Bill Keller must be reading the polls and expecting the era of Obama to be over. How else to explain the noxious news that both Pam Geller and Ann Coulter were profiled in the Times today. Not one, but both, and on the same day! Can there be much that is more disgusting?
I actually took the time to read both articles. While the Coulter piece was in the Style section and fairly light and frothy, the Geller piece seemed like it ran forever. I’m guessing it might’ve run 1,000 words, which is an eternity for a newspaper.
While the Geller profile did feature some decent investigative reporting that exposed many of the woman’s more lunatic antics along with her less known epic wealth (she lives on entire floor of an upper Eastside condo), it also accorded her due deference for the alleged impact she has had on the political debate. Not to mention all the flattering photos of her. Why couldn’t they include something like the one featured here which shows her with Dutch Islam-hater, Geert Wilders, who’s currently on trial for espousing religious hatred in Holland. What Geller so colorfully calls a “Stalinist show trial.” It makes you wonder what she would’ve called the Nuremberg Trials.
For the life of me, I just don’t see it. What impact has she had? She’s tried to run Park51 out of lower Manhattan on a rail, yet the project is on target and hasn’t been rousted from its near-sacred ground location. This is one of her signature crusades and she hasn’t been able to get any traction in the real world. Another of her manufactured Muslim scandals got Debbie Almontaser fired as principal of the Khalil Gibran Academy. But the victim filed an EEOC suit against the city and won. So yes, Geller functions powerfully in the far right echo chamber and shapes debate on FoxNews and in far-right pro-Israel circles. But where is her real world impact?
I suppose you could make a valid argument that Rush Limbaugh has had some impact outside his own audience in the wider political debate. But Geller? I think she’ll have the shelf life of a piece of raw sushi in blogging terms. She’s the far right flavor of the week. And just like those High Holiday “fashion show” services at the Long Island synagogue she attended, her blog is little more than a current far-right fashion fad.
Speaking of fashion-show Judaism, this is what her sister had to say on the subject:
The sisters went to Hebrew school, but attended synagogue mainly on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (“It was more of a fashion show in many respects,” Jessica Geller recalled.)
Pam Geller reflects the debasement of American Judaism. She knows next to nothing about our religion. Yet, this woman speaks in the blogosphere to the far-right as a more or less authentic representative of pro-Israelism and American Jews. It’s almost enough to make you nostalgic for Abe Foxman and the rest of his boys. Despite their overtly partisan political agenda, at least you have a sense that there is some real knowledge of Judaism in their souls. When it comes to Pam Geller hers is an empty vessel, which is why she is able to fill it up with so many preposterous notions.
Another interesting nugget was the identity of her legal advisor, David Yerushalmi, yet another anti-jihadi obsessive I’ve posted about, most recently here for his involvement in Frank Gaffney’s Plan B report on the creeping Muslim overthrow of our Republic.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.