                Noted.

  33. Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    My favorite line was when Alysin asked Pam, “Now that you’ve survived a near-death experience…”

    Knowing nothing about Pam but what I’ve seen here, she certainly wins this confrontation, hands down.

    But regarding the “fine line,” that between freedom of speech and provocation, it’s analogous to the rape victim asking for it because she wore “provocative” clothes. We’re no longer—and rightfully so—allowed to even pose that question in the case of rape. We should not be allowed to pose it in the case of free speech, either.

    • Benjamin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      This accidentally got posted at the end of the comments, but should have been a reply here…

      “We should not be allowed to pose it in the case of free speech, either.”

      A little bit of an oxymoronic statement there, but I know exactly what you mean!

      Every single time there is a breaking news report of some Islamist violence (which is all too often) and after the initial horror, I begin a mental countdown to see how quickly the apologists and victim-blamers will appear.

      I don’t have to wait long. A few hours, maybe a day later, articles and interviews begin appearing in which the victims of the latest attack are said to have offended or provoked muslims, thereby bringing this on themselves.

      As Geller says in the interview: “how morally inverted this conversation is”.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      This is an excellent analogy in my opinion.

      A woman was raped — end of moral discussion.

      A person was shot for drawing a cartoon — end of moral discussion.

  34. Sameer
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    At least at one place in this interview she does come across as a Muslimophobe. She says she agrees with Geert Wilders assertion that Judeo-Christian culture is superior to Islam because there is no humor in Islam. This occurs at 4:16 where she says “… and frankly what he [Wilders] said is true, there is no humor.”

    As someone mentioned above even a broken clock is correct twice a day. Pamela Geller is correct about protecting freedom of speech but I can find better defenders of freedom of speech who are not tainted by vile and hateful rhetoric and actions than Pamela Geller. She goes into the same civilized men vs. savages line that she used in one of the bus ads. Lets forget for a moment about treating everything that Israel does as “civilized”, using the broad brush of “savages” to paint anyone who is against the actions of Israel is Muslimophobia to me.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Well, if she agreed that that’s the reason Judeo-Christian culture (whatever THAT is) is superior to Islam, then I can’t really endorse it. But I do think she’s right–that there’s less humor in at least some Islamic countries because levity is frowned on, and certainly you can’t humorously mock the faith or government.

      You may find Geller odious, but at least she’s not a sanctimonous hypocrite like the CNN interviewer. And I don’t know about your claim that anyone who opposes Israel is a “savage”. If she said that–and referred, as you said, to ANYONE who is against the actions of Israel, then give us a reference. If not, retract it and apologize.

      • Sameer
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Her MTA bus ad read “In any war between the civilized man and the savage support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

        To me the juxtaposition of “support civilized man” and “support Israel” sounds like if I don’t support Israel, I am one of the savages. I guess some might interpret that as “if you support Jihad you are a savage”. I would agree with the latter interpretation. So ultimately it does come down to “semantic games”.

        • Paul S
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          The ad didn’t say that you are a savage if you don’t support Israel nor was it blanket support for all Israeli policies. Replace Israel with the UK, France or Syria all of whom have a problem with Jihadists and let me know if you read it the same way. Seems to me you are looking to be offended.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      She says she agrees with Geert Wilders assertion that Judeo-Christian culture is superior to Islam because there is no humor in Islam.

      That’s a pretty accurate statement.

      There are Muslims with plenty of humor, of course. But Islam itself is pretty famously devoid of humor — with, as she pointed out, the most respected representatives of Islam saying so explicitly.

      Popes are typically a dour lot, but I don’t think any modern Popes are on record as saying that there’s no humor in Christianity, and the current Pope has cracked a few jokes here and there. Rabbis have a much more down-to-earth reputation.

      But Islam is no laughing matter.

      b&

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        A priest, a rabbi, and an imam walk into a bar…

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Alas, though the priest and the rabbi would typically be happy to quaff a suitable beverage in the pub…Muslims aren’t allowed to drink, either, so an imam in a bar is up to no good one way or the other…ruining the booze as well as the joke, I’m afraid….

          b&

          • Paul S
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Maybe Muslims aren’t supposed to drink, but peer pressure can be a good thing. My friend Ismail could be the new spokesman for Dos XX after all the work trips we took to Vegas. Has a great sense of humor too, which is doubly good because he can dead pan with the best of’em.

          • Keith Cook or less
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            A priest, a rabbi, and an imam walk into a bar…
            In a cartoon I saw it was literally a low hung bar in a back ally, all three were sitting on the ground rubbing bruises on their heads.. blind leading the blind or was the bar a metaphorical violent atheist? Could be neither, but it looked funny.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:45 am | Permalink

            “Muslims aren’t allowed to drink, either,”

            Depends on the Muslims. My first tenants, who were Bosnian Muslims, were quite proud of their home-made wine. Maybe they weren’t ‘true Muslims…’?

            • Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

              Or, from what I understand, pre-revolutionary Iran was notable for wine.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see how you get from the statement about Islam lacking humour to Muslimophobia? Where does she say that individual Muslims can’t be funny?

      /@

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      “…because there is no humor in Islam.”

      Show me a joke in the Koran.

      How do you get from there to “Muslims have no sense of humor?”

  35. Sameer
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    At least at one place in the interview she does come across as a Muslimophobe. This is when she agrees with Geert Wilders’ assertion that Judeo-Christian culture is superior to Islam because Islam doesn’t have humor. This happens at 4:16 where she says “… and frankly, he is right, there is no humor.”

    While Pamela Geller is broadly right about the attack on freedom of speech, I would look for better defenders of free speech who are not tainted by vile Muslimophobic rhetoric and actions in their past. As someone said above a broken clock is right twice a day.

    In the interview she once again brings up the civilized man vs. savages trope that she has used in the bus ads before. It is derived from a quote by Ayn Rand. Lets forget about calling everything that Israel does “civilized”. Painting everyone who is against Israel’s actions as “savages” sounds very Muslimophobic to me.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      You may be reading her right, but I didn’t get that exactly from what she said here. I assumed Wilder was referring to the fact that the religion is excessively focused on seriousness and worship. It is very totalitarian as practiced today in many places. This background helps to explain the violence.
      As far as civilized vs savage I think she might very well be focusing on extremists. She clearly agreed there were Muslims who were not a threat.

  36. Benjamin
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    “We should not be allowed to pose it in the case of free speech, either.”

    A little bit of an oxymoronic statement there, but I know exactly what you mean!

    Every single time there is a breaking news report of some Islamist violence (which is all too often) and after the initial horror, I begin a mental countdown to see how quickly the apologists and victim-blamers will appear.

    I don’t have to wait long. A few hours, maybe a day later, articles and interviews begin appearing in which the victims of the latest attack are said to have offended or provoked muslims, thereby bringing this on themselves.

    As Geller says in the interview: “how morally inverted this conversation is”.

  37. Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Yes I had the same thoughts when I saw this. Gah. So many ways to skewer Ms Geller but “fine line” arguments about free speech are not the way to go. She and her friends are a-holes but deserve derision and mockery, not armed assault. Even Gov. George Wallace didn’t get what he “deserved” for being an odious prick, and he did things that were a lot worse than drawing cartoons.

  38. Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Confused and snide reactions from Glenn Greenwald after the Garland shooting:

    https://imperfectidea.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/glenn-greenwalds-dishonest-and-snide-reporting/

    • Benjamin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      ”Confused and snide reactions from Glenn Greenwald”

      Par for the course for Mr Greenwald I’m afraid.

      He seems to be trying to defend his comments by saying that he doesn’t have to like people just because they’ve been attacked.

      True, of course. But such comments don’t exist in a vacuum.

      The point is, that in the immediate aftermath of an attack on free speech, Greenwald as a public figure and journalist directed his ire and indignation at the people who were attacked.

      Had things gone a little differently that evening, a dozen people or more could have been murdered for doing no more than attending an exhibition of cartoons. Would Greenwald still have blamed the victims for the attack in this case? Actually, yes, he probably would. How distasteful.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Another fact that has come out about this even is that, yes they did have lots of protection at the event, as they should. But it was a single city traffic cop that killed both of these terrorist with his hand gun. So as it turned out, all that security and fire power that Greenwald was impressed with, was not relevant.

      • colnago80
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        So far, Greenwald hasn’t posted anything on his blog at the Intercept on this topic.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they threw him of the building, terrible, terrible.

        BUT! He provoked them — he was openly gay.

        Isn’t that how it works?

        • Benjamin
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          That’s exactly how it works!

          It’s like there’s some kind of template that’s been distributed amongst the no-so-liberal left:

          Step 1: Start with a brief and platitudinous condemnation of violence

          Step 2: “But…”

          Step 3: Describe how Muslims are a disenfranchised/victimised/oppressed group

          Step 4: Insinuate that the victims of the attack had it coming because they angered/provoked/insulted/offended Muslims

          • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            “Nothing someone says before the word ‘but’ really counts”

            Benjen Stark

  39. Barney
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    To give people an idea of how low Geller will stoop:

    In a post defending herself yesterday, Geller — who has called Obama “President Jihad” and claimed that Arab language classes are a plot to subvert the United States — reached a new low. Geller justifies Breivik’s attack on the Norwegian Labour Party summer youth camp because she says the camp is part of an anti-Israel “indoctrination training center.” She says the victims would have grown up to become “future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole.”

