Recently I attended a symposium featuring the notable conservative writers and anti-Jihadists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Titled “The Dangers of Islamic Extremism and Western Complacency,” the symposium was held at the Toronto Hilton and hosted by the Jewish Defense League (JDL). (Event video available here.) Earlier on, the Islamic organization CAIR-CAN, now rebadged as the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), had sent a brash and menacing letter to the Hilton attempting to intimidate it into annulling the event. The letter was courageously ignored by hotel management, and the event took place as advertised. I say “courageously” since the previous May a similar lecture by Geller, slated for the Chabad Flamingo Synagogue in Toronto, was summarily cancelled by the presiding rabbi, Mendel Kaplan, who succumbed to the strong-arm tactics of the diversity, equity and inclusion bureau of the York Regional Police. The bureau’s director, Inspector Ricky Veerappan, who also happens to be a Muslim, threatened Kaplan with the loss of his police chaplaincy if he went ahead with the Geller presentation, and the good rabbi buckled. I suspect that his late Chabad colleague Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, butchered by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, would have shown rather more backbone.
As I strolled about the premises during the afternoon, I noticed that our national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), was conspicuously present, unloading equipment from several vans under the supervision of a youngish woman brandishing a microphone. As I had previously worked for the Mother Corp in music and public affairs, I decided to engage her in conversation under the aspect of an informal chat between fellow professionals. She was there, I learned, to cover a press conference to be held that afternoon by the NCCM protesting the Geller-Spencer symposium scheduled for later that evening. Naturally, the Geller-Spencer talk was not on her agenda. It did not take long for me to discover that she knew absolutely nothing about the alleged Muslim Brotherhood affiliations of the CAIR group, even less about the Muslim Brotherhood, and less than that about Islamic terrorism, the Koran, the Hadith, and the inflammatory statements of various Muslim-Canadian imams advocating stoning for adultery, wife beating, gay bashing, and Sharia law in general.
When I quoted her chapter and verse from the Koran mandating the killing, mutilation and suppression of infidels, she grew distinctly uncomfortable. When I mentioned the large al-Quds demonstration just this August in a park near the Ontario parliament in Toronto, flying the Hezbollah flag and calling for the murder of Jews (which, incidentally, was not covered by the mainstream media), she fidgeted and said, “I’m sorry, sir, what you’re saying sounds like hate speech.” When I informed her that, during last year’s al-Quds demonstration, two arrests were made — of ordinary Canadian citizens in Queen’s Park, which is a public space, one man walking his dog (anathema to Muslims) and the other carrying an Israeli flag (also anathema to Muslims), while odious Islamic chants and placards inciting death to Jews and Israelis were tacitly sanctioned — I was once again accused of propagating hate speech.
At first I was stunned into silence. In rehearsing the explicitly violent passages from the Koran, followed to this day by Islamic terrorists, and bringing her attention to the homicidal declarations of Muslim assemblies, I was somehow, in a bizarre twist of plain logic, guilty of defamation. I knew that what I was confronting was something akin to a medical condition common to the liberal intelligentsia, a pathological inability to parse reality — or worse, an ideological lobotomy identical to the cortical paralysis of our own Supreme Court which, in a ruling of February 27, 2013, deposed that truth is no defense in the context of giving possible offense. Telling the truth is now understood as another form of hate speech, which means that one is no longer permitted to hate what is manifestly hateful. The corollary of this demented attitude is that one is permitted and even encouraged to lie with impunity, despite volumes of countervailing evidence, for example: Islam is a religion of peace, Israel is an apartheid state, the climate is warming owing to anthropogenic tampering and “climate deniers” are essentially perpetrating a “hate crime,” conservatism is a brand of fascism, and so on, which prevarications, in another grotesque distortion of simple consistency, are not considered hateful.
Such mental aberration, the hallmark of our times, is accompanied by a species of abject pusillanimity coupled with self-righteousness, a cowering timorousness before and surrender to the agents of injustice, creeping totalitarianism and militant aggression that goes hand in hand with the sanctimonious presentation of self as noble, sensitive and sublimely ethical. This complex of moral turpitude and pharisaical narcissism was brought home to me with renewed intensity as I listened to Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin of the Beth Avraham Yoseph Congregation introducing Geller and Spencer that evening. For nearly fifteen minutes of the rabbi’s preamble, I did not hear the names of our speakers mentioned once, except when the moment came to cede the podium. But I learned a tremendous amount about the rabbi’s educational and intellectual history, his great respect for Islam, his adulation of his two, late Muslim teachers at UCLA, whom he professed to represent, and his tribute to Rabbi Kaplan — the same who had rescinded his invitation to Geller on the pretext, apparently, of being in a position to do greater good by retaining his police chaplaincy. Regrettably, Rabbi Kaplan was unable to attend the evening’s event. Of course, no reason for his glaring absence was offered.
Evidently, it is not only the zombified media and a bellicose and crafty Islamic cohort that have joined forces in attacking and weakening Western cultural resolve — or its remnant. Jewish conciliators like Rabbis Kaplan and Korobkin, for example, or the Canadian Jewish News that rejected a press attachment promoting the JDL (which, as noted, sponsored the Geller and Spencer evening) are equally implicated. The press attachment in question was no doubt turned down owing to the JDL’s uncompromising stance, taking to task the “Rabbis and Shul Executives bending to the Jihadist abuses and threats” (personal communication from the JDL leadership). But toleration of abuse, as well as the attendant unwillingness to meet the enemy bravely and intelligently, has been a ubiquitous court-Jewish trait since time immemorial.
As for Geller and Spencer, they were true to form, charismatic, warm, funny, humble, factual and unabashed in detailing with methodical precision the information war we are in imminent danger of losing and the inroads that “civilizational jihad” (a term employed by the Muslim Brotherhood) and Sharia law are carving into the living body of a failing liberal culture on the brink of moral and civic collapse. The television crews that covered the earlier Islamic conference were nowhere to be seen; indeed, in the days prior to the lecture, the media repeated the same tedious and appeasing mantra: “The National Council of Canadian Muslims worries Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer will spread ‘hate and misinformation’ about the Islamic faith when they speak at a Toronto-area hotel Tuesday evening, the group’s executive director said.” But staunch defenders of freedom tirelessly working to repair the lesions of a commissurotomized age are either airbrushed out of the picture, disdained as inconsequential or dismissed as hatemongers, bigots or racists. “What we are witnessing in the years since 9/11,” laments Freedom Press editor Janice Fiamengo, “is increasingly conscientious ‘Sharia compliance’ by western elites.” Such “staggering illogic, inversion, and distortions… have become common currency in discussions of Islam amongst our cultural elite.”
As I wrote some time ago, adapting a famous verse of T.S. Eliot: “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a simper.”