Guardian

Guardian/AP falsely describes org founded by Pamela Geller as a ‘pro-Israel group’


Pamela Geller peddles in conspiracy theories, makes common cause with extremists, and advances hyperbolic, divisive and extremely misleading narratives about the so-called threat of “Islamization” of the United States. Geller was even banned from entering the UK by Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, “on the grounds that her statements may foster hatred and provoke violence due to her extreme views”.

Here’s just one example of the kind of vitriol found on her blog. 

“Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords.”
— Pam Geller, AtlasShrugs.com, April 13, 2010

Geller has also reportedly claimed that “President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X, that Obama was once involved with a “crack whore.”

On April 1st, the Guardian published an Associated Press (AP) report on an anti-Islam bus ad campaign in Philadelphia sponsored by one of Geller’s groups.

Here’s the ad.

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In the headline of the Guardian article (Hitler ads from pro-Israel group begin running on Philadelphia transit buses), and in the text,  Geller’s American Freedom Initiative is characterized as a “pro-Israel group”.

Here’s the opening passage of the article.

The ads from the pro-Israel American Freedom Defense Initiative will appear on 84 buses. One features a 1941 photograph of Hitler and supporter Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist.

However, if you look at site in question (and other sites affiliated with Geller and her campaign), they don’t claim to be “pro-Israel” groups. Their focus is clearly on opposing Islam and putatively championing “free-speech“. 

Here’s the mission statement of American Freedom Defense Initiative:

The American Freedom Defense Initiative is a new organization launched by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Our objective is to go on the offensive when legal, academic, legislative, cultural, sociological, and political actions are taken to dismantle our basic freedoms and values.

AFDI acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, the ever-encroaching and unconstitutional power of the federal government, and the rapidly moving attempts to impose socialism and Marxism upon the American people.

Indeed, mainstream pro-Israel groups like Anti-Defamation League have condemned Geller and the anti-Islam message of the Philly bus ad.

Though Geller supports Israel, that position alone doesn’t warrant characterizing her movement as a “pro-Israel” group. The Guardian article unfairly smears pro-Israel groups by associating them with Geller’s extreme views, and we urge editors to revise the text and headline accordingly. 

20 replies »

  1. Regardless, the Guardian’s highlighting – indeed implying – an association between this group and Israel is disingenuous at best, and wholly in keeping with its policy to present Israel as wholly disreputable and unconscionable in its actions and policies, this consistently and tediously demonstrated by numerous examples of it failing to live up to standards asked of no other country.

  2. Even Israel is entitled to choose to regard attitudes as being representative of them or not.
    Most Israelis according to the way they have voted in the recent national elections, would shun her extreme views.

    The Guardian shows its lack of empathy or sensitivity here

  3. UK Media Watch’s comment is so over-the-top ridiculous that it is difficult to know where to begin.
    You tell us that because AFDI’s mission statement does not specifically state that it is pro-israel, The Guardian should not state that AFDI is pro-Israel when it so obviously is.
    Since when do mission statements have the force of law?
    Kudos to the first commenter.
    As for evasalzman, The Guardian, in highlighting an association between AFDI and Israel, is telling the truth and dealing in facts.
    UK Media Watch does not tell the truth and does not deal in facts.
    Rather, UK Media Watch presents pro-Israel propaganda as facts and truth.
    For shame!
    My comments also apply to Nahliele..

    • ‘Rather, UK Media Watch presents pro-Israel propaganda as facts and truth.’

      No. But The Guardian and The BBC, are notorious presenting ant-Israel propaganda as facts and truth.

    • David, I honestly don’t understand your argument. Despite the fact that the group which placed the ad clearly is focused obsessively on combatting Islam, the Guardian’s sole descriptive is “pro-Israel”. One of their positions is pro-Israel, but that is clearly not their focus or their mission, as you can tell if you check out their website. http://freedomdefense.typepad.com/ The passage is extremely misleading, as it would convince the average reader that a group dedicated to defending Israel placed an ad denigrating Islam, thus reinforcing the prejudices about Zionism (and Zionist supporters) already held by most Guardian style radical leftists.

      • @Adam Levick –

        “One of [the AFDI’s] positions is pro-Israel, but that is clearly not their focus or their mission… The passage is extremely misleading, as it would convince the average reader that a group dedicated to defending Israel placed an ad denigrating Islam, thus reinforcing the prejudices about Zionism…”

        On this, I do agree with you – but only up to a point.

        The Guardian could hardly avoid describing the AFDI as “pro-Israel” altogether in this context, since the ad explicitly portrays Palestinians (with whom Israel is in conflict) as posing a Hitler-level threat. It should, however, have – at very least – informed readers that AFDI involvement in pro-Israel campaigns had been rebuffed by prominent mainstream Jewish and Zionist organisations such as the ADL.

