Screenshot of the Jewish Federations site advertising the Pamela Geller event. The page has apparently been scrubbed.
The event attracted attention last night when an interfaith coalition of activists sent out a press release denouncing the decision by “a mainstream Jewish organization” to host “one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes.” The LA branch is part of the Jewish Federations of North America, an establishment Jewish organization that has 155 branches across the country.
Geller promptly took to her blog to denounce the “craven capitulation of the Jewish Federation to Islamic supremacist Jew-haters.”
Geller posted what the Zionist Organization of America, which organized the event, announced to supporters this afternoon:
Unfortunately, with just a few hours notice, the Jewish Federation has backed down on its agreement to let us host Ms. Geller in their conference room. The topic: “Islamic Jew Hatred as the Root Cause of Failure to Achieve Peace.” As tenants of the Jewish Federation, the ZOA has the privilege of using the conference room with advanced notice, which the ZOA has with secured with the management weeks in advance.
While the Jewish Federation has expressed security concerns (which in and of itself bespeaks the intimidation tactics of Muslim groups), we believe that the Jewish Federation has succumbed to political pressure by Muslim and Left-wing Jewish groups not to let a rational voice of criticism of Islam and its war against Israel be heard on its premises. These Muslim and Jewish groups have blown up the blogosphere with lies about Ms. Geller and harsh criticism of the ZOA for hosting her at the Jewish Federation.
Geller and the ZOA are now encouraging people to protest outside the Federation building.
It would have been the second time a Jewish Federations branch has hosted Geller. In March of this year, Geller spoke in Philadelphia at the Jewish Community Services Building. The building is owned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, according to the Jewish Exponent, which reported that Geller was ”shocked Federation was allowing her to speak in this space and that she is usually shunned by Jewish groups.”
As the Electronic Intifada‘s Ali Abunimah notes, the events are an “example of the marriage between pro-Israel advocacy and open incitement against Muslims.”
Geller’s event was on “Islamic Jew-Hatred: The Root Cause of the Failure to Achieve Peace.” Mondoweiss last reported on Geller when she helped scuttle the naming of a day to celebrate Palestine in Oakland’s Alameda County.
Her group Stop Islamization of America has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and she was a main force behind the anti-Muslim fervor over Park 51, the planned Islamic community center in lower Manhattan. As the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) noted in a press release, Geller
once bragged that she uses a Quran, Islam’s holy text, as a doorstop. She also called for the demolition of a mosque in Florida, and she will be speaking along with the violent racist group English Defence League’s Tommy Robinson at an international event later this summer.
Geller is also an ardent right-wing Zionist. She told the New York Times that the “prism of Israel” is a “very good guide…because, like I said, in the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man.”
Here’s the statement from the coalition denouncing the Geller event. The groups include Jewish Voice for Peace, CAIR, American Muslims for Palestine and more:
We are extremely shocked and alarmed to see a mainstream Jewish organization associating itself with one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes who doesn’t hesitate to share the podium with European racists and whose admirers apparently include Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik. Religious leaders and institutions have an increased and urgent responsibility to promote tolerance and mutual understanding among all Americans, instead of giving aid and comfort to fear-mongers like Geller. Imagine how hurt Jewish community members would be, and rightly so, if they discovered American Muslims hosting an anti-Semitic speaker.