By Franklin Lamb - Marjayoun, Lebanon
"The difference, my dear Christian friends, between Israel and the Arab world is quite simply the difference between civilization and barbarism. It's the difference between good and evil and this is what we're witnessing in the Arabic and Islamic world. I am angry. They have no SOUL! They are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call "Allah," which is very different from the God we believe in, because our God is the God of love." - Brigitte Gabriel, speaking at John Hagee's Christians United for Israel Convention, July 27, 2007
"A strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground. A strong person is the person who contains himself when he is angry." - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
One imagines that all Americans, and people from every part of the globe and of sundry faiths, are touched emotionally upon encountering the natural beauty of the northern Biblical Holy Land that is South Lebanon. With its rugged vegetation-covered hills and valleys and more than 500 picturesque villages, many quite ancient and populated by warm, devout, and peaceful people, the area is hypnotic.
So it is for this observer, visiting Marjayoun ("meadow of springs" in Arabic), one of Lebanon's most stunning towns and the home of the historic Cathedral of Saint Peter as well as beautiful historic mosques. A lovely, modest, bucolic town of roughly 2,300 residents in winter and 3,500 in summer, Marjayoun sits majestically on a hill facing Mount Hermon to the east, Beaufort Castle, the 1,000-year old Crusader Castle above the Litani River and overlooking Mount Amel (jabal amel) to the west. Marjayoun's fertile plains, some of the richest in the Middle East, extend southward into the Galilee and Syria's Golan Heights.
Shia and Sunni Muslims, Greek Orthodox and Maronite Christians, and Greek Catholics had lived in Marjayoun, mainly in peace, for more than ten centuries until the invading Israeli forces in 1978 installed near the town center its proxy militia, the so-called South Lebanon Army (SLA).
The SLA and the Israeli army quickly constructed the notorious regional detention center just down the road at Khiam, where systematic torture has been documented by many human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, until its May 25, 2000, storming and liberation by townspeople.
Israel and its proxy army stayed in Marjayoun for nearly a quarter-century and as various local resistance forces rose to confront the occupation and the Israeli-funded (via US taxpayers) Saad Haddad/Antoine Lahad militia, Marjayoun, like scores of other villages, suffered from the fighting.
Marjayoun's most recent tragedy occurred on August 11, 2006, when Israeli forces took control of the town, following the announcement by the UN of an agreement to cease hostilities. Israel gave the UN and the Red Cross permission to evacuate a convoy of 3,000 people huddled in the town, providing a map of exactly which roads they were to use and repeatedly pledging safe passage to the terrified evacuees. Despite this, the Red Cross/UN convoy was targeted after dark by an Israeli air-strike at Joub Jannine, killing eight and wounding 37 refugees, most of whom were Christian.
The convoy attack was the 12th such strike during the 33 days conflict for which Israel exonerated itself, stating that its air force "erred" owing to erroneous targeting data and expressing regret in the wake of too-short-lived international outrage.
Despite its frequent problem with 'targeting errors,' Israel's air force earned the highest praise and commendation from last month's Winograd Commission Report for "its outstanding success, service and bravery" during the July 2006 war. This "finding" was based on the fact that Israel's Air Force suffered practically no casualties in its bombing, which was conducted with American aircrafts firing from an altitude of around 15, 20, and sometimes 25,000 feet and at a distance of as much as 10 miles from most of its 1,100 plus civilian victims, nearly one-third of whom were children.
The commission credited the coldness of what Col. Dan Smith instructs us is "a rational, cost effective, calculated, uninvolved, 'sanitized' unemotional killing of other humans from a far distance over the rather more unstable frenzy that requires facing an enemy close up which is considerably more dangerous for Israel's military."
Amnesty International has criticized the Winograd Commission Report because it fails to address the issue of war crimes against the civilian population in Lebanon, and "the indiscriminate killings of many Lebanese civilians not involved in the hostilities and the deliberate and wanton destruction of civilian properties and infrastructure on a massive scale."
