“You’ve scurried along the gutter floor for too long, unnoticed. Your prejudice towards Muslims deserves to be put on blast. I’ll do that!” pompously proclaimed “Islamophobia” expert Nathan Lean to me on Twitter on June 23. His subsequent insulting Twitter conversations with me over the summer would give a revealing insight into this deceitful, hateful, and shallow leftist thug, an ideological clone of the demagogic Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Lean had previously revealed his character and intellectual deficiencies during a humorous Twitter spat he initiated with me around New Year’s 2014, the subject of one of my previous articles. After a few weeks of debate, Lean had answered my Twitter responses to his politically correct rants by blocking me. Yet suddenly on June 16, he emerged like a bolt from the blue of cyberspace to snarl at me again.
Lean initially objected to my rejection of the totalitarian term “Islamophobia” underlying his fraudulent career. This postulated “irrational fear” seeks to suppress criticism of Islamic ideas by conflating that criticism with prejudice against Muslim individuals. He indicated as much, stating that “religion is more than a mere disembodied collection of ideas. It is integral to identity.” Therefore he effectively condemned critique of Islam as the “suggestion that Islam is merely a belief system is a loophole for you to malign Muslims with impunity.”
Lean’s concern for beliefs as “integral to identity” did not stop him from irreverently using Jesus’ name as a curse when he tweeted to this Christian that “Jesus Christ, you’re a character.” Surprisingly, while Lean’s research interests include “Muslim-Christian relations,” he admitted, “I actually don’t care for religion at all — any of them. I do care, however, about prejudicing people based on their religious identity.” The corresponding theological illiteracy of this “expert” appeared when he reiterated the hackneyed canard that the “Bible is full of vicious & violent stuff, and is no different than the Quran.”
Yet Lean nonetheless wants to appear as an authority on Islam on the basis of his graduate school and Arab language studies while condemning me as having “zero education in anything related to Islam; no Arabic.” He thus tweeted following the recent Barcelona, Spain, vehicular jihad attack that “Barcelona suspect Driss Oukabir doesn’t represent Islam. He doesn’t represent Muslims. He represents only himself, and only he is to blame.” This statement notwithstanding, Lean contradicted himself, tweeting to me in answer to my question about jihad’s meanings among Muslims that “I’m not the spokesperson. Ask the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims.”
Lean also presents himself as an authority on Israel, a country that draws his consistent scorn, irrespective of how much the ancestral Jewish homeland is “integral to the identity” of Jews. He crudely caricatures Jewish national liberation under Zionism as an “ideology which asserts that a certain group of people have the ‘right’ to a certain tract of land, and can thus expel all others.” “You’re damn right I’m condemning Zionism,” he forthrightly tweets, and claims that the radical Linda “Nothing is creepier than Zionism” Sarsour “is a champion of human rights. Zionism is bad.” He not surprisingly calls Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the “leader of an apartheid project,” although Lean qualifies this by saying that this slander does not apply to Natanyahu’s “entire country. The Occupied Territories, for sure, though.”
Against charges that his demonizing double standards applied to the Jewish state are anti-Semitic, Lean offers the usual lame defense that “criticizing Israeli policy does not make one ‘anti-Semitic.’” “I have no love of or hate for Israel. Its government, and their discriminatory policies, ethnic cleansing, segregation, etc., I abhor,” he elaborates. By contrast, he flagrantly dismisses longstanding Israeli security concerns such as the Jewish state’s demographic suicide under a Palestinian “right of return.” “There is nothing to suggest that a right of Palestinian return would ‘destroy’ Israel. That’s conjecture based on fear,” he tweets, blatantly disregarding facts. His hyperbolic fears tweeted to me encompass only Palestinians: “Well if it was up to you, Palestinians would all be exterminated with no claim to any land or territory. Typical Nazi.”
Lean’s “Nazi” reference came in a barrage of “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” insults he has hurled at me, even as he casts himself as free of prejudice. For such bigotry on my part, he asserts that “there’s plenty of good evidence,” yet this merely contains things such as my questioning of his threadbare racism accusations against conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Lean similarly echoes the left’s slander of my friend, former Trump Administration adviser Sebastian Gorka, as the “White House’s resident Nazi.”
Lean’s notion of whether “extremists” may access the public square dangerously parallels other leftists such as Antifa. “If you must beat up someone, a Nazi’s not the worst place to start,” he cavalierly tweeted in response to leftist violence at Charlottesville, Virginia’s August 12 deadly clash between white supremacists and leftists. His tweets also whitewash as “public pressure” violence and threats that resulted in cancellation of events for conservative speakers including Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter at the University of California-Berkeley.
While winking at violence against political opponents, Lean does violence to the Constitution. The “First Amendment doesn’t guarantee access to property simply because it’s owned or controlled by the government (public university),” he has tweeted while suggesting that a university does not have to accept all speakers. In his erroneous, illiberal view, a taxpayer-financed institution may subject speech to viewpoint discrimination.
That Lean seeks to suppress opposing views befits a person whose slanders cannot mask an empty-headed disgrace to the modern academy in which he has prospered. His puerile humor is no more sophisticated, as he has tweeted at me that “I did NAZI that coming from a white supremacist,” and has rejoiced in a description of Breitbart as “America’s number 1 website for adult virgins.” While his tactics are part of a broad-based campaign to marginalize all dissenters from leftist party agendas, free individuals willing to speak out against his sophistries can still get the last laugh. His suddenly renewed online obsession with me caused me to respond with a kind of running gag of always tagging him in tweets that rebutted his phony arguments. An exasperated Lean responded that the “Twitter Tourette’s storm is kind of off-putting.”