Must Be an Oversight: Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Debbie Schlussel Left Off Domestic Extremist List

Cross-posted from Mondoweiss.

One of Pamela Geller’s cohorts, Debbie Schlussel, has explicitly stated that those killed at Utoya got what was coming to them because they were “HAMAS Youth” and (at the same time) “Fatah PLO” terrorists.

Schlussel may not be as well-known as Geller (perhaps because Schlussel has not exercised a leading role in anything as prominent as the “Ground Zero Mosque” furor), but she is a politically active Republican and more mainstream than Geller because she is also a culture writer with a strong media presence. (Not that she separates this work from her anti-Islamic campaign — she has criticized the film industry for not doing enough to portray Islam “correctly”).

Her opinion on the Norway terror attacks can be summed up with these quotes taken from her ongoing screeds against the terror victims:

Based on these pics, seems like he’s [Glenn Beck's] spot on, though he should have added, HAMAS Youth camp, too. As we all know, Nazis boycotted Jews and were Jew-killers. And these hateful, privileged brats at the camp boycotted Jews and sided with Jew-killers.

But what goes around comes around. You support terrorists against innocent civilians in Israel, then you get attacked by terrorists who are upset with your support. …

Frankly, the HAMAS charter and HAMAS’ behavior, all of which these kids at the Norwegian HAMAS youth camp cheered on, is a lot more scary than the screed and deeds of Breivik. …

I shed no tears for these HAMASnik campers with a Scandinavian dialect. Perpetrators are not victims. Sorry. HAMAS collaborators don’t get my pity. They never will.

Far stronger words than Geller was willing to use. But they are par for the course as far as Schlussel is concerned.

Her prominence derives from her utility to the male conservative-dominated anti-Islamic movement. The fact that she is a woman (and also the daughter of Holocaust survivors) speaking out against Islam gives greater credence to an ideological group whose most well-known speakers are white Christian males like Newt Gingrich, Geert Wilders and Pat Robertson (the movement is, as a whole, dominated by sociopolitically conservative men, although many are not Christians).

Gingrich and Robertson, for instance, denounce Islamic attitudes towards women, while still being hostile to “feminism” under the cloak of “family values.” Having women on their anti-Islamic bandwagon helps prove their “point” about Islamic backwardness and their moral righteousness, which is a combination of faux-progressivism (treating Geller and Schlussel as intellectual co-equals) and paternalism (evoking Orientalist images of rapacious Muslim brutes). A similar logic animates the GOP embrace of Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and Michele Bachmann. Schlussel and Geller, among others, are useful for the right (while at the same time, they castigate individuals on the left for being Islam’s “useful idiots”).

But back to Schlussel’s own anti-Islamic agenda. Before this most recent denunciation of insufficiently Zionist individuals, she famously responded to Osama bin Laden’s death by quipping “1 down, 1.8 billion to go.” When a family of West Bank settlers were murdered earlier this year, she approvingly quoted PM Netanyahu’s son’s remarks that “terror has a religion and it is Islam” and “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Schlussel is an ardent Zionist — Hamas and Fatah are basically the same thing, in her analysis, and are dedicated to ending Israel forever. With this in mind, few individuals or institutions are pro-Israel enough for her: Republican Governor Chris Christie, for instance, is “Hamas GOP” because he appointed Pakistani-American Sohail Mohammed, a Muslim attorney who defended individuals (including Hamas supporters) that the federal government sought to extradite from the U.S. after 9/11, to the NJ State Supreme Court. Whole Foods is “anti-Israel” because it sells fair trade products from Palestinian farmers in the West Bank and has dared to wish its customers a good Ramadan (there is ill-intent behind this marketing ploy, of course). And, like Robert Spencer and Pat Robertson, she believes that mainstream media is “anti-American” (and thus, anti-Western) and panders to Islam because it is anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Western.

Both Congressmen Ron Paul (who has called for a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East and an end to the US$3 billion in aid Washington sends Israel annually) and Dennis Kucinich (who condemned the Israeli assault on the first Freedom Flotilla) are “for” Hamas, according to Schlussel. That a libertarian who caucuses with the GOP and one of the most lefit-wing members of the Democratic Party are somehow colluding to advance Hamas’s agenda is well within the realm of possibility for Schlussel: either you are with Israel (and the West — which, by extension, means you’re “with” civilization), or against it. For Schlussel, no Muslim can ever be “for” those things.

As Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch asked in its coverage of her work, why did Schlussel even bother saying that she doesn’t support Anders Breivik when she says that “I can’t feel sorry for those who support my would-be assassins. And I don’t get too upset when they face the karma that is their fate.”

The author would like to thank Mondoweiss’s readers for bringing Schlussel’s response to his attention.

Postscript:
Because Schlussel et al are not treated as domestic extremists by the FBI – in fact, the FBI has even produced training materials that echo and endorse their claims about “Islam” – we need to spotlight their influence.

Paul Mutter is a graduate student at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.