Ron Brackin’s website carries further details of the dispute between Walid Shoebat and Mosab Hassan Yousef. Both men are ex-Muslim converts to Christianity of Palestinian heritage now based in the USA, and both have vehemently anti-Islam views. However, while Shoebat is an apocalyptic Christian Zionist who has repudiated any kind of Palestinian identity, Yousef, despite having collaborated with Israel’s Shin Bet against Hamas, supports Palestinian rights (although not a Palestinian state, according to a quote here).
Recently, as I blogged here, Shoebat – who purports to have planted a bomb for the PLO in the 1970s and therefore to be an expert on Islamic terrorism – denounced Yousef as fraud who is “only against Hamas methodology, but not their agenda” and whose “main goal in coming to the U.S. is to infiltrate the main source of international support for Israel: the American church.” Shoebat provided quotes from Yousef made in Arabic media to support his case, including one in which Yousef advises Palestinians not to collaborate with Israel, even if information about terrorism is involved. However, Yousef had always made it clear in English that he was not a Zionist, and that he was motivated by opposition to Hamas’ violence.
Brackin, meanwhile, co-authored Son of Hamas with Yousef; as I noted here, Brackin previously co-authored a book on evangelical Palestinians entitled Between 2 Fires: The Untold Story of Palestinian Christians. This book is sympathetic to Palestinian anger about Israel, and it includes an appendix (solely authored by Brackin) on “The Zionism of Man vs the Zionism of God”, which accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing”.
Yousef has now responded to Shoebat with two public letters, and his former Shin Bet handler has provided a new endorsement. Yousef’s first letter was published on 10 May on Brackin’s site, and 11 May on Yousef’s:
The quotes in the article were taken from an Arabic-language interview on Al Hayat Satellite TV, which I believe to be the biggest and most effective ministry to Muslims in the Middle East. I had appeared the first time in 2008, after it was reported that I had become a follower of Jesus Christ. My appearance was a celebration and encouragement to tens of thousands new believers in Jesus Christ who watch Al Hayat.
…A year later, following the release of Son of Hamas, many people were shocked to learn that I had worked for Israeli intelligence. They suddenly believed me to be just a greedy Israeli collaborator who betrayed his people and used Christianity as a cover. This was very hurtful for the ministry of Al Hayat and caused many to wonder whether Al Hayat too was what it claimed to be… Al Hayat is about Jesus Christ and nothing else. And they were concerned that the accusations might damage the future of the ministry.
…One caller was a new believer in Christ from my hometown of Ramallah. Rashid, the host of the show, asked this young brother an innocent question, which Walid Shoebat translated in his article as: “If you were in Mosab’s position and have two choices: either someone from Hamas will be killed, or school children in a bus will be killed, will you report it?” In the Palestinian territories, you cannot just make an anonymous call to 911. If you give information to Israel, even if it saves lives, you are dead. Any Palestinian has the right to kill you.
Palestinian Christians are under no obligation to work or die for Israel. I risked my life in the most dark and dangerous places to save lives. That was my choice. I did it for my own reasons. As Christians, we are all obligated to die for Christ, if necessary, but not for any political regime.
Based on this reality, therefore, I said (again, addressing Walid Shoebat’s translation from Arabic): “If I was in your shoes, you should not report it to Israel. If anyone hears me right now and they are in relation to Israeli security, I advise them to work for the interest of their own people—number one—and do not work with the [Israeli] enemy against the interest of our people. They should collaborate with the Palestinian Authority only.” By this, the caller understood me to mean, “Then don’t report to Israel. I am not here to encourage you to work for your enemies or giving them any information. Report to the Palestinian Authority.” If God does not require a Palestinian Christian to do as I did, who am I to put a burden on thousands of brothers and sisters by asking them to risk their lives for a political regime?
During a separate interview on Al Arabiya TV, I said that I am playing a big role in the Church in the West to represent my people and build bridges of understanding. Since my people believe that Christians are plotting day and night to destroy the future of Muslims, and since many Western Christians view all Muslims as evil, an important part of my mission is to help people in the West and the Middle East understand and experience one another—not to travel to churches as a sideshow freak, the bad boy who came to Christ. I have never promoted the Palestinian agenda or any other agenda in a church…
As a PS, Yousef reproduces a 2008 email from Shoebat’s handler Keith Davies, in which Davies invites Yousef to be a speaker for the Walid Shoebat Foundation. Yousef sees this as an attempt “to recruit me to use my story to raise money”.
…Last week, I read an article by one, Walid Shoebat, who claims to have been a PLO terrorist who bombed Bank Leumi in Bethlehem. Yet, I never heard his name before, never saw his name in any Israeli intelligence files, and there is no record of any such attack.