    To get her point across, Geller posts a picture of the youth camp children Breivik targeted. The picture was taken on the Utøya island camp about 24 hours before Breivik killed over 30 children, so it is likely Geller is mocking many of the victims. Under the picture, Geller writes: “Note the faces which are more MIddle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.” View a screen shot (click to enlarge) of Geller’s blog post below:

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/01/284011/pam-geller-race-mixing-breivik-right/

    She edited out the remark about ‘Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian’ after criticism, but she left in “but the jihad-loving media never told us what antisemitic war games they were playing on that island. Utoya Island is a Communist/Socialist campground, and they clearly had a pro-Islamic agenda.”

    • Thanny
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Did she really justify the attack? Or did she just make those claims, which may be entirely factual, but neither state nor imply that they justified mass murder?

      I’ve seen too many people make unjustified leaps like that to just trust your cited source. There are far too many short quotations with zero context, none of which involve Geller actually supporting the mass murder.

      I don’t know what her position on Breivik actually is (no time to do the research right now), but I have serious doubts that what you cited is anything like an accurate assessment. It’s got us-versus-them smear written all over it.

      • Barney
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        She said what’s in the quotes, and more too – the blog post is still there, linked to from the ThinkProgress article, if you want to read it all. It was plainly racist (complaining about the colour of their skin), and the bit about “flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole” is anti-Muslim, not anti-Islam, and it’s not a ‘fact’, but bollocks designed to make people hate Muslims. The bit about ‘antisemitic war games’ is either a direct lie designed to incite hatred, or a delusion from someone with paranoia.

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          She said what’s in the quotes, and more too – the blog post is still there, linked to from the ThinkProgress article, if you want to read it all.

          The blog post is here:

          http://pamelageller.com/2011/07/summer-camp-indoctrination-training-center.html/

          Maybe I’m just blind, but I don’t see the sorts of racism you’re decrying. Indeed, the post is quite consistent with what she said in the interview. Particularly compelling is how she decried the double standard of a particular Norwegian who felt the attack on Norwegian children was unjustified, but that the Israeli occupation justifies similar attacks on Israeli children.

          b&

          • Barney
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            She originally said “Note the faces which are more MIddle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”. That’s the racist part, though she deleted it when it was noticed.

            If you find that post ‘compelling’, there is no hope for you.

    • colnago80
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Well, this is pretty low too.

      http://goo.gl/BpfnAw

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      And … none of that really matters regarding the points she made in the CNN interview. Unless you are saying that her political stupidities negate the words she said in the CNN interview (somehow).

      I’m sure I detest her politics (I don’t know much about her; but the little I do tells me this); but that doesn’t affect the points she makes in the CNN interview.

      • Barney
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        It answer’s PCC’s question about finding out what she’s really like: I gave some quotes from her. She hates Muslims, and said so.

        More of her idiocy, from this year:

        Terrorist in the White House

        Obama is unequivocally aligned with the jihad force. The media’s deliberate silence on what is de facto treason and this stealth jihad has left the American people blind, deaf and dumb to the coming catastrophes.

        http://pamelageller.com/2015/02/terrorist-in-the-white-house.html/

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          That’s certainly more questionable…though it’s still far from a slam dunk.

          I, myself, have criticized the Obama administration for the same sort of “How could you be just so fucking clueless!?” mishandling of the situation in Iraq that, to me, seemed engineered to guarantee that DAESH or some other similar gang would wind up in control of Iraq and the weapons we gave to the Iraqi army. And I’ve vehemently criticized the close American ties with the House of Saud for as long as I can remember.

          If Ms. Geller thinks that Obama’s doing something radically different from what his predecessors have done, that would convince me that she’s gone off that particular rail. But, as it stands…I could have written those exact same words, and the context would not at all have had anything to do with conspiracy theories of Obama as a Kenyan secretly Muslim gay married sleeper agent.

          So, I’m still open to the possibility that she could be that type of nutjob. I’m just not as yet seeing concrete evidence that she is. Which, even if she is, it at least shows that she has the good decency to be non-obvious and discreet about it, which is something I’d also have to give her credit for.

          b&

          • Barney
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

            I gave a link to her participation in the Kenyan sleeper agent theories further up in the reply structure: http://pamelageller.com/2008/10/how-could-stanl.html/

          • Barney
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Or here she is live, saying Obama’s birth certificate was forged:

            http://www.mediaite.com/tv/who-said-its-over-foxs-eric-bolling-questions-authenticity-of-birth-certificate/

            • Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              Okay. She’s a birther nutjob.

              But she’s also most emphatically on the right side of free speech.

              I’d be more than happy to join her at a free speech rally, and she and I could be quite happy freely telling each other what idiots we each are for our positions on Obama’s birthplace.

              b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

                Yes, she is on the correct side when it comes to this issue and I am pretty sure I’d disagree with her on quite a few things, I agree with her on this one.

                Some may say she tried to provoke deliberately. So what? We should all be free to provoke and not be shot or otherwise maimed for it.

              • Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

                I’m sure I had more than one English teacher over the years who yearned for us to write provocative essays. Or has that changed in today’s bubble-wrapped Know Child’s Right Ass culture, too?

                b&

  40. Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    What is astounding to me is how liberals are usually the first ones to condemn blaming the victim in situations like police brutality, rape, etc. I agree wholeheartedly with these condemnations; there is rarely ever justification for police officers to beat someone up rather than restrain them, and never any justification for rape, no matter how much “she asked for it” or aroused the rapist.

    So why adopt the same barely concealed, cretinous “blame the victim” tactics when defending PEOPLE WHO KILLED OTHER PEOPLE OVER A DRAWING!!! Sorry for the shouting but when I read or hear yet another liberal apologist for suppression of free speech by bullying and intimidation, I have this impulse to shout in frustration.

    • Benjamin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      An excellent analysis.

      There’s a deep confusion and hypocrisy exhibited by liberals on these issues.

      Rather than sticking to established liberal principles and applying them equally, they change their opinions and position depending upon who’s involved – typically taking the side of the perceived underdog. Even if this particular underdog happens to be a powerful and influential religion.

      This can lead to some interesting situations when two such underdogs vie for liberal sympathy at the same time. For example, I saw an interview recently where a member of the UK’s Labour party was challenged about other members of the party attending a meeting in a majority Muslim area, where the audience were segregated by gender.

      You could see the panic and cognitive dissonance this caused as she simultaneously tried to defend the right of women to be treated as equals, and the rights of Muslim communities in the UK to enforce gender segregation.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        “This can lead to some interesting situations when two such underdogs vie for liberal sympathy at the same time..”

        Yes, and then you have to devise some sort of ranking system. What do you do if a black female directs a vicious racist or anti-Semitic epithet at a well-off Jewish male? Classical liberal principles would dictate that you denounce this as racist or anti-Semitic. But pseudo-liberals would twist themselves into knots over whether minorities can really be “racist”, because punching up or what-not, and whether the Jewish male should be given sympathy as a member of a historically oppressed group, or whether his maleness and economic security would negate his status as a victim.

  41. rickflick
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Good for her. Geller seems a very thoughtful woman who expresses my own views extremely well. Perhaps the only quibble is she seemed reluctant to agree with the keynote speaker in condemning the ideology of Islam. She kept the focus on the extremists, which is fine, but that’s really the tip of the iceberg. Probably she was taking a strategic tack to avoid the perception that she condemns Muslims generally.

    • colnago80
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Geller was on her best behavior in the interview. When she goes off on rants on her own web site, she is ofter completely unhinged. Ed Brayton linked to one rant where she was obviously plastered, so incoherent was she.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Let’s hope she finds a more solid footing. She sounds like she could be great if she just focused on truth, justice, and the American way, like she did in this interview.

  42. Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    JAC: “There you have it: the fine line—the same line that, according to many, was crossed by Charlie Hebdo and everyone said to engage in ‘hate speech.’ Sorry, but the center doesn’t hold, for all controversial speech is ‘intentionally incendiary and provocative’….”

    Yes!

    I think an appropriate response to the “fine line” argument is that such lines tend to be fuzzy and problematically positioned.

    Take, for example, as InsideHigherEd.com reported, what happened at the University of Minnesota when a serious panel discussion was promoted with a flyer stamped “Censored” featuring the cover of the Charlie Hebdo edition published immediately after the terrorist attack which depicts a tearful man in a turban saying “All is forgivne” and holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign:

    Complaints were filed with the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, most notably:

    “The office also received a petition signed by about 260 Muslim students, several staff members and about 45 people with no affiliation with the university. The petition says, in part, that the flyer is ‘very offensive’ and has ‘violated our religious identity and hurt our deeply held religious affiliations for our beloved prophet (peace be upon him). Knowing that these caricatures hurt and are condemned by 1.75 billion Muslims in the world, the university should not have recirculated/reproduced them.'”

    Remarkable how they speak for 1.75 billion people. I guess they included the Muslims who supported Geller’s right to hold her exhibit?

    No violation of the university’s anti-harassment policy was found, but the office’s report to the dean complained that the poster offended, alienated, and insulted “some not-insignificant proportion of the university’s Muslim community on the basis of their religious identity,”

    A fuzzy line report. Perhaps the petitioners were alienating people who wish to seriously discuss free speech. Maybe universities need offices of free speech protection.

    Quite a story. See:

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/05/u-minnesota-responds-student-complaint-about-posters

  43. Chewy
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I too find it uncomfortable to be in agreement with Geller (and Robert Spencer) on much of this. (Almost ashamed to admit that I scan Jihad Watch several times a week.)

    However, there is something to the point about “this fine line … between, freedom of speech and being intentionally incendiary and provocative.” It is the “Fighting Words” doctrine which under US law limits the right of free speech. I’d say the line is fuzzy, not fine, but there is a line in the law.

    The question here is who decides where the fuzzy line is? I reject concepts of blasphemy as being determinative; nor do I think general publication of comics, or books, or bl*gs, etc., should qualify. But if one were walk into services in a church or mosque and loudly denounce the local religion for the nonsense that it is, then that is probably “fighting words”. Even then, murder would not be justified.

