Pamela Geller is the nation’s most charismatic purveyor of wild-eyed allegations that Muslim fanatics – which, in her mind, include every Muslim who hasn’t categorically renounced Islam itself – will topple the Constitution and impose Shariah law any day now, unless freedom-loving Americans heed her warnings. Her new book, “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance” – meaning, the “counterjihadist” resistance – purports to instruct Americans on how to stand heroically against this entirely ridiculous scenario.
Most clear-thinking Americans can tell the difference between the real but limited threat posed by Islamic terrorists and the utterly insane theory that an entire religion is conspiring to take over the Western world. But then, Geller has a hard time separating facts from imagination.
Take, for example, the reference in her book to the Southern Poverty Law Center, whom she despises for having designated her organization, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), as a hate group. The passage, reprinted from a February post on Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog, creates an entirely fictitious history of the SPLC (which publishes this blog).
It reads, “Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the SPLC was designated as a Communist front. [Geller doesn’t say by whom.] It was essentially run by a couple, Anne and Carl Braden, who were Community Party USA members. They had been identified in sworn testimony, and they made no attempt to deny the allegations. They would be proud that their legacy remains intact today: their “heirs” – destroyers and America-haters — continue their work to subvert and destroy America.”
Heretofore, no one has disputed that the SPLC was founded in 1971 by Alabama civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joe Levin, both of whom remain active in the organization today. The Bradens, though renowned as courageous white champions of black civil rights in the heart of a racially intolerant South – and by no definition “destroyers” or “America-haters” – were never associated with SPLC.
“They didn’t have anything to do with the Center,” Levin reiterated Tuesday.
Heidi Beirich, the SPLC’s director of research, politely asked Geller for a correction. Beirich wrote, “Hi there. I just thought you might want to know that the section of your book on the founding of SPLC is completely wrong. Our founders are Morris Dees and Joe Levin. The Bradens have never played a role in the SPLC. I think you have confused us with someone or something else. We’d appreciate a correction.”
Geller, however, insisted her tall tale was accurate. She replied, “Hi there. SIOA is not a hate group. I think you have confused us with someone or something else. We'd appreciate a correction. As for the Bradens, they were formally affiliated with the Southern Conference Educational Fund, which was a Communist front group. Both of the Bradens, and particularly Annie, worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center also. I have this on good authority from a Communist Party insider who was told not to mention outside of Party circles their work with the SPLC, but who passed it on to me. That insider believed that their presence was supposed to be under the radar, and that while they may not have been involved in the SPLC's founding, they latched on to it and made common cause. The Party loved to appeal to Black Americans by asserting a strong anti-Klan stance – that was their entering wedge. The Southern Poverty Law Center, as I am sure you're aware, was a perfect tool for that. I am confident in the veracity of my sources for this, and hence no correction is needed. However, I look forward to your retraction and correction of your libelous smear of SIOA.”
Geller has a secret “informant” inside the Communist Party? How convenient – a source with a story no one can verify. Furthermore, Geller claims this source “was told not to mention outside of Party circles their work with the SPLC” – but then violates that directive by telling all to a woman known for posting all manner of hokum on her blog, including such whoppers as President Obama’s mother having once been an exotic dancer and that Obama is the love child of Malcolm X. (In the book, Geller refers to all those who voted for Obama as “morons.” Classy.)
Geller’s response to Beirich walks back from the book’s assertion that the SPLC was “essentially run” by the Bradens, to their “working with” the SPLC and “making common cause.” Historically, the Communist Party was indeed a strong proponent of racial equality during America’s Jim Crow years. As a result, it became a common tactic of white segregationists to accuse civil rights proponents of being in the thrall of communists. Geller appears to be relying on a similar canard here.
Beirich wrote to Geller again, reasserting that the Bradens played no role at SPLC. In her next reply, Geller tattled more about her supposed confidential source: “My informant worked for a Communist Party bookstore between 1978 and 1983. My informant learned there directly and with certainty that Anne Braden was a Communist Party member and that she also had worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Perhaps your superiors have lied to you.”
Or, perhaps Geller is just chronically impaired when it comes to plain reality – especially those parts of it that deviate from the reality she creates in her head.