February 12, 2009: New addendum added below. Charles Johnson is libeling me outrageously, ultimately because of a couple of weblinks. The whole absurd and tedious story of his descent into madness follows.
NOTE, November 10, 2008: The controversy between Charles Johnson and me began when I linked to Brussels Journal and Gates of Vienna, although he has never shown similar anger toward others he counts as allies who also link to those sites. He assumes that to link to these sites implies agreement with everything they say, which it doesn't. He and his followers insist that to link to these sites means one endorses the Belgian party Vlaams Belang. He says they're fascists, although they support Israel; they say they're not, which for him makes them crypto-fascists. I say I don't endorse them (or any party); he says I do, which I guess for him makes me a crypto-crypto-fascist. He says I'm encouraging genocide (because of a comment someone unknown to me left at his site), I say I'm not, and he says that my defending myself constitutes a "vicious attack" against him.
These serpentine and Orwellian absurdities unfolded over the course of several days, beginning on Halloween. I have now written two posts about Charles Johnson, entitled "Excommunicated" (October 31) and "Charles Johnson hits bottom, digs (part 2)" (November 6). It has been brought to my attention this morning that the second of these has mysteriously disappeared from Google's Search tool, although it still appears on this site.
I have written to Google about this. But meanwhile, for the ease of readers who may be searching, and for anyone offended by juvenile thuggery, I decided to create this new post and place it in the archives. It contains the content of both posts about Charles Johnson. And if this one also disappears from the Google Search, I will create another, because there should be a place where people of good will can hear the truth amid the increasingly shrill libels that Charles Johnson and his followers are directing my way.
October 31, 2008
Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has denounced me and he and his followers are slinging wild accusations against me because I have linked -- under a disclaimer saying that I don't necessarily agree with everything at every linked site -- to two sites he doesn't like.
To read the whole story of his unprovoked attack, and this petty and needless conflict, read on.
I'm sorry to say that my old friend Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has written this:
I'm done with Robert Spencer. And very, very disappointed in him.
Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch are out of our RSS feeds. I'm not going to support people who link to vile sites like Gates of Vienna and Brussels Journal.
He also wrote me, asking me to take down the "Designed by Little Green Footballs" logo that had been up on this site.
What heinous crime have I committed? Last month I restored the links here to Gates of Vienna and Brussels Journal, after speaking with Baron Bodissey, Paul Belien, and Geert Wilders in Washington, and wrote that I doubted that Fjordman was a neofascist or race supremacist.
Of course, for many, many months my list of links has carried this disclaimer: "Note: Listing here does not imply endorsement of every view expressed at every linked site." One might have thought that my linking to both LGF and Gates of Vienna was indicative of an openness to perspectives even from people who disagreed with one another and also with whom I might disagree, and not a blanket endorsement of either one or any other site. That, however, was too subtle for some LGF commenters, who dressed me up in jackboots right away, accusing me of an "apparent embrace of the neo-Nazi movement" and claiming that I support genocide.
So apparently my doubting that Fjordman et al are racist neofascists who support genocide makes me a racist neofascist who supports genocide. Linking to groups that are accused of being neofascist, although they deny it, makes me one who embraces neo-Nazis. Unfortunately Charles himself has endorsed this loopy leap of logic in the past. Richard Miniter and Diana West both disagreed with him that several European parties, especially Vlaams Belang, were fascist. In response Charles wrote this:
I've learned recently that neo-fascists are much more prominent in conservative circles than I had previously realized. There are other well-known pundits who are sympathetic to the fascists, too -- I've drastically revised my opinion of more than a few people, e.g. Diane West, Richard Miniter, and several others.
Whatever one thinks of Vlaams Belang, that just makes no sense. West and Miniter don't think Vlaams Belang is fascist, and Charles is representing that as meaning that they are "sympathetic to the fascists."
