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Jewish Groups Call on Modern Orthodox Great Neck Synagogue to Cancel Hate Group Leader’s Event

Geller and Lennon SION conference

Jon Moscow, a commenter on The Forward article summed up the reason why Geller speaking at the Synagogue is problematic quite nicely:

As Marjorie Dove Kent said, this is not a free-speech issue. Free speech has to do with governmental repression. No one is challenging that the synagogue has a legal “right” to have Geller speak. The question is whether it “should.” Geller is known for her hate speech. The well-respected Southern Poverty Law Center lists Stop Islamization of America, a group co-founded by Geller, as a “hate group,” specifically because it repeatedly expounds a view of all Muslims as terrorists, potential terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers. As Jews, we get upset when a Nazi or other anti-Semite is invited to speak at a religious or community center. As Jews and human beings, we should get equally upset when an Islamophobe like Geller is invited. It is sad that the synagogue has chosen to invite her. It would be much more appropriate for the synagogue to choose to be a platform for mutual understanding between Jews and Muslims.

U.S. Jewish groups call on synagogue to cancel anti-Muslim speaker

(via. Haaretz)

Leftist Jewish groups are calling on a Long Island synagogue to cancel a speech by an outspoken Jewish blogger known for her anti-Muslim views — raising questions about a double standard on free expression.

New York activist groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and Jews Say No! announced their opposition to a speech set for April 14th by Pamela Geller, an activist known for her extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric, at the Modern Orthodox Great Neck Synagogue.

In an email sent to JVP activists on April 3rd, the organization called on members to contact the Great Neck Synagogue and ask it to cancel the event. Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP’s executive director, told the Forward on April 4 that at least 50 people had contacted Great Neck Synagogue at the group’s behest.

“Our hope is that the synagogue will cancel her appearance,” Vilkomerson said. “The kind of venom that she spews against Islam is completely inappropriate for a synagogue.”

Geller, in response to the campaign against her event, criticized the leftist groups as insufficiently Jewish.

“Jewish history is plagued with these quislings, who are willing tools serving as the public face for supremacists and annihilationists,” she wrote in an email to the Forward. “The left uses these Jews to defame and destroy a Jew who is truly standing up for Israel and for the principles of freedom and human rights that the Jewish State represents. It’s inexcusable.”

The campaign comes weeks after some of the same leftist Jewish groups organized against efforts to cancel a panel on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement at Brooklyn College. One of the groups also opposed a decision by the LGBT Community Center in New York to block an appearance by a pro-BDS scholar.

One gay community activist, who opposed the BDS ban at the LGBT Community Center, slammed the leftist Jewish groups for their apparent free expression flip-flop.

“I’m startled [the leftist Jewish groups] didn’t learn any lessons from the controversies of two months ago at the Gay Center and at Brooklyn College,” said Bill Dobbs, a longtime gay activist. “They’ve lost the moral high ground.”

Vilkomerson said that JVP’s call for the cancellation of the event was not evidence of a double standard.

“We’re not the ACLU,” Vilkomerson said. “Our job is not to be absolute civil libertarians. We do believe in free speech, but we also believe there are limits to that… Our mission statement says we will always take a strong stand against racism and bigotry in all of its forms, and that’s part of this.”

Read more at the Forward

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  • Seeker

    Dear friend JSB, in honour of our friendship with you, we’ll feed you to the croc at the very end. You will be the very last person to be fed. No fears.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    Oh noes! How did you learn all about my Muslim friends? Or, are you just generalizing and assuming that every Muslim is the same?

    Even if you had any good points to make, it’s just too hard to get past that rank bigotry and the word eaten’ with the apostrophe at the end.

    And of course my Muslim friends don’t have “one iota” of love for me; that’s a Greek letter, silly!

  • Tanveer Khan

    Since when did people enjoy idiots talking?

  • Tanveer Khan

    For SIOA! Fooey the picture didnt come up.

  • Tanveer Khan

    You’re not very nice are you?

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Muslims (and any group for that matter) should never invite racists to their venues, just as this Synagogue should not allow itself to be used as a platform for a hate group leader. Unfortunately the leadership of the Synagogue seems to think its OK.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    What truth does Geller espouse, according to you Damon? The nuking of Tehran, Mecca, Medina? The destruction of the Golden Dome? Support for fascists and murderers?

  • Seeker

    I feel the same way about mindy. 🙂

  • I really agree with the idea that she’s entitled to her opinion but doesn’t need to be given a platform to share it. I know I wouldn’t want her hateful mouth in my synagogue. Then again, I’m a Jew who doesn’t agree with the way the Israeli government treats Palestinians. (Who really believes a word that comes out of Netanyahu’s mouth regarding peace?) But we’re the Jews who until the creation of J-Street tended to get shouted down by the AIPAC crowd who think there’s only one way to be Jewish and only one way to support Israel or think (badly) about the Palestinian people. Mutual understanding is *never* fostered when one side is clearly not making an effort, and I really doubt a person like Geller is interested in understanding anyway. (Of course, you could say the same sad thing for the Netanyahu government, too.)

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  • Wanderer

    It’s impossible to have a civilised disagreement with Pamela Gellar. Which is ironic, considering that she positions herself as a civilised person.

  • mindy1

    No, that’s nice to hear :D-ANTI HATERS UNITE!

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  • Nur Alia binti Ahmad

    We must learn to seperate Israel and Jews from the politcal Zionist regime that overwhelms the good and honourable people and thier religion and nation, and tends to drown out thier voices when they cry for peace.
    Political Zionism needs to go…be washed into the sea of oblivian, and free the people who want peace by reaching out to the rest of us.

  • Israel is a threat to world peace and it should NOT talk about self defence, it is not if you military occupy another country!

  • mindy1

    Jews against hate 😀 good to see 🙂

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    Best of Luck to them . Best if none turns up to her hate speach .
    Sir David

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