Pamela Geller, the controversial author and activist, was set to deliver a lecture Sunday morning to the Zionist Organization of America that she had given many times before, billed by organizers as a revelation of the “root cause of war in the Middle East.”
But instead of taking her place before the few dozen people inside the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Geller and those who had come to see her milled around the sidewalk on Wilshire Boulevard. The Jewish Federation, just hours earlier, canceled the event.
Cancellations, just like death threats — “I have a huge file of death threats,” Geller says — are something of an occupational hazard, particularly after the Southern Poverty Law Center deemed her organization a hate group. Both Jewish and Islamic associations have condemned her as a “fear-monger.”
But in this instance, she said, the Jewish Federation “cravenly submitted to Islamic supremacists who wanted to suppress free speech.”
Officials with the federation declined to comment Sunday.
Geller came to prominence as a dogged and sharp-tongued critic of what she sees as the encroachment of Islamic law in the United States and the threat of radical Islam. She was also a fierce opponent of the Muslim community center that was to be built blocks from the World Trade Center.
The host of Sunday’s event, the Western Region Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, said she would “discuss the motive behind Islam’s war on the Jews, the war against Israel, and the 1,400-year-old hatred of Jews living in Muslim lands.”