In speaking the way he did about Miniter, Charles seems to have been assuming that anyone speaking favorably about European individuals or groups who are accused of being neofascist, or accepting their denials that they are neofascist, must himself be a fascist sympathizer, or one who believes we should ally with white nationalists. Roger Kimball, meanwhile, had commented favorably on a Diana West piece on people in Europe who are accused of being neofascist, and that National Review Online had also linked to the piece. He called upon Charles to be consistent and label NRO and Kimball as neofascists also. There are others also, besides Kimball and NRO. At LGF I put it this way:
The statement that I have "embraced the neo-Nazi movement" is false, and libelous. Charles, you and your friends here are now in the position of saying that everyone who doesn't believe these people (Fjordman, Belien, etc.) are neo-Nazis must themselves be neo-Nazis. Well, Ian Buruma recently published an article in the LA Times saying that the European anti-immigration parties were not neo-Nazis. Diana West has written the same thing in articles that have been picked up at the National Review and quoted favorably by Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media.
Unless you all are prepared to say that Buruma, the LA Times, West, Kimball, and National Review have "embraced the neo-Nazi movement," you can't logically say it about me.
I forgot to mention John Rosenthal, who also wrote a piece doubting that some of the European parties accused of being neo-Nazi are actually neo-Nazi.
Also, when we start playing guilt by association games, how much guilt do you incur for how much association? If one who links to the Brussels Journal has thereby become someone who "apparently embraces the neo-Nazi movement," or at least someone who has done something so "disappointing" as to warrant being removed from RSS feeds, etc., then why does Charles still link to Pajamas Media? For on PJM's blogroll you will find...Brussels Journal. Has Charles, by linking to PJM and appearing on PJTV, become one with whom we should be "very, very disappointed"? Has he become one who is "sympathetic to the fascists"? Why is PJM's link to Brussels Journal not something that makes him "very, very disappointed," but mine is?
Is that not absurd? I have gone on record many, many times explaining why I reject race-based approaches to the jihad threat -- most recently in connection with the Cologne conference. Hugh and I have been clear here in our rejection of LePen, the BNP, and all those who traffic in such approaches. We have been consistent in maintaining that anyone who advocates genocide in comments here will be banned and find his comment deleted. The controversy here is over whether or not some other individuals and groups belong in that category, not over whether one should support race supremacism and genocide or not. Charles has done a grave disservice by acting as if those who reject his judgments about these groups and individuals, or who even -- like me -- are willing to entertain differing points of view on these matters, are ipso facto neo-Nazi or white supremacist sympathizers. He is in this behaving much like the Islamic supremacist bullies of East Tennessee, who are convinced that anyone who says something they don't like must be a liar, a bigot, a racist hater.
I'm done with Charles Johnson. And very, very disappointed in him.
UPDATE: The links to LGF above no longer work; click on them and you'll get a "Forbidden" notice. Well, Charles, old friend, you stay classy -- this only confirms the impression that what we are dealing with here is the bully's fear of actually having to answer for what he said. But his comments are still at LGF; you can go there and see them, or copy the link location from here and paste it into the address bar -- it will become visible that way.
Meanwhile, I note also with sorrow that the mendacious Kejda Gjermani ("medaura") is spreading her libelous attacks on me at LGF yet again, as she has been allowed to do for months. It is telling.
SECOND UPDATE: The comments over at LGF are getting really vile -- accusing me of actually posting pro-genocidal material there, or sending someone to do so, or inspiring someone to do so apparently by what I post here. As well as all the accusations of race supremacism, fascism, etc., that he has for months allowed to become standard over there when my name comes up.
Bear in mind that all of these attacks are based on guilt by association. None of them are based on anything I have actually ever said or written. And the case against those whose association so taints me is, contrary to Charles's repeated and strident assumption, unproven.
Charles ought to be ashamed of himself, both for his bullying and inconsistency, and for his allowing this to go on. In any case, he has rendered himself irrelevant (at best) in the struggle to defend the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, the equality of rights of all people before the law, and Constitutional pluralism against the jihad and Islamic supremacism. His demand of an absolute ideological lockstep is ultimately at variance with those principles of freedom anyway.
THIRD UPDATE: As you can see from my comment here, Charles himself has now begun defaming me with hints that I support genocide -- because of a comment that some idiot who has nothing to do with me put up at LGF. Probably he will block the link again, but you can paste it into a new window and it will work.