  44. Victor M.
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Today the left is sadly paralyzed by offensiphobia.

  45. Jeff Rankin
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen it a few times on this thread and even though I’ve felt it too, I’m gonna personally reject the “it makes me {sad/uncomfortable/whatever} to agree with {some person with a different ideology}”.

    A good idea is a good idea, and if it’s born of critical thinking who cares where it came from? It doesn’t make me, or anyone else, suddenly a “neocon” or any less a liberal.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      A perfect example of that gone awry from the other direction…Obamacare started life as the ultraconservative Heritage Fund’s wetdream of a way to make the health insurance industry rich beyond imagination, and was a radioactive joke initially. Then it became Romneycare during his governorship in Massachussets…and then, suddenly as soon as Obama got behind the idea, nobody on the right could stand it any more.

      Because Obama has a built-in suntan.

      …er, I mean, because he’s Kenyan, and was secretly gay married in a Muslim ceremony.

      Or something like that. I have a difficult time keeping that stuff straight…as do the Republicans….

      b&

    • Thanny
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      That kind of thing is necessary because the concept of guilt by association is not something I just made up with this sentence.

      If you agree with person X about subject Y, you will be tarred with the same brush used against X on subject Z, even though you said nothing about Z.

      So when it comes to agreeing with a person who holds a number of other views with which you vehemently disagree, it’s only prudent to do some throat-clearing about where you stand with respect to that person as a whole.

      There’s no shortage of unpleasant and dishonest people who will demonize you for agreeing on any point with “those kinds of people”. So you should at least give honest people the tools with which to disregard such sliming attempts.

      Just imagine agreeing with Adolf Hitler about some of the good things he did for Germany without making clear your repudiation of his many horrific actions. You just know there are people who would call you a Nazi sympathizer, or worse, in such a case.

  46. terryfuckwit
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Savages? Seems a very well fitting description to me. Why the hell is everyone always so polite?

  47. KD33
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree militant Islam is far worse than Geller and her activities (duh).

    I agree Geller has a free speech right to run the event she did.

    I agree we should point out the faults of Islam, or any religion, especially when they promote violence or are at odds with liberal democracy.

    I agree the attackers are far worse than the participants in Geller’s event.

    But, sorry, I can’t support the event itself. I just don’t see what benefit could come from it.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      The point to Ms. Geller’s event, I’m sure, is essentially the same as it was on May 20, 2010:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody_Draw_Mohammed_Day

      And here’s my contribution:

      (((:~{>

      In case WordPress munches that, it can also be found here:

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1581149/posts

      b&

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      “But, sorry, I can’t support the event itself. I just don’t see what benefit could come from it.”

      1. In the event nothing happens, it demonstrates and inspires discussion of what true free speech really is.

      2. In the event something happens (which it did), it demonstrates the profound disproportion of the attack vs. the event, which leads to…see #1.

      Apparently society (currently, especially the relativist left) keeps forgetting this, and needs frequent reminders.

  48. Dan Overmitten
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    “Camerota finally abandons that line of inquiry as a mere “semantic game,”
    Well hallelujah! Stop blaming the victims.

  49. Frank Bartell
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Another way to look at what happened was that the exhibit was intended to inflame the jihadis so that they would do what they did. They were killed by an ordinary cop but she did hire the local swat team as part of the event security. Clearly the crazies took the bait and sprang the trap.

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a classic sting operation. Knowing who they are, I am sure that the organizers could not be more delighted with the outcome. Crazies dead, point made, a hundred million dollars worth of free publicity. It couldn’t have worked out more to their plan if the crazies had been in on it with them.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:56 am | Permalink

        And that’s the saddest part of all. The local Muslims had decided to ignore the event. But I suppose there’s always some idiot who will walk right into it…

  50. Barney
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Another example of Geller’s kneejerk anti-Muslim stance: Grover Norquist’s wife is Muslim, and so, despite his obvious position at the heart of the American right wing, she thinks:
    Norquist also has deep and extensive ties to Islamic supremacists and jihadists and “is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood”.

  51. Peter B
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    As to fine lines, imagine this argument being made in the aftermath of a rape:

    There is a fine line between between, on the one hand, wearing a short skirt and, on the other hand, wearing a short skirt and asking to be raped.

    This is similar to the issue of fundamentalist Jews having accommodated their wish not to be seated beside a woman on an airplane: This just would not fly if you replace “woman” with “black”, “Asian”, etc. But in the name of coddling mysoginistic religion, anything goes.

    I’m wondering to what extent there has been any change in the US in the support for free speech. I vaguely remember that in the past the support for inoffensive speech was significantly stronger than the tolerance for offensive speech (e.g., advocating for communism). This is something sociologists and political scientists have studied. I just don’t know the details.

