Bad Journalism 101: LA Times Repeats Islamic Supremacist Talking Points In Covering Cancellation of Geller Speech


The LA Times weighs in on the craven cancellation by the LA Jewish Federation of my talk, in its predictable heavy-handed fashion. It gave more ink to three freakish Chomskyites who came to disrupt our protest than it did to the protesters themselves, who were far more numerous. There was no comment from the scores who came out to denounce the Federation's cowardice. And they gave ink to the lie of the Southern Poverty Law Center, without doing any research on whether I really ever said that Malcolm X was Obama's father, which I did not. This is journalism in 2012.

But that's irrelevant. The LA Jewish Federation should be ashamed of itself: look how it's making news — by providing fodder for Hamas-CAIR. Hamas-CAIR spokesman Hussam Ayloush, lovingly quoted in this piece, has repeatedly refused to condemn Hamas and Hizballah. Rojas also makes no mention of CAIR's ties to Hamas, the terror convictions of many of its leaders, or the uninidicted co-conspirator status the DoJ gave it during the largest terror funding trial in our nation's history. This is the Federation's ally. Several people have told me that they will not be donating another dime to the Jewish Federation. Perhaps the Federation can look for a big check from Hamas-CAIR or its Saudi bankrollers.

Notice he never goes near the principal point of my talk: that Jew-hatred is rooted in Islamic texts and teachings. Nor does he quote me, as does this article, about the subject matter of my talk. What a hack job. Contact the editor at editor@latimes.com or post to website using this URL.

Jewish group cancels speech by controversial author Pamela Geller Rick Rojas LA Times June 25, 2012

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Pamela Geller, the controversial author and activist, was set to deliver a lecture Sunday morning to the Zionist Organization of America that she had given many times before, billed by organizers as a revelation of the "root cause of war in the Middle East."

But instead of taking her place before the few dozen people inside the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Geller and those who had come to see her milled around the sidewalk on Wilshire Boulevard. The Jewish Federation, just hours earlier, canceled the event.

Cancellations, just like death threats — "I have a huge file of death threats," Geller says — are something of an occupational hazard, particularly after the Southern Poverty Law Center deemed her organization a hate group. Both Jewish and Islamic associations have condemned her as a "fear-monger."

But in this instance, she said, the Jewish Federation "cravenly submitted to Islamic supremacists who wanted to suppress free speech."

Officials with the federation declined to comment Sunday.

Geller came to prominence as a dogged and sharp-tongued critic of what she sees as the encroachment of Islamic law in the United States and the threat of radical Islam. She was also a fierce opponent of the Muslim community center that was to be built blocks from the World Trade Center.

The host of Sunday's event, the Western Region Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, said she would "discuss the motive behind Islam's war on the Jews, the war against Israel, and the 1,400-year-old hatred of Jews living in Muslim lands."

She hasn't always been an activist. "I assumed my freedom," she said. But that assumption was changed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I was shocked to my core," Geller said. "My basic premise was shattered: Freedom is not free; America is not forever. I felt guilty."

And while she says she became a defender of freedom, the Southern Poverty Law Center calls her "relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denouncements of Islam and makes preposterous claims." Among the latter, the center cites her claims of President Obama being the son of Malcolm X and a supporter of jihad.

An interfaith coalition of Jewish, Islamic and Christian groups expressed outrage Saturday over the federation allowing her to speak. "We are extremely shocked and alarmed to see a mainstream Jewish organization associating itself with one of the nation's leading Islamophobes," the statement said.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles, said he hoped that Geller's message as a "fringe speaker" would not distract from progress being made in Jewish and Islamic relations.

What progress? Until Muslims denounce and expunge from the Koran and Hadith the passages that call for the hatred of Jews and annihilation of the Jewish people, what progress can there be? Where are the Muslim groups that support Israel? Is there even one?

"We will not be affected by the noise of people who hopefully become more and more irrelevant," Ayloush said. "Unfortunately, outrageous rhetoric gets attention because it's outrageous, and Pamela Geller knows that very well."

Geller was quick to fire back at her critics: The Southern Poverty Law Center is a "notoriously left-wing communist organization." And the interfaith coalition? "It's not an interfaith coalition," she said. "It's a mob."

On the sidewalk in Beverly Grove, the small group protesting Geller were not Muslims, but fellow Jews.

Lauren Steiner, Dorothy Reik and Linda Milazzo hadn't planned on protesting outside. They had come to hear Geller speak, and were planning on confronting her with tough questions during the question-and-answer session.

The discourse quickly devolved into name-calling. Milazzo got into it with one of Geller's supporters. She called him "paranoid." He retorted that she and her cohorts were "disgusting."

It ended with members of the Zionist organization taking away Milazzo's sign, which said: "Pamela Geller's hate speech is not welcome in Los Angeles." Milazzo had used their paper and markers to make it, they said.

"I'm ashamed to be in the same religion as these people," Steiner said.

The crowd soon dissipated. Geller and her supporters moved to an event hall a few miles away. There, organizers said, Geller was able to give her speech without interruption.

It didn't occur to Rojas to actually attend the speech and see for himself whether or not it was "hateful." There's no journalism, no research. He just picked through the available leftist and Islamic supremacist talking points and ran a few of his favorites.

UPDATE: Other news coverage: The Jewish Forward buries the lede. No mention of J Fed in the headline.

Anti-Islamic Activist Blocked From LA Speech‎ Forward
 Protest prompts cancellation of anti-Muslim lecture in LA‎ Contra Costa Times
 Conservative blogger Pamela Geller says LA federation nixed her ‎ Jewish Telegraphic Agency
all 28 news articles »

UPDATE: Marty sent this in: "Here is a picture of ALL the CAIR "protestors" – not a single one – that was the reason the Federation cancelled the event."

UPDATE: Orit Arfa of ZOA has a well reasoned and paasionate argument here.

They call us haters—but read between the lines of what the Muslim Brotherhood backed groups say (CAIR, ICNA, etc). They don’t really act to thwart Islamic terrorists. They don’t really care if Jews are massacred. They’ll say Palestinians have no choice in their fake fight against the “The Occupation.” They have a choice. We ALL have choices. That’s how God created us. But they pose as civil rights activists.

If you are pro-civil rights, then the only rational choice you have is to be pro-Israel, the only country that respects individual rights in the Middle East.

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