Video: Robert Spencer at the David Horowitz Freedom Center
Jihad Watch editor unveils the social media giants' war against freedom of speech.
Editor’s note: Below are the video and transcript to Robert Spencer’s appearance at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s August 29, 2017 gathering of the Wednesday Morning Club.
INTRODUCTION BY DAVID HOROWITZ: And I wanted to say that Robert Spencer is a very special person. He created Jihad Watch, which is part of our arsenal to defend our civilization against its enemies without and within who are very numerous.
I want to thank Joyce for bringing Robert to us and for supporting him while he’s part of our universe.
The reason you don’t see a lot of Robert is he lives on the East Coast. So this is a special day. Robert is special in two ways. First of all, he’s one of the most courageous individuals on the right. (Applause)
Because we, at the Center, have taken on the Islamists, and have been doing it for 15-20 years, all of us are hated. I don’t know if you’ve watched all these blacklists going up all over the place, but we’re all hated, but none of us are hated as much as Robert. And the reason is – as you know, those of you who’ve seen him know he’s a very mild-mannered person. The reason that he’s hated is because he’s so knowledgeable. He has invested so much energy. He’s written, I don’t know if it’s a dozen books now, all of them really indispensable, and there are copies out there, and that’s why we’re holding this event, for his new one.
But he’s put the intellectual energy. It’s easy to just be discouraged by the lying of the Left. I mean, for an intellectual, it’s very dispiriting to engage, well, with the Islamists, with the so-called liberals. They lie all the time. They don’t deal with – when you refute their lies, they call you names and attack you.
So just as somebody who does what Robert does, I can tell you to have support like this is really important, but it takes an inner fortitude to do what Robert has done. I want to thank him for doing that – (Applause)
ROBERT SPENCER: I am very grateful for all your kind words and, yes, you know, the flagship publication of the David Horowitz Freedom Center is Front Page Magazine, and if you go to Front Page Magazine, on the masthead it says, “Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” (Laughter) And they’re getting out. (Laughter) Now, it’s happening.
We have seen, especially after the incident in Charlottesville, which apparently was a Neo-Nazi psychopath who drove his car into a crowd of Leftists – I say “apparently” not because I subscribe to any wild conspiracy theories or anything of that kind, but there are a lot of questionable aspects to that whole incident. One of the most notable ones being that the organizer of the Alt-Right or Neo-Nazi or White Supremacist or whatever it was demonstration was a member of the Occupy Movement and an Obama organizer just last year. And so you gotta wonder did he undergo such a rapid conversion to this supposed Far-Right and become its leader in such a short time, or is there more to this than meets the eye?
But in any case, whatever happened there, the Left has been using the incident at Charlottesville to try to once again overreach and make sure that no dissenting view can be enunciated, that absolutely nothing except the Far-Left agenda can be spoken in the public square.
And after Charlottesville, they have been using it, using that incident to move in for the kill. And one of the chief weapons that they have been using in doing this is, of course, the notorious hate group list of the Southern Poverty Law Center. And the Southern Poverty Law Center, as many of you know, started out in the ‘70s. I was one of its early donors, and I wish I could get that money back. (Laughter) But, anyway, it was fighting the Klan and Neo-Nazis, and who could object?
But, of course, the Klan and the Nazis, in real life, aside from what you might read in the New York Times or here on CNN, in real life, the Klan and Neo-Nazis are negligent forces – negligible forces, I should say, excuse me – that don’t have any significant power and are not menacing people on a large scale in the United States today. This is not to excuse them. It’s just to recognize that there’s a great deal of hysteria surrounding them today, in large part because of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
By the end of the ‘70s, the Southern Poverty Law Center was victorious. It had fought the Klan in several lawsuits. It had won, and the Klan was a spent force. So what it should have done was go out of business, vote itself out of existence at that time, but, of course, as we know, organizations don’t do that. They just find other things to refocus upon, and the SPLC decided to become essentially an attack dog for the Left by lumping in perfectly legitimate organizations with real hate groups and thereby try to tar, marginalize and ultimately destroy groups that were perfectly legitimate, but which enunciated a point of view that the Southern Poverty Law Center opposed.
