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Pamela Geller’s New Ad Is Actually Anti-Israel

New pro-Israel ad on San Francisco buses sends wrong message

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(Atlas Shrugs)

I went to college in Washington, D.C. during the height of the Second Intifada, which meant that the campus had a constant swirl of litter from both pro-Israel and anti-Israel groups. The Second Intifada was everywhere–on campus radio, in student newspapers, pasted on the walls, and chalked on the streets. Following a particularly bad series of events (and those years had plenty of them), graphic photographs of rubble, bombed out cafes, and innocent dead would greet students on their way out of classrooms.

I was, quite proudly, on the pro-Israel side of this circuit, which in hindsight probably killed more trees than changed minds. When another campus installed fake Israeli checkpoints to mock-harass students, the pro-Israel brigade rallied together and went there to sprawl out around like dead bodies, victims of those who’d been killed by suicide bombers. If you were engaged, you walked around campus constantly alert, looking for signs that had been graffitied or to graffiti them yourself, even sometimes tear them down.

I can’t begin to imagine what the majority of the student body–many of whom seemed politically agnostic on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict–made of all this. From conversations I had (which were far more effective than all the sloganeering we did), I generally sensed that most people weren’t going to be swayed by all the histrionic stuff playing out on the campus square. Since it probably didn’t relate to them, it just annoyed them.

An example: I never saw a fraternity brother of mine more crestfallen than when a group of activists who were opposed to the building of Israel’s security fence (“Apartheid Wall” as they called it), formed a chain that split the student union in half, encumbering the path to Taco Bell. He was a carefree, Irish Catholic kid from New England and I’ll never forget what he said and he squeezed past a kid trying to hand him a flyer.

“I just want nachos, dude.”

What brings this whole indulgent reverie back to mind is the news of an all-caps pro-Israel ad that debuted this week on buses in San Francisco. It reads:

In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.
Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.

Behind the ad is the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization led by the infamous Pamela Geller. Off the bat, it’s important to note that the ad is obviously flawed–it’s racist, clumsy, Orientalist, and stupid. I can’t imagine anyone (especially anyone whose mind is not already made up) reading this ad and concluding anything other than “some parts of the pro-Israel lobby seem like a bunch of dicks.” I’m sure it’s doing a lot of good work in San Francisco.

But philosophically, the ad is also so primitive, it actually contains an anti-Israel message. Support Israel = Defeat Jihad. This formula suggests that the battle against violent Islamic fundamentalism can be won solely by supporting Israel. I know well from my college years spent crafting hasbara that the very last thing a pro-Israel message should do is reduce terrorism to a battle fought solely between Israel and Islamic fundamentalists.

Isolating Israel here leaves out a coalition of the aggrieved that includes America, Great Britain, Spain, India, and countless Arab and Muslim countries. Rhetorically, it would be easy to flip this ad and say that Israel is the reason for terrorism–a trope often uttered during the Second Intifada. It’s better that as many people as possible feel that Israel’s struggle against terrorism is also their struggle. Otherwise, you’re just keeping people from their nachos.

Related: The New Anti-Semitism [Tablet Magazine]
Is This the Most-Offensive Pro-Israel Ad in History? [Gawker]

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kirillov says:

The only savages are those who call other people savages…

    This is about as stupid a comment as i’ve read on the Internet this year.

    ….and don’t bother referring to the nice nazis, stalinists, maoists, khomeinimists,….ad nauseum as SAVAGES. Heaven forbid we should recognize right and wrong. GOOD AND EVIL. DEAL WITH IT !
    Grow up and stop waiting for the reality of hitler or mohamed to bite you in the ass.

Really well said, Adam. Kudos on calling it like it is.

Good point. I’m Jewish (an American) and I support Israel…but I’ve been to college so of course I’ve known (and befriended) numerous people worldwide (including Israelis, Muslims etc etc) and I know for certain only a few Muslums who one might consider militant…(more like angry) but most were plain old students wanting to make a living like the rest of us. The ad simply didn’t ring true (from someone who really knew anything about the world and the people in it. Well written.

    For someone who’s been to college, you don’t seem very bright (but then, the silly Adam isn’t, either). There is no mention of defeating Islam far less defeating Muslims, dudes: try reading the bloody ad. It talks about defeating Jihad.
    How that can be ‘racist’ or ‘orientalist’ or whatever other silly and ignorant names Adam calls it, is a complete mystery. Unless Adam (and you) think there is a ‘race’ called ‘Jihad’.

