Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.
Two years ago the Southern Poverty Law Center named me, a bar sign and a brand of gun lubricant as hate groups. It wasn’t the punch line to a joke about a Minister, a Rabbi and a Priest. Instead it was another tribute to the research skills of the country’s wealthiest, dumbest and laziest civil rights group.
Morris Dees began in the mail order business and ended up in the mail order civil rights business. Every month elderly retirees receive envelopes covered with pictures of Klansmen burning crosses. Those photos are the SPLC brand the way that the “swoosh” is for Nike and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Dees had already trademarked the KKK.
Their checks bulk up the Southern Poverty Law Center’s $245 million endowment, a few pennies from which are used to hire DailyKos diarists who turn out poorly researched attacks on “hate groups.” That might explain why “Casa D’Ice Signs,” the signs outside a Pennsylvania bar, continues to be listed under “Active Anti-Muslim Groups” by the SPLC despite two solid years of internet ridicule and mockery.
Left-wing cultural revolutionists have a loose definition of “hate,” but they can usually get the “groups” part right. The Southern Poverty Law Center can’t even do that.
With solid research like that, the SPLC’s latest Intelligence Report has everything you expect from an organization that lists a brand of gun lubricant as a hate group. There are random attacks on celebrities like former Homicide star Richard Belzer and former Saturday Night Live star Victoria Jackson. Belzer is deemed guilty of promoting JFK conspiracy theories and Jackson called the TV show Glee “sickening.”
It’s not exactly the KKK, and Belzer, who is Jewish, was unhappy to be implicitly associated him with the Nazis. “As a Jewish person whose grandfather represented Israel at the United Nations before it was a state and an uncle, who as a member of the Resistance, fought the Nazis in World War Two, I am deeply hurt and offended,” he wrote.
But Belzer was not the only Jewish person targeted by the SPLC in an issue exploiting the Kansas City shootings around a Jewish community center. Instead the SPLC decided to launch into a full-throated defense of Hamas supporters and attacks on Jews opposed to Hamas and its domestic front groups.
After the Kansas City shootings, the SPLC rushed to the defense of one of the left-wing bigots whose attacks on Jews had been cited by the killer. It defended Max Blumenthal against charges of bigotry when even the Forward, a left-wing paper, described Blumenthal calling for the ethnic cleansing of Israel’s Jewish population.
But the SPLC did not stop there.
Instead it attacked David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer, as well as me, for calling attention to the terrorist ties of the Muslim Students Association. It based this attack on the writings of an Islamist who had been a board member of Berkeley’s Muslim Students Association.
This was the MSA chapter which theADL reported had distributed copiesof the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hatem Bazian, who has called for Jewish genocide, had headed this chapter. While at Berkeley, Bazian had responded to the arrest of members of his anti-Semitic SJP group for disrupting a Holocaust remembrance event by accusing Jews of controllingthe university.
Wajahat Ali, the MSA board member, whose rantings the SPLC’s attack is based on, defended the Holy Land Foundation, which was shut down by the Treasury Department for funneling money to Hamas. In a Guardian article, he urged the United States to engage Hamas and on his blog, he ran an outside article calling the head of Islamic Jihad in the United States “one of the earliest victims of the ‘war on terror.’”
The SPLC’s attack on David Horowitz accused him of “leaning right” on gay rights. Meanwhile its entire piece was constructed based on the writings of an Islamist who claimed that the left hates Muslims because they “have certain beliefs contradictory to radical feminist and gay ideologies.”
But the SPLC’s Ryan Lenz didn’t stop at quoting a man whose behavior suggested support for Hamas. Instead Ryan Lenz went out of his way to defend an admitted supporter of the genocidal terrorist group.
At UC San Diego, David Horowitz had confronted MSA member Jumanah Imad Albahri and asked her to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah.
After a brief exchange, Horowitz said, “The head of Hezbollah has said that he hopes that we [Jews] will gather in Israel so he doesn’t have to hunt us down globally. For or against it?”
Jumanah Imad Albahri answered, “For it.”
The SPLC would never doubt a Neo-Nazi who admitted on camera that he supports the Third Reich and another Holocaust, but when it comes to Jews and Muslim terrorism, the SPLC and Ryan Lenz felt the need to defend this Hamas supporter.
The question was a “trap” and a “trick,” Lenz claims. He describes her reply in support of Jewish genocide as “bashful.” The SPLC doesn’t usually describe the bigots it writes about as “bashful.”
“If she supported Hamas, Horowitz argued, the Muslim Student Associationto which she belonged was actually tied to a terrorist organization, as defined by the State Department,” Lenz writes, describing the nature of the “trick.”
The “trick” was asking a terrorist supporter if they supported a virulently anti-Semitic terrorist group.
Despite Ryan Lenz’s desperate lies, Albahri admitted in her defensive lettersthat, “I refused to offer Mr. Horowitz a blanket condemnation of Hamas that night. I felt that doing so would be a blanket condemnation of the Palestinian cause.”
“I condone Hamas in its ambition to liberate the Palestinian people,” she wrote.
Maybe that was another one of David Horowitz’s traps somehow set off by remote control. Or maybe Ryan Lenz and the SPLC should stop defending bigots like Jumanah Imad Albahri and bigoted organizations like the MSA… while smearing those Jews who tell the truth about them.
The SPLC hit piece claims that David Horowitz is a self-promoter who is only out for money. That same accusation has been made by liberals about SPLC boss Morris Dees who has been called a “con man” and a “fraud” by prominent liberal civil rights attorney Stephen Bright, a recipient of the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award and the ACLU’s Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty.
The Nation called Dees a “millionaire huckster.” Harper’s Magazine accused him of “profiting from intolerance.”
The SPLC has never been an honest organization. Its research overlaps with truth as randomly as a drunk overlaps with a urinal. But Ryan Lenz’s defense of Hamas supporters is a new low even for the SPLC whose hate map has already become the inspiration for at least one violent attack.
Not only did the SPLC’s report exploit an anti-Semitic killer, but it used him to attack Jews who are concerned about anti-Semitism. Hamas’ covenant celebrates the genocide of Jews. The campus anti-Semitism of the Muslim Students Association has been documented even by civil rights groups on the left such as the ADL.
You don’t have to be a conservative to find the Southern Poverty Law Center’s defense of Hamas supporters completely unacceptable. If the SPLC is going to defend anti-Semitism and attack Jews, maybe it should adopt the Swastika that it often slaps on its covers as its very own symbol.
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