It’s a really very, very clever tactic, diabolically clever, but undeniably clever. And we saw how it worked right after Charlottesville when CNN published their list, 917 hate groups in the United States. Only in the small print did the initial CNN reports say this is according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Nowhere did CNN explain that the Southern Poverty Law Center does not include any groups that are not on the Right, any groups on the Left as hate groups. You cannot be a hate group and be on the Left, as far as the SPLC is concerned. Nowhere did they explain why the SPLC is a neutral arbiter of what constitutes a hate group at all or what qualifies them to tell us what is a hate group and what isn’t. Nowhere was this explained. All it said was, “Here are the hate groups in your area.”
And it was really quite a remarkable thing to scroll through this list. I don’t know if any of you saw it, but it made – even though I was appalled and disgusted, because, of course, there was Jihad Watch and the David Horowitz Freedom Center and other perfectly legitimate groups, many of which I’m personally involved in as well, they were right next to these groups like the Skinheads for White Supremacy and the Neo-Nazis for Aryan Ascendance. And so you’re reading along and it’s just absolutely weird, and it made me wonder can anybody really be taking this seriously that it says, “Bloodthirsty Aryans for Death. David Horowitz Freedom Center.” (Laughter) How can you possibly think this is a real list? But they do.
And not only that, it’s been an annoyance for years that we have been listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but after Charlottesville, it’s much more than an annoyance. It has been used to attempt to deny us a platform entirely. And you need to know that there are very, very concerted efforts now to cut off the so-called hate groups from any access to the primary means of communication, and, most notably, all of the things that give you a significant platform on the internet.
Recently, this fellow wrote me – somebody I’d never known – and he sent me a notice that he’d gotten from YouTube, and the YouTube notice said, “Your playlist has been barred – has been blocked from YouTube as inappropriate.” And you know what the title of the playlist was? “Robert Spencer.”
My videos are still on YouTube on my channel. I think that they targeted this guy because he told me in his email that he just – he had actually forgotten he had this and he had just set aside a few of my videos because he wanted to watch them later. And I think they went after him and not after my own Jihad Watch channel on YouTube because they knew that if they went after me directly, there would be an outcry, but they could get rid of his and nobody would particularly notice, because he’s not a public figure.
And this is not just happening to me. Pamela Geller, who many of you know, who I’ve worked with on many occasions, she has had recently several of her YouTube videos removed, and these are not new ones. These are videos going back to 2007. Now, a 10-year-old video that was on YouTube for 10 years obviously, YouTube didn’t think it violated their guidelines for 10 years, and, now, suddenly, it does, because there is this concerted effort to cut a platform out from under all of us.
You may recall also recently there was the imam at the Islamic Center of Riverside, California, Ammar Shahin, who prayed in front of video cameras that Allah please destroy the Jews and annihilate them down to the last one, and that this got a little bit of notice, because the Middle East Media Research Institute published the video, and I published the video on Jihad Watch. And not long after that, I got a notice from Twitter, because all of the Jihad Watch posts go up immediately on Twitter. That’s sort of a standard thing. And Twitter notified me that one of my tweets was being removed for hate speech, and it was the tweet about Ammar Shahin calling for the annihilation of the Jews.
Now, mind you, they weren’t upset about Ammar Shahin. They weren’t upset that he had called for the annihilation of the Jews. They were upset that I had reported upon it. Now, you might think that that’s absurd, but this has been something that’s been going on for years.
In the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is 57 Muslim governments worldwide, 56 states and the Palestinian Authority, a very powerful organization, the largest voting bloc at the UN, since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, for years, has been publishing regular reports on Islamophobia, and it goes like this: If an imam says, “Kill them wherever you find them,” then the Organization of Islamic Cooperation would say, “Well, that’s legitimate religious expression, and he has to have his freedom to quote the Qur’an, because that is three times in the Qur’an, and if you say anything about it, then you are a hateful, bigoted Islamophobe.”
And then comes along Spencer or Geert Wilders or somebody of that kind and they say, “Look, this imam said, ‘Kill them wherever you find them’” – that goes in the Islamophobia list for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It’s not that they don’t want these things propagated; they don’t want us to know they’re being propagated, and that’s what this is all about. So Ammar Shahin was fine. My reporting on Ammar Shahin got flagged by Twitter as hate speech.
Now, there is even more. For years, if you went to Google and you typed in the word, “jihad,” then my website, Jihad Watch, would be the first to show up. And I ask you to pardon me for so many – all this being so self-referential, but they are – as I am one of the people they’re trying to shut down, a lot of this is happening to me, so I can’t really avoid talking about personal incidents.
