A Lebanese-born woman who later lived in Israel told a Columbia University forum today the Muslim Arab world’s hatred of the Jewish state is blinding it to reason.
Brigitte Gabriel, founder of American Congress for Truth, recalled being raised on “a steady diet of lies poisoning our attitudes toward the Jews. Israel – Aaesrael, Israel is the devil. Al-Yahud shayateen, The Jews are evil. Sarakou Al-Ard Al Arabiyah. They stole Arab land. Al Wakt al wahid allazi yassir endana salam huwa lamma naqtul kul al yahud wa narmihum bil bahr, The only time we’ll have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea. Every time Israel was mentioned it was attached to the phrase, Al adew al Israeli. The Israeli enemy.”
“My country and others saw nothing wrong with practicing this form of mind abuse,” she said. “Of taking a generation hostage, molding them into misguided weapons; some willing to be martyred in the name of Islam or Palestinian nationalism. It’s a form of mental child abuse taking place in every Arab country.”
Gabriel told the audience that only a personal experience with the Israelis allowed her to see through the lies she was taught throughout her childhood.
“My eyes were opened when I spent 22 days in a hospital in northern Israel in the early 1980s,” she recalled. “I watched unbelievably as Israeli doctors treated my mother wounded by an artillery shell before he treated the wounded Israeli soldier lying next to her. They treated Lebanese Muslims and Palestinian militia fighters on a par with wounded IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers. I was shocked that this enemy, hated by the Arabs, treated us all with utmost courtesy, compassion, and respect. It was a transforming experience countering the lies and all the propaganda that I had been indoctrinated in as a child. Ultimately, I made a commitment to leave my home country and move to Israel to be with these people whose values I respected.”
Later she became an Israeli newscaster.
“As a Middle Easterner brought up on this patent ‘Israel is a racist state’ propaganda, I discovered it is total hate-inspired nonsense,” she said.” I’ve seen with my own eyes what kind of society Israel is. I consider Israel to be one of the most multi-racial and multi-cultural countries in the world. There are no racial restrictions on becoming a citizen of Israel like there are in many Arab countries. Remember, Jews can’t live in the neighboring Arab Kingdom of Jordan or in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
She explained that more than 100 different countries of the world are represented in the population of Israel.
“Consider how the Israeli government spent tens of millions of dollars airlifting more than 40,000 black Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984 and 1991,” she said. “Since 2001 Israel has reached out to help others taking in non-Jewish refugees from Lebanon, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Liberia, Congo and even Bosnian Muslims. How many such refugees have the 22 states in the Arab league taken in? The Arab world won’t even give Palestinian refugees citizenship in their host countries.”
She added that more than 1 million Arabs are full Israel citizens, that an Arab sits on the Supreme Court of Israel, that there are Arab political parties expressing views inimical to the state of Israel sitting in the Knesset, that women are equal partners in Israel and have complete human rights.
“Show me an Arab nation with a Jew in its government,” she challenged. “Show me an Arab country with half as many Jewish citizens as Israel has Arab citizens. I’ll borrow some of your academic freedom now and say that Arab nations are the real racist and oppressive states.”
Gabriel also charged this kind of hatred is infiltrating U.S. college campuses like Columbia.
“These ideologues know that they are teaching students who have no background or prior knowledge of the Middle East situation,” she said. “What they are doing is an extension of what is taking place in schools in Palestinian and Muslim madrasses across the Islamic crescent. Repeat a lie enough and it becomes truth. You listen to what we say. If you don’t there will be consequences.”