Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Pamela Geller, the founder, editor, and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com. She is the executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), and is a regular columnist for World Net Daily, the American Thinker, and other publications. She is the author of Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.
FP: Pamela Geller, thank you for joining FrontPage interview today.
Pamela Geller: Thank you, Jamie.
FP: Pamela, you have placed ads nationwide saying: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
These ads have attracted a great deal of controversy. How Come?
PG: Jamie, this ad touched off a nationwide firestorm, with pundits and activists all over the country excoriating me for using the word “savage” to describe Islamic jihadists and supremacists. Leftists and Islamic supremacists denounced them as “racist” and “offensive.” For example, Ahmed Rehab of the Hamas-tied Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently denounced the ad on Chicago television, saying that since jihad is central to Islam, therefore “Defeat Jihad” means “Defeat All Muslims.” Then he says that because the ad refers to all Muslims, it is racist. These are two immense leaps of logic. We’re always told that the vast majority of Muslims reject jihad violence, but now suddenly when it comes to my ads, to refer to jihad means to refer to all Muslims. And of course Islam is not a race, and Muslims are not all members of a single race.
Rehab was not the only one. Dhimmi Jewish groups joined in as well. Leftist Christians and Jews put up counter ads. And most notoriously, CNN “journalist” Mona Eltahawy attacked the ad and my associate Pamela Hall with a can of spray-paint in the New York subway. She has since then stoutly defended her action on the grounds that my ad was “racist.” After her little act of fascism she had the gall to claim that she was merely exercising her freedom of speech.
However, recently the hypocrisy and double standards of the leftists and mainstream media has become clear. It turns out that using the word “savage” is not always racist and offensive.
FP: Really? When is the word “savage” not racist and offensive?
PG: Last Wednesday both the New York Post and the New York Daily News ran cover photos of “Palestinian” Muslims dragging the corpses of accused Israeli collaborators behind their motorcycles. Both used the caption “Savages.” And that wasn’t all. In Tunisian citizen Souhir Stephenson’s “Tunisia, a Sad Year Later,” published a week earlier in the New York Times, she wrote: “Tourism is dwindling. Who wants to vacation among bands of bearded savages raiding embassies, staking their black pirate flag over universities or burning trucks carrying beer?”
“Bearded savages.” This appeared in the Times just six weeks after the paper ran a piece calling my American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) subway ads “potentially inflammatory” and quoting Muneer Awad of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) calling me “a bigot and a racist” for the ad.
FP: What is the difference between the New York Times’s use of the word savage and your use of it?
PG: Or Hillary Clinton’s, for that matter? In a statement on September 12, she used the same word to characterize those who had attacked our consulate in Benghazi and murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials: “This was an attack by a small and savage group — not the people or Government of Libya.”
FP: Why is Clinton’s use of the word savage inoffensive but your use of the word is “racist”?
PG: It’s clearly hypocritical, Jamie. In all of these instances, we are all describing the same barbarians: Islamic jihadists who glory in violence and murder. So why is my ad unacceptable, but no one is angry with the New York Post, the Daily News, Souhir Stephenson or the Secretary of State?
My use of the word “savage” has been widely decried as “racist” and “dehumanizing.” Critics have invoked the use of the term to describe Native Americans and others in attempts to prove that any use of it is clear evidence of racist and even genocidal inclinations. But is any and every use of the word “savage” really some kind of thinly veiled call for genocide? Nonsense. Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the Nazis “savages.” And they were. Would Muneer Awad call him “a bigot and a racist” as well?
FP: Do the critics of your ad have anything at all to say about the very real savagery that is committed in the name of the jihad against Israel?
PG: No, Jamie. And that in itself raises questions about their real agenda. The AFDI ad refers not to all Muslims, as has often been claimed, but to those jihadis who rejoice in the murders of innocent civilians. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians. The targeting of civilians is savage. The murder of Ambassador Stevens was savage. The relentless 60-year campaign of terror against the Jewish people is savage. The torture of hostage Gilad Shalit was savage. The bloody hacking to death of the Fogel family was savage. The Munich Olympic massacre was savage. The unspeakable torture of Ehud Goldwasser was savage. The tens of thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel (into schools, homes, etc.) are savage. The vicious Jew-hatred behind this genocide is savage. The endless demonization of the Jewish people in the Palestinian and Arab media is savage. The refusal to recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state is savage. The list is endless.
FP: This kind of savagery goes on in the name of jihad on a daily basis around the world — and your ads are the problem?
PG: The recent uses of the word savage demonstrate the hypocrisy of the ad’s critics, and their moral myopia in identifying the resistance to savagery as worse than the savagery itself.
It is time for all genuine supporters of human rights to stand against the savagery that Hillary Clinton identified in Libya and that Souhir Stephenson rightly excoriates in Tunisia, and that is regularly celebrated as heroism in Gaza. But do the guardians of acceptable opinion have the courage to be consistent?
FP: Pamela Geller, thank you again for joining FP interview. And thank you for your courageous and noble fight on behalf of freedom and liberty.