"I would say to Geller, look, you have the right to do this. But you also have a responsibility. Freedom of speech is a very serious right and it comes with a responsibility. You have a responsibility to act in a way that is restrained, according to fact. And simply yelling at someone and saying terribly nasty things at someone, look, and then to complain about the fact that someone reacts violently to that, to me, that's like lighting the Reichstag on fire and then complaining that your fingers got singed."Obviously not a very well-structured analogy but Shepherd's objection was to the comparison of Geller to Nazis and he's on quite dubious ground there. For one, the AFDI's platform is openly fascist, calling for the rolling back of constitutional protections for Muslims as part of a government-led cultural jihad against them. Geller herself has called for everything from a blacklist of Al Jazeera to a ban on the burqa worn by Muslim women. It's also the case that, in the wake of Geller's "Ground Zero mosque" demagoguery, Geller developed extensive support among actual Nazis and white supremacists:
"Geller's Muslim-bashing has resonated with certain conservatives, several of whom, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have come out against the Muslim community center. But Geller’s views are now also finding support from nearly every sector of America’s racist right. This is rather surprising because Geller is Jewish, a fact that is normally enough to dissuade radical rightists from too tight an embrace. Apparently, Geller is a Jew the racist right can love."That's from an article from the Southern Poverty Law Center that offers copious examples. The SPLC has spent decades fighting these reactionary elements. When its efforts to battle fascistic hate-groups ran afoul of the efforts of the Media Research Center to mainstream various elements of same, the MRC's writers did their best to treat it as some discredited, fringe org, throwing at it the same sort of venom as have the neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The SPLC has noted Geller's AFDI is an anti-Muslim hate group, which has subjected the org and any press outlets that cite it to more abuse by the MRC.
Shepherd may not like Nazi comparisons, but Geller's platform speaks for itself and the "white nationalist" right doesn't adore her because of her winning smile.
[This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog that critiquings the Media Research Center's efforts to cover for fascistic hate groups.]