Yesterday I wrote a post discussing certain liberals who say Pam Geller spouts hatred but who defend her right to do so. Some of them don’t even feel the need to give quotes or details in order to illustrate this supposed hate of Geller’s.
One, however—Jonathan Zimmerman—offered these examples of Geller’s hatemongering statements:
A few years ago, I invited Pamela Geller to visit the class that I teach about “culture wars” in the United States. Geller had recently spearheaded a campaign to block the construction of a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attacks. I wanted my students to understand why.
Moments into her remarks, the answer became clear: Pamela Geller is an anti-Islamic bigot who couldn’t care less about the facts. Geller said the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” was just the tip of a gigantic plot to “Islamicize” America. She warned that states and localities might adopt Sharia law, which would legalize polygamy and child marriage. And all of that would happen with the blessing of the “pro-Muslim” President Obama, whom Geller said could be a closet Muslim himself.
Geller herself came into the comments section of Zimmerman’s article to write this note about what Zimmerman had claimed she said that day:
Here is the video of the entire talk I gave to “Professor” Zimmerman’s class. It shows what a bald-faced liar he is. I never said the things he ascribes to me. Shame on Zimmerman and Politico.
She posts a link to the video after that, but I’ll give you the video itself. It’s long; a little over an hour, with the last 47 minutes or so devoted to a question and answer period she had with the students. Geller’s speech lasted about the first twelve minutes. Since Zimmerman had said that “moments into her remarks” Geller had revealed herself to be “an anti-Islamic bigot who couldn’t care less about the facts,” I figured I wouldn’t have to listen long to hear the type of hateful and fact-falsifying comments to which he referred.
I waited. And waited some more. I listened to the first 30 minutes of the video, and nowhere in that portion did I hear Geller say anything that I thought could reasonably be interpreted as Zimmerman portrays it. Perhaps she gets around to it somewhere in the last half of the question and answer period; I stopped listening when I got to minute thirty because all I had heard until then from her were very reasonable remarks, and I didn’t have unlimited free time at my disposal. Zimmerman had written that her bigotry, disregard of facts, and those other statements had occurred “moments into her remarks,” and I had given it much more than what are ordinarily regarded as “moments.” I heard nothing of the sort.
What did the video actually reveal? A libertarian position, including statements such as the fact that we need to offer support to moderate Muslims, because after all, “Who has suffered more at the hands of jihad than Muslims?”
She also says, “You can’t criticize Islam without being called a racist;” that certainly seems to be true, although “bigot” is the more popular descriptor these days. At minute 20:28 she makes it quite clear once again that she’s not accusing all Muslims. And around minute 22:20, as she is about to mention to the class an FBI statistic involving the number of hate crimes against Muslims, she adds as caveat, “Everybody check everything I say; I insist.” Doesn’t sound much like a disregard of the facts to me.
Watch and decide for yourself (and if there’s suddenly a lot of hatred expressed by Geller in the last 30 minutes, please let me know):
[NOTE: Here’s more about Jonathan Zimmerman. He’s a professor of education and history at NYU. He writes many op-eds, and on Philadelphia’s NPR he “discusses contemporary news events in historical perspective…In 2008 he received NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest teaching honor.”]