When the invitation from the New English Review arrived earlier this year, I was delighted. A counter-jihad conference in Tennessee! Geert Wilders would be appearing via teleconference, and the other speakers, including Nidra Poller (who had been at the Brussels Conference in 2007) would make for an excellent (if intensive) weekend.
I talked to the Baron about his possible attendance,even though it might be a bit much coming so soon after the conference in Denmark. He figured he’d still be catching up on all the work that would accumulate while he was gone. We discussed it for a few days, looking at the list of speakers, and trying to figure out if he could manage it.
Then word came that his job would be ending, so the decision was made for us. No matter how much good attending that conference might be, airfare for the unemployed had somehow been left out of the administration’s stimulus package. Yeah, I was disappointed he couldn’t go but those feelings were eclipsed by the specter of imminent unemployment. Things you just know would be “great opportunities” resolve themselves into the category of “not that important after all”. I decided I could be satisfied with reading the write ups at the New English Review and maybe emailing Nidra Poller when she got back to Paris.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t very aware that the conference was going on this weekend…
Then, last night our tipster TB sent a link to a local Tennessee news report that the conference venue had been cancelled:
Loews Vanderbilt Hotel turned away a symposium it had booked for this weekend that would have featured a controversial Dutch politician and filmmaker, citing concerns about safety if the event were allowed to happen.
A group called New English Review planned to hold a two-day conference on “Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America,” and had signed a contract in January to use the prominent West End Avenue hotel. [my emphasis – D]
“We canceled the group for both the safety and the health of our guests and employees here at Vanderbilt hotel,” said Tom Negri, managing director of Loews Vanderbilt.
Negri is known in the Nashville community for his involvement in the group Nashville for All of Us, which helped defeat the English-only measure this year.
I googled Mr. Negri’s group, “Nashville for All of Us”. It appears to promote the balkanization of Nashville, based on language. This group’s existence shows once more the downward spiral of our common culture based on a common language. One has only to look at the experience Canada has had with Quebec to know that such attempts lead to resentments and alienation. At any rate, the English-only referendum was defeated so their municipal activities will have to bear the added expense of communicating in whatever language residents speak. In Nashville at least, the American ideal of integrating newcomers via a basic necessity – i.e., language – is officially dead. And Mr. Negri’s group is responsible, so that gives you some idea of what his bias might be toward a group calling itself the New English Review.
Digging a bit deeper, Mr. Negri has other associations that make questionable his motivation in canceling the symposium so suddenly. News Max has more background on this fellow:
Thomas A. Negri, managing director of Loew’s Vanderbilt Hotel and Office complex in Nashville, told Newsmax on Wednesday that he had taken the extraordinary step of cancelling the conference at the last minute for the health, safety and well-being of our guests and employees.
Negri refused to say why he felt the conference would adversely affect the “health, safety and well-being” of the hotel’s guests and employees, except to refer to the website of the New English Review, the group organizing the conference.
The website features articles that warn about radical Islam written by activists, journalists and scholars, including former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, and former Muslim scholar, Ibn Warraq.
One article, written by a retired U.S. army intelligence officer, Jerome Gordon, warns of the growing problems caused by the recent influence of several thousand Somali Muslim refugees who have come to work for a nearby Tyson’s Food plant to replace illegal Hispanic meat packers.
Negri appeared at a 2003 pro-immigration event on the same dais with a well-known Somali warlord, Gordon told Newsmax.
In a written statement to the conference organizers, Negri said that the hotel had “not received any information related to a specific security threat concerning this event,” and declined to provide any justification for cancelling it at the last minute.
Here’s more from the Tennessee paper. Watch the reporter slide into an adversarial position:
– – – – – – – – –
Rebecca Bynum, listed on the group’s Web site as publisher and a senior editor, said the hotel stated no actual threat was made against Loews for hosting the symposium.
“We find it interesting that even without a specific threat that the fear of violence is so great that they would decide to cancel our event,” Bynum said.
New English Review’s Web site had a statement that said, “Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel succumbed to intimidation and cancelled hosting our event.”
Bynum said the group signed a contract in January to do the meeting at Loews, but learned this week it was canceled.
She said Loews knew the topic of the event and had talked with the group about the possibility of having security, though she and other members were not worried.
