I’ve endeavored to include on my blog roll a diverse spectrum which represents (that is to say, isn’t comprehensive) the various points on the blogosphere compass I scan. I certainly don’t agree with all the points of view expressed by the links on my blog roll. However, experience has taught me that familiarity with multiple points of view on a particular subject is the basis for what qualifies as “well informed.”
There are, however, positions for which I have no tolerance and several of the links on my blog roll have crossed the line into this zone.
The first to go is Ann Coulter. While I’ve admired her chutzpah and irreverent tenacity for saying out loud what I hear many people whispering in private, she crossed the line with her inane defense of a white supremacist hate group and whining about the “racist” tag with which they’ve been labeled.
The second to go is Robert Spencer. I’ve appreciated the insights from several of his books and numerous blog posts on jihadwatch.org. But his failure to unequivocally dissociate himself from a group of white nationalists advocating the expulsion of all Muslims from Turkey is a step across the line. There are other odd behaviors on display by Mr. Spencer which precipitated his removal from my blog roll here at JZ:TOL. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Spencer appears to be undermining his own previous good works.
I believe we are challenged with finding solutions to many brutal and barbaric threats both here and abroad. However, the successful solutions WILL NOT involve regressing to the point of replicating past atrocities and implementing equally barbaric “solutions” via a “means justify the ends” paradigm. They don’t.
Race supremacy and genocide are not the lessons a healthy, free and civilized nation finds in history and chooses to carry forward. They are as far to one side of the spectrum of solutions as “diplomatic” solutions are to the other. Finding, and acting on, a solution will require creativity and backbone. Sliding back into the mire of dark age thinking is not something I can support, regardless the point on the compass from which it originates.
2009.02.20 – 09:40
Received the following email purporting to be from Robert Spencer:
Subject: Message from Java Zen:TOL Visitor
From: “Robert Spencer” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, February 19, 2009 2:33 pm
Robert Spencer wrote:
To whom it may concern: Please be aware that the material you have repeated here
from “Guftafs”, Charles Johnson and Kejda Gjermani is false and
libelous. I have no ties to white nationalist or Turkish irredentist groups, and
am investigating the possibility of legal action against the parties named
I certainly hope clarity is brought to this situation. I’ll be watching…
2009.02.20 – 11:35
Fixed an error in Spencer’s email introduced when I stripped out the HTML escape codes for double quotes.
It appears this post has been linked on LGF (Thanks?) and I’m receiving email with some interesting points and questions. I’ll respond when I have more time. The irony is receiving a decent burst of traffic on a dormant blog after I take something away. Idea for next post: a blank page!
2009.02.20 – 14:40
I’ve had a little time to look deeper into the message purportedly sent by Robert Spencer. While I’ve taken measures to guard against spoofed messages, I certainly can’t claim such measures are perfect. What I’ve found in the server logs looks to be rather straightforward, however, the IP address captured by WordPress has left some doubt and I want to be certain. So I’ve attempted to follow up with Mr. Spencer in regard to the authenticity of the email received yesterday. I’ll post any findings.
Also, fixed several spelling errors and cleaned up some grammar.
2009.02.20 – 16:37
Well, so much for that…
Subject: Re: Message received at Java Zen Blog
From: “Robert Spencer”
Date: Fri, February 20, 2009 4:12 pm
Please contact my attorney:
WILLIAM J. BECKER, JR., ESQ
The Becker Law Firm
11500 Olympic Blvd., Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel: (310) 636-1018
Fax: (310) 765-6328
On Feb 20, 2009, at 4:39 PM, Gregory Engel wrote:
> I received the following message yesterday via the contact form on my
> blog, “Thinking Out Loud.” The message author claims to be Robert
> While I have taken measures to filter out spoofed messages, I never
> the filters to be perfect. Can this message be confirmed as having
> from Robert Spencer at jihadwatch.org?
> Gregory Engel
(The message shown previously was attached.)
I have no plans to contact Mr. Spencer’s attorney. Neither do I plan to pursue this issue further. What I will say is that Mr. Spencer’s statement that he has “no ties to white nationalist or Turkish irredentist groups” is not the same as rejecting the methods and goals of such groups. I have no ties to any groups or organizations who deify the color purple, but that does little to clarify whether I support or oppose the color purple.
As I said, I’ll continue to watch how events unfold.