        What you, meanwhile, are downplaying – far too far in my opinion – is the EXTENT to which “supporting Israel” figures in the AFDI anti-Islam agenda. Take a look a little beyond the Mission Statement preamble you quote, and you’ll find a list of ways the group “acts against … evils”, which includes:

        “Organizing counter protests to anti-Israel, anti-Zionism demonstrations”.

        I don’t know how often these protests (NB, plural) have occurred, but the AFDI’s current campaign under a “Pro-Israel” banner is certainly not a one-off. In 2012, for example, its bus adverts bore the message, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man … Support Israel. Defeat Jihad” (See http://en.qantara.de/content/anti-muslim-sentiment-in-canada-and-the-us-playing-on-peoples-fears ).

        By not facing up – fully – to the AFDI’s parasitic attachment to Zionism, you may well find your complaint of “extremely misleading” media reports on this group very hard indeed to sustain.

  4. The Guardian is anti-Israel. They should have that as a disclaimer in every article of this kind. (And I agree completely that Geller is way out of bounds with her blanket hatred of Islam. At one point she even dredged up and repurposed the “kosher tax” theme by stating that there was a “hallal tax”.)

  5. This has to be dumbest post by Cifwatch since its inception,….

    ““Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords.”

    And is it not what we are seeing in Switzerland today ?

    It is 100% Truth ! As were 90% of her warnings about Obama in her and Robert’s book, the Post American President

    Geller never alleged Obama was Xs son….. She posted a page from a blog which, on another page had an article to that effect.
    This was debunked in 2008…..

    Also how can Geller be a racist? Is Cifwatch now also considering Islam a race?

    As for her being banned from New Pakistan (sorry…the United Kingdom) ….It was precisely for her Zionist views which the British Dhimmi class considered to be too provocative for its Muslim savage population …. That riots would ensue upon the sight of such “big Zionists”.

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/uk-banned-robert-spencer-and-pamela-geller-for-pro-israel-views/

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/robert-spencer/banned-from-britain-for-supporting-israel/

    Perhaps Cifwatch should try to get its own ads on buses to counter the constant libels and slanders against Israel constantly appearing on adverts on transit in N America instead of attacking other Jews and defending Obama while he carves up the Middle East among Sunni and Shia Jihadis all bent on destroying Israel…

    Obama has set the region on fire and showed himself as the most anti Israel president in US history. Antisemitism is now mainstream in American culture …. Hope and Change… Israel is blamed for all the troubles in the region and Jewish and pro Israel politicians are accused of dual loyalties and racism against this ghastly ball of antisemitic puss sitting in the WH !

    The ad is showing Amin Al Husseini who was a confidant of Himler and who planned a concentration camp in Nablus to greet the Jews fleeing the holocaust . He is a fact of history as is the antisemitsm in the Koran which drives Arab and Muslim rejection of Israel and which inspires hate and fear of Jews and Judaism.

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2150

    Here’s Alan Dershowitz on the subject https://books.google.com/books?id=UG4_QXdpFQUC&pg=PT71&lpg=PT71&dq=mufti+of+jerusalem+concentration+camp+alan+dershowitz&source=bl&ots=2GKDwlZ2LK&sig=4h367NxkNJTAU353kaq9hNA0GrI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=w1EdVam4J43aoASx9YLgDg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=mufti%20of%20jerusalem%20concentration%20camp%20alan%20dershowitz&f=false

      • No, but the Guardian is claiming that Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and undisputed father and leader of the Palestinian Arab National Movement, and ideological mentor of Yassir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, was merely “a Palestinian Arab nationalist.” Because the bus ad makes it so obvious that the Grand Mufti was a supporter of Hitler and the Final Solution, in fact, a very eager supporter, the Guardian must downplay the role his role in the movement that he actually founded and headed as if he were just some guy.
        Please tell me how Geller is any more extreme than some of the haters whom the Guardian has invited to write for them at various times about the I/P conflict and those whom they support. The Guardian is a hypocritical scum-filled hate rag.

  6. ‘Hitler ads from pro-Israel group begin running on Philadelphia transit buses’

    Except the advertisement nowhere mentions Israel or even Zionism. Only Islam and Jews. The use of Haj Amin Al Husseini could be used to characterize the advertisement as anti-Palestinian. The main thrust of Geller’s group has always been anti-Islamic, yet nowhere does the Guardian article mention this fact. Neither Islam nor Muslims, the posters chief intended target, are mentioned at all, directly or indirectly.

    Not mentioning that e.g. the ADL condemned the campaign beforehand is semi-truth-telling i.e. lying, though, I think. It looks like the Guardian is trying to use Geller’s campaign to tarnish Israel supporters as automatically anti-Islamic or Islamophobic, by making ‘Pro-Israel’ implicitly ‘Islamophobic’ or ‘anti-Islamic’; rather than accurately reporting who, what and whence Geller and her campaign really is i.e. for much the most part anti-Islamic and Islamophobic themselves

    [by the way, the above commented, written under the Guardian article, was deleted]

    It’s admittedly very subtle, but nevertheless existential, I think.

    Nevertheless Geller is an embarrassment to pro-Israel supporters.