Monday, June 25, 2012

After Pressure, Jewish Federation Cancels Event Featuring anti-Muslim Speaker

Pamela Geller is probably one of the best known "experts" on Islam who gained tons of media attention for her anti-Muslim rhetoric after founding Stop the Islamization of America, an organization that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Geller was supposed to speak this past Sunday at an event sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America and hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles on the topic ""Islamic Jew-Hatred: The Root Cause of the Failure to Achieve Peace." 

An interfaith coalition, including our member groups American Muslims for Palestine and LA Jews for Peace, released a statement of concern asking that the Jewish Federation stand up against bigotry and cancel the event.
"We are extremely shocked and alarmed to see a mainstream Jewish organization associating itself with one of the nation's leading Islamophobes who doesn't hesitate to share the podium with European  racists and whose admirers apparently include Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik. Religious leaders and institutions have an increased and urgent responsibility to promote tolerance and mutual understanding among all Americans, instead of giving aid and comfort  to fear-mongers like Geller. Imagine how hurt Jewish community  members would be, and rightly so, if they discovered American Muslims hosting an anti-Semitic speaker." 
The Jewish Federation canceled the event hours before it was set to take place and this decision was commended by the coalition. 
"We commend the Jewish Federation for taking action to dissociate from Pamela Geller's bigoted views. It is also encouraging to see that when interfaith communities work together, we can help promote tolerance and reject misinformation that only serves to confuse and promote hate. Americans must continue to stand up and ensure that voices of hate and bigotry stay on the margins of our society, where they belong. We further ask people to take a moment to send a note of thanks to the Federation's leadership."