Tory MP is Demagogue Shock

I’m a few days late with this one, from the Daily Express‘s “Religious Affairs Staff” (cough, cough):

THE Archbishop of Canterbury was under fire last night after declaring that Christian doctrine is offensive to Muslims.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: “The archbishop has lost the plot. He is supposed to be leading the Church, not apologising for it. What kind of leadership is this?   “People are sick to death of this handwringing about things from long ago. Dr Williams should be proud of his Christian beliefs.”

I blogged on this gross distortion of Williams’ letter to Muslims at the time, although I wasn’t then aware of Davies’ considered theological contribution.

Davies is a long-time rent-a-quote for right-wing tabloids; as Peter Oborne noted earlier this month:

On the morning of 7 October 2006 The Sun newspaper splashed a dramatic story across its front page. The story – billed as exclusive – concerned a callous and cynical crime committed by Muslims. A team of Sun reporters described in graphic detail how what the paper labelled a “Muslim hate mob” had vandalised a house near Windsor. The Sun revealed that “vile yobs hurled bricks through windows and daubed obscenities. A message on the drive spelled out in 4ft-letters: ‘Fuck off ‘.”

One Tory MP, Philip Davies, was quoted venting outrage at this act of vandalism. “If there’s anybody who should fuck off,” Davies was quoted as saying, “it’sthe Muslims who are doing this kind of thing. Police should pull out the stops to track down these vile thugs”…But there was one very big problem with The Sun story. There was no Muslim involvement of any kind.

But it’s not just Islam on which Davies sounds off: a few weeks ago he was quoted in the Mail calling for a company which offers advice on benefit claims to “be prosecuted for aiding and abetting benefit fraud”; interestingly, the article has since been taken down.

Shoebat, Davies, and Silver

One of the websites I have come across while researching Walid Shoebat is this one, which puts forward a conspiracy theory that Shoebat and his handler Keith Davies may in fact be the same person. Two pictures are provided, showing that the men are of a similar build, and have similar tastes in hairstyles, facial hair, and clothing:

Good fun, but the idea that one of them is other in disguise was always far-fetched, and can be put to bed with this picture:

Lance Silver, on the left, founded the “Forum for Middle East Understanding”, which Shoebat claims was set up as a non-profit for donations to the Walid Shoebat Foundation (although curiously he mistakenly calls this the “Foundation for Middle East Understanding”). The FFMU is run from the same address in Philadelphia as Silver’s real estate business, and its website appears to be defunct. Some of Silver’s thoughts on the Arab-Israeli conflict (and, strangely, his own agreement with those thoughts) can be seen here, and he also sits on the board of the Philadelphia-based “Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel” (ITAI). This organisation does not appear to have a website, and it holds events with thuddingly predictable titles such as “The Jihadist Islamic Threat to the Judeo-Christian Way of Life” (Shoebat was involved with that one; this notice – which spells him as “Shubat” – claims he is a “professor”!). The director of ITAI is a certain Joseph Puder, and a conservative Episcopal priest named Peter T. Manzo is also involved. Whether they share Shoebat’s view that the Book of Revelation refers to Islam is not known.

Puder and Silver are also on the board of the America-Kurdistan Friendship League (AKLF), alongside the likes of billionaire conservative Christian Foster Friess and none other than the famous “Indiana Jones of the Right”, Jack Wheeler, who (among much else) back in the 1980s helped Jack Abramoff organise a conference in Angola for Nicaraguan Contras, Afghanistan Mujahideen and South African Security police (see my blog entries here and here for further details).

Davies, meanwhile, left a comment on this blog just a few days ago. He is of the view that

Obviously Mr. Shoebat is such a threat to your liberal diseased minds that you need to smear him and call him names…

Jews on First on Hagee: “Ignorance to the Point of Disrespect”

Just in time for the Christians United for Israel “Washington-Israel Summit”, Jews on First has a produced a video (narrated by Ed Asner) highlighting and debunking the farrago of nonsense that makes up John Hagee’s teachings. This is a shortened version:

Meanwhile, Frederick Clarkson survey’s Hagee’s woes – and his attempts to re-position himself in the wake of media scrutiny and his repudiation by John McCain – here.