Rabbi Michael White and Rabbi Jerome Davidson condemn the decision to invite anti-Muslim hatemonger Pamela Geller to speak at the Great Neck Synagogue in Long Island next weekend.
They write: “We state unequivocally that Geller’s inflammatory rhetoric does not represent us or the great majority of Jews in Great Neck and on Long Island. Hate speech has no place in synagogues. Synagogues should be places for worship, positive dialogue and reasoned political debate. The right of free speech is vitally important, but Geller crosses the line from political to hate speech. In sharp contrast, Judaism teaches us to respect the traditions and values of other faiths.”
See also “Outrage brews over firebrand Pamela Geller’s planned speech at synagogue”, CBS New York, 9 April 2013
Update: Good news. Geller reports: “Due to relentless intimidation, bullying and threats, the Great Neck Synagogue is cancelling my talk at the Great Neck Synagogue on Sunday. It is a very sad day for freedom-loving peoples when fascist tactics trump free speech.”
“Intimidation, bullying and threats”? “Fascist tactics”? These are the phrases Geller uses to describe a responsible, reasoned campaign against the Great Neck Synagogue providing a platform for hate-speech.
Update 2: The Jewish Week reports that Geller has received speaking invitations from two more synagogues.
Update 3: See Richard Bartholomew’s comments at Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, 12 April 2013