      Thank you so much for your kind assistance Mr. Einstein. For without you, our brains would be so sad and lonely. You’ve stimulated it to think like no other brain possibly could. What we owe you we could never repay. yada yada…. Now that we’ve gotten past the usual “you are so common of an idiot drive by blogger with a lot of time on your hands” let me tell YOU something. When you grow up, you’ll learn all about “code words and terms for something” and “code graphics”. You obviously are not there yet, but the world is patient (somewhat) :)

        In other words, you are a race-obssessed prat who thinks everyone else is as race-obssessed as you. And just because you attended a class on semiotics in some trendy West Coast uni, babes, doesn’t make you an expert on what others think.

          “On what others think…” Agreed..not even close. But the difference between you and me, is I know it. Thanks for your time. Have a gr8 day.

    LT; When it comes to Jews, Israeli or not, there are very few who are not anti Jew. They may not want jihad, they may not be Islamist, but anti Jewish is built into the very fabric of Islam.

      Oh how I wish I was young enough to still see the world in black and white….The Knesset consists of Jews, Christians and Moslems (and Druze) all working towards a greater Israel. Agreed, a very large % of Islam is Anti-Israel and Jewish. But far more than you can imagine are not. Have been there many times….I do know from whence I speak on that topic. There are real threats. I know those threats. And they want to kill us all. But not all of them go along with it. They are not one giant monlithic “group think” group. Life would be so easy if they were. Howver, If it makes you feel better to paint them that way, by all means do so.

        “The Knesset consists of Jews, Christians and Moslems (and Druze) all working towards a greater Israel.”

        This I’m not so sure about. Racist incitement against Arab MKs by Jewish MKs is common: “Knesset members from a broad array of parties leapt from their chairs to shout her down. “Go to Gaza, traitor!” shouted MK
        Miri Regev of Likud. “One week in Gaza as a 38-year-old single woman
        and we’ll see how they treat you!” barked Yohanan Plesner of the
        supposedly centrist Kadima party. Finally, Moshe Mutz Matalon of Yisrael
        Beiteinu lamented that the Israeli commandoes “left only nine floating

        More recent examples here
        “The attacks have also been focused on calls for the Arab MKs – and the Balad and United Arab List parties – to be excluded from the Knesset. MK Alex Miller put this most strikingly, saying (among other things): “Whoever is not faithful to the state should not enjoy its fruits”.

        None of this is surprising. In recent times, Balad MK Said Naffaa has been indicted for his trip to Syria with religious leaders, while at the end of December, Likud MK Danny Danon was reportedly preparing legislation intended to expel Haneen Zoabi, who he described as a “fifth column” whose place is next to “terrorists”.”

          You’re missing my point. Humans are humans. Of course there are going to be some intolerant prejudice Jews, and same with Arabs. But that does not make “Israel evil” or any reason not to exist. It has EVERY right to exist; and I hope one day Palestinians are able to find leadership that will bring them into the world community. They do not have that now being led by Hamas. However it’s important not to buy into their intense pr propaganda. There’s plenty of weird Palestinians who are only out for themselves (and plenty of good ones); they too are human. One thing is for certain..their propaganda of genocide may be true, bit its not Israel doing it. As of today’s census report…80,000 Palestinians per day work in Israel; 20,000 of them do not have proper papers but are allowed in to work anyway as Israel realizes they just can’t find jobs in Gaza (other than joining Hamas, and learning to be martyrs (which is the highest level one can reach). So who is conducting the genocide?

          “Humans are humans. Of course there are going to be some intolerant
          prejudice Jews, and same with Arabs. But that does not make “Israel
          evil” or any reason not to exist.”

          Well, no, a few intolerant MKs don’t invalidate Israel’s reasons for existing. It’s just that when you look behind every rosy picture of Israel and find a closet full of skeletons, you have to wonder if the whole project of a Jewish state isn’t a skeleton all on its own.

          “I hope one day Palestinians are able to find leadership that will bring
          them into the world community. They do not have that now being led by

          Where to start with this? The Palestinians are human, yet they’re now outside the world community. So apparently to join the world community, it’s not enough to be human.

          “As of today’s census report…80,000 Palestinians per day work in
          Israel; 20,000 of them do not have proper papers but are allowed in to
          work anyway as Israel realizes they just can’t find jobs in Gaza”

          So benign of Israel to allow these mere humans to visit the land where their villages used to be, so they can do some menial labor for the other humans who took their land after their villages were demolished.