1023 Charles 10/31/2008 7:28:22 pm PDT
If I were you, Robert, I'd ask myself some serious questions about what I was doing to encourage the open support for genocide expressed by jdow.
Good luck indeed.
The background of this is that this "jdow" character posted a pro-genocide comment there, and this is supposed to be my fault. The evidence? Well, apparently "jdow" has commented here too.
Do I know who "jdow" is? No, I do not. Is he any different from anyone else who posts here whom I don't know? Is he any different from Abdullah Mackay, who posts here often, and sharply disagrees with everything I write, or from any other commenter here?
The only possible way that I could be responsible for someone promoting genocide is if I promote it myself. So: can Charles Johnson or anyone else produce a scrap of evidence from my writings to show that I have encouraged open support, covert support, or any support for genocide? Charles should either produce evidence that I do, which he cannot do, or he should retract his libelous insinuation. That he will almost certainly do neither is evidence that he has become a deeply dishonest and untrustworthy man.
But that he would stoop to this defamation shows what he really is, and what he is about. It makes me sorry that I ever counted him as a friend or ally.
FOURTH UPDATE: Paste in this link:
It reads thusly:
25 Charles 11/01/2008 10:18:32 am PDT
Note: please use the report button if you see anyone posting ugly comments related to Robert Spencer's vicious attack on me this morning. I expect some meltdowns.
And Charles knows meltdowns! Note well: falsely accusing me of encouraging genocide -- that's not a "vicious attack." Asking for supporting evidence for the charge or a retraction, and doubting I will get either (and I won't) -- that's a "vicious attack."
Charles seems to be working from the playbook of the jihad enablers who have nothing to say about jihad attacks but are quick to label the reporting of jihad attacks as "Islamophobia."
Charles, have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
FIFTH UPDATE: I want to emphasize that I have not endorsed the Vlaams Belang. This whole controversy is not about the Vlaams Belang, but about whether or not one can disagree with Charles Johnson and not be defamed as a result. I have merely recognized that people of good will, who are not "seriously deluded" (as someone calls them below) and are not racists or neofascists, have mounted a case opposing Charles Johnson's assessment of the Vlaams Belang. In other words, the question is not whether or not we should support neofascists, but whether or not Vlaams Belang is neofascist. That question is hotly disputed, and those who think that Johnson has not made his case are not evil just for thinking that.
If Vlaams Belang were openly neo-Nazi, it would be an open-and-shut case, and no one should support them. But this is a search for crypto-fascists, and people assess the evidence differently. It is an issue warranting further study. And until Charles demanded that his link be removed from here, I had both sides represented in my links.
All this has eluded them, however, such that over in his LGF echo chamber they say -- and even Charles suggests -- that I have embraced the neo-Nazis and encourage genocide. He ought to be monumentally ashamed of himself for this defamation.
SIXTH UPDATE: Heartfelt thanks to all those who have expressed their support and appreciation of my work. I am grateful to each one of you.
As far as the ongoing discussion of the BNP goes, it is their race-based membership requirement and race-based emphasis that makes me unable to support them. I have explained why elsewhere, more than once.
The libels and misrepresentations of my positions at LGF, and the fascist/Stalinist snap-to of instantly excoriating someone who had been a valued friend as an evil and dangerous foe, should be illuminating to anyone who wonders what is going on. And remember, this all happened not because of anything I said or did, but because of a couple of blog links under a disclaimer.
The LGF commenters, however, have begun -- here again in true Stalinist fashion -- searching for previous signs of my ideological deviation.
In that comment someone quotes something from my 2003 book Onward Muslim Soldiers: "Begin to regard Muslim immigration as a national security issue, and take steps to limit it and end it if possible. (And of course all illegal aliens should be made to leave immediately.)" This is evidence of my secret wickedness.
So apparently Muslim immigration is not a national security issue: the stealth jihad, the sleeper cells, the jihad plots are all chimeras. And illegal aliens should make themselves at home.
Then there is this:
This links to a Gates of Vienna post about the honor killing of the Said sisters in Texas. I am not sure what the point is here -- perhaps it is that it is terrible and neo-Nazi to suggest that there could have been an honor killing in Texas. Unfortunately, the facts demonstrate otherwise.