In any case, for many years, because Google worked on the basis of the congruence of the subject matter to the search and the number of – and the popularity of the site, because Jihad Watch was and is a popular site, it would show up first if you searched for jihad.
Now, if you search for jihad – and I ask you to do this, but when you do it, be careful, because you probably have a cache and a history and that will skew your results, but if you clear your cache and your history and then search for jihad, Jihad Watch will not show up on even the first page, much less first. It will probably show up on the second page or after that.
Now, why is that? There is an imam in Texas named Omar Suleiman, and Omar Suleiman, he recently started to complain to Google, and he said, “Your Google searches are filled with hate-filled Islamophobia.” And Google said, “Oh, will you please help us to cleanse our Google searches?” And he said, “Yes, I’m very busy, but I’d be happy to help.” And he did, so that, now – and it’s noteworthy that this was only reported by the Anadolu Agency, which is a Turkish news agency. This was not reported by any news agency in the United States, but I found it at the Anadolu Agency, that working with Omar Suleiman, Google has now skewed its search results, so that no longer do you get, when you search for anything regarding Islam – Islam, jihad, Sharia law, whatever – if you search for a word like that, you don’t get the site that comes up because it is in line with the subject matter of what you’re searching for and is the most popular site. That’s no longer how it works. The way it works now is that you only get material that tells you how Islam is a religion of peace.
And if you search for jihad now, the first thing you will get is a site that says, “Jihad, a misunderstood concept in Islam.” And if you click on it, it’ll tell you all about how jihad is spiritual struggle and has nothing to do with terrorism. And this – Meanwhile, of course, there are jihad terrorists who are justifying their actions by pointing to the Qur’an and making recruits among peaceful Muslims by invoking Islamic teachings, but you will get none of that from your Google search. You will not have any idea why any of that is happening.
Now, it was – interesting was that Omar Suleiman quoted in the Anadolu Agency article, he said, “We don’t want Google to censor legitimate criticism of Islam. We only want Google to censor hate-filled Islamophobia.”
Now, have you ever heard the Council on American-Islamic Relations or any other Muslim group in the United States say, “Hey, that’s legitimate criticism of Islam.”? They never do that.
I myself was dismayed when I published my first book way back in 2002, and I thought – I was very naïve. I thought, “There’s going to be a discussion about this.” (Laughter) “There’s going to be a public debate about these issues that I’ve raised about Islam.” The book was called Islam Unveiled, Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest-Growing Faith. And there was nothing.
Instead, there were just charges: “hate-filled Islamophobia.” And I thought, “Wait a minute. How can it be hate-filled Islamophobia? I’m saying these are the passages of the Qur’an. These are the aspects of Islam that terrorists are using to make recruits and to spread their ideology. What’s hate filled? If anything’s hate filled, they are.”
But that was far too rational. They didn’t want to have a rational discussion. They wanted to shut down discussion. As the Front Page masthead says, “Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” They wanted to make sure that any and all criticism of Islam, any and all discussion of how Islam is used by terrorists, all of that would be tarred as hate-filled Islamophobia. That’s how we ended up on the hate-group list to start with.
And when they say – When Omar Suleiman and the others say, “We only want to censor hate-filled Islamophobia and not criticism of Islam,” the dirty little secret they’re not telling you is is that any criticism of Islam they consider and explicitly call “hate-filled Islamophobia,” and this is a tactic in line with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, once again. The OIC, for years, has been pursuing at the UN initiatives to compel the United States and the governments of Western Europe, and Canada as well, to criminalize, as Mark pointed out, incitement to religious hatred.
Now, incitement to religious hatred, besides being a very elastic term and quite obviously referring only to criticism of Islam – because nobody ever gets upset when there’s criticism of Judaism or Christianity – it is also an initiative that’s in line with the blasphemy laws that are encoded in Sharia Islamic Law. Islamic Law, on penalty of death, forbids you to criticize Allah, the Qur’an, Mohammed or Islam in general, on penalty of death. And what is the whole point of terrorism? Why were the planes flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Why are all these terrorist attacks going on in the first place?
The whole point of them is all to weaken and destabilize and ultimately destroy the governments of free nations, so that the resulting chaos can be exploited by Islamic groups, and, ultimately, Islamic law will be established in the West. The whole point of jihad is to install Sharia.