I found it strange that, while his brothers and sisters are being slaughtered in Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, Mr. Shoebat’s biggest concern seems to be a year-old television interview. He claims to be a great supporter of Israel, but where was he and what was he doing during the Second Intifada? While Mosab was risking his life day and night, Mr. Shoebat was busy collecting donations with his 800 number.
….Mosab’s goal was never to recruit people for the Israeli Shin-Bet. His goal is to build bridges, to help his Palestinian brothers see the truth and understand the meaninglessness and futility of violence. I know this, because we talk about it together almost every single day. How many times have you spoken with Mosab, Mr. Shoebat? Or do you think you know a man’s thoughts and the motives of his heart by listening to a television interview?
Mosab helped Israel more than anyone can believe. This is why the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee wrote him a letter of gratitude, perhaps the first of its kind in Israeli history. But somehow Walid Shoebat knows something Israeli officials missed? He knows something members of the U.S. Congress missed? He is smarter than the former director of the CIA, smarter than Jewish leaders in the United States?
I am a trained intelligence officer, with degrees in business, law, and psychology and have extensive experience in the world of lies and deception. I can smell a fraud and recognize a fake hero on the spot. During his service, Mosab never lied to us, and believe me, we had all the tools and the means to find out. Unlike Walid Shoebat, Mosab did not commit fictitious crimes against Israel. And unlike Mr. Shoebat, Mosab served hard time in prison and paid for what he did…
Perhaps of particular wider interest, ben Itzhak backs Yousef’s account of the Maskubia prison. According to Shoebat, in his attack on Yousef:
Mosab portrays the Jerusalem prison as a center for torture and persecution of Palestinians. The reality is much kinder; each inmate has his own bed and an in-the-cell shower as well.
I know this — I was a prisoner there myself.
We ate three full meals a day, and drank tea or sweet punch. And Mosab fails to mention that the Maskubia had Jewish inmates as well, who received the same treatment as the Palestinians and ate out of the same menu. Yes, you were beaten by security when lives were at stake: I witnessed first-hand Israeli soldiers in the corridor beating an inmate who attempted to kill his cellmate (I was selected to clean the mess afterward). What was so shocking to me at the time? The attempted murderer was a Jew.
Ben Itzhak is incredulous:
As part of my job as an Israeli Shin-Bet agent, I visited many times the Masqubiyeh Prison. Reading Mr. Shoebat’s description of the place, I can only say, Mr. Shoebat, you know nothing of the Masqubiyeh!
…As you know, if you read my book, I come from a deep Islamic heritage, from a family that practices, teaches, and spreads Islam. I am a Palestinian who spent several years in Israeli jails, who was tortured and beaten almost to death by angry Israeli soldiers. Yet, Christ pursued me until I “found him” and accepted his challenge to forgive and love my enemies. This was very hard for me to do and took a long time. For nearly ten years, I worked for Israeli intelligence, dealing with cool guys and really bad guys, moderate soldiers and fanatics, humanitarians, and racists. Are there racist Israelis? Yes, there are, just as there are Hamas racists.
…I learned on my own, the very hard way, that extremist Israelis were no less dangerous than extremist Palestinians. Israelis are not the problem, and Palestinians are not the problem. Extremism is the problem. A racist Palestinian is no different than a racist Israeli. Racism is the problem. Greed and corruption are the problems, not greedy or corrupt Israelis or Palestinians. Gonen and I used to talk with other Shin Bet agents, what if we swap Palestinian leaders and Israeli leaders? Will there be peace? And we all agreed that there would be no difference, because they would still fight for their selfish goals, because they were selfish and corrupt, not because they were Jews or Arabs.
…[M]y reputation is torn apart everyday by one side that hates me because they think I am a Zionist and the other side that hates me because they think I am a Palestinian extremist….
Yousef also mentioned his friendship with Sarah Stern.
Yesterday, Shoebat’s response was published:
Yet you rejected my call to you in which you expressed in your post insinuating that we wanted to recruit you for a financial agenda. My record proves beyond any doubt that I have always reached out with others who speak for the cause. I have spent over $70,000 on the Forthood massacre event, brought in speakers and paid them there due as required by our Lord, a servant is worthy of his hire. I simply wanted to open an avenue for you to speak at Universities. I have done the same for many others.
Now, your Shen Bet handler has stated I was a fraud, that he checked my records and found nothing. How could he have done this in the last few days, especially when he no longer is a Shen-Bet operative? Now I have to defend myself from his false accusations, which I must do to correct the record. For the first time in my life, you will see indeed that I am no fraud.
…I did attempt to contact you through a brother in the past. I have sent Zachariah Izzat, an Egyptian believer and he had exchanges with you which reached nowhere. He was disappointed. In the end, I had concluded you wanted nothing to do with us.
