We don’t often reply to letters from readers in this space. But the words of reader Joan Swirsky cannot stand without response.
Swirsky wrote about an editorial in which we called activist Pamela Geller a “bigot” and criticized Great Neck Chabad for inviting Geller to speak on April 14.
She writes that “Geller is soft-spoken, often humorous, and the opposite of hateful.”
Really? Geller once posted a drawing on her blog of Muhammad with the head of pig superimposed over his own. She also said that Muslims have sex with goats.
When she was criticized for this, Geller responded by saying, “I don’t know where it is in America that you can’t make jokes or make fun.”
On her blog, Atlas Shrugs, she posted a mock photograph of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in a Nazi uniform and a doctored photograph showing President Obama urinating on an American flag and said the president had been involved as a youth with a “crack whore.”
That’s just a sample of Geller’s venom.
Swirsky asks if we would criticize an organization that invited a leader of the Klan or a Neo-Nazi to speak. Indeed we would, but as in the case of Geller, we would recognize their constitutional right to do so.
We would make an exception for a college or university that invited such vile people to participate in a debate-type format where their comments would be challenged.
That didn’t happen at Great Neck Chabad or when Geller spoke before the Nassau County Federation for Republican Women two weeks ago. Apparently the GOP on Long Island has written off everyone who worships in a mosque.
Swirsky then calls us “leftists” and compares us to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We’re proud to be in the company of that great American hero. She claims that FDR, “abandoned the Jews to Hitler’s annihilation.”
She is as ignorant of history as she is about the free press.
In a review of the book, “Roosevelt & Hitler: Prelude to War,” Robert Clive, writes that the author of this book “seeks to set the record straight by detailing how FDR worked relentlessly to involve the U.S. in a war against Hitler that the American people as a whole had no genuine interest in.”
We stand by our editorial and our belief that speakers who are divisive and hateful, even if they are “soft-spoken,” and “humorous,” should not be honored guests at religious or political events.