The Washington Gadfly
Frum Praises Cair To Settle Libel Charge
So much for ending evil

The Canadian chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations has forced conservative writer David Frum to eat crow. And now folks would do well to take the diminutive giant of conservative Washington with a grain of salt when he expounds from the safe havens of his Weekly Standard and American Enterprise Insitute perches about how to vanquish radical Islam.

Frum crumbled not long after CAIR-CAN served him with a notice of libel for savaging its leader in his column for the conservative National Post. CAIR says that to settle its "defamation suit," Frum and the National Post issued a joint statement praising the organization. Frum is now on record calling CAIR-CAN an organization that seeks to "foster a fuller appreciation of Islam in Canadian society."

In any event, why didn't Frum at least take the case through depositions and interrogatories before deciding whether it would be prudent to proceed further? Frum is independently wealthy; so he didn't need to fear financial ruin. Why the flip-flop?

It was only last November that Frum took to the august pages of the National Post to vow to fight the good fight. Frum was sued over his columns that responded to columns written in other publications by Sheema Khan, who heads CAIR's Canadian branch, CAIR-CAN. CAIR objected that Frum had accused CAIR of being an "unscrupulous, Islamist, extremist sympathetic group in Canada supporting terrorism."

In a piece also posted on AEI's website and the FrontPage website of David Horowitz, Frum wrote that this lawsuit was one of many filed by CAIR over the last year. After all, "Any reporting or commentary that cast doubt on CAIR's carefully cultivated image would deeply threaten the group's mission."

Normally, defendants avoid any public comment, Frum continued. But he wouldn't be silenced. After all, thy name is David Frum.

"Lawyers for individuals and newspapers served with libel notices will normally urge their clients to avoid any comment on the matter--to avoid even any acknowledgement that they have been served. This is usually good advice. A notice of libel is not a lawsuit, but a warning of a lawsuit to come. If the potential defendant keeps quiet, the potential plaintiff will often drop the suit altogether. "But wise legal advice often comes at a cost, a cost in public information. So I was heartened that the National Post's lawyers have encouraged the paper and me to continue with this important story."

Well, continue for about seven months.

According to CAIR-USA, to settle the lawsuit, Frum and the National Post published this "Editor's note" September 17.

"Although at times there are differences of opinion, David Frum and the National Post acknowledge that Although at times there are differences of opinion, David Frum and the National Post acknowledge that Sheema Khan honestly holds her expressed opinions and through her work seeks to foster a fuller appreciation of Islam in Canadian society.

"David Frum and the National Post acknowledge that the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada is a national grassroots organization with the stated purpose of empowering Canadian Muslims through community education, media relations, anti-discrimination and public advocacy.

"David Frum and the National Post acknowledge that neither Sheema Khan nor the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada advocates or promotes terrorism.

"It is acknowledged that Sheema Khan and the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada have repeatedly affirmed the importance of an understanding and appreciation of Islam in Canadian society."

Wow, this could be the best news for CAIR since New York Post editorial page editor Bob "Edith Bunker" McManus, published an op-ed by the group's California affiliate.

Like, duh.

Remember the "All in the Family" when Edith donates money to the Black Panthers because she thinks it's to protect wildlife?

Did McManus think CAIR is some Christian group that receives faith-based initiative grants to send CARE packages to summer camp kids?


(Evan Gahr and Bobby Seale after he interviewed the Black Panthers founder for the Daily Pennsylvanian in 1988.)
If you take a close look at Frum's record it's no surprise that he settled the lawsuit. Frum often seems like a paper tiger. Long before it was safe to denounce Pat Buchanan in conservative circles, Frum was asked by Insight magazine writer Michael Rust about Pat Buchanan during an interview about Frum's new book. "Turn off your tape recorder," Frum instructed Rust. "Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite but that's off-the-record."

Nothing is off-the-record in Washington, as the saying goes, and Rust recounted the story to colleagues when he returned to the office after his lunch with Frum at Union Station.

Frum also kept quiet about the shameful AFM-ISNA alliance, as did fellow AEI scholar Michael Ledeen, whose wife Barbara an aide to Rick Santorum, he who fears man-Lassie love, was instrumental in the alliance Ledeen shrieked at JewishWorldReview editor Ben Jolkovsky after Chimpstein reported the Ledeen family values.

Why didn't the National Post fight the lawsuit, as Frum seemed to promise? Deputy comment editor John Turley-Ewart declined comment.

CAIR-CAN head Sheema Khan declined an interview request.

Unlike Rabbi Marc Gellman who painfully broke ranks with longtime comrades over radical Islam, Frum would have risked nothing to fight CAIR.

Instead, he's now rendered himself an accomplice.

   Evan Gahr EvanGahr@aol.com, a former press critic for the late New York Post editorial page editor Eric Breindel, recently broke the story of a race discrimination lawsuit against the Washington Post. He has written for almost every major conservative publication.