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Like Brighton Through Rock: a Reply to Robert Spencer

The below is a statement written by Adam Barnett on behalf of One Law for All:

Following the death threats made against One Law for All during Tuesday’s talk at Queen Mary University, (which were extended to members of the audience and caused the meeting to be shut down), ‘Stop Islamization of America’ director Robert Spencer, who also runs the website ‘Jihad Watch’, has initiated an email campaign to try and discredit our work in combating Islamism. He has also published an article on the subject to which this statement is a response.

Mr. Spencer’s ‘points’ can be summarised thus: 1) Maryam Namazie is a communist, 2) she is also an anti-semite, 3) One Law for All have “libelled” and published lies about Mr. Spencer “and others” which we “refuse to retract”, and 4) the death threats we received were made by “one gang of thugs” on “another” as part of a “turf war.”

That Maryam Namazie is now and has long been a member of a communist party, namely the Worker-communist Party of Iran, is common knowledge and is not something she would ever deny, (nor do I think she should be expected to). Someone will have to break it to Mr. Spencer that not all communists want to “enslave people in gulags and shoot them in the back of the head for being ‘enemies of the people’.” He really ought to have got this right by now, especially since he likes to portray himself as a historian. But then given his views on Muslims, it’s clear nuance is not a part of his repertoire. [Here is Maryam’s response to Mr. Spencer.]

Spencer’s charge of anti-semitism is based solely, from what I can tell, on the fact that in 2008 Maryam published on her blog a polemical statement by an Iraqi communist party on the Gaza war, which called for an end to the violence there, a ‘two-state solution’, and condemned both Israeli policy and “the barbaric Islamic movement Hamas, which spares no opportunity to fire rockets at Israeli populated neighborhoods.” If Mr. Spencer is going to make accusations of anti-semitism, he had better have more persuasive evidence than this. The idea that Maryam Namazie has a racist attitude towards Jewish people is absurd, as Mr. Spencer knows perfectly well, as is his claim that she supports “the jihad against Israel.” Her record of opposing the forces of Jihad wherever they operate is second-to-none, and includes demonstrating against the Khomeinist ‘al-Quds day’ parades of Hamas and Hezbollah. (Mr. Spencer’s comrades were conspicuous by their absence.)

If Mr. Spencer insists on posing as defender of the Jewish people, he may want to ask his colleague Pamela Geller to stop comparing Jewish journalists, Rabbis and the Community Security Trust to Nazi appeasers when they speak out against the anti-Muslim rallies of the English Defence League and Stop Islamisation of Europe.

People are welcome to consider the language of the LWPI’s Gaza statement to be hyperbolic or to take issue with its assertions. But Mr. Spencer is hardly in a position to be making such criticisms. A mere glance at the output of SIOE, for example, (which is the umbrella group that entrusted SIOA to Spencer and Geller in 2010), will reveal it to be the kind of material that most people avoid like the plague.

There is also a distinction to be made between exaggerating the deaths of civilians to try and arrest their suffering, and recommending the murder of civilians including women and children, as did SIOA board member John Joseph Jay in 2008.

Mr. Spencer has lied about this and much else repeatedly, despite the clear evidence for the charges as made, pretending his cohorts have dealt with the accusations already, linking to supposed refutations which do no such thing, and changing the subject to Israel, safe in the knowledge that there are enough useful idiots who will stop thinking when the word is mentioned.

The reason One Law for All have not “retracted” our claims about Mr. Spencer “and others” (to come to point three), is that what we have said is true.

A SIOA board member really did call for the “wholesale slaughter” of Muslim civilians, “down to the last Muslim, if necessary.” Mr. Spencer really did say that the EDL are champions of free speech and human rights who “deserve the support of all free people.” SIOA really is the American branch of a group that believes all Muslims are liars and “Nazis.” Pamela Geller really does say the international community fabricated the Srebrenica genocide in order to libel the “Christian Serbs.” Mr. Spencer really does publish the work of Milosevic fanciers on his website.

Given a record like this, it is Mr. Spencer who has charges to answer, and he would do well to start by clarifying his opinions:

– Does he agree with the leaders of SIOE that banning the Qur’an, a boycott of “Islamic countries” and the deportation of immigrants would “Stop the Islamisation of Europe”, (a political programme which he endorsed in 2007), and if so, does he recommend a similar remedy for the United States?

– Does Pamela Geller believe that President Obama is a secret Muslim (as she often implies), does she consider him to be an American-born citizen, and does Mr. Spencer agree or disagree with her on these matters?

– Does he accept the plain meaning of John Joseph Jay’s words? If so, are these remarks to be taken as representative of the SIOA board, (where Mr. Spencer has confirmed Jay holds a seat), and if not, in what way does he disagree with them? Why does he continue to work with a person who recommends mass murder?

– Does he consider the tactics of the EDL to be a useful way of combating Jihadism? Is anything done in the name of ‘anti-Jihad’ alright as far as he’s concerned?

– Does Mr. Spencer believe that there was a plan by the Milosevic forces to extirpate the Muslim population of Bosnia as part of their war for a Greater Serbia? Does he agree with Ms. Geller that any massacres of Bosnians which did take place were self-inflicted to bamboozle the western media?

(When confronted with what Geller had been saying, Mr. Spencer replied in typically evasive fashion that he thought it was a plausible theory. How does he expect to be taken seriously as a scholar of Islamic history when he can’t even get the 1990s right?)

– Why do hatred, bigotry, lies and paranoia run through everything Mr. Spencer does and says like Brighton through rock?

On Mr. Spencer’s last point – the suggestion that One Law for All are as thuggish as the men who interrupt our meetings – he undoes himself completely. By drawing a direct equivalence in this way, it seems Mr. Spencer can’t tell the difference between the issuers of death threats and victims of death threats. That is of course, if he honestly meant what he wrote, which would be a break with convention.


1 Comment

  • Adrian Baker
    Posted 1st February 2012 6:01 pm 0Likes

    I support OLFA and Robert Spencer and it is very sad to see the two paties fighting. I can’t help thinking energy would be better spent fighting the real enemy (the forces that deny equality, human rights and freedom of speech).

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