The group’s Web site lists a Nashville mailing address, but it does not include a description of the group’s purpose or mission. The World Encounter Institute, a nonprofit organization that funds the Review site and symposium, said it aims to protect the values of Western civilization.
Obviously the reporter didn’t look too hard. If you go to the website, the purpose of the World Encounter Institute, of which the New English Review is part, appears at the top of the page:
The World Encounter Institute is a non-profit corporation dedicated to defending the values of Western civilization, including the freedom of the arts and music, women’s and children’s rights, the abolition of slavery worldwide and the defense of the Constitution of the United States of America through research, publications and educational outreach.
WEI provides funding for: New English Review and the New English Review Symposium
World Encounter Institute is a 501 (C) (3) corporation as of July 6, 2006.
Here is the listing of their Board of Directors, found directly below the purpose statement:
Julia E. Raffety, President
Ibn Warraq, Vice President
Rebecca Bynum, Secretary
Richard L. Rubenstein
I’m sure you recognize most of them as counter jihad leaders.
Continuing with the newspaper reporter, it becomes obvious that she has her own agenda here:
“We seek to raise awareness about the nature of the jihad and all its various instruments, which do not all necessarily involve violence,” Bynum said, declining to elaborate.
In other words, “do your own research, Ms. Journalist”. Taqiyya doesn’t involve violence. Neither does intimidation via expensive lawsuits. In fact, jihadists use lawfare quite successfully.
The reporter grinds on:
One of Bynum’s articles questions the Nashville Jewish community’s attempt to foster relations with local Muslims.
“These people are all well intentioned and perhaps actually believe they can reverse 1,400 years of Islamic history,” she writes. “They are providing their own children as political cover for people whom they want very much to trust and believe, but who have revealed themselves to be deceivers.”
You are left to wonder why the journalist cherry-picked this particular quote out of all that Rebecca Bynum has written. She rushes through the wind-up,
The symposium started Friday as scheduled, but at a venue revealed only to people registered to attend.
Negri wouldn’t say whether Loews had ever canceled a symposium or similar event in the past.
“We made the correct decision to protect the health and safety of guests and employees,” Negri said.
Right, we got that. But how come it took five months on the part of Mr. Negri to reach this “health and safety” decision? It’s obvious that he was told the title of the conference from the beginning.
I doubt that the New English Review staff knew of Mr. Negri’s associations with Nashville’s Somali Muslims. Or, if they did know, perhaps they thought he would be (pardon the expression) “honor-bound” to keep to the terms of their business contract.
The comment section for this article is now difficult to access. When I first read the story a few hours ago, the tide of opinion about Mr. Negri’s sudden cancellation of the conference was running almost entirely against his decision and the way it was implemented. Fortunately, I scraped out one page of comments before they disappeared, so you can get the flavor of the debate:
1. If everyone takes Mr. Negri’s position, then de facto censorship is instituted. There is a generation of Americans unfortunately that have not the stones of a male gnat and quiver and shake as cowards at the slightest hint of trouble.
2. Loews is a private business and it can do as it pleases, but it certainly seems unfair to cancel a group’s reservation at the last minute, especially without a good explanation. Some yellow-bellied manager got the heebie-jeebies, I guess.
3. They should have left the word English out of their name…[that would be an inside joke for people from Nashville – D]
5.This is a perfect example of the fear and intimidation that is a part of Islam. Is there another religion that advocates the murder of others who hold different beliefs? When faced with the evil of this cruel religion you either face it or you will be consumed by it. Negri has shown himself to be a coward and should immediately resign his position. One thing is certain, I will never stay at a Loews hotel again.
6. Well if Mr. Negri is so scared of the Muslims getting pizzed off and causing a safety issue for the staff and guests, then isn’t he in effect helping to make Mr. Wilders point about the volatility of Islamic radicals?
Did Mr. Negri cancel at the last moment hoping to put a spanner in the wheel of “Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America”? Did he deliberately fail to notify the Review until Wednesday, hoping they would be forced to cancel?
