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South Florida Jewish Journal

May 20, 2009

Re: “Not Wild About Wilders” by Shani McManus – Staff Writer for – Palm Beach South Jewish Journal

I was at the Palm Beach Synagogue.  I heard Member of Parliament, the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ speech.

I attended all of these “Free Speech Summit” venues that Jewish Journal identified (and several others that were not identified) – There was no “hate speech”.

When I see the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in bed together,  I’m ashamed – but not shocked.  The ADL gets it wrong way too many times.  The ADL can’t differentiate their friends from their enemies.

For Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL Florida regional director, to call Wilders’ words “hate speech” just shows everyone that Rosenkranz wasn’t listening very carefully.  And to find ADL and CAIR together in this instance makes me sick.

Carol Flatto, chairperson of the South Florida Chapter for Americans for a Safe Israel – also attended.  She got it right.  ADL got it backwards.  “The ADL should honor (Geert Wilders) instead of dishonoring itself….by defaming Wilders”.

Your readers should watch the 17 minute film “Fitna” – to learn where the hate speech comes from.

Sincerely,

Donald E. Van Curler

JewishJournal

Story text:

Not wild about Wilders

The old maxim, “politics makes strange bedfellows,” definitely came to mind this past week when two, philosophically divergent civil rights organizations joined forces in condemning a controversial, pro-Israel and anti-terrorist speaker who visited South Florida.

While not exactly in the same bed …, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which calls itself “the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism,” and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a controversial Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group, certainly seemed to be on the same page in blasting Dutch politician and filmmaker Geert Wilders for his outspoken views on Islamic extremism.

The brouhaha came on the heels of Wilders’ April 26 speech at Palm Beach Synagogue, one of three venues in Palm Beach County that hosted Wilders, and where he received a standing ovation.

“Islam is not a religion. Islam is a totalitarian political ideologue,” Wilders told the packed synagogue.

“Islam[s] heart lies at the Quran, and the Quran is a book that calls for hatred, that calls for violence, for murder, for terrorism, for war and submission,” he noted. “We should also stop pretending that Islam is a religion.”

The Dutch parliamentarian and leader of the Party for Freedom also called for stopping immigration from Muslim countries and urged “voluntary repatriation” to those countries. Wilders’ 2008 film “Fitna” (Arabic for “test of faith”), about Islam in the Netherlands, has received international attention, along with a number of death threats for the filmmaker. Unperturbed, Wilders is planning a sequel. And due to his outspoken views on Islam, he was recently banned from entering the United Kingdom, prompting him to embark on a speaking tour of the United States.

Prior to his Palm Beach Synagogue appearance, Wilders gave a similar address at a “Free Speech Summit” in Delray Beach, attended by Florida Sate Rep. Adam Hasner, R – Delray Beach, who was strongly criticized by CAIR for hosting Wilders. CAIR also called for Hasner to step down as majority leader of the Florida House.

“It is unconscionable that a top leader of an American state legislature would host a gathering at which the faith of millions of Americans is denigrated and their rights denied,” CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. “Republican Party leaders in Florida and nationwide must demand that [Rep.] Hasner step down from his leadership post because of his support for Geert Wilders’ Nazi-like message.”

Following Wilders’ speech and a screening of his film at the synagogue, CAIR issued another statement calling on members of the Jewish community to “condemn the anti-Islam hate of a speaker who was recently given a standing ovation at a Florida synagogue.”

The ADL quickly responded by issuing its own statement blasting Wilders remarks.

“The ADL strongly condemns Geert Wilders’ message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals,” Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL Florida regional director said. “This rhetoric is dangerous and incendiary, and wrongly focuses on Islam as a religion, as opposed to the very real threat of extremist, radical Islamists.”

Next, CAIR issued yet another statement commending the ADL for its statement condemning Wilders.

“We commend the ADL for its repudiation of Geert Wilders’ Islamophobic views and ask all those who promoted his message of hate to recognize the negative impact such intolerance has on our society,” Hooper said.

The statements of both organizations did not sit well with Carol Flatto, chairman of the South Florida Chapter for Americans for a Safe Israel, who attended one of Wilders’ venues. But Flatto aimed her strongest criticism at the ADL.

“Geert Wilders has put his life on the line to expose Islam’s existential threat to Israel and America,” she said. “When speaking of his frequent and extended visits to Israel, Wilders proclaims, ‘I love it. I do love Israel.’

“The ADL should honor him instead of dishonoring itself and its once noble history by defaming Wilders.”

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2 comments

  1. Great site, I will be back. Well done


  2. It is so refreshing to read the truth, great job Shani, I admire Geert Wilders for his courage to speak out, I hope he continues



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