2009.02.23 – 05:00
The header from the email received from Mr. Spencer in response to my confirmation request shows:
Received: by carbon.javazen.com (Postfix, from userid 2005)
id D676878269E; Fri, 20 Feb 2009 16:12:38 -0700 (MST)
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.5 (2008-06-10) on carbon.javazen.com
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-2.0 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_00,RDNS_NONE,
WHOIS_DMNBYPROXY autolearn=no version=3.2.5
Received: from alpha.jihadwatch.org (unknown [22.214.171.124])
by carbon.javazen.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 6356978269E
for ; Fri, 20 Feb 2009 16:12:38 -0700 (MST)
Received: from pool-72-71-205-239.cncdnh.fios.myfairpoint.net ([126.96.36.199]:63377 helo=new-host.home)
by alpha.jihadwatch.org with esmtpa (Exim 4.69)
id 1LaeXn-0001oL-Oo; Fri, 20 Feb 2009 18:12:31 -0500
From: Robert Spencer
Subject: Re: Message received at Java Zen Blog
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed; delsp=yes
Mime-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v930.3)
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 18:12:37 -0500
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.930.3)
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname – alpha.jihadwatch.org
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain – javazen.com
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID – [47 12] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain – jihadwatch.org
It contains the same IP address as captured by WordPress from the original email message sent via the contact form on JZ:TOL, namely, 188.8.131.52. This increases my confidence that the original email message was indeed from Mr. Spencer.
Now, to respond to several emails received from visitors…
Mel Sherwood writes,
“It seems to me that Spencer [sic] defense was more than adequate. It was an oversight on his part, a bit of carelessness, that is all. You never did something careless, eh?”
It is a silly syllogism to excuse Mr. Spencer’s specific “carelessness” of allowing himself to be associated with groups espousing repulsive goals to the notion that I have been careless at any point within the context of my entire life. There are degrees of carelessness to consider. Carelessly leaving the bathroom light on all day hardly compares with carelessly leaving a loaded handgun on the merry-go-round at an elementary school playground.
Yes, I’ve been careless in the past, but such acts have not been egregious and most likely have occurred in contexts where I am ignorant, inadequately trained or do not claim to be an expert. In contexts where I have training or claim to be a professional or expert, carelessness is virtually nonexistent. And if it does occur in such contexts, it is trivial. This is what is puzzling about Mr. Spencer’s behavior. He definitely should know better and if he has been “careless” then his refutation should be commensurate with the magnitude of his “carelessness.” If Mr. Sherwood is comfortable excusing Mr. Spencer’s behavior as careless, then that reveals much about Mr. Sherwood. The fire of responsibility to which I choose to hold people (myself included) accountable, it would seem, is much hotter than Mr. Sherwood finds comfortable. In this case, “Ooops” doesn’t withstand the heat. Mr. Sherwood and I will have to agree to disagree. I find Mr. Spencer’s explanation, at least so far, less than adequate. And I do hope that changes.
Anti Jihad writes:
“Let me ask you a question. Your blog has a link to the Democratic Underground, which has had posters that have supported terrorist attacks in Iraq, and it also has a link to the Daily Kos which has had articles by groups that appease jihad and apologize for Jihadist groups. Should we judge Java Zen based on that? I think your attacks on Robert Spencer are pointless and contradictory on the larger challenge that we need in defending equality and liberty. I am just pointing out that someone could easily smear your web site the same way, using the same tactics. And it would be wrong then too.”
Geesh. Well, this is my blog and Anti Jihad can cry if he wants to. If the simple act of removing a link to a web site qualifies as an “attack” or “smearing” in Anti Jihad’s mind, then I can only hope he develops thicker skin over time.
Mr. Spencer has positioned himself as an expert in Islam and jihad. The content and message of his web site is under his control. This is not the case with Democratic Underground or Daily Kos. There are no experts running those sites, except of the self-proclaimed variety, and they appear to be little more than sounding boards for the Left/Far Left’s position. And that’s why they’re on the blog roll. (Hint: you find similar links for the Right/Far Right.) The blog roll on JZ:TOL contains a mix of both broad and specific viewpoints from both individuals and organizations. That’s how I chose to structure it. It isn’t all one thing and Anti Jihad’s narrow reaction serves as an example for why that’s the case.
Let me try illustrating it this way. Let’s say I had a link to an automobile safety web site run by a race car driver, Speedy Joe. He has excellent advice, knows his stuff, doesn’t pull punches and writes well. Then one day he “carelessly” associates with a group advocating the immediate roadside execution of careless drivers who take up two parking spaces. Well, I may or may not choose to read Speedy Joe’s web site in the future, but I will certainly no longer recommend his site to others. (Note for those currently pumped up on adrenaline: This is an intentionally absurd example for the benefit of black and white thinkers needing help with shades of gray.)
And remember, I removed the link to Ann Coulter’s site as well for similar reasons. She is in control of the content and message of her web site. If Anti Jihad wishes to take exception to a falsely perceived contradiction on JZ:TOL’s blog roll, then where is his defense of Ann Coulter? I don’t expect one to be forthcoming. As he said, it is the “larger challenge that we need in defending equality and liberty” that counts. But as I said before, the ends do not justify the means.
I can assure my readers, if any other individuals with sites are currently linked on the JZ:TOL blog roll cross such a line, they, too, will be unlinked.