Wednesday, August 11, 2010

@SarahPalinUSA, Finding Racist Extremism on the Right Is Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Hey, ex-Gov. Palin, we’re starting to see a trend here.

We’ve talked before about the planned Cordoba House Islamic center in New York City (here, here and here), which Fox News and the shrieking right like to call the “Ground Zero Mosque” – even though it’s neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque – but it’s worth revisiting if only because it has proven to be a veritable bottomless pit of right-wing histrionics. It’s the gift that keeps giving, so to speak, if the gift you’re looking for happens to be Islamophobic lunacy.

And speaking of lunacy, few conservatives plumb the depths of crazy quite like one Pamela Geller, the wild-eyed banshee of right-wing Muslim-bashing. Ms. Geller, you may recall, believes that al Qaeda “is Islam” and once nearly swooned when a guest on Sean Hannity’s propaganda show said that moderate Islam “doesn’t exist.” Not surprisingly, she also has a big problem with Cordoba House:

The Ground Zero mosque is an offensive insult, it’s a stab in the eye. I have no problem with mosques across the city. But we’re talking about history, and Islamic history, of building triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands.

“A stab in the eye”? That’s a little melodramatic, even for Pamela Geller.

But if you think Pam’s a bit, well, nuts when it comes to Islam generally and to the Cordoba House in particular, wait’ll you get a load of her partners in crime – John Joseph Jay and David Yerushalmi. These two are worse than the worst parody of right-wing hate and paranoia. But don’t take my word for it; here’s the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch on Mr. Jay:

Nobody on the far right, it seems, has been able to surpass Geller for anti-Obama epithets with a Muslim-bashing twist. She has called the president “a third worlder and a coward” who is anxious to “appease his Islamic overlords.” On another occasion, she wrote that Obama “wants jihad to win.” But now a founding board member of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) — a group founded by Geller, apparently to act as an umbrella for the SIOA [Stop the Islamization of America] she co-founded — is doing his best to be even more vitriolic than her. His rants, coupled with his apparently close relationship to Geller, cast new doubt on Geller’s already extremely doubtful claim to be a reasonable critic of Muslims and Islam generally.

According to the Daily Kos, AFDI board member John Joseph Jay recently has posted a series of truly vicious anti-Muslim rants — apparently without the benefit of a capital letter function on his computer. “if islam kills non-believers as a matter of religious doctrine, then why should muslims expect to be free of retribution in the name of those islam kills?” he wrote. “why should muslims get a free pass? if it is right for muslims to kill non-believers, then why is it no less right for the rest of us to kill muslims?”

In another screed, the Daily Kos said Jay wrote: “there are, friends, no ‘innocent’ muslims. they obey. and they obey the dictates of the koran on jihad. and, they obey the commands of local clerics. in this, they have no choice. because, friends, there is no ‘free will’ in islam, one obeys the dictates of allah.”

Um, what? Pamela Geller’s associate in the stop-the-mosque nonsense advocates genocide? And yet Ms. Geller is a regular guest on Fox News. Whoa.

But, it seems that Mr. Jay wouldn’t be satisfied with anti-Muslim genocide. Nope. He’s apparently looking for all-out revolution here at home:

Last month, Jay expanded on his advocacy of violence against Muslims to include people in positions of power. He commented on his blog about a magazine article regarding America’s “ruling class” as follows: “friends, if you wish to retain and preserve individual virtue, you are going to have to kill in order to do so. if we are to excise the ruling class, it will be with violence. they used violence to attain their privilege, they use it nakedly in the form of the s.i.e.u. [an apparent reference to the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union] and black panther thugs in elective politics to maintain it, they contemplate relocation camps to preserve it. … buy guns. buy ammo. be jealous of your liberties. and understand, you are going to have to kill folks, your uncles, your sons and daughters, to preserve those liberties.”

I’m going to have to kill members of my own family? That’s taking the old “Tree of Liberty” thing a bit too far, don’t you think?

And then there’s Ms. Geller’s lawyer, David Yerushalmi, whos helped Geller’s “American Freedom Defense Initiative” organization place anti-mosque ads on New York’s public transportation system. Says Charles Johnson:

This is a good time for some background information on Pamela Geller’s associate David Yerushalmi, who is an advocate for criminalizing Islam itself and imposing 20-year sentences on practicing Muslims. Yes, really.

He’s not simply anti-Muslim, though; Yerushalmi also wrote a now-infamous article titled “On Race: A Tentative Discussion, Part II,” in which he advocated a return to a pre-Bill of Rights Constitution, and the restriction of voting rights to white male land-owners. Again … yes, really.

Here’s a lengthy article at Talk To Action on the bizarre views and causes of David Yerushalmi: Anti-Semitic White-Supremacist Orthodox Jew Tries To Ban Islam In US.

Yerushalmi has deleted as much evidence of the “On Race” article as he could; he removed it from the Internet Archive and the Google cache, and put his entire website behind a registration wall. But here’s a PDF that contains the full article, and it’s as ugly and twisted a piece of racism as anything I’ve ever seen. Yerushalmi opens by calling Islam “an evil religion,” and “blacks … the most murderous of peoples.”

A quote:

There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote. You might not agree or like the idea but this country’s founders, otherwise held in the highest esteem for their understanding of human nature and its affect on political society, certainly took it seriously. Why is that? Were they so flawed in their political reckonings that they manhandled the most important aspect of a free society - the vote? If the vote counts for so much in a free and liberal democracy as we “know” it today, why did they limit the vote so dramatically?

Well, at least Yerushalmi only wants to criminalize the practice of Islam, as opposed to actively killing practitioners of the faith. But really. These are the folks supposedly respectable Pamela Geller hangs out with.

More to the point, this is the true nature of the opposition to Cordoba House. They’re not people who worry about the feelings of 9/11 victims and their families. They’re not people who are themselves pained by the idea that an Islamic center would be built in the vicinity of Ground Zero, nor are they people who really believe Ground Zero is sacred ground. They’re just haters, plain and simple. They hate Muslims, and, if Mr. Jay and Mr. Yerushalmi are any indication, they democracy and they hate African Americans too.

But there’s no racism on the right, eh, Ms. Palin?