With comments like these going unchallenged, it is hard to argue against the proposition that LGF has ceased to be concerned about the spread of Islamic supremacism in the U.S.
Those who exhort both Charles Johnson and I to cut the crap should recall that Charles Johnson is entirely, wholly, and solely responsible for provoking this rift, and for the overheated rhetoric of support for genocide, fascism, etc.
I see also that Charles Johnson is also charging me with personally betraying him by "embracing" people who have attacked him.
It is odd that he would make this charge after allowing his comments fields to become the arenas for repeated libels of me and my work by Kejda Gjermani ("medaura"), Michael Hussey ("mph"), "Killgore Trout" and others.
And even if he had not done that, his charge would only make sense if I had dropped the link to LGF while restoring the link to Brussels Journal etc. In fact, I had links to all sides here, which I had hoped would become the foundation for a gradual reconciliation of people who, let us not forget, had once been friends. That Charles would get so angry about a couple of blog links is reminiscent of a second-grade lunchtable where one kid gets angry with another kid for inviting other kids to sit at the table also.
It was Charles who chose to see these links as a repudiation and betrayal, when there was no necessary reason for him to have done so. Gates of Vienna has criticized me in the past, so I could have followed Charles' path and considered that anyone who even suggested they were not evil was no longer my friend. I have links to other people I don't always agree with and have had public disputes with -- such as "Allahpundit" at Hot Air. Yet no one at LGF is insisting that I must share all of Allahpundit's views because I link to Hot Air. They only insist that I share all of GoV's views because of the link here to them. Why is that? Because insisting on the latter is consistent with the picture of me as a neofascist that they want to paint.
In any case, LGF commenters are now saying I have restored "VB" to my links, when Vlaams Belang was never there, and I have stated above that I have not endorsed VB. And they're saying that soon I will be bringing white supremacists to speak at anti-jihad conferences in the U.S. This is arrant, libelous nonsense, and it illustrates that the commenters there simply aren't interested in the truth, but are here again falling into Stalinist lockstep.
Charles also has stated that he did thousands of dollars of work for this site, for which I never paid him. In reality, he did a great deal of work for which he was duly paid. Then he did some work here and there for which I repeatedly asked him to bill me. (I just found half a dozen requests from me, asking him to bill me, in a moment's search of one email box.) He never did. Ultimately, it seemed clear at the time that he considered the unbilled items minor tweaks, but to imply that I ripped him off his, to put it mildly, untrue. That he would attempt to use against me something over which I had no control and that was against my repeatedly expressed wishes is a measure of the man. He is essentially saying, "Hey, I tried to buy Robert Spencer's friendship, and he betrayed me by not being for sale."
And finally, Charles has referred repeatedly to my "vicious attack" upon him, yet he has never answered the points I made in the "vicious attack," which could only refer to the above post. For instance, why is it OK for LGF to link to Pajamas Media, which links to Brussels Journal, and Pajamas Media is not fascist, but if I link to Brussels Journal, LGF must delink from me and call me a fascist? Charles Johnson doesn't answer that question, and he can't answer it, because in fact when it comes to a "vicious attack" and a "stab in the back" he has been the perpetrator, not the victim.
Charles Johnson, let us remember, initiated this whole thing and wrote he was "done" with me, etc.
I responded, defending myself, and have added updates responding to his increasingly shrill attacks, most notably that I am encouraging genocide.
This is what constitutes in his eyes a "vicious attack."
Apparently the only way I could have avoided "viciously attacking" Charles Johnson would have been to roll over and allow him to defame me without response.
Call this one "Charles Johnson Hits Bottom, Digs."
SEVENTH UPDATE: Charles Johnson is going CAIR one better by blaming me not for unmoderated comments made here at Jihad Watch, but for comments left at LGF and emails he has received that oppose the lunatic course he has taken. So for the record I am stating here now that I have never asked anyone to write to Charles Johnson or to comment at LGF in my defense, and have no responsibility for anything anyone says while doing so. And I ask those who support me not to write to this man, or to comment at his site. Thank you.