Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer Rail Against British Reporters Ahead of Planned UK Visit

As has been widely reported; from the Independent:

Right-wing American speakers planning to join the EDL’s Woolwich march ‘should be banned from entering the country’

The Home Secretary is understood to be considering a request to ban two of the people behind a campaign against New York’s “Ground Zero Mosque” from entering the UK.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who are among America’s most notorious anti-Muslim campaigners, have been invited to speak at an English Defence League rally in Woolwich to mark Armed Forces Day and the death of Drummer Lee Rigby. But the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz has written to Ms May expressing his concern and labelling them “incendiary speakers”.

…Neither Ms Geller nor Mr Spencer responded to requests for comment.

I expect that the two will be excluded from the UK on the catch-all grounds that their presence is deemed to be “not conducive to the public good” – other Americans who have been banned from entry on these grounds in recent years include the abusive anti-Islam polemicist Michael Savage and the faith healer Todd Bentley.

Spencer previously visited the UK in 2009, although at that time he wanted no association with the nascent EDL and he made noises about “libel” when it was suggested he had met figures from the group. For a time, Geller was ambivalent about the EDL, although she finally cemented links a year ago. In September, Yaxley-Lennon and Kevin Carroll attended an event organised by Geller in New York, which involved Yaxley-Lennon using someone else’s passport to enter the USA. Yaxley-Lennon’s subsequent arrest over the passport fraud was described by Geller as “shariah inspired victimisation”, and he and Geller asked Americans to make donations for his legal defence.

The Independent report  – by Kevin Rawlinson – has not been received well by Spencer:

Why is it “right-wing” to fight for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for all people?…

“Anti-Muslim”: Leftists and Islamic supremacists favor this label because it implies that those who are fighting for freedom are actually against a particular group, and want to deny them rights rather than protect the rights of all…  We never speak about “all Muslims” in any way, or call for any illegal action or any action at all against innocent people.

… Rawlinson is lying outright. He made no attempt to contact me.

As ever with Spencer, the affected righteous outrage ignores a few issues.

First, it’s clear that Geller and Spencer are right-wing: Geller describes Barack Obama as a “mad commie clown”, and she has promoted claims that he is a secret Muslim and that there are mysteries about the circumstances of his birth and parentage (although she objects  bitterly when anyone brings up an article that appeared on her website promoting the thesis that Obama’s father was Malcolm X, on the grounds that the piece was written by someone else and that she only semi-endorses its  claims). They are also both closely allied with conservative groups and individuals.

Second, while it’s true that Geller and Spencer do pay lip-service to a distinction between “anti-Muslim” and “anti-Islam”, I’m not convinced that it’s anything more than a paper-thin rhetorical strategy – I discussed a libel action threat made by Geller over the anti-Muslim label here, and a similar complaint by Spencer here. Their allies include  Babu Suseelan, a Hindu militant who claims that Muslims “breed like rats” but that Islam can be “wiped out”, and it was only bad publicly that prompted the two to cut links with John Joseph Jay, a man who openly called for violence against Muslims and others.

Meanwhile, Rawlinson has responded to the claim that he is “lying outright” by posting a screenshot of his request, which was sent to the Facebook page of their Stop Islamization of America organisation.

Rawlinson is not the only British media figure to be facing the duo’s wrath; an article in the Huffington Post by Jessica Elgot described them as “far-right, anti-Islam”, prompting Geller to call Elgot “a less than affable Eva Braun”. The insult was derived from an old piece of abuse by Ann Coulter against Katie Couric; Elgot, who is Jewish and formerly worked for the Jewish Chronicle, says that the “the sheer volume of Nazi-themed insults” is “quite baffling”.

10 Responses

  1. I really don’t see why they should not be allowed to come here. Most people in the UK have never heard of them, and from your own post you acknowledge that they do not incite violence. Yes, they have very strong views which are not very palatable to progressives, but this hardly seems like a good reason to ban them.

    Your first point, that “it’s clear that Geller and Spencer are right-wing” is perhaps worded badly, but it reads as if being right-wing is in some way ‘bad’. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with having right-wing politics, and secondly as Spencer rightly says, being concerned for freedom is not an exclusively right-wing concern.

  2. Just noted in passing: Your reference in the article to “John Joseph Ray” is linked to another of your articles which repeatedly refers to “John Joseph Jay” as the individual calling openly for violence against Muslims.

    You may want to correct the name, as any small discrepancies of this sort are routinely used by the Right as an excuse to dismiss an argument in toto: “Obviously he doesn’t even know who he is talking about! (rant rant skree)”

  3. Ugh, I’m not much of a fan of Spencer’s, but it looks like his “he made no contact to contact me” claim is valid. The screenshot that Rawlinson posted simply gives his name and no actual contact information.

    • It’s pretty obvious that the contact info is below his name and has simply been cropped. Besides which, it was posted on Facebook, so he could have been contacted via his FB account.

  4. The point, surely, is that Geller and Spencer should be banned because they are coming to the UK with the intention of inciting hatred against the Muslim community. They claim that, contrary to the Independent report, they won’t actually be speaking at the Woolwich demonstration, but the EDL will undoubtedly provide them with some other platform to spread their message of hate. If anyone attacked Jews in the same way that Geller and Spencer attack Muslims, there wouldn’t be the remotest possibility of them being allowed into the UK.

  5. Richard Bartholomew

    Speaking of the UK, Here’s some good news that’s most likely really going to make Geller Angry, assuming she doesn’t already know.

    Jewish Patrol Group Shomrim Offers Protection to Mosques Amid Rise in Hate Attacks

  6. “Second, while it’s true that Geller and Spencer do pay lip-service to a distinction between “anti-Muslim” and “anti-Islam”, I’m not convinced that it’s anything more than a paper-thin rhetorical strategy.”

    Indeed. Anyone who doesn’t agree with them is either an Islamic supremacist or an Islamic supremacist apologist. And Jessica Elgot is also apparently (same piece you link to) ‘pro-jihad’.

    The Council of ex-Muslims’ Forum is also, according to Spencer, tools of Islamic supremacists. This is quite a funny idea. Here are parts of a comment he left on Harry’s Place.

    “CEMB is just as bad or worse as those Islamic supremacists they purport to reject. They further the baseless defamation and smearing of counter-jihad groups and individuals as “far right nationalists,” … In short, they are worse than useless, and are useful tools of the Islamic supremacists they ostensibly oppose.”

    • Sarah AB,

      Wouldn’t be surprised than if he openly stated that Hassan or Maryam Namazie were secret Muslims who are only pretending to have abandoned Islam so they deceive non Muslims. Man what a joke the “counter Jihad” is.

  7. This would make them qifanums, I guess.

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