In whitewashing Israel's killing of more than 1,000 innocent civilians, Winograd missed "another opportunity to address the policies and decisions behind the grave violations of international humanitarian law—including war crimes—committed by Israeli forces," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program director, Malcolm Smart.
Yoav Peled, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University, shares Amnesty's criticism of the report. "The commission performed its expected role: to whitewash the disaster and get the politicians off the hook," he said in a statement following the release of the Winograd report.
Maid Brigitte of Marjayoun
Marjayoun has become notorious recently, in some circles, not just for decades of Israeli crimes, but also as the base from whence Ms. Brigitte Gabriel, a local woman, appeared and launched her virulent strain of Islamophobia. Joining with the US-Israel Lobby, she has been organizing perhaps the most vicious hate campaign against Islam, Arabs, and Muslims ever witnessed in America.
There is no shortage of people in Marjayoun with varying views of "what happened to Miss Brigitte" and how she became so hateful toward her countrymen and became an Israeli collaborator. "She always loved the Israeli occupation of Marjayoun and over time just came to dislike Arabs of all types, even though as a Lebanese she is totally Arab," one of her former neighbors explained.
Another disagreed, "Brigitte never really thought of herself as an Arab at all, rather she fantasized that she was 'Phoenician' and pointed out to her Arabs neighbors that 'Phoenicians were in Lebanon long before the Arabs invaded and it belongs to us!'" According to a former classmate, when she was in middle school, Brigitte preferred French and would announce to classmates in Arabic class, "I don't speak Arabic, I speak Lebanese!"
Before moving to Israel and eventually to the United States, Brigitte worked for Middle East TV, a Marjayoun-based station run by the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and funded by Israel. It moved to Cyprus for a period and was later purchased by Pat Robertson, who is now building a Christian Zionism Center in Israel. After obtaining a green card by marrying an American, Brigitte set up a business selling her new country "insider information not available elsewhere" about the existential dangers posed by Islam and Arabs, based, she announced, "on my unique perspective having been nearly killed by them and rescued by Israel."
Regarding recent Lebanese affairs, according to her former neighbors in South Lebanon, Brigitte has been a close supporter of the Phalange militia and SLA since her teenage years. According to her ACT office in Virginia Beach, Brigitte hopes to host the current Lebanese Forces warlord, Samir Geagea—fives times convicted of murdering various Christian opponents and their children—during his upcoming March visit to the US.
Denied a US visa since his murder convictions, Geagea has been forgiven by the US embassy in Beirut, and he will spend much of March with the Welch Club discussing military aid to Lebanon and subjects of mutual interest to the Bush administration, Israel, and the Lebanese Forces.
Brigitte as Student of American History
One can just forget about Israel's brutal military occupation of Palestine, the Bush Administration invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and its threatening much of the world, Brigitte sees a jihadist campaign against her adopted country going back to the very day America was founded. While Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Washington and Madison considered the Barbary pirates, who had operated for centuries along the coasts of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, "nothing but petty tyrants" and "nests of banditti," Brigitte knows better.
In her view, the founding fathers were simply duped because the Muslim pirates were in fact serious Jihadists using a promise in the Koran of Paradise and virgins if they warred against infidels, so they became pirates.
Nor is Brigitte, who lives not far from Monticello, Jefferson's birthplace, impressed by Jefferson's liberal views about religion. It may be recalled that the author of the Declaration of Independence and Virginia's Act for Religious Freedom was most proud of his role as a resistance leader against British occupation:
"Where the preamble [to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom —Ed.] declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment that was proposed for the insertion of the words "Jesus Christ" into the preamble was specifically rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindu, and Infidel of every denomination." - Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
Jefferson might have had people like Brigitte in mind when he wrote:
"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg" - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
While religious tolerance and the existence of other religions did not pick Jefferson's pocket, they are filling Brigitte's as she panders to the uninformed, the bigoted, and the xenophobic.
