Great Neck Shliach Yosef Geisinsky said he is unfazed over inviting a controversial lecturer. He told COLlive.com the reason behind it.
By COLlive reporter
How do you know you are doing something right? By the people who oppose it.
Chabad of Great Neck, NY, will be hosting a lecture by the controversial author and political activist Pamela Geller, after a local Reform Rabbi has been lobbying against her appearance.
The efforts resulted in the Great Neck Synagogue canceling a planned appearance of Geller, a harsh critic of "political Islam" and founder of the organization Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) which some consider a "hate group."
In response, Chabad Rabbi Yosef Geisinsky and Conservative Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg of Beth-El in Edison have both invited Geller to speak at their respective locations on Sunday, April 14.
The event will be moderated to prevent hate speeches and Rabbi Geisinsky said he anticipates that Geller will stick to discussions of freedom of speech and terrorism, according to TheIslandNow.com.
"We believe that everyone should have the option to speak, as long as they do not speak hatred," Rabbi Geisinsky was quoted as saying.
New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn said he was "delighted" to see the two synagogues step in to invite Geller to speak, despite mounting pressure from political officials and activist groups.
Hikind, who said he plans to attend the lecture in Great Neck, said that when we allow "bullies" to "squash" freedom of speech it means the "terrorists are winning," according to VIN News.
Speaking to COLlive.com, Rabbi Geisinsky said Geller was not the radical "the media proposes" she is. "She speaks against Sharia, terror and anti-Semitism," he said, noting that he expects a crowd of over 1000 people.
He said that "99.9%" of the feedback he has received since scheduling Geller's talk has been positive. "We have been getting very positive input," said Rabbi Geisinsky who was in a coma recently after suffering a massive heart attack and miraculously recovered.
"The one who was able to block (her coming to speak) was a Reform Rabbi who fought our public display of the menorah for many years," he said.
While Rabbi Geisinsky didn't mention the person by name, the Jewish Press reported that cancellation was due to "the intimidating and relentless tactics engaged in by certain leftist Jews, notably Rabbi Jerome Davidson and Rabbi Michael White."
In an email to the Forward, Geller wrote: "Jewish history is plagued with these quislings, who are willing tools serving as the public face for supremacists and annihilationists.
"The left uses these Jews to defame and destroy a Jew who is truly standing up for Israel and for the principles of freedom and human rights that the Jewish State represents. It's inexcusable."
The flyer for the event on the website www.ChabadGN.com