While researching disgraced ex-NSA Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who may soon face felony charges for lying to the FBI, I came across a CNN report about a speech he made August 23 at Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton.
In the accompanying video, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman introduced Flynn as “Someone who many people in the intelligence community call the foremost intelligence man from the military in the past four years.”
Flynn’s talk, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” was part of the Hausman Memorial Speaker Series. And, as it turns out, he made false statements there, too.
On November 22, following Flynn’s NSA nod, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski wrote that in Stoughton, Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a registered Democrat who was nevertheless a keynote speaker on the first night of the 2016 Republican National Convention, falsely claimed that Florida Democrats voted to impose Islamic Sharia law at the state and local level.
This ludicrous charge, promoted by far-right blogs in 2014, received the dubious “Pants on Fire” rating by the independent fact-checking group PolitiFact.
In 2011, a Florida circuit court justice cited Islamic law in a dispute case between an Islamic center in Tampa and former trustees. Appalled Republican lawmakers began promoting a bill banning routinely-applied foreign law in Florida courts. Florida Democrats felt that it was unnecessary and unfairly targeted Florida Muslims.
At ATC, Flynn was asked if President Obama was a Muslim. “Is Obama doing this intentionally, or is he incompetent, and is he a Muslim?” he responded, evasively. “This is an individual who has an ideology, and he has apologized for all the ill will of the United States of America over our history… His speech in Cairo was unbelievable….”
Flynn, who called Islam a “cancer” that is “inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet, and has to be excised,” likened Islamism to Nazism, fascism, imperialism, and communism. He advocated “unleashing” the military. “I mean, have the intellectual courage,” he said.
“I do believe that historic leaders show up on our stage periodically to play that role that needs to be played,” he said, citing Abraham Lincoln as an example. “Now I don’t know if that’s what’s stepping up, but it’s certainly a different type of leader that’s now in the political fray….”
He was correct there, if he was referring to Trump. But clearly, Obama, whom he claimed had “zero” leadership skills, was his target. “There are more leadership skills in a Sergeant E-5 [those with under two years of experience] than there were in this current president when he first ran for president,” he proclaimed, to raucous applause from the ATC audience.
The speaker series has previously, and controversially, featured the neoconservative Daniel Pipes, whose Middle East Forum was cited by the Center for American Progress as a major contributor to the Islamophobia movement in America, and anti-Islam, anti-EU Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whom the UK Daily Express has called the “Trump of the Netherlands.” Last November 2, it hosted three other contentious speakers, Frank Gaffney Jr., Tom Trento, and William G. “Jerry” Boykin, as well as former congresswoman/presidential candidate and Tea Party advocate Michele Bachmann.
The Jewish Journal editorial page was filled for weeks with letters defending that event, and denouncing those who dared question it (including the over 100 prominent interfaith signatories of a letter of protest, who included many area rabbis and the head of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis).
When John Robbins, the Executive Director of the Mass. Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), wrote a polite and comprehensive Journal column, they (rudely) jumped all over him too. Outside the event, local Muslim attorneys, physicians, educators, police officers and veterans, offered hugs and doughnuts.
In a November 10 Jewish Journal column, however, Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, referred to them as “Hamas in America, picketing a Jewish synagogue with the help of the board of rabbis.” Not very peaceful, or tolerant.
On November 18, CNN’s KFile reported that Flynn regularly shared and retweeted fake news and offensive tweets from alt-right figures and anti-Semites. And in July, he retweeted an anti-Semitic message, calling this an accident after it was reported.
Clearly, we are now seeing how untrustworthy Flynn really is. The Hausman Memorial Speaker Series, and its adherents, are now seeing it as well.
Susie Davidson writes from Brookline.