Brigitte attracted attention from this observer, who previously had not heard of her, when she posted her July 2006 'Thank You Israel!' letter expressing "heartfelt gratitude" for Israel's attack on Lebanon. According to a former colleague of hers, this was drafted at Virginia Beach while working on her suntan in a period during which much of her birth country was being destroyed. Having arrived in Lebanon during the war, this observer was curious whether this Lebanese-born woman was somehow unaware of the carnage caused by more than 16,000 Israeli attacks on more than 7,400 targets, whose toll looks like this:
• More than 500 villages destroyed or damaged
• 30,000 private homes totally destroyed
• 32,000 homes with major damage
• 70,000 homes with minor damage
• 137 bridges and overpasses bombed
• 26 fuel stations and 3 main fuel-storage tanks destroyed
• 950 large businesses and 2,800 smaller ones obliterated
• 23 large factories—milk and candy producers among them— destroyed
• 330 main and secondary water distribution networks bombed
• 186 purification, chlorination, storage and pumping stations bombed
• 150 electrical transformers bombed
• 50 health-care facilities destroyed or severely damaged
• 150 km of coastline contaminated with oil
• 350 schools damaged or destroyed
• 950,000 of her countrymen displaced
• Almost 1,450 killed and 4,500 wounded
• And, according to Amnesty International, as many as 40 people, including 27 civilians and 13 de-mining personnel, have been killed by Israeli fired cluster munitions since the end of the war, and more than 240 people have been injured.
Perhaps a good way to help inform ourselves about Brigitte's current views and concerns is to consider excerpts from her stump speeches and Act for America website (actforamerica.org) culled over the past several months (excerpted below).
* "Thank you Israel!' Brigitte proclaimed in an open letter. "We urge you to hit Lebanon hard and destroy Hezbollah's infrastructure… On behalf of thousands of Lebanese, we also ask you to open the doors of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport to thousands of volunteers in the [Lebanese] diaspora willing to bear arms and liberate their homeland from [Islamic] fundamentalism."
* "As I watch what is happening in Lebanon, it is absolutely necessary to support Israel to kill the cancer that has spread and is killing the Lebanese body. Israel is not targeting civilians. Israel is targeting terrorists. Israel has launched 3000 air strikes on Lebanon since the beginning of the Operation and inflicted only 122 casualties. If Israel's intention was to kill civilians you would have seen many more civilian deaths than only 122. That is nothing. They are being extremely careful, even dropping flyers and urging civilians to leave before they bomb. No country meets Israel's high standards and Purity of Arms. These "civilian casualties" are terrorists and terrorist families and terrorist sympathizers. Terrorists, terrorists, terrorists!"
* "I am speaking with the Lebanese Christians in Lebanon and they are all fine. Israel is not bombing them or their towns. Israel is bombing the Shiite radical strong-holds. This is what the news is not telling you. The airport was used to bring support to Hezbollah and that's why Israel bombed the infrastructure. It is also in Lebanon and Hezbollah where these terrorists are developing the roadside bombs used on our marines and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those same terrorists have cells in America and ready to unleash suicide bombing here in America within the hour if ordered to do so." - CNN 7/18/06
* "Most Americans in Lebanon [who were trying to flee US bombs dropped by Israel during the July 2006 war —Ed.) support Hezbollah and US taxpayer money should not be used to help them return home." (In other words, let Israel kill them—Ed.)
* In nearly every speech, Marjayoun's Maid routinely mentions the essential reminder that Israel, with its estimated 250-plus nuclear weapons and superpower military, needs more US money and servicemen to die in order to protect the apartheid regime from the fantastic threats from the Lebanese resistance and its supporters, which include a majority of her fellow Lebanese Christians.
Brigitte instructs us: Why Hezbollah has better sex. It's the Jihad, Stupid!
