We also learned that Muslim Student Association President Mohamed Elsayed and Palestinian Student Organization President Lina Abdulkarim wrote a Nov. 20 e-mail to UWM administrators demanding that they cancel the Shoebat program. They apparently described his appearance as a "direct attack" on Muslim students. Of course Charlie Sykes and the right wing blogosphere jumped all over this and the fact that UWM has asked for additional funds to pay for added security, thereby imposing additional financial burden on the Conservative Union (ask Sensenbrenner for the money). As usual, one's outrage is another's reasonable request. And so it goes.
Whatever. In any case, I think this is a good lesson for our visiting Muslim friends. They made a request to have Shoebat's visit cancelled, it was rejected. They had a right to make the request as much as the Conservative Union had to invite Shoebat. Done deal. First Amendment wins. The Muslim students have said they will not venture out to cause trouble, instead they plan to hold a forum to discuss Shoebat's accusations. I'd bet much of the local "talent" on the right side of the blogosphere wouldn't be so understanding.
I'm always on the side of the marketplace of ideas. Shoebat should be allowed to speak. But I couldn't help but be a little curious. I knew very little about this man, so I spent a significant amount of time (more than I would normally considering I actually have a life) doing some Internet research. What I found was summed up nicely by this person, Moshe Katz (a commenter at Daniel Pipe's blog).
Has anyone heard of this supposed "Palestinian" darling of the Zionist movement, Walid Shoebat? I've read his articles and something doesn't sound right with this guy. He claims to be Palestinian but nobody in the territories has ever heard of him. He says he was a former PLO fighter but strangely enough he doesn't have any documentation or proof to back up his claims.SourceWatch had this to say about Shoebat:
Lately, he's been selling his services to many different Jewish organizations. My cousin saw him at a college lecture and was shocked at his insistence that Palestinians are actually Nazis in disguise. I'm the first to condemn Palestinian terror but we should never discount the fact that it was European Christians who slaughtered six million Jews. Nobody should ever be compared to the Nazis - they have a special place in the wrath of Hashem.
Have you ever heard the phrase "never trust a man who sells out his own people". That sums up Shoebat. He is too right wing in his rhetoric. He claims to be a former Moslem who now embraces Christianity and loves Israel. Well, how can you love Israel if the only road to salvation is through Jesus Christ? How can you proclaim your admiration for the Jewish people if you feel they are lost in not accepting Christ as the Messiah?
From what I've read on many posts, Shoebat is a former Lebanese militiaman who was brought over to Israel after the Southern Lebanon fiasco. He then set out to proclaim himself a Palestinian. In the end he is a former member of the Christian Phangist (Fascist) party who's making a living telling Jews what they want to hear. I'm one who will plant a tree in Israel before I give this man a dime.
G*D help us all if Jewish organizations keep buying snakeoil from charlatans.
To be generous, Shoebat is an oddball. But for propaganda purposes people like Shoebat are useful fools, and they are taken on tour in the United States, Canada, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe to score cheap propaganda points to denigrate Palestinians in general, smearing all of them with broad smears, and to equate Islam with a "malevolent Jihadist ideology". Shoebat's statements are offensive and smear most Palestinians and Islamic groups with broad denigrating brushstrokes. Often his comments are contradictory, but this is no bar for putting him on an international tour. For example, since Shoebat is billed as a "PLO terrorist" then this would give him some credibility to smear the PLO, but he is also used to smear some Islamic groups, and Islam in general; he also denigrates/smears the ISM (a non-violent solidarity movement run by Christians, Jews, and Muslims) by accusing it of supporting a malevolent and violent jihadist ideology.
Back to Moshe Katz and Daniel Pipes. I shouldn't have been surprised that Daniel Pipes, noted Arab hater, would show up as a Shoebat supporter. He actually responded to Mr. Katz, though the response left a bit to be desired factwise.
(1) Mr. Shoebat showed me a number of documents in several languages - official papers, newspaper clippings, and the like. I read them when he visited me but did not keep copies.
