There are a couple differences, of course. These ads are a little bit more inflammatory and bigoted than her previous ads, which read, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." When I spoke to her in November, she was able to look at me with a straight face and say that she wasn't anti-Muslim, that she actually loved Muslims, and that it was jihad she was trying to defeat. It was shaky ground, albeit ground I believed she honestly thought she could stand on, even though the Souther Poverty Law Center has named three Geller-led groups (including the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which helped fund the ad campaigns) as anti-Muslim hate groups.
These ads, however, are a little harder to defend. Next to a graphic of the Twin Towers burning, it reads, "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. (Quran 3:151)." The jihad/Muslim disconnect she pled kind of goes out the window here, since she quoted Islam's holy book, instead of attacking jihadi. But she's playing on New Yorkers' 9/11 grief, as well as the obvious xenophobia and distrust of Muslims that a segment of Americans harnesses. If a couple of Muslims here and there get harassed along the way, or killed, or another Anders Breivik kills scores of children just after writing about Geller and her blog, atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com, in his manifesto, well, the show will go on.More »