  52. David H.
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    There are many people who fully support free speech. I understand as atheists, it’s harder to find liberals who publicly support free speech, the way the religious right does- though there’s a reason they do, it protects their religion.

    But, seriously, as a skeptic, I’m wondering why on earth promote a conspiracy theorist birther, and Obama hating wingnut who believes the DOJ is working on behalf of the Muslim brotherhood?

    “Either Obama is not-so-secretly a jihad sympathizer or he’s a believer. It’s one and the same.”

    Really? If that doesn’t lead you to the conclusion that Geller is a bigot, I don’t know what would. There is a difference between violent Islamists and the millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. Geller makes no distinction.

    She believes Nazism is a far-left ideology. So, she’s ignorant to boot.

    The criticisms I have of Islam aren’t represented by Geller’s endorsement of free speech. Which is bull in of itself…

    Look at what she wrote about a NYT article on Jewish women and cancer screening… how offended she is by the picture of an Israeli woman with a tattoo… how the NYT is spreading Jew hatred and supporting savagery… for promoting cancer screening? She’s a hypocrite and an unhinged one.

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/the-cancerous-new-york-times/

    Point being, we can do better than this.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Point being, we can do better than this.

      No…actually, we can’t.

      There is no “better” or “worse” when it comes to freedom of speech and other civil liberties.

      Either the Nazis are free to march on Skokie, or we are none of us free save those whose sentiments are currently in favor. And just look at the tank of piranhas that is the social justice warrior movement, where lifelong members are being ripped to shreds for the slightest sign of deviation.

      Ms. Geller is spot on in her defense of free speech, and she is to be admired for that. She is also to be ridiculed for her “birther” sentiments.

      And, until people lear that there is no contradiction between those two positions…

      …we’ll continue to be stuck with this whole “they got what was coming to them” bullshit mentality.

      b&

      • David H.
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        “There is no better or worse when it comes to civil liberties…” that wasn’t my point.

        That I whole heartedly agree with Geller that no government should censor her access to free speech, doesn’t mean I would chose her to be the vehicle of that sentiment when it comes to her views on Islam, at least not without a careful consideration of what she gets wrong. And she gets more wrong than right.

        Nor more than I would promote what Dr. Oz gets right about heart disease, or what Deepak Chopra gets right about the benefits of mindfulness on anxiety without pouting out that they are not the best vehicles to get important health information across.

        If Geller’s free speech defense wasn’t tied to drawing Mohammad cartoons, would we even be having this discussion? So don’t get all self-righteous about the absolutes of civil rights. That wasn’t my point.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          “…doesn’t mean I would chose her to be the vehicle of that sentiment when it comes to her views on Islam,…”

          Nobody chose her. She’s what we got anyway. Did you not notice PCC’s caveats about how uncomfortable it is to have to recognize that sometimes the odious conservative wingnuts are nonetheless correct now & then?

          If the left were truly on the side of the oppressed, women, etc., they’d be holding such events themselves.

          • David H.
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            “If the left were truly on the side of the oppressed, women, etc., they’d be holding such events themselves.”

            Not sure what holding a cartoon contest to draw Mohammad has to do with fighting oppression or supporting equality, but there’s a difference between supporting the free speech of cartoonists to draw whatever they like no matter how offensive, and what Geller did, which was a political stunt. The fact that I support her right to be a bigot, does not mean I must agree with her bigotry. The idea of patting her on the back for her defense of one civil right while she supports denying all Muslims other civil rights because she believes all Muslims are jihadis is problematic.

            The PEN award to Charlie Hebdo- there’s liberals standing up for free speech and an event I can respect.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:01 am | Permalink

              Well put.

              And I wish some of the folks who are commending Geller in this thread on the strength of her performance in that interview alone, would Google some of her background. Not to Godwin it, but I’m sure the most ruthless dictator must have done at least one interview where he said all the right things.

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:46 am | Permalink

                I do think some (all?) of us who “are commending Geller in this thread on the strength of her performance in that interview alone” are doing so while holding our noses.

                As to defending this “political stunt” (which characterization I have no objection to), I harken back to steve oberski’s comment above: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/cnn-host-attacks-pamela-geller-on-the-muslim-art-exhibit-but-only-embarrasses-herself/?cpage=1#comment-1184896

                Everyone needs to point out the outrageousness of committing murder over comics. There’s nothing to gain and a lot to lose by eschewing provocation.

              • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

                Not to Godwin it, but I’m sure the most ruthless dictator must have done at least one interview where he said all the right things.

                Yes.

                Which is why we must praise the message, and only praise the messenger while on message.

                Hell, even Jesus had a couple not-evil quotes here and there (though almost always only not-evil when taken out of context), and I’ll gladly stand by those bits even as I rake him over the coals for the remaining 90% of what he said.

                b&

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

                Difficult speech, controversial speech, even insulting and inflammatory speech is exactly what freedom of speech is all about. Mild, consensus, tepid, quiet speech needs no defense.

