A couple of times last year I blogged on Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the book Son of Hamas. Yousef is the son of a senior Hamas figure, and he gained some media attention in 2008 after moving to America and announcing his conversion to Christianity. He subsequently revealed that he had worked with Israeli security services, and last summer he overcame a deportation threat.
Yousef has a viscerally hostile view of Islam (“Every mosque is a danger on American soil”), but he insists that he does not wish to be seen as a “spiritual trophy” by Christians, and in an interview with GQ he explained that
Israel can be a problem, yes, I admit that, and I agree, I am against occupation. But they blame everything on occupation, Muslims look at themselves and say, ‘We are the victim. We are under occupation. Israelis have been killing us. And we kill, but not because we love to kill.’ What I’m saying is: Yes, you are right, you are wonderful people, but study your religion. Know who you’re worshipping. You’re worshipping a god who is sending you to destruction.
Yousef’s former Shin Bet handler observed that he was “no Zionist”. It seemed to me that while some may regard Mosab’s spying for Israel as a betrayal, those who support Palestinian rights (and that includes me) should recognise that the responsibility lies with Hamas, whose terrorism and religious extremism clearly alienate thoughtful Palestinians and put some, like Yousef, in impossible situations.
Yousef was originally endorsed by Walid Shoebat and his handler Keith Davies:
Walid and I believe this man is the real deal, he says the exact same things as Walid, understands the bible and also understands the real meaning of Islam.
You cannot be a fraud and speak this way. speaking the truth like this is from a man who has been redeemed.
For those nay sayers, it has been confirmed by the Israeli authorities that he worked for them so his story checks out.
However, Shoebat has now changed his mind, accusing him of being a “double agent” in a piece for Pajamas Media:
During the initial contact within Israel’s Maskubia (Jerusalem’s central prison), Mosab agreed to collaborate in exchange for Israel not targeting his father… Mosab did not convert to what the West would recognize as Christianity, but to a fiery, Palestinian brand of the faith that is vehemently anti-Israel. According to Mosab, his main goal in coming to the U.S. is to infiltrate the main source of international support for Israel: the American church.
…Mosab is now touring churches to end Israel’s lifeline. Many Jews and Christians in the West are unable to determine friend from foe in the Mideast; they are not able to read what is said in Arabic. They must seek translations, and must be aware of double agents like Mosab.
Shoebat, as has been documented, detests his Palestinian heritage, and he wishes that “nukes” would “take care” of the Muslim world; this may just be showmanship, or it may reflect a deep hatred he apparently has for his late father. His own Christianity is actually “a firey, anti-Palestinian brand of the faith” which sees the conflict purely in terms of gothically depraved Muslims who hate Jews. Shoebat has even re-written the Bible to support his beliefs: the Book of Revelation’s “666”, he explains to church groups, is actually a misreading of the Arabic script for “In the Name of Allah” (an absurd distortion I debunk here).
But Yousef is also a professional rival to Shoebat on the church pundit circuit: Shoebat bills himself as an expert on terrorism, based on the fact he once planted a bomb for the PLO in the 1970s – and even that is dubious. Yousef, in contrast, has real inside knowledge of Hamas, and he’s avoided the kind of extravagant pronouncements that make Shoebat look increasingly absurd.
Shoebat’s repudiation of Yousef is based on statements which Yousef supposedly made in Arabic media. No links are given, and Shoebat gives us short quotes only:
Israel is the problem and as an occupation it needs to end. … There are many ways to do this besides the coward explosive operations.
….This will be the first time in history that a Palestinian book will find success so that the Western reader can see for himself the reality of what goes on over there. People in the West do not know what happens over there.
…With a balanced approach I discuss the life of the Palestinian child under the Israeli occupation, of course my life suffered under all the problems of murder and the criminal operations that were carried out by the Israeli occupation against my people, my family, myself, and against humanity.
…With regret, our great leaders and mighty heroes and glorious defenders over there did not realize that instead of spending their wealth and monies on silly issues, they needed to enlist in their ranks writers and educated individuals in order to reverse the image of the Palestinian struggle.
Shoebat reads the obviously ironical reference to “mighty heroes and glorious defenders” as being actual “praise” for “Hamas leaders”. Yousef also allegedly advises Palestinians not to collaborate with Israel, even if information about terrorism is involved.
CORRECTION: In my original version of this, I inadvertently transposed Yousef’s first and last names.
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