Thankfully, they found another venue and the symposium went on without the help of Mr. Negri. In fact, his attempts to spoil things just gave the gathering more publicity. Now people will be looking forward to hearing about the speeches. Here’s the line-up:
The Honorable Geert Wilders, Member of Parliament of The Netherlands, will be speaking by video. He is chair of the Dutch Party for Freedom which is now the most popular political party in the country. He opposes the Islamization of the West and supports the creation of American style first amendment for the EU. His short movie, Fitna, has been shown in the United States Senate.
Richard L. Rubenstein is President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Religion at the University of Bridgeport and Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion Emeritus at Florida State University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Jewish theology, the Holocaust and other issues including After Auschwitz: Radical Theology and Contemporary Judaism, The Cunning of History, My Brother Paul and Dissolving Alliance: The United States and the Future of Europe.
Hugh Fitzgerald, board Member of World Encounter Institute and Sr. Editor of New English Review has developed what could be highly effective alternative strategies in dealing with the challenge of Islamic aggression, both for Israel and the US. He is also a Sr. Analyst for Jihadwatch.
Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an American scholar and Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School. His is the author of The Legacy of Jihad, a work which provides an analysis of Jihad based on an exegesis of Islamic primary sources on the topic and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History.
Nidra Poller is an American novelist and journalist living in Paris and translator, most recently, of Humanism of the Other and Unforseen History. She has written extensively on the growing problem of antisemitism in Europe and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Standpoint, Commentary, New English Review, City Journal, Jerusalem Post, Washington Times, Jewish Quarterly, NY Sun, National Review Online and Pajamas Media.
Jerry Gordon, contributing editor for New English Review, specializes in domestic anti-terrorism policy. His work at NER has been used by Senator Joseph Lieberman as well as Representative Sue Myrick in drafting legislation to protect the United States against the efforts of those who would overturn the laws and customs of this country.
Rebecca Bynum is Publisher and Sr. Editor of New English Review and board member of World Encounter Institute. Her book, Allah Is Dead is due to be published this year.
Norman Berdichevsky, a geographer, historian and linguist, is a contributing editor at New English Review. His published works include, Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain’s Culture, Society & History, and Nations, Language and Citizenship.
Bill Warner, director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam. He is the author of 11 compilations of Islamic doctrinal texts arranged for easy study by the layman.
Paul “Dave” Gaubatz is a former Federal Agent, is a U.S. State Department-trained Arabic linguist and counterterrorism specialist. He has acquired over two decades of experience while working on assignments in Middle-Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq. Mr. Gaubatz is the Director of a major research project which sends research teams to Islamic Centers throughout the U.S. who advocate terrorist acts against U.S. interests and/or support such groups. The first-hand obtained intelligence is provided to law enforcement and to the American public to insure they are aware of national security concerns affecting them and their children.
When the Baron and I were first mulling over the question of whether or not he’d be able to accept the invitation to attend, I did some research on the participants whose names I didn’t recognize. Norman Berdichevsky, with his interests in history, linguistics and geography was a real find.
The Baron loves European history of all kinds, so when I found this particular book by Dr. Berdichevsky, I ordered it for him as a consolation prize: The Danish-German Border Dispute, 1815-2001: Aspects of Cultural and Demographic Politics. Who knew there was even a dispute, much less that is lasted so long? One reviewer said:
This is a fascinating study about a little known border dispute that nevertheless had major ramifications for the course of European history in general and Scandinavian-German relations in particular. It also challenges the widely held misconception about the relationship between language and national identity.
Just so. Isn’t that relationship, of language and national identity, the very one that our villain, Mr. Negri, was so successful in suppressing in Nashville?
By the way, if you’d like to complain to the powers that be about this lack of hospitality, here’s the contact page. The hotel in question is the Vanderbilt in Nashville. Tell Loew’s what you think of Mr. Negri’s behavior:
World Net Daily also has a story up about the cancellation of the symposium booking. Mr. Gaubatz, one of the speakers, told WND that he’d received some threatening emails about the event. WND also has a link in that report to an earlier story about Mr. Gaubatz’s work.
The New English Journal has called this event its “First Annual” Symposium. I hope that by their Second Annual Symposium the Baron will be there but even if he’s not, NER deserves our admiration for sponsoring this kind of program.
Perhaps an annual event will lead to the kind of networking in the US that the conferences in Europe have accomplished?