          “they just can’t find jobs in Gaza (other than joining Hamas, and
          learning to be martyrs (which is the highest level one can reach)”

          There’s nothing to do in Gaza except work for Hamas and learn how to be a martyr. Well obviously, that’s all people in Gaza do. It’s not like there’s any agriculture or industry the Israeli military might have fired on.

          Andrew, though I appreciate your steadfast idealism, its clear there is no debating with you. You are spouting pre-written propaganda almost verbatim; and it is VERY clear you’ve never visited the region or you would in no way have the slant you have. Have fun “debating” with others who have read a lot about the region. No need to respond to this; I won’t be responding to you. Have a great day and good luck with your life.

          Though you didn’t write anything otherwise worth responding to here, you have to be the first to stop talking if you want the discussion to end.

    Pamela Christian says:

    Look how they have rioted in streets in Greece! and elsewhere….

ima2seven says:

This article by a Jewish magazine that purports to be a voice for the whole community is so offensive to me that I am no longer going to read, forward, share or have anything to do with your publication.

REALLY??? Jihad is killing arabs, it is oppressing Arabs. It is the worst, most SAVAGE thing to happen to the Arab world in a long time -far worse for Arabs and Moslems around the world than Israel ever has been or will be. The same Jews that cry out against any group of Jews with views they consider too extreme or immoral are appalled that anyone should equate Jihad with savagery? Please explain to me how clitorectomies against one’s will, denying women rights and honor killings, all in the name of Jihad are NOT savage??? Why is it that you can get up on a soapbox as a journalist and editor and declare this so “racist” when the very best thing anyone could do who wants equality, justice and freedom for Moslems around the world would be to decry Jihad.

It is high time that Jewish publications had the guts and pride to stand up for GOODNESS in the world against EVIL, even when the Jews just happen to be the good guys.

Goodbye, Tablet. You have made it very clear you don’t want my readership Adam Chandler.

    yidishkind says:

    The “Savage”, in the way that nearly everyone is reading this ad but you, refers
    to all Palestinians, not terrorists. That’s why this ad is considered racist.

      ima2seven says:

      If someone reads “settler” and someone else interpreted that as antisemitic, then you would blame the reader, not the message. You don’t know if “most people” are so stupid as to equate all of Jihad with all Palestinians, but most Jihadis are Palestinian, and most Palestinians are not Jihadis. And calling savages out as just that isn’t racist simply because other people are ignorant to that fact.

        It’s no less racist to say all Palestinians might be jihadis than it is to say all Palestinians are Jihadis. In other words, it is still racist to associate an ethnic group with a menacing buzzword. Racism is not only prejudice against existing social groups, it is creating social groups.

          “The real aggression in the conflict is the invasion of Palestine by the Zionists”
          As stupid as it is ignorant. There is no country called ‘Palestine’ to BE invaded, and there never has been. This is the homeland of the Jews, going back 1500 years before the Arabs invaded it.
          Your obvious problem with Jews, you Jew-baiting troll, cannot change historical facts.

          leonardo777 says:

          YO JOHNNY,



          Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons

          P.O.B. 1775, Kiryat Arba
          90100, Israel

          tel and fax: 02-9961252 (within Israel),

          972 2 9961252 (from outside Israel)


          August 2007

        leonardo777 says:

        Oh I love this SHIT,
        ima2seven ,

        ALL the German people weren’t NAZIS, but that wouldn’t sound too good, when the JEWS were looking for their POUND OF GERMAN FLESH. All the fcuking Nazis are DEAD, but the FCUKING JEWS like Abs Foxman & CO are still claiming repayments:

        160,000 CLAIMS SUBMITTED TO PROJECT HEART BY SURVIVORS OF THE HOLOCAUST AND THEIR HEIRSSearchable, user-friendly database is the largest single-source of Holocaust era property records Project HEART currently seeks direct contact with all eligible persons, Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs worldwide who lost Jewish property assets from the Holocaust era. Contact Project HEART immediately to learn if you are eligible for restitution. Your family’s property may include, but is not limited to:Real Estate
        LivestockProfessional Tools
        Precious Stones
        Precious MetalsJewelry
        BondsInsurance Policies
        Savings Accounts
        And more… THE NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED TO PROJECT HEART FOR RESTITUTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY LOST DURING THE HOLOCAUST SURPASSED 160,000 A Commitment to the Jewish People…JERUSALEM — Project HEART announced today that the number of claims received for restitution of Jewish owned property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold during the Holocaust era has surpassed 160,000. Deputy Minister of Senior Citizens Dr. LeahNass, “The issue of identifying Jewish property is still a central challenge even 70 years after World War II. In order to promote this issue we need to put international pressure and do all that we can to obtain justice for the survivors, the Holocaust victims and their families.” “Many Jewish Holocaust survivors had property confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold by the Nazis or their collaborators during the Holocaust era, and most have received no compensation for their lost assets,” stated Project HEART’s Executive Director, Bobby Brown. “Project HEART was created by the Government of Israel and is administrated by the Ministry of Senior Citizens and the Jewish Agency for Israel to act as an emissary on behalf of this precious group and their heirs,” added Brown.…And a New Call for JusticeIn December 2011, due to the overwhelming response of Holocaust survivors and their heirs, the Government of Israel made the decision to extend the deadline for submitting Questionnaires to Project HEART. The deadline extension has allowed additional individuals to submit the basic necessary information needed in the struggle for restitution or compensation. Eventually, this information will be made available to Yad-Vashem so that the history, heritage, and sacrifice of all these families will never be forgotten.Why Project HEART is SoImportant…Launched in late February 2011, Project HEART seeks to identify Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs worldwide whose families owned real estate, movable property, immovable property, or intangible personal property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold in countries governed or occupied by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era. The Project has opened a number of initiatives to bring this issue to countries, companies, and the media to convince those who have not yet decided to do justice that the time has come for them to begin confronting this “last open issue of the Holocaust.” “The large number of claims received and processed is not only an indication of the many Jewish owned properties that were looted or stolen during the Holocaust era, but is also a reminder of the significance of Project HEART to all those who have not been given the chance to receive compensation in the past,”stated U.S. Project Director, Anya Verkhovskaya. “We are continuing to encourage all those who may be eligible to submit the Questionnaire required for participation in Project HEART. With each person that comes forward to claim restitution for what is rightfully theirs, our collective voice grows louder and stronger in advocating on their behalf,” added Verkhovskaya. The only limitation for application is if restitution or compensation has already been made to a victim (or the victim’s heirs) for a given asset after the Holocaust era.

      leonardo777 says:




    One should not throw out the baby with the bath water. Tablet has many fine contributers and I usually can find something to enjoy. Far more often than those articles I don’t. Just because Adam is a jerk, do what I do. Complain in the comments. It’s a good way to vent and feel better.

      bobschwalbaum says:

      If ,as you say, ADAM is a JERK.. why cut The Tablet slack for printing his drivel
      I was grossly offended by this article.
      I do love TABLET.. but sometimes.. sometimes.. as Jackie Gleason used to say.. ‘To the Moon!.. Alice”
      I’ve lived in the Middle East.. not Israel.. and know whereof I speak when I say that Ms.. Geller is 100% correct

        leonardo777 says:


        What about a few nuclear warheads into Mecca during Hajj.

        That would scare them shitless. They would be like fcuking bees flying all over the place.

    corey949 says:

    I can hear the gnashing of teeth, beating of breasts and rending of garments in the halls of Tablet Magazine. You really showed them, Reb ima2seven. And you sure put that dangerous extremist Adam Chandler in his place. That dude is almost as far left-liberal-anti-Zionist as Aipac and the ADL. As bad as Foxman, that self-hating apikoros. The Rapid Response Team of the Hate All Self-Hating Jews (#rathash) Posse will miss you, bro.

Barak says:

Dennis Prager has an apt quip for this article: “you’d have to go to a lot of graduate school to believe something so foolish.” Jihadists commit unspeakable atrocities, and this author believes that we must “understand their perspective.” What an obscenity!

Good article. The ad insists that “supporting Israel” is the answer to “Jihad.” That’s a gross oversimplification, and, well, to reiterate the article, Jihad has many targets, not just Israel. And “Israel” itself is a composite of many points of view. And we, as Jews, should be very leery as casting ourselves in the front of the front line of any battle. Haven’t we already lost enough Jewish lives? Why throw ourselves on the front line of the war between “civilizations?”

Oh, by the way, “FREE TIBET!”

PhillipNagle says:

Nothing shows the bias of the writer of the article more than the phrase “the infamous Pamela Geller.” This guy is just another one of those liberals who doesn’t want to face the evilness of militant Islam.

    This guy isn’t a ‘liberal’, except in the obscene way the term has been hijacked by the lunatic left. I am a classical liberal, and I have nothing in common with such odious people.