…[M]y wife brought a video to view in which you were dressed in the Kaffieh, the very symbol of the Palestinian cause. I ignored it. Then hours later, I had thought to myself, perhaps I should pay attention. When I did, I was saddened of what I saw. Statements that were clearly intended to show that you wanted a Palestinian state.
Mosab, I am not Palestinian. I am not from Palestine. I am a Judean Arab and nothing more. I am not ashamed to say also that I am a true Zionist.
I am also keen to [word missing] the Palestinian-Christian ideology, which comes from the pit of hell. For Brackin to compare the Zionism of God with the Zionism of man, that tanks and armed strength of Israel is “Zionism of man” is a message from the pit of hell. Such are not your friends; such is the nature of the enemy that uses half-truths. God said that He would bring Israel back to be a great nation. This Mosab also means that God planed for a strong Israel.
…I am a man who translates doublespeak by all who express an evil intent. I was the first to translate the works of Feisal Abdel Rauf and exposed him throughout the nation [I blogged this claim here – RB] . I was the first to translate Rashad Hussein’s intent to interfere with the Nuclear issues since he now works under the president of the United States. For Gonen to say that I have done nothing, sacrificed nothing—is slander to say the least.
…Palestinian Christianity is no Christianity whatsoever. It is a cult from the pit of hell and I want to so much get you out of it…
Certainly, Shoebat’s message is more likely to be well-received than Yousef’s: a vicarious identification with a strong and uncompromising Israel is central to the self-identity of many conservative Christians in the USA, and Israel is regarded as the model to which the USA should aspire in its dealings with the Muslim world. This is one reason why Shoebat – who accuses Obama of being a secret Muslim working to advance terrorism – is welcome to speak at so many churches and at secular events such as the recent Homeland Security conference in South Dakota. Unconditional support for the Israeli right is today more central to the religion than anything in the now mostly-forgotten Nicene Creed.
UPDATE: Israel Today has a quote from Aaron Klein:
Aaron Klein, Middle East correspondent for conservative Internet news giant WorldNetDaily, agrees that Mosab Yousef is no friend of Christian Zionists, and certainly does not believe that modern Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
“Mosab believes in the leftist line that Israel needs to withdraw from ‘occupied’ lands,” Klein told us. “He is absolutely misguided and I do think his view here is not something that should be given a platform.”
“To suggest he was sent to infiltrate the church is ridiculous. Hamas could care less about what the church thinks, plus they’re not that smart,” said Klein.
As I blogged here, Klein instead prefers to give “a platform” to the Israeli far-right.
…while Yousef should be acknowledged for his stance against the violence of Hamas, it does not erase the fact that he still seems to agree with the end-goals of Hamas, which is the establishment of a Palestinian state. This position, although sadly embraced by many churches today, is not only fundamentally contrary to the concepts of justice, but also unarguably in conflict with the Lord’s position on this issue as defined for us in the Scriptures.
…Walid and Yousef have both opened the idea of meeting together to work through their disagreements. My hope is that beyond reconciling as brothers in Christ with very similar pasts, Yousef would also come around to understand that if one is to truly follow Jesus, they must move on to embrace the full revelation of who Jesus is, what He does when He returns and whose side He has told us He will be on.
It’s interesting to note that while Richardson advises Yousef that he doesn’t properly know Jesus because he’s not a Zionist, he’s happy to regard Glenn Beck as a “prophet”, even though, as a Mormon, Beck’s religious beliefs are far from orthodox or historic Christianity. Richardson also assures us that Shoebat’s backstory is true:
Upon hearing that Walid was coming to Phoenix, an old friend from Bethlehem had emailed him and asked if they could get together. After recording the show, we all went out for dinner, with Walid and his friend sitting across from me. This was the first time they had talked since they were young adults in Bethlehem.
…not once did his friend ask him why he was busy traveling the country making up lies. Instead, I listened for hours as these two recounted many old stories that validating Walid’s story.
…At one point, Walid recounted nearly beating an Israeli soldier to death with a piece of wood during a riot. Walid’s friend chimed in, “Walid, don’t you remember? I was the one who handed you the stick.”
For a moment Walid and his friend looked at each other, remembering the crime they had committed together. Then they both hung their heads, shaking them in shame and together they grieved out loud, “Lord have mercy on us. This was nothing to be proud of.”
Many other things were discussed, which shouldn’t be recounted here.
Meanwhile, Shoebat has also published a new piece, attacking ben Itzhak and – with typical vulgarity – accusing Jerusalem Post journalist Jorg Luyken of being a “Holocaust-denial supporter”. This is because Luyken has expressed the view that genocide-denial should be opposed by “reason” rather than by passing laws.
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