In a recent blog post, anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller labeled Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel a political “opportunist” for turning up to a pro-Israel rally on July 21 in New York City. Incidentally, Geller seized the very same opportunity to spread her own intolerant message.
As it always has, Geller’s staunch support for Israel runs parallel with her disdain for Muslims and Islam. So it is no surprise that she used the demonstration as a platform to spread her anti-Muslim propaganda.
“I urge you to stand with Israel today, for if you don’t, the devil will be at your doorstep tomorrow,” Geller told the crowd.
Geller was among hundreds of protesters who showed up on New York’s streets in support of Israel’s ground assault on Gaza. The three-week-long conflict, which has already resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of children, and more than 50 Israelis, has sparked protests on all sides of the issue. The organizers for last week’s demonstration, however, saw fit to invite the known firebrand Geller to address the crowd.
To drive her point home, Geller chose to incorporate her notorious message that equates Muslims with savages.
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, you support the civilized man, you support Israel, defeat jihad,” she told the crowd.
Author Nathan Lean describes this tactic and agenda in his book The Islamophobia Industry. Lean writes, “The issue of Israel is closely linked to the issue of Islamophobia.” He also documents the ways “pro-Israeli magnates” have financially supported the Islamophobia industry and shows how the prevailing anti-terrorist agenda has “allowed Israel to push forward with its brutal policies against the Palestinians.”
This was not the first time New Yorkers had been exposed to this blatant anti-Muslim message. In 2012, Geller’s organization the American Freedom Defense Initiative purchased ad space to display the “savage” message in subway stations all over the city. The group has since exported the ads to other major cities nationwide.
This was also just an extension of Geller’s framework. For years, Geller has been vocal in her belief that there is a grand Muslim plot to conquer Western society, especially from within.
The minute they welcomed Geller to speak for them, the protest organizers lost any credibility they may have had. By doing so, they allowed her the opportunity to undermine true dialogue around the Middle East conflict and carry forward her message of hate and intolerance.