And one other way in which this initiative is being carried out is by working to make the West accept elements of Sharia voluntarily, and, now, we’re doing it. Under the guise of hate speech, these Sharia blasphemy laws are being encoded now in the West. And it’s not a matter of law. It’s a matter of, as Hillary Clinton put it, peer pressure and shaming.
You may have heard a few weeks ago that Richard Dawkins was scheduled to speak in Berkeley, and, of course, he was going to speak about his atheist writings. In his atheist writings, he attacks all religions, and he’s very scathing about Christianity because it’s the dominant religion in the Western world, but he also attacks Islam. And he was invited by a Leftist group that is very happy that he attacks religions, especially Christianity.
But then they cancelled him, and in the cancellation notice they explained that he was being cancelled because they had discovered that he criticized Islam, and that was beyond the pale, because these good Leftists have internalized the idea that criticizing Islam is wrong in itself. It’s ipso factor racist, bigoted, Islamophobic and hateful, no matter under what circumstances it is done and no matter by whom it is done.
And so they have internalized what the OIC wants us all to accept, that criticism of Islam is forbidden. And this is a very, very far advanced initiative already. You may recall that in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 15 people were murdered by a couple of Islamic jihadis at a Christmas party, and the neighbors were interviewed right after the attack, you may recall, the neighbors of the attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. And the neighbors said, “Yes, you know, we saw a lot of suspicious things. We saw people coming and going at all hours. We saw people who had looked very unsavory. We saw all sorts of things very suspicious going on at this house?” “Did you call the police?” “Oh, no. We didn’t want to get involved in racial profiling.” And so 15 people are dead.
Same thing happened in Fort Dix longer ago, 10 or 12 years ago now. There was a young man who foiled a jihad plot, but when he found out about it, he hesitated, and he went to a friend and he said, “I’ve seen these very disturbing things. Should I go to the police or would that be racist?” And the idea that anybody would even think for a second that it was racist to oppose an Islamic jihad massacre shows how far advanced this initiative has already come. And, now, it is being given teeth as the platforms are being cut out from under us.
Did you know that just a couple of months ago the Vice President of Facebook, Joel Kaplan, traveled to Islamabad? Now, that’s not really Variety Vacationland, and he was not vacationing. He was on a mission. He met with high Pakistani government officials, most notably Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, and he assured the Pakistani Government that Facebook would remove all material that was considered blasphemous in Islam.
This is yet another story that was not reported in the Western press. I found it in the Pakistani press. They were very happy about it. And Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was there saying, “We explained to Mr. Kaplan that the Islamic religion is the number one thing important to us, and we do not, we cannot stand for seeing it insulted.” And that all sounds like maybe you could understand his point of view until you realize that counter-terror analysis is considered to be insulting to Islam when it discusses the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat, and Facebook has signed on to that.
And so it was that in the middle of February at Jihad Watch we used to get, for years, 20,000 referrals a day from Facebook. In other words, 20,000 people a day would see a Jihad Watch story in their Facebook News Feeds and click on it and go to Jihad Watch and read it. Twenty-thousand people a day.
In the middle of February one day – February 11th, I believe it was – it dropped to 2,000 and has stayed there. It’s actually less now. It’s about 1,000 a day from Facebook. You can still go to Facebook and see the Jihad Watch page. You can still click on links, but by some algorithms and by removing it from people’s news feeds, they have dropped off 90 percent of the referrals from Facebook. Did 90 percent of the people who were reading Jihad Watch from Facebook suddenly lose interest and decide it was a religion of peace? Probably not. Probably they just don’t see it anymore, and they don’t see it anymore because Facebook is explicitly and avowedly complying with Islamic blasphemy laws at the behest of the Government of Pakistan. It sounds unbelievable. I still can’t believe it telling it to you now, but I saw the news story. I saw the photos of Joel Kaplan with Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan sitting there in Islamabad.
And that coincided with another demand from the German government. The German government, of course, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany was caught on a hot mic, you may recall, a couple of years ago demanding to Mark Zuckerberg, the President of Facebook, that he remove hate speech. Now, that coincides perfectly with the Pakistani Government and their demand to Facebook, because by hate speech, Merkel meant criticism of her disastrous migration policies that are overwhelming Germany and the rest of Europe with Muslim migrants who have been responsible for a massive crime wave and are destabilizing the societies of Western Europe. That’s all hate speech. You can’t talk about it.
