Fashionable New Cowardice
By Robert Spencer
Without anyone really noticing, cowardice has overtaken the American public square, and is now widely retailed as if it were the sensible, proper response to violent Muslim intimidation.
Last week Newsday ran an opinion piece about Pamela Geller’s pro-freedom American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) ad in the New York subways: “Anti-jihad ads in subway may be legal, but they lack street-smarts,” by Joseph Dolman. And how exactly did the ads lack “street smarts”? Dolman says of Geller: “As a New Yorker who was present in Manhattan on 9/11, I can promise you, I don’t like jihadists any more than she does.” Then he adds: “But is it really wise to bait them? Right now? After what has happened in Egypt, Libya and Lower Manhattan (more than once)?”
In other words, if Muslims react violently to something, then the proper response of non-Muslims is not to stand up and condemn their bloody madness, and resist it by all possible means, but to practice self-censorship so as not to offend them.
Dolman is, unfortunately, not singular in his cowardice. He is one of many dhimmi commentators who have recently counseled submission to violent intimidation. Has everyone in the entire country forgotten that the only one responsible for one's actions is oneself? Has the entire world lost sight of the fact that if Muslims commit violence because of this ad or over any other pretext, the fault and responsibility will be theirs and theirs alone?
Then on Sunday, Pamela Geller appeared on ABC’s Up Close with the Leftist evangelical Christian leader, the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojournors. Wallis, after retailing the usual false charges that the AFDI ad promotes “hate,” claimed that people might get hurt because of Geller's ad, and repeatedly said to her: “Please stop talking.”
Note how thoroughly Wallis has absorbed the dhimmi mindset: he assumes that if Muslims become violent, it is the fault of non-Muslims, who must adjust their behavior in order to placate them.
The host showed that he held the same assumptions when he asked Geller why she was throwing a match into a powder keg. It didn't seem to occur either to him or to Wallis that the only people responsible for the actions of violent Muslims are the violent Muslims who commit them.
In response, Pamela Geller patiently explained to these cringing dhimmis some elementary principles of the freedom of speech and the necessity not to kowtow to violent intimidation. She skewered their tolerance of evil and eagerness to adopt dhimmi self-censorship to save their miserable skins.
Her performance was brilliant, but it was a shame that it all had to be done. More and more people in the public square are demonstrating an inability to grasp basic concepts regarding free speech and the responsibility for violent actions, and that bodes quite ill: the principle is being reinforced that all Muslims or anyone else have to do in order to silence speech that they don't like is start acting violently. Alan Dershowitz takes apart this idea in an excellent piece about the MTA's new regulations, which state that ads will be barred if people may react violently to them. Says Dershowitz: the new regulation "incentivizes people to engage in violence. What it says to people, is that if they don’t like ads, just engage in violence and then we’ll take the ads down."
We have already begun the process of testing this unconstitutional new regulation.
Pamela Geller will never stop talking. Nor will I. We will never accept dhimmitude and submission. We will never bow to violent intimidation. Joseph Dolman, Jim Wallis and other dhimmis ought to be deeply, deeply ashamed of the stance they've taken: they have validated and encouraged violence, hatred and oppression. If free people and free societies survive, they will be looked upon as suicidal fools.
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 is Did Muhammad Exist?.