Posted 6 April 2015.
I believe that to be liked by everyone is not a desirable objective. It can only be achieved by being so innocuous and inoffensive that you never say anything which upsets anybody. In practice, that means you never say anything of value.
Instead, I believe in thinking carefully about what I say and do, so that I am liked by people whose opinions I value, and only disliked by people whose opinions I do not value. It is no shame to be attacked by people who are wrong in their views.
Indeed, to be attacked by some people is a badge of honour. Accordingly, when I was attacked in 2010 by the British National Party I was delighted.
I had the same reaction recently when I was attacked by Pamela Geller.
Pamela Geller is an American political activist. She blogs, with her best known blog being “Atlas Shrugs” (an allusion to the famous novel “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand) and she also has a significant Twitter following, 59,300 at the time of writing. I have seen her appear quite often on Fox News. (I watch Fox News from time to time for entertainment, not as a source of news!)
Her views can reasonably be described as “Far right” and anti-Muslim. For example she is a supporter of the English Defence League (EDL).
On 25 June 2013 the British Home Secretary banned her from entering the UK. The banning letter sent by the Home Office on behalf of the Home Secretary is on Pamela Geller’s website.
The letter begins by listing unacceptable behaviours. These include various activities (such as running a website) to express views that are unacceptable for a variety of reasons, one of which is “foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.” The lists in the letter are expressly stated not to be exhaustive.
The letter goes on to say that the Home Secretary has personally directed that Pamela Geller should be excluded from the UK on the grounds that her presence here “is not conducive to the public good.” The reason given is that Pamela Geller has made statements that may lead to inter-community violence in the UK.
The Home Office cites specific statements of Pamela Geller’s:
The letter goes on to explain that although there is no statutory right of appeal, the Home Secretary’s decision is reviewed every 2 to 5 years.
I am a supporter of the New Israel Fund (NIF), and have been for a number of years. Their principles are set out on the Values page of their website, and for the convenience of readers I have reproduced them below.
- Achieve equality for all the citizens of the state regardless of religion, national origin, race, gender or sexual orientation;
- Realize the civil and human rights of all individuals and groups through the protection of Palestinian citizens and other marginalized minorities, including the advancement of collective rights, and opposition to all forms of discrimination and bigotry;
- Recognize and reinforce the essential pluralism of Israeli society and tolerance for diversity;
- Protect the access of minorities to democratic channels for the expression of their interests and identities and the promotion of their rights;
- Empower civil society in Israel as the fundamental vehicle of an open society;
- Build and maintain a just society at peace with itself and its neighbors.
In February 2015 the NIF was attacked by elements of the Israeli political spectrum. Accordingly on 10 February 2015 I signed a petition supporting the NIF and commending its work. The petition is no longer open as far as I can tell, but it led to an advertisement which is on the NIF website.
After signing the petition, I issued a tweet about it to encourage others to sign it. That tweet is embedded below.
I am a friend of Israel, as well being as a friend of Palestine. Accordingly I signed the New Israel Fund petition. http://t.co/NcRSQUX6gX— Mohammed Amin (@Mohammed_Amin) February 10, 2015
A few weeks later, in response to another campaign to support the NIF using the hashtag #NIFLoveBomb I issued another tweet, embedded below:
I would like to reaffirm my support for the New Israel Fund. I deplore the politically motivated attacks on it. #NIFLoveBomb— Mohammed Amin (@Mohammed_Amin) March 10, 2015
The date of the attack below shows that it was my second tweet that led Pamela Geller to attack me. Pamela Geller does not follow me on Twitter at the time of writing, and as far as I am aware she has never followed me. I suspect she came across my second tweet while searching on the hashtag #NIFLoveBomb.
On 12 March 2015 I received an email from Adam Ognall, the UK Chief Executive of the NIF which is reproduced below:
You may have seen that Pamela Geller is trying to catch you in the cross-fire of her current attacks on social media. Of all the ridiculous smears she is spouting this goes beyond ridiculous.
All I want to say – on behalf of all at NIF – is that we truly appreciate your support. I have copied in my chair Nicholas Saphir and vice-chair Lord Beecham.
Also, from my personal knowledge of your work in Manchester on Muslim-Jewish dialogue with David Berkley and others, the level of insult thrown becomes even more ridiculous.
Please let us know if we can do anything.
With very best wishes, Adam
Adam Ognall, Chief Executive, New Israel Fund
New Israel Fund is a Registered Charity, No: 1060081
Until then, I was oblivious to having been attacked!
It is worth reading what Pamela Geller says about me. I have not copied the text of her attack to avoid being accused of violating her copyright! However she calls me a "Muslim Supremacist." The remainder of her criticism is entirely based on my involvement with the Conservative Muslim Forum, an organisation which she clearly regards as being beyond the pale.
The attack contains one factual error. I am described as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum (CMF). Actually I ceased being Vice Chairman around March 2013 when I became Deputy Chairman, and since June 2014 I have been Chairman.
The attack is basically a cut and paste job. It copies from the CMF’s Wikipedia page some old (2007) criticism of the CMF by commentators who can only be described as "unsympathetic" to the CMF. Indeed it even copies erroneous links which have since been corrected on the Wikipedia page.
On the same page Geller attacks some other donors to the NIF. These include:
Accordingly Pamela Geller is bracketing me with some illustrious company!
Apart from sharing the details here, I have no intention of responding to Pamela Geller’s attack, any more than I responded to the attack from the British National Party.
Some accusers, with Pamela Geller being a good example, never merit a response.