And, incidentally, when Twitter removed my post about Ammar Shahin, they told me that even if they had decided to keep it up it would probably still not be visible in Germany because Germany is cracking down very hard on this. They’re good at that, you know. They have a history of doing this kind of thing, and it’s coming back. I think that Angela Merkel will go down in history as the second-most successful chancellor of Germany right behind Adolf Hitler in terms of getting her agenda across, but that agenda is frankly against freedom.
Now, after Charlottesville, meanwhile, I got a notice from PayPal, because PayPal was also implementing the Southern Poverty Law Center hate-group list, that Jihad Watch could no longer accept donations from PayPal. And, after a few days, I was finally able to find another platform and get Jihad Watch onto that to get donations, and I got about $15,000 in donations, for which I am very grateful. I am only mentioning it to you now, however, because, at the same time, after the Charlottesville attack, JPMorgan Chase, Apple and MGM Resorts and James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, all pledged millions of dollars to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Millions. And so, you know, I’m very glad to get $15,000, and they have millions on the other side. Absolutely millions.
And I do exhort you, if you have any dealings with any of those – JPMorgan Chase, Apple, MGM – please withdraw. Find something else to put your money in – (applause) – at this point, because Georgette pointed out to me before the talk just now that here you are listening to me, and I’m grateful for your being here and discussing these issues because they are of absolutely pressing importance, but if you have your money in JPMorgan, you are also financing the effort to silence me and David and Mark and everybody else who is fighting this, and so the contradiction ought to be ironed out.
The fact is that in the Soviet Union, there was samizdat literature, you may recall, that it was too dangerous to print things for the most part and people would type out stories that dissented from the Soviet Government’s line and would copy them out by hand, in many cases, or type out multiple copies – cause even to have a carbon was dangerous – and distribute these things. And they were miniscule in their power, miniscule in their distribution, and, yet, ultimately, the Soviet Government viewed them as a very grave threat because they were telling the truth. And the truth was obvious despite all the –
This is why propaganda has to be so repeated all the time. You know, we’re constantly bombarded with articles and feature stories and television shows telling us that Islam is peace and it’s a religion of peace and it teaches peace. Why do we keep having to hear this? Because it’s so obviously false, and we keep having to be told, “Ignore what you hear. Don’t believe your lying eyes. Believe us.” Propaganda needs constant repetition to put itself over.
And so the Soviet government saw this samizdat literature as a grave threat, even though it was so small and powerless, because it had the great weapon of truth on its side, and that’s what we have in this.
They’re going to continue to try to close the platforms on us. PayPal relented after a huge outcry and restored me and Pamela Geller and a few others who had been dropped, but there were many others I’ve heard about, like Politically Incorrect in Germany and several other sites, that have been dropped from PayPal and have not been restored and have no recourse, because they don’t have the platforms that we have to marshal opinion.
I urge you to be aware of this, to lend all support that you possibly can to people that are fighting this, but also never to lose hope, to continue to speak the truth and to stand for the truth, and know that the Soviet Government in its great anxiety over the Samizdat literature reveals the weakness at the heart of totalitarianism. And totalitarianism is on the march and trying to advance in the U.S., but, as David pointed out, they always overreach, and they’re overreaching now. And so we still have a chance to preserve freedom and to preserve a society in which the freedom of speech is respected, but that calls on every one of us to become an activist and to fight in whatever sphere that we can to preserve this, the greatest society in the history of the world.
And thank you very much for being here. (Applause)
QUESTION: With all these treasonous corporations and search engines and everything else, is there any discussion of creating new search engines and websites that would take the place of the PayPals and the Facebooks? Because we’re just getting slaughtered.
ROBERT SPENCER: There is discussion of creating new platforms, and that’s something that I hope proceeds. You would need people of immense wealth to be able to give them enough reach to be able to stand up and compete. These companies are essentially monopolies, and, not only that, but they’re essentially judgement proof, because there’s a thing called the Communications Decency Act that Barack Obama shepherded through while he was president, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act actually protects the social media platforms from legal challenge, so they can act as monopolies and they can destroy the freedom of speech and deny it to people who don’t follow the Leftist line and there’s nothing we can do. We can’t sue them.
So there is actually a lawsuit proceeding, and I’m a participant in it, to challenge that Section 230 and to challenge the U.S. Government, but it’s a very strange thing because we didn’t sue Facebook. We sued the government, and the government said, “You’re suing the wrong guy. You should have sued Facebook.” And so it’s a big legal game – you know how lawyers are – and that is still proceeding.