                Speakers whom we find unsavory are exactly the ones we need to defend.

                I find her politics disgusting, in general.

                However, in this she is right on the money.

                With Jerry, I am embarrassed that these kinds of clear-headed calls for freedom of speech are only coming from far-right wing nuts. Only liberals can fix this by speaking out as well. If they fail in this, they are complicit with the thugs in veto by violence.

                We must all remember that no one has a right to “not be offended”.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

                “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”

                Noam Chomsky, _Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media_ (1992)

                /@

              • Barney
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

                They’re not “only coming from far-right wing nuts”. PEN, for instance, has continued to stand for freedom of speech, ignoring the moans of a few of its members.

                Q Is it time for individuals or groups or even publications to stop depicting the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons or any other types of drawings?

                MR. EARNEST: Well, that’s obviously a judgment that we leave up to individual media organizations. The principle that I restated yesterday is one that applies, which is, that there is no expression, however offensive, that justifies an act of terrorism or even an act of violence. And that apparently is what these two individuals in Texas were trying to do. They were responding to one form of expression that they found offensive, and tried to use that as justification to carry out an act of terror.

                And that is something that the President has repeatedly and consistently condemned. And this is a firm principle that we’re going to protect when it comes to the freedom of expression, and freedom of press, and freedom of speech.

                https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/05/press-briefing-press-secretary-josh-earnest-552015

                Are you grouping the White House in “far-right wing nuts”?

            • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

              [T]here’s a difference between supporting the free speech of cartoonists to draw whatever they like no matter how offensive, and what Geller did, which was a political stunt.

              No, there isn’t.

              Not unless you wish to characterize Charlie Hebdo et al. as political stunt artists as well — which actually isn’t all that far from the truth.

              If there’s a “but” in your defense of free speech, the only butt in the room is you.

              b&

        • Posted May 7, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          If Geller’s free speech defense wasn’t tied to drawing Mohammad cartoons, would we even be having this discussion?

          I sure as Hell hope so! Perhaps it wouldn’t be as likely to come to our attention here on this corner of the Internet because of the particular intersection of interests…but, if she wanted to hold a “Draw Obama Like A Monkey” event, I’d heartily support her right to do that without threat as well, and join with her against any who would shut her down.

          b&

          • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

            “If Geller’s free speech defense wasn’t tied to drawing Mohammad cartoons, would we even be having this discussion?”

            Probably not (in my opinion): Only Muslims are threatening people with death for drawing pictures or naming teddy bears.

            The “Piss Christ” generate a lot of free speech discussion. But the artist did not have to hire bodyguards for the rest of their life.

            PZ Myers offended a large number of Catholics with the cracker incident. But he doesn’t need to fear for his life from enraged Catholics.

            The people that put on The Book of Mormon (play) don’t have to fear for their life from enraged Mormons.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

              “[PZ] doesn’t need to fear for his life from enraged Catholics.”

              Only from enraged atheists … 😁

              /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:46 am | Permalink

                LOL!

            • Diane G.
              Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:49 am | Permalink

              No, but IIRC, PZ did receive death threats, as do Annie Laurie Gaylor & Dan Barker (co-presidents of the FFRF) regularly, not to mention Dawkins. One wonders how far matters would go should a Christian theocracy ever be realized.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

                One wonders how far matters would go should a Christian theocracy ever be realized.

                Probably be much like the last time Christian theocracy was realized, when we got the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Conquistadors….

                b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

                Might go even further–Armageddon!

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

                True, but we almost got that just with the Cold War.

                b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 11, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

                Indeed!

                A secular Armageddon. Who’d’a thunk?

  53. Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    An attractive female is walking through a predominantly Muslim neighborhood on a fine summer day somewhere in a Western country. She is wearing what would be considered acceptable attire for the culture at large and the climate.

    But she has the misfortune to pass by a group of highly conservative male practitioners of Islam. They are incensed and mortified by her appearance. Why is she showing so much of her flesh? And why is she not accompanied by a male relative? And I wonder, did she drive to this neighborhood BY HERSELF?

    Her blatant disregard for their deeply held traditions and religious convictions regarding female attire and public conduct has DEEPLY offended them.

    They feel it is their duty to teach her a lesson, and provide a good example for any impressionable young Muslims who might witness what is about to happen. They approach her on the sidewalk and subject her to harassment and physical and emotional abuse. She flees the neighborhood battered and severely traumatized.

    The incident is reported on the news. The young woman is interviewed on a prominent channel, let’s say CNN or something. The interviewer, while taking pains to say that everyone condemns what the men did, nevertheless asks this question:

    “Honey, I know that you have the right to walk around in something other than a cloth bag and not be constantly accompanied by a male supervisor. But what people are saying is that there is this fine line, you know, between, legally expressing yourself and being intentionally incendiary and provocative.”

