Pam Geller’s N.Y. Times profile reveals her enormous wealth including a $4-million divorce settlement, a $5-million life insurance on the death of her ex-husband, Michael Oshry (her married name was Pamela G. Oshry), and a portion of the $2-million sale of the Hewlett Harbor home she jointly owned with Oshry. All of which allows her to live in luxury on an entire floor of upper Eastside condo.
What isn’t as well-known, and was whitewashed from her Times profile, is that the basis of her wealth is a criminal enterprise. Michael Oshry, her ex-husband who died of an alleged heart attack in 2008, owned a large Long Island car dealership which operated a scam allowing buyers to purchase cars using fraudulent identities. Such a scam is perfect for organized crime and others seeking to use cars in the commission of felonies. In fact, one such vehicle was used by a former car salesman to murder two New York City police officers. An employee who discovered the scam was murdered execution-style.
Geller was listed as a co-owner of the dealership though she denied any knowledge of the fraud. However, the head of the local D.A.’s economic crimes unit is quoted as saying that the owners of the dealership knew about, and possibly actively organized the fraud, which implies that either Geller had to know about it or willfully kept herself in the dark:
Peress said the corruption at Universal “went all the way to the top.”
So Pam’s denials ring hollow. If the origins of her wealth are based on a criminal enterprise is it any wonder that her political views are equally corrupt?
I note the Times profile reveals that Geller’s personal attorney is David Yerushalmi, who incorporated the non-profit entity under which she and Robert Spencer produce their blogs. This in turn allows David Horowitz to plow funds into their enterprise that have been given on a tax-deductible basis. Yerushalmi is also representing her in a $10 million defamation lawsuit brought by the family of Rifqa Bary, a teenage girl torn from her Muslim-American family by Christian evangelicals who inveigled her into converting to Christianity and running away from their home while still a minor.
Yerushalmi appears to be grasping Geller and Spencer’s coattails to become the “go to” lawyer for the radical anti-jihadi movement in this country. He’s the legal counsel for Frank Gaffney’s anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy and served in the same role for Stop the Madrassa, the group which got Debbie Almontaser fired as principal of the Khalil Gibran Academy.
Pam Geller is the National Inquirer of the far-right blogworld. A perfect example of this is her claim that Barack Obama is the love child of Malcolm X.
If Pam is the National Inquirer of the anti-jihad movement, then David Yerushalmi is it’s Roy Cohn.
What’s interesting about Geller’s Rifqa Bary crusade is that, being a Jewish am ha’aretz who knows next to nothing about Jewish history (her sister is quoted as saying to the Times her family practiced “fashion show” Judaism), she is no doubt unaware of such major 19th century controversies as the forced conversion of the Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, to Roman Catholicism. This case riveted Jews and non-Jews of the world and pointed out to Jews how powerless they were against the forces of the Church arrayed against them. The child was raised Catholic, became a priest, and served as a stain on Jewish-Catholic relations for generations.
Similarly, the Bary case has generated enormous anger on the part of American Muslim toward fundamentalist Christianity. Geller, out of her deep-seated animus toward Islam, has made common cause with those Christian evangelicals which both converted Bary and persuaded her to become a runaway.
Similarly, and again out of her hatred of Islam, she has made common cause with some of Europe’s scummiest neo-Nazi groups simply because the enemy of her enemy is her friend. No matter that some of her allies have been photographed giving Nazi salutes (and you can imagine their views about Jews).
This is simply a case of someone who is clearly a deeply troubled person and somewhat of a sociopath in the sense that she has no clear sense of truth or even objective reality. She is such a narcissist that she has no notion that she could ever be wrong about anything. Though it seems hard to believe, I don’t think she has the capacity to understand that she lies. It’s as if any statement in furtherance of her interests is justified, whether true or not. Further, anyone who is against her is not just wrong, but becomes a mortal enemy in a life and death struggle between good and evil. She, of course, represents good and the rest of the world, evil.
In Geller’s lawsuit, Yerushalmi and Geller are using precisely the same arguments I am using in a similar defamation suit brought by Rachel Neuwirth:
…Blogger Pamela Geller also says many of the postings singled out in a federal lawsuit could fall into the realm of hyperbole and not defamation.
Geller says in a federal court filing Tuesday that she is a journalist writing about a matter of public interest and is protected by the First Amendment.
The difference in the cases is that Geller, as is her wont, published objectively false claims about Bary’s parents. One wonders whether they’re able to come up with reason why their case is worthy of this defense while the case of someone they conceive as an enemy of the Jewish people isn’t.
- Pamela Geller’s English friends – Islamophobes united (warincontext.org)
- Pamela Geller, Clinical Paranoid (theatlantic.com)
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.