QUESTION: But rather than litigating against them, just compete against them. Create our own …
ROBERT SPENCER: Yes. I’m all for it. There are efforts. There’s a thing called Gab, which is competing with Twitter, but it’s much smaller. They need massive financing. There’s no alternative Facebook that I know of, but, ultimately, I think, the only thing we can do is try to work toward breaking the power of these groups, and that’s something that I hope that will be done. (Applause)
QUESTION: Hi, Robert.
ROBERT SPENCER: Hi, Mallory.
QUESTION: First, I’d like to point people to an article that I published maybe a year-and-a-half ago on American Thinker called, “Why I Love Hate Speech,” that was an article in support of Pamela Geller and the fact that they have a fatwa on her and they’re trying to behead her.
But what I wanted to say, Robert, is that I had – the insight I had when you were telling us about Joel Kaplan was that what we need to take from the Joel Kaplan anecdote is that he is terrorized. The whole point is that they have succeeded, and what they have done is they have literally terrorized people. And Joel Kaplan is actually afraid that if he doesn’t go there to Pakistan and have the meeting with this man that he will be beheaded.
ROBERT SPENCER: That’s very likely, yeah.
QUESTION: This is the problem. I think – don’t you agree with me? And maybe you could say some words about this – that our approach needs to be now instead of attacking these people who are attacking us to attack the whole concept of being terrorized and how we simply cannot allow ourselves to be terrorized.
ROBERT SPENCER: Well, you know, that’s very true and very important, but, unfortunately, it’s going the other direction. I have to note, for example, in the book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies), I have a chapter called, “From Rushdie to Geller,” and it’s about how in 1989, when Salman Rushdie got his death fatwa from the Islamic Republic of Iran for writing The Satanic Verses he was celebrated as a hero, and there was all sorts of material in the Western press about how the freedom of speech was important and that Rushdie was somebody who had to be stood with and defended.
Now, fast forward that 26 years later to 2015 and when Pamela Geller put on, and I aided her in putting on, the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, that was attacked by terrorists. We were – She was absolutely excoriated, not only on the Left, but by people on Fox, people who are Conservatives. Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham and Donald Trump criticized her and said, you know, “What are you doing drawing Mohammed? You should know better. You have to show respect.”
And nobody seems to understand anymore the principles of free speech that everybody took for granted and understood in 1989, and that the idea that you don’t give in to violent bullying, violent intimidation, but you stand up to the bully. Something that we all learned in fifth grade everybody has forgotten, and everybody takes for granted now, it seems to me, where far too many people, even among so-called conservatives, take for granted the idea that if somebody’s bullying you, you just give him what he wants. If they’re telling you, “We’ll kill you if you draw Muhammad,” then you must not draw Muhammad, and they don’t recognize the implications of this for the freedom of speech and for a free society. Yeah, I think that, in great degree, Mallory, that’s because we have been terrorized and that terrorism keeps happening because it works and that we need to recognize that and grow some – regain some spine.
DAVID HOROWITZ: Conservatives have a natural aversion to politics, cause it’s so ugly and you have to step on principles all the time and make pacts with the devil. However …
SEVERAL SPEAKERS: Can’t hear you.
DAVID HOROWITZ: I’m sorry. I say conservatives have a natural aversion to politics, and I’m here as a former radical to say, look, we won the last election. There is now a Trump Party within the Republican Party.
The way to deal with this, it seems to me – I mean, it just occurred to me while I’m listening to you – we have antitrust laws. Break up Facebook. Break up Google. We also – there’s talk about converting them into – treating them as public utilities, which they are. So, for us, our power now is in the political realm. All these other things we can do, but Google is – it’s the biggest corporation in the history of the world. You can’t fight them by forming your own little things. It’s a monopoly and we have, as I say, antitrust laws.
So I would say those of you who are involved in Republican Party politics, find the relevant committees, find the relevant – there’s got to be somewhere in the Congress a good person. You know, talk to the Freedom Caucus. Put this on the agenda. That’s the way to fight them.
I will tell you if we just – and we will do this at Front Page – create a drumbeat invoking antitrust laws, and you have – you know, I’m going to ask you probably to write the article, because – well, that evidence that you proposed, that will scare the bejesus out of Zuckerberg and the executives there.
I think more they fear – More than being beheaded, they fear losing money in the whole Muslim world. That’s what that’s about. It’s political.