With all due respect to the author, his notations are stupid and sophomoric. Many of the comments already written here speak correctly and truthfully. The author’s bias is clear as a sunny sky. There is a culture of hate within certain segments of Muslim society. The PLO has for years celebrated death and martydom. Imagine, treating and educating your child to end up to be a suicide bomber, I ask rehtorically? I’ve yet to see Jewish Israeli society doing the same. Jihad is the enemy; extremism is the enemy regardless whether it is on the left or right. And it is important to tell the truth and this author misrepresents those of us who see clearly. Further, the emagizine should consider the intent of their writers. With material like this, it is difficult for me to express a positive view.

Adam; you are beneath contempt!

    leonardo777 says:



6cmzumquadrat says:

Also, it’s orientalist and racist to assert that all of Palestinian civil society is hell-bent on Jihad or violent islamic extremism. Further, if we’re going to denounce violent extremism across the board, surely we can toss the settler movement into the mix, nu?

MartinFarr says:

The man who wrote this article is a Twerp.Enough said.

ima2seven says:

Hizbollah has just opened a terrorist theme park in Lebanon. Today, there was a car accident and while magen david adom was tending to the victims, the red crescent workers showed up and began filming the Israeli workers, leaving a man to possibly die on the street rather than give him medical care first. I don’t care what your politics are. How can anyone NOT call this savage?????

Michael Wolin says:

Ah, yes, the ‘infamous Pamela Geller’. Isn’t she the one making dimi Jews’ skin crawl for years now, every time she speaks truth?
Calling Jihadis savages is racist? Since when are Jihadis a race? In truth, calling them savages is diplomatic. Calling Moslems savages might not hit the mark exactly, but Jihadis? Only years spent in a Liberal sandbox could create confusion on that score.
It may be that plain language is difficult for nuanced libs, but there is nothing like a little plain talk to reduce an issue to its elemental components. Jews are harbingers of civilization, an observation that has been true for 3,000 years. Islam empowers the sociopath and the predator. It preaches war against the world. We can never reform it, only resist it. Only Moslems can reform it, but then it wouldn’t be Islam, would it?

Hershl says:

So everyone gets to have their say.

Big deal.

Meanwhile, Islam ( literally, submission) enshrines jihad in the Koran and is hell bent on getting the rest of us to “submit”.

The pushback is coming. Pam Geller is just the tip of the iceberg.

I agree that the bus ad is clumsy and counterproductive. Whatever the provocation, emotionalism and mud slinging will never stand us in good stead. Israel would never post such an ad. It knows that, come what may, when it comes to the Arab Israel conflict, we must keep our eye on the ball. Our goals are to end the hatred and keep our people safe. That’s all.
Batya Casper
The Human Face of Conflict

    leonardo777 says:


    Read any good books lately?

    Try reading the Quran & be sure to get a copy of the HADITHS. You need the 2 of them to understand the mind of the DIRTY ARABS or should I have said SAND NIGGERS?


    There is a hadith that says,

    “In the Last Days, the Muslims will kill ALL the Jews & some will hide behind rocks, but the rocks will shout out, “there’s a dirty Jew hiding behind me, come & kill him.”


corey949 says:

The outpouring of misinformation, crude hatred and unalloyed racism in this comment thread baffles me. Chandler is taking an utterly mainstream, middle-of-the-road position identical to most Jewish communal, social and political institutions and publications. His whole point is that the tactics that the infamous Geller ad represents are dangerous TO ISRAEL and the Zionist cause. I’m probably way to the “left” of Chandler, in that I support Israel as a Jewish homeland but reject the idea that its survival rests on settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the attendant human rights abuses. What the suspiciously uniform comments to his piece completely miss is that for a couple of millennia, Jewish survival depended on a tolerance for diversity within the “tribe.” The real “self-hating” Jews are the ones whose comments denouncing Chandler drip with hatred for any Jew who doesn’t embrace their limited, self-destructive narrative. I feel I could easily write the responses that team will post in reply to this. Save your breath, chaverim. I fully admit to being a liberal, cosmopolitan, intellectual Jew who doesn’t see all Arabs, Muslims or Palestinians as “Savages.”

leonardo777 says:

“Please explain to me how clitorectomies against one’s will, denying women rights and honor killings, all in the name of Jihad are NOT savage???

    leonardo777 says:



leonardo777 says:

“Please explain to me how clitorectomies against one’s will”,







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