    Leading liberal lights agree, noting that the woman is white and well-educated, while the men are rather poor, brown immigrants. Obviously they are a powerless minority, and it is difficult to 100% condemn them for beating up a lone woman who was walking down the street in shorts. After all, the men were very offended, and for religious reasons, so how can you not sympathize with their plight? Couldn’t the woman have covered up, or crossed the street, or maybe just avoided the neighborhood entirely? All she has done is stir up anti-Muslim sentiment and add to the myth that Islam is not a religion of peace.

    In the future, the wise liberals caution, we should be much more respectful of the feelings of oppressed religious minorities and refrain from doing or saying anything that could conceivably cause them to beat you up or kill you.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      …And then Pamela Geller comes along and organizes a “bikinis against sharia” event. Where women dress in bikini’s and walk through the same neighborhood. Several are assaulted, or raped, or someone opens fire on them. Would anyone really be blaming them for being so provocative in defense of their rights?

      • rickflick
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Oh, my yes. From some liberals no less, I bet.

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          I guess I meant would any rational person do that.

          • rickflick
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

            No. Hell no.

      • colnago80
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Well, right wing nutcase Phillis Schlafly once wrote that a woman who jogs in public in a jogging bra and shorts is asking to be the victim of rape.

        • Filippo
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          I contemplate what she would advise a strapping young man wear while on a mid-day jog in a neighborhood refulgent with bored housewives. 😉

    • muffy
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      +1111111111111111111111111111×100000000000

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Very good.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      It just occurred to me it’s even worse than that. It would be more like a woman is in a night club, or a swimming pool, and the young Muslims intentionally go there so they can be offended, and assault the woman. No one is displaying the cartoons in front of the young Muslims. They have to choose to look at them.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:56 am | Permalink

        “They have to choose to look at them.”

        Yes, they HAVE TO GO OUT OF THEIR WAY, greatly inconvenience themselves, to seek out an opportunity to be “OFFENDED.”

  54. cherrybombsim
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    “‘Islamophobe’—that is, somebody who hates Muslims rather than just Islam.”

    No. An Islamophobe is someone who is afraid of Islam, by definition. Someone who hates Muslims is a bigot. There is a middle ground where one can oppose some Islamic theology and rationalizations for bad behavior while not hating people for believing in the religion.

    Calling these people Islamophobes is just a way of infantalizing their opinions.

  55. merilee
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Excellent interview with two remaining members of Charlie Hebdo on Charlie Rose today. Not sure if this is all of it:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/charlie-hebdo-cartoonists-distance-themselves-from-texas-event-no-comparison/

  56. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    I know it’s a side issue but –

    “By the way, we now know that the two attackers, who were killed by a security guard carrying only a pistol, were both Islamic jihadists armed with assault weapons.”

    This is very odd. If these weren’t the most incompetent terrorists ever, they were certainly way up there in the running.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Not really odd. It is probably just a case of the security guard getting the drop on them first. Bound to happen on occasion even to well trained terrorists. The size of the weapon doesn’t matter as long as it is big enough for the circumstances. A pistol for two opponents at short range is very doable. Pistols actually have some advantages over assualt weapons at short ranges. The can be brought from rest to on target faster.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        Just – don’t miss!

  57. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    By the way, we now know that the two attackers, who were killed by a security guard carrying only a pistol, were both Islamic jihadists armed with assault weapons.

    Isn’t there a law against this in Texas?
    I thought that “always use a bigger gun than you need” was a moral – if not legal – obligation there, in which case the solitary security guard should have allowed himself to be shot by such overwhelmingly armed attackers.
    Next thing you know, we’ll have knife-wielding assailants being disarmed by empty-handed people, or bomb-wielding terrorists being impaled by people with pens. And where would the world be then, I ask you?

  58. Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Don’t turn your right to dissent over to terrorists, extremists and democrats.

    Ask your representatives:

    What are their views on Sharia Law?

    What do they think about the following statements:

    The West Will Tolerate Itself To Death.

    Why Do We Tolerate Violence Against Women?

    What are their plans to halt violence against women around world including:

    1) Female genital mutilation
    2) Punishing rape victims
    3) Honor killing
    4) Strapping bombs to children
    5) Sexually enslaving women
    6) Murdering homosexuals
    7) Child marriage
    8) Domestic Violence
    9) Disciplining or Punishing Wives

  59. Emerson
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Thinks got even worst. It seems that a death penalty fatwa was issued against Geller and a (*you name it*) guy defends on a TV show that she should be murdered: “Hannity and Pamela Geller Battle Anjem Choudary Who Says Geller Should Be Put to Death” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6s-JFnw15Q)
    Any surprise? No… .Crazy times we’re living in!

    • rickflick
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Again, Geller shows herself to be a vociferous proponent of free speech. No matter what else she is, her juxtaposition with the odious Choudary clearly shows her intent vs Islam and Sharia.
      It is also a situation where I *gasp* wholeheartedly agree with Hannity, praise be to Ceiling Cat.


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