GREAT NECK, New York (PIX11) – The head rabbi at the Great Neck Synagogue in Nassau County was defending his decision Tuesday to allow a controversial blogger to speak there this weekend.
The blogger is Pamela Geller–who has spoken out repeatedly against jihad and the code of “sharia” in Islamist governments like Egypt. She told PIX 11, “If one little Jew can’t have a talk at a shul on a Sunday morning, I think it speaks to how bad things are.”
Geller gained prominence several years ago, when she strongly condemned efforts to build a “mega-mosque” near the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan, close to where more than 2,700 people were killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
She told PIX she’s received many e-mail threats from overseas since then, saying “They’re going to execute me, shoot me, or bash my skull on the sidewalk.” Geller told PIX 11 she will be traveling to the Great Neck synagogue with her “usual team of armed guards,” adding “I’m more afraid to stay quiet.”
Some fellow Jews are denouncing Geller’s appearance at the Men’s Club of the orthodox synagogue. Jerome Davidson–Rabbi Emeritus of the Temple Beth-El in Great Neck–said “The synagogue is no place for a hate speech,” adding “She put posters in the subways that compared Muslims to animals.”
Davidson said he “begged” Rabbi Dale Robakoff of the Great Neck Synagogue to cancel Geller ‘s appearance this Sunday. Geller will appear at the temple with Gregory Buckley, Sr. of Oceanside, whose son–Marine Lance Corporal, Gregory Buckley Junior–was shot dead by an Afghani police officer last summer.
PIX 11 spoke to Rabbi Polakoff at the Great Neck Synagogue Tuesday, but he would only agree to read from a statement. It said of Geller, “We believe that it is important to hear what she has to say and we are confident that intelligent and fair minded individuals will consider her views in reaching their own conclusions.”