Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pamela Geller Wins Right to Run Ads in Philly

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Pamela Geller Wins Right to Run Ads in Philly

By Matthew Vadum

A federal court has struck a blow for the First Amendment by ordering Philadelphia’s public transit system to accept an eye-opening ad that spotlights Islamic Jew-hatred and urges the United States to cut off foreign aid to Muslim countries.

The hard-hitting public service announcement, which contains a photograph of a real-life meeting between Adolf Hitler and Muslim leader and Nazi collaborator Hajj Amin al-Husseini, is sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which was co-founded by conservative leader and blogger Pamela Geller. AFDI placed the ad in New York City and Washington, D.C. public transit systems after litigating the matter in court. It has also attempted to place ads in transit systems in Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, and elsewhere.

It’s just the latest in a string of legal victories for Geller.

For example, in 2012 Geller won her legal fight to post an anti-Islamist ad in the New York City subway system. Quoting Ayn Rand, the ad read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” The ad was a response to ads in the NYC subway promoting Islam and others accusing Israel of a number of things including being an obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

In Geller’s view, Philadelphia desperately needs ads about the true nature of Islam because city council members there have honored Palestinian terrorist supporter Laila Ghannam. Ghannam, who is the District Governor of Ramallah for the Palestinian Authority, glorifies “some of the most horrific Palestinian terrorist murderers, presenting them as heroes and role models, and promising to follow in their path.” Ghannam has said that Islam sanctions the murder of Israeli civilians. Philadelphia also hosted the national anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions conference in 2012, which took place at the University of Pennsylvania.

It should be noted that Geller, an outspoken opponent of the Islamization of America and advocate of the State of Israel, has been the subject of over-the-top attacks from the Left for years. The more successful Geller is at warning of the dangers of Islamism, the viler the attacks on her become.

Last week the left-wingers at the Jewish Daily Forward attacked Geller for running a separate ad drawing attention to Jews that Geller believes are undermining Israel by supporting the New Israel Fund.

The New Israel Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has served as an administrator in the Middle East for Ford Israel Fund, which is an arm of the radical left-wing Ford Foundation. As FrontPage contributor Ronn Torossian has written, the New Israel Fund has “granted nearly $27 million to left-wing and progressive NGOs in Israel” and “systematically works to destabilize Israel.”

Criticizing left-wing Jewish leaders who back the fund constitutes “McCarthyism,” in the eyes of oped authors Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, and David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus of the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. They write:
Unfortunately, McCarthy’s tactics are apparently still alive and well in the Jewish community today. Ronn Torossian and Pam Geller have attacked Karen Adler, Alisa Doctoroff, Edith Everett, and Carol Zabar — among the most prominent leaders of our community — as supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel who seek to undermine the Jewish state. Torossian did so in a New York Post opinion piece and Geller’s group has sponsored bus ads repeating the charge.
Attacks from Geller and others “on these outstanding Jewish leaders reflect a disturbing new development in contemporary Jewish life,” Lipstadt and Ellenson write.

“Rather than disagree civilly and engage in polite and constructive debate there is name-calling and defamation. This is character assassination of the worst kind. Our community should not tolerate it,” they write. And then, after denouncing defamation, they engage in it, implying Geller and others are “the true enemies of the Jewish people.”

Meanwhile, AFDI’s black and white ad in Philadelphia reads “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.” It continues: “Two Thirds of All US Aid Goes To Islamic Countries. End All Aid To Islamic Countries. IslamicJewHatred.com.”

It features a photograph of a 1941 get-together between Adolf Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who is described as an ally of Hitler and a Palestinian leader. The photo caption reads, “Adolf Hitler and his staunch ally, the leader of the Muslim world, Hajj Amin al-Husseini.”

Al-Husseini helped the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. Waffen-SS members committed many war crimes, deporting Jews from Eastern Europe, guarding concentration camps, and massacring Jews and others.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) argues the ad runs afoul of “minimal civility standards” and the authority’s “anti-disparagement” policy and may appeal the ruling rendered last week by U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg.

Gino J. Benedetti, SEPTA’s general counsel, previously explained that he rejected the ad because he believed it “put every single Muslim in the same category [of] being a Jew hater.”

SEPTA concluded the ad is not protected speech
“because it utilizes deliberate or reckless falsehoods in order to demean a group based on its religion, uses intentionally provocative language and images in the hope of eliciting a violent response, and embraces the very hatred of religious groups it purports to condemn.”
But Judge Goldberg found that the Constitution’s free speech protections trump SEPTA’s efforts to prevent hurt feelings. SEPTA has carried ads promoting viewpoints on issues such as birth control, animal cruelty, fracking, and religion, he noted.

“It is clear that the anti-disparagement standard promulgated by SEPTA was a principled attempt to limit hurtful, disparaging advertisements,” Goldberg found. “While certainly laudable, such aspirations do not, unfortunately, cure First Amendment violations.”

The Philadelphia office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that is associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, maintains that the ad is “dishonest.”

“The court did what it had to do under the Constitution,” said Jacob Bender, executive director of CAIR-Philadelphia. “Now it is on all of us, Philadelphians of all faiths, to find a way to respond to these ads in a way that promotes truth and dialogue over ignorance and division.”

Except that the ad is entirely truthful. Antipathy towards Jews has been deeply ingrained in Islam since it began in the 7th century A.D.

The Koran demonizes Jews at length. The Islamic holy book attributes the following negative qualities and behaviors to Jews: dishonesty, argumentativeness, hypocrisy, wishing ill on others, taking pleasure in others’ suffering, arrogance, haughtiness, opportunism, impoliteness, murderousness, mercilessness, heartlessness, cowardice, and miserliness.

And an infamous hadith urges the mass slaughter of Jews by Muslims.

According to Sahih Muslim 6985, nature itself will rise up and help the followers of Mohammed exterminate the Jews:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a Hadith is a “record of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, revered and received as a major source of religious law and moral guidance, second only to the authority of the Qurʾān, the holy book of Islam.”

The entry continues,
It might be defined as the biography of Muhammad perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience. The development of Hadith is a vital element during the first three centuries of Islamic history, and its study provides a broad index to the mind and ethos of Islam.
A survey even found that 73 percent of 1,010 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza agreed with the hadith “quoted in [the] Hamas Charter about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones, trees.”

Clearly, Pamela Geller is onto something.

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