Last month, Media Mouse profiled Jared Taylor, a prominent racist who will be speaking at Michigan State University (MSU) in March. Taylor is being brought to Michigan State by the MSU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (MSU-YAF), a group that has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its racism.
While the announcement that Taylor will be speaking at MSU has drawn attention from a variety of sources, another speaker announcement made at the same time has received little scrutiny. Last month, MSU-YAF announced that it will be bringing Walid Shoebat to the school:
“On Tuesday, March 25, from 7 to 9 p.m., Walid Shoebat will give a presentation that will deal with how radical Islam poses as a threat to humanity. Shoebat is a former member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), a terrorist organization. He is the president and founder of the Walid Shoebat Foundation, an organization that seeks to combat anti-Semitism and promotes peace in the Middle East.”
Shoebat is a self-described former “PLO terrorist” who has a history of making anti-Islam and anti-Semitic statements. Shoebat has claimed that he committed terrorist acts against the state of Israel before moving to the United States in 1978 where he claims he financially supported the PLO until converting to Christianity in 1993. Since that time, Shoebat has toured the country delivering speeches highly critical of–and often insulting–Islam. Shoebat has claimed that “Our fight is against the spiritual forces of Islam” and that “the enemy” is Islam.
Shoebat’s anti-Islam rhetoric has gained the support of Christian Zionists and Zionists who have booked Shoebat to speak at locations around the United States. Shoebat–with his claims of being a former “Palestinian terrorist”–helps give the perception of “authority” to anti-Palestinian arguments. Using his background, Shoebat claims that he knows that Palestinians are inclined towards terrorism and want to kill Jewish people. Similarly, his claims about Palestinian “terrorism” make Palestinian resistance to the occupation seem illegitimate.
He has appeared extensively in the media, especially since 9/11. Despite all of his media appearances, he has received little scrutiny–either in the media or from his supporters. In one of the few articles critical of Shoebat, Will Youmans writes that:
“Walid Shoebat, from Beit Sahour, in the West Bank, is paraded by pro-Israeli organizations on speaking tours, in articles, and radio and TV interviews. An article in Jewish Week announces the secret of his magic: “a former terrorist repents and discusses his metamorphosis on six-city speaking tour.” Articles on BBC’s website, as well as pro-Israeli organs such as WorldNetDaily and FrontPageMag depict Shoebat on his own terms, as an ex-terrorist now fully supportive of Israel. In Arlene Pecks’ words, he went “from terrorist to zionist.”
To move on to another point, there is an underlying irony in Walid Shoebat’s new found popularity. This celebrated political convert adopted a form of religious fanaticism known for its historical Anti-Semitism. A review of his website, reveals the roots of his views. His ultimate expectation is that Jewish control of Israel-Palestine is essential for Armageddon. Then, rapture will come. The Messiah will destroy the enemies of Israel, but the “many countries who confess Jesus as their saviour will be amongst God’s people, called as his people, and will all personally know the Lord Jesus Christ.” In short, the Jews will be forced to accept Christ or perish in hell a deeply and traditionally Anti-Semitic view.
Pro-Israeli groups are relying on a speaker who, first, is motivated by a fundamental Anti-Semitism and, second, has actually perpetrated malicious acts of violence against Jews. These also happen to be the two most significant charges they levy against critics of Israel. With the latter, they very rarely find an outspoken critic of Israel in the US who actually committed any violence themselves, rather they lower the charges to rhetorically supporting terrorism, or in the case of Sami Al-Arian, financing it.”
Shoebat–who claims to have directly attacked and provided support to Palestinian “terrorist” organizations–has never been targeted for prosecution or deportation.
This all fits in well with the work of MSU-YAF, which has aggressively attacked Islam. Last year, the group brought Nick Griffin, a British racist who promotes hatred towards Muslims. Moreover, the website YAF Watch has documented MSU-YAF’s pattern of anti-Islam activity.
In August of 2007, YAF had this to say about Islam:
“Islam is a cult in which the followers worship a pedophile name Mohammad who had an intimate relationship with a six-year-old girl named Aisha. He spreads his “faith” by attacking villages and giving the inhabitants of those towns two options: join Islam or die. He also enslaved people.
Next time you see a Muslim, tell them that they are heretics to the one true faith.”
YAF’s chairman, Kyle Bristow, also has said:
“What part of Islam do you like most Philip? The part where they behead people? The anti-semitism? how they treat women as subhuman? How they execute women who are rape victims?
If Bush wasn’t a liberal, he would have nuked Mecca on 9/11. I would have.
Islam is a threat to the world. It is spreading faster than AIDS does through the homosexual population.
If you like Islam so much, you should join the Peace Corps and live with them in a cave for a few months.”
The group also organized a Koran desecration contest by encouraging people to order a free Koran to desecrate and asking that they send pictures to the group.