And the best thing that’s happened to the Right – since I’ve been part of it – it started with the Tea Party – is that conservatives who despise politics and think that politics only takes place every four years or every two years for Congress, the conservatives are finally marching. They’re organizing, and this has grown dramatically.
When we talk even about universities, I mean, there are now large conservative student movements. When I came into the Right, there was no conservatives – You know, it’s the first thing I looked – “Where are the troops? Where’s the ground war? Where’s the armies?” And, actually, one of the really good campus organizations, Young America’s Foundation, their board of directors did not – I said, “Why – Why – You have representatives on 1,000 campuses. Where are your chapters?” “Oh, our board won’t let us form chapters.”
Well, that’s changed. Charlie Kirk has an organization with – I think he has like 1,000 colleges. Things are really changing, but they’re changing in the political realm, and it requires, I know, a big internal shift for conservatives to get, you know, dirty in their – you know, just jump in and start fighting. That’s where we can win.
As I was saying at lunch, there are three very important Senate races, one in Alabama, one in Nevada and one in Arizona, and the anti-Trump Republicans, the pro-McConnell Republicans are losing in all three. And Jeff Flake, who wrote this preposterous book attacking his own president, is losing by 47 to 20, and that’s even before Joe Arpaio gets into the race. (Laughter)
ROBERT SPENCER: Thank you. Yeah, you know, I think it’s very, very important if we could make antitrust legislation targeting Google, Facebook, Twitter, all of them an issue in 2018 and 2020. (Microphone feedback.) Leftist microphone. (Applause)
QUESTION: Robert, I just wondered if you could address the silencing of free speech, Donald Trump’s free speech, by people like McMaster, where he’s not allowed to say “radical Islam” anymore. And can you turn to him or anyone in the administration anymore for help with this or, as John Bolton said the other day, the doors are closed.
ROBERT SPENCER: It’s very curious because, of course, Donald Trump appointed all these people, and I don’t really – I don’t have his ear. I don’t know why he appointed them, but it does seem as if everyone, except for Steve Miller, who, of course, was formerly with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, he is the only one left that I know of who is aware of what’s really important about that issue.
Of course, Donald Trump campaigned for president rebuking Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for not daring to say “radical Islamic terrorism.” When I saw that, I thought he meant he was going to restore study of the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists to government and law enforcement.
You may find this hard to believe, but in 2011, Barack Obama ordered all counter-terror training materials scrubbed of any reference to Islam, so that ever since then, up ‘til now, if you were to join the FBI today and you say, “I want to go into counter-terror,” you’ll learn all about Right-Wing Extremists and Constitutionalists and Militiamen and so on and White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis, but you won’t hear a thing about Islamic jihadis, and you won’t know anything about them. You have to know your enemy to defeat him, and we do not know the enemy. It’s a matter of policy that we do not know the enemy.
So I thought Trump was going to change that, but then he appointed people who have the Obama point of view on this, that you cannot name Islam in connection with terrorism, because it will get the Muslims on our side angry and embolden the jihadis. This is preposterous because the Muslims, if they’re really on our side, know full well where the terrorism is coming from, and if they’re really on our side should not have any problem with fighting it.
But, in any case, that is the dominant view among the National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and many others in the Trump administration, and he prescinded from saying Islamic terrorism for the very first time in his speech about Afghanistan several weeks ago, prompting the resignation of one of the last people who was speaking about this with any remote degree of honesty, Sebastian Gorka, who specifically referred to Trump’s failure to address this regarding Afghanistan as the reason for his resignation.
So it’s a very strange situation what’s going on with the White House. It seems as if everybody who was in favor of the agenda the president campaigned upon is gone, and people who are actively against it are in positions of power.
But, at the same time, whenever we get really distressed about this, just step back and think about what it would be like now if Hillary Clinton were President, and consider the fact that we’re even speaking about this issue instead of just taking for granted that we’re going to continue to ignore what the enemy is all about and that we’re even speaking about restricting illegal immigration and restricting North Korea from its adventurism and all these things that wouldn’t even be on the table were Hillary Clinton president. So things aren’t as bad as they might seem in microcosm.
And we can also hope that the president, who has always displayed good instincts in understanding these issues, will recover some sense of what he was elected for and continue to pursue it, and he doesn’t really need people around him to do that. He just needs himself and Twitter. (Laughter)
MICHAEL FINCH: Thank you so much, Robert.
ROBERT SPENCER: Thank you. (Applause)