American Conservative Union, CPAC, and why they didn’t defend free speech

I know this is getting away somewhat from the subject of refugees, but it’s not entirely so because we questioned way back in December of 2007 why the American Conservative Union’s, David Keene, was so intent on promoting the Kennedy bill which ultimately opened the door for more Iraqis to enter the US.   It didn’t strike us as a particularly conservative position in light of the tanking economy and our national security concerns.

And, we are interested because of our interest in Geert Wilders’ right to speak on issues considered by some to be politically incorrect as Judy just mentioned in her post earlier this morning.

We attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last February (here) to hear Wilders speak, but the speech really wasn’t at the CPAC meeting, it was just in the same hotel.  Now, all these many months later, Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch gives us more details on what actually happened at last year’s CPAC meeting.

I won’t go into what just happened this past weekend at the Western CPAC meeting, you can follow the links in Mr. Spencer’s post for that, but here is how Spencer describes how it came about last year that “conservative” organizers shut out Geert Wilders.

What does this have to do with jihad? Everything. The Ziegler video, with its depiction of Keene’s egregious behavior, gives a good opportunity to spotlight the failure of the conservative mainstream to deal with the jihad issue. David Keene is not only the head of the ACU, but also of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which I criticized at Newsweek last February for its Grover Norquist-mandated refusal to deal with the jihad or Islamic supremacism in any meaningful or effective way.

At the time I was interviewed by Newsweek, Pamela Geller was working tirelessly behind the scenes to secure a speaking slot for Geert Wilders at CPAC, but CPAC was dragging its feet. With that in mind, I told Newsweek that people were afraid to deal with this issue, and added at Jihad Watch that “Keene’s, or someone’s, priorities are seriously out of order. Wilders should be front and center at CPAC, and the defense of free speech its central theme.”

I didn’t know it at the time, but after I was interviewed by Newsweek and before their article appeared, Keene decided to honor Wilders at CPAC and give him an award. But when the Newsweek piece hit, with quotes from me as well as David Horowitz saying, “How is it possible that a conservative conference does not have a single panel on the threat from radical Islam?,” Keene was furious. He was so furious that he canceled the award for Wilders and refused to let him speak at all, saying he wasn’t going to look as if he was being pushed around by Robert Spencer. Suddenly a few remarks in Newsweek by David Horowitz and me were controlling David Keene’s world. Principles? Free speech? Jihad and Islamization? Pah. For Keene, it was just a schoolyard fight, and he was behaving like a schoolyard bully — as he does here with Ziegler.

Spencer also reminds us of the connection Keene’s pal, Grover Norquist, has to the Islamist movement in the US.    Follow Spencer’s links or search RRW for ‘Grover Norquist.’

With friends like these, who needs enemies.

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