***Note: I know better than to stereotype against an entire community. The reason I question the judgment of some "Jewish" groups in the below post is because both groups openly claim they're advocating on behalf of the Jewish community***
It is with great displeasure that I write this post. However, unless we openly discuss this type of hatred that exists within our community, then we will not progress.
Last night (March 30, 2006) the University of South Florida chapter of Hillel hosted a hate filled seminar during their 'Israel Week' featuring Walid Shoebat, a self-described "Former PLO Terrorist." Shoebat's fantasy story about being a former terrorists has never been independently confirmed, yet he tours the country and the world speaking to or hosted/sponsored by so called "Jewish" organizations and/or right wing groups, raking in thousands of dollars in speaker fees. Here is one of the hate messages Shoebat had for the crowd at USF (audio clip link available below):
"I began to understand that Islam as a religion is NOT a religion. Islam is a
system of government. Can anybody deny that? Islam is a legislation, civil code,
government, then a religion. That's what Islam is. So now you want to
fight Islamic fundamentalism and it's a problem because you're really talking
about a religion. And you're going to offend people... We must have Islamic
democracy. I said, excuse me, Islam is not a religion. It's like saying
capitalistic communism, is there such an oxymoron?" -Walid Shoebat at
So Mr. Shoebat (not his real name by the way, he has consistently refused to provide his real name and/or age, place of birth or any other identifying information) wants to believe that Islam is not a religion, erasing the faith of over 1.2 billion Muslims around the world and the billions who lived before. Shoebat who has no formal education in theology, history or any other ligit study.
Which brings me to the question of the day for me, WHY ARE JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS SPONSORING ANTI-MUSLIM HATE SPEECH EVENTS? A question I think both groups and others that continue to host Walid Shoebat and other hate mongers like him, must answer.
Hillel's promotion for the Tampa event promised it would be
"Interactive dialogue" and "is going to be unbelievable."
They were partially accurate, the only description for the event is "unbelievable." However it was neither "interactive" nor a "dialogue."
Troubled by last night's event and the question on my mind. I visited the websites of Hillel and Greater Miami Jewish Federation to learn more about their mission and identity, to find out if anti-Muslim hate speech is part of their goals or agenda.
The largest Jewish campus organization in the world,
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life provides opportunities for
Jewish students at more than 500 colleges and universities to explore and
celebrate their Jewish identity through its global network of regional
centers, campus Foundations and Hillel student organizations. Hillel is
working to provoke a renaissance of Jewish life.......
Hillel's mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.
Nothing about Islam or hate speech there, if you continue reading Hillel has some positive goals like:
-creating a plenvironmentnviornment; pursue tzedek (social justice); tikkun olam (repairing the world)
So that troubles me even more, where does the seminar of a hate monger and fraud like Walid Shoebat fit in all of this?
To have "unbelievable" and "interactive" dialogue, Hillel and Jewish Federations around the country need to pick-up the phone and dial-up a local American-Muslim organization, mosque or school. Coordinate a real forum with a real agenda that can produce results. Hate speech and rhetoric will only serve to divide our communities.
As conscience consience, Jews, Muslims, Christians and others must condemn hate speech directed at any group. And if not condemn, the least we can do is not actively promote bigots and hate mongers. We have to be consistent and not have a double standard, just as my Jewish friends want me to distance myself from anti-Jewish hate speech by Muslim radicals, I expect the same from them, to distance themselves from anti-Muslim bashers.
The irony is, Shoebat's website provides that "love" is the solution, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King (on the frontpage of this website)
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy
Perhaps Shoebat and his sponsoring organization can start practicing what they preach.
TO LISTEN TO A CLIP FROM WALID SHOEBAT'S HATE SPEECH AT THE HILLEL USF EVENT, PLEASE CLICK HERE (then cry).
Shoebat telling his fake story on O'Reilly Factor: http://youtube.com/watch?v=x6dYXXdiBBA