(2) He admits that he can document his life but not his having been a near-terrorist. He asks that that be taken on faith, given that the rest of his life is as he says it is. I see no reason to doubt him.
Hey, okay. That clinches it, I believe him now ... not. Let's take a look at Mr. Pipes. From Christopher Hitchinson we get this:
On more than one occasion, Pipes has called for the extension of Israel's already ruthless policy of collective punishment, arguing that leveling Palestinian villages is justifiable if attacks are launched from among their inhabitants. It seems to me from observing his style that he came to this conclusion with rather more relish than regret.
Hitchinson concludes with:
The objection to Pipes is not, in any case, strictly a political one. It is an objection to a person who confuses scholarship with propaganda and who pursues petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity. Okay, I'll admit no where does it say he wants to eliminate Palestinians, but there is some groundwork laid for feeling unkind things for Palestinians.
Here's more about Pipes:
He is best known for his strident and often racist denunciations of Arabs and Islam. In an effort to divide Americans -- one that if you inserted "blacks" for "Muslims" and "whites" for "Jews," would be vigorously damned as KKK-speech -- he told the American Jewish Congress a year ago that he worries "the presence and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."
I contacted Pipes, and he not only confirmed his quote but, incredibly, added: "It is accurate in itself but you must note that this was spoken to a Jewish audience. I make the same point respectively to audiences of women, gays, civil libertarians, Hindus, Evangelical Christians, atheists, and scholars of Islam, among others, all of whom face 'true dangers' as the number of Muslims increases..." --John Sugg, Creative Loafing, 10/2/02
Based in Philadelphia and headed by anti-Arab propagandist Daniel Pipes, Campus Watch unleashed an Internet firestorm in late September, when it posted "dossiers" on eight scholars who have had the audacity to criticize US foreign policy and the Israeli occupation. As a gesture of solidarity, more than 100 academics subsequently contacted the Middle East Forum asking to be added to the list…
Pipes is notorious in the academy for calling Muslims "barbarians" and "potential killers" in a 2001 National Review article and accusing them of scheming to "replace the [US] Constitution with the Koran," in a similar piece in Insight on the News. Along these lines, a 1990 National Review article insisted that "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene....
All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most." In addition to running the Middle East Forum, serving on a Defense Department antiterrorism task force and writing columns for the Jerusalem and New York Post, Pipes is also a regular contributor to the website of Gamla, an organization founded by former Israeli military officers and settlers that endorses the ethnic cleansing of every Palestinian as "the only possible solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict… --Kristine McNeil, The Nation, 11/11/02
Israel needs to take more active steps ... Bury suicide bombers in potter's fields rather than deliver their bodies to relatives (who turn their funerals into frenzied demonstrations)…Permit no transportation of people or goods beyond basic necessities. Shut off utilities to the PA...Raze the PA's illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure and villages from which attacks are launched. --The National Post, 7/18/01
As Danish politicians, we are offended by the way integration problems in Denmark were portrayed by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard and we wish to set the record straight (Muslim Extremism: Denmark's had Enough, Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, Aug. 27). The authors claim that 40% of Danish welfare expenses are consumed by Muslim immigrants … Muslim immigrants do not receive 40% of those allocations even though they represent a substantial part of the clients. The main reason being: It is hard to compete on a job market not interested in employing immigrants. The further assumption that more than half of all rapists in Denmark are Muslims is without any basis in fact, as criminal registers do not record religion. NOTE: In the article referenced above, Daniel Pipes smears the Muslim community in Denmark with several accusations eerily similar to those leveled against the Jewish community in Europe by anti-Semitic propagandists prior to World War II. These include: 1) being parasites on the society, 2) being disproportionately engaged in criminal behavior, 3) having "unacceptable" customs, 4) seeking to take over the country, and 5) sexual aggression against women in the dominant culture. --Elisabeth Arnold and Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, National Post, 9/6/02
Well, I think you get the idea. Anyone supported by Pipes has got to be a little questionable.