By Ted Belman
The Forward published a piece by Mitchell Plitnick, former Director of B’Tselem’s U.S. Office and former Co-Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, explaining, Why Pamela Geller’s Hate Speech Should Be Barred — But BDS Allowed. His thesis is predicated on this belief:
- Pamela Geller preaches venomous hatred of Muslims. She is one of the leading voices promoting the idea of “creeping Sharia” in the United States. Claiming that Islam, as a religion, is dedicated to eradicating Jews and eventually turning all others into Muslims by whatever means necessary is the very definition of hate speech.
As the video in the post just below points out, critics don’t attack Geller for what she says but makes false accusations about her and then attacks her for what they said she said.
I have know Pamela for 10 years now and follows her closely. She never preaches “venomous hatred of Muslims”. She does promote the idea that Americans and others are subject to creeping sharia. Good for her. Plitnick suggests that Sharia is not creeping. Bad for him.
Geller also unmasks Islam and attacks it for its political ideology and its disrespect for democratic norms. Somebody has to do it.
Plitnick provides the standard definition:
- Hate speech is communication that vilifies a person or a group based on discrimination against that person or group.
But for hate speech to rise to the level of a crime, it must incite to violence.
There is no room in this definition for the defense of the truth. In Gert Wilder’s trial for hate speech, the judges said that truth is irrelevant. In the simplest of terms, if you tread upon a Muslim’s sensitivities by telling the truth about Islam, he can accuse you of hate speech.
When he writes “Governments and political systems, however, can and must be criticized under any reasonable definition of free speech in an open society.” he doesn’t realize that Islam is not just a religion, it is a political system. And that is what Geller and the rest of us “Islamophobes” attack.
Plitnick believes that Zionism is a political point of view and so may be attacked. He writes:
- One might oppose BDS, consider it unfairly anti-Israel, or even consider it an unjust and threatening movement. But it is not hate speech, it is a political point of view.
So, in his book it is OK to work to destroy Israel but not OK to work to change political Islam. He obviously doesn’t believe that Islam is out to subjugate the world by any means.
While it is entirely acceptable to debate whether Israel is guilty of crimes or oppressive occupation, one must not apply double standards as that is an indicator of antisemitism. The BDS movement is guilty of this all the time.
But Plitnick disagrees:
- There is no evidence that the speakers at Brooklyn College and the LGBT Community Center, Judith Butler, Omar Barghouti and Sarah Schulman, ever engaged in hate speech.