by Robert Spencer
It is good, and rather surprising in today's climate, to see the San Francisco Examiner, in an unsigned editorial, come out for Pamela Geller's free speech rights and say that her pro-Israel ads should be allowed to run. However, the Examiner predictably enough retails Islamic supremacist talking points in branding the ad "offensive," "bigoted," "hateful" and even "repulsive." Even the title of the editorial itself shows how unhappy and even embarrassed the Examiner’s editorial writer is to have to be coming out in favor of these ads running: “Hateful bus ads are free speech."
The ad in question says: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The Examiner notes that “the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization so extreme it has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, purchased the ads.” It is no surprise that the Examiner doesn’t bother to tell its luckless readers that the SPLC is a Leftist organization devoted to demonizing conservative individuals and groups by branding them as “hate groups” and lumping them in with the likes of the Ku Klux Klan. It doesn’t specify, of course, what it thinks is hateful about AFDI’s dedication to the defense of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights of all people before the law.
The Examiner also doesn't bother to explain why it thinks the ad is ad "offensive," "bigoted," "hateful" and even "repulsive," but objections to the ad have revolved around two related claims: that it calls everyone who sides with the "Palestinians" against Israel, or every Muslim or every Arab, a "savage," and that the people who are opposed to Israel are not savages. The ad doesn't actually refer to all supporters of the Palestinian jihad, or all Muslims or all Arabs, but that claim has nevertheless been widely repeated in the mainstream media. It actually refers to the Palestinian jihadis who glory in the murders of innocent civilians.
Take, for example, Ahlam Tamimi, who helped murder 16 Israelis in a pizzeria. She recently appeared on al-Aqsa TV and recounted the joy of the "Palestinians" as radio reports on the jihad attack increased the number of dead: "Two minutes later, they said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn't. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding."
Is it savage to take pleasure in the mass murder of innocent civilians? Yes, it is. And it is not actually "hateful," or "bigoted," or "offensive" or "repulsive" to say so. Glorying in the murders of innocent human beings is hateful, offensive, and repulsive, and stems in this case from Islamic bigotry and Jew-hatred. But the Examiner wouldn't dream of upsetting liberal pieties by noting that.
And as Pamela Geller has explained: “The rush to assure the world that the ‘Palestinian’ jihadists are not savages amazes me. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians. The targeting of civilians is 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.”
The San Francisco Examiner is covering itself with shame in its moral equivocation on this point, and its effectively running interference for these murderers and their apologists. At very least, as supposedly evenhanded journalists, the Examiner's editorialists could have noted that some consider the ads hateful, and presented our side of the story. But that would have interfered with their propaganda line.
Covering themselves with shame also are those on the Right who are too cowardly, pusillanimous, cowed by the Left, or self-serving to speak up in defense of Pamela Geller, the freedom of speech, and these ads.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available.