Not your run of the mill democrat, Brigitte regularly complains to her audiences that:
"Hezbollah's Shiite extremists began multiplying like rabbits and are outproducing moderate Sunnis and Christians. Twenty-five years later they have produced enough people to vote themselves into 24 seats in the Lebanese parliament and now are a majority in Lebanon. Hamas is doing the same thing with the Palestinians as part of their 'Resistance to Occupation.' Yes, sex for them is simply a form of Jihad. It all boils down to a war of Islamic Jihad ideology [genitalia! —Ed.] vs. Judeo-Christian Westernism wherein our men are too stressed to do it much anymore. Muslims, who are now the majority of Lebanon's population, support Hezbollah because they are part of the Islamic Ummah-the nation. Sex as Jihad is the taboo subject everyone is trying to avoid but it needs to be exposed for what it really is.
This is the same Hezbollah that Iran is threatening to unleash in America with suicide bomb attacks if America tries to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon to bomb Israel. They have cells in over 100 cities in the United States. Hamas has the largest terrorist infrastructure on American soil. This is what happens when you turn a blind eye to evil for decades, hoping it will go away."
When asked for a source for her claims, Gabriel's Virginia Beach office replied: "Its common sense! Why can't you grasp that?"
Gabriel spoke as part of a lecture series organized by Duke University's Jewish community to provide 'counter-programming' after the fourth Palestinian Solidarity Movement student conference was held there in October 2004. She angered many members of the crowd when she referred to Arabs as "barbarians" and Duke's Freeman Center for Jewish Life later apologized for her comments.
Recently Brigitte has been telling her audiences about a Des Moines, Iowa imam who not long ago offered the prayer to open the Iowa legislature. In this prayer the Muslim gentleman made a plea for "victory over those who disbelieve," i.e., those who are atheists. That John Hagee and his ilk and countless rabbis say the same thing every day does not appear to have dawned on Brigitte.
While reassuring her audiences "that Islamic terrorism is, of course, a serious, global threat that we must—repeat, must—defeat," Brigitte has recently been seeing another dark penumbra on the horizon:
"But there is another threat to our safety, security and liberty that we must also defeat and that is the increasing threat of Cultural, Social and Civilization Jihad aided by the forces of American political correctness":
"I am very troubled that in the name of tolerance and educating American children about the Muslim empire in history liberal American teachers get away with giving beginning Islamic teaching which may cause many to perhaps one day become Muslims. We have reports that in some classes teachers are allowing students to use calligraphy to copy parts of the Quran in Arabic as an enrichment activity. This has got to stop!
I am very concerned with books like 'History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond' volume published by the pro Muslim Teachers' Curriculum Institute in California. The upsetting part is not only do they go into the real history which is ok, but they teach Islam. ... Moreover, the books one page referencing Jews is only to convey that they were tortured by Crusaders to get them to convert to Christianity. It fails to mention that the biggest persecutors of Jews throughout history and still today are Arab and Muslims. It gives four only one-liner references to the Jews being wrongly blamed for the plagues and problems in the land. How can the writers of this text get away with this?"
(Bert Bower, founder of TCI, said not only did his company have experts review the book, but the state of California and many experts in California also reviewed it, and have approved it for use in public schools).
"Political Islam has annihilated every culture it has invaded or immigrated to. The total time for annihilation takes centuries, but once Islam is ascendant it never fails. The host culture disappears and becomes extinct." ("Well what are we waiting for let's bomb Iran before they get us!!" someone in her audience often bursts out at this point in Brigitte's talk.)
"We, as patriotic Americans must be willing to give up more liberties in this time of war against Islam—non-Muslims are not frustrated by time-consuming, privacy-invading airport screenings, phone monitoring, surveillance, and other measures—only Muslims are affected by it, because they are the ones doing all the terrorism!"
United Front against Islamic Law!
"I believe that the way Sharia will insinuate itself into our law would be through arbitration and mediation of domestic and financial disputes through an extra-judicial arbitration system condoned by our courts. That would entail setting up separate a Sharia law section of the American Arbitration Association overseen by Islamic law panels. Many agree with me and this should be a warning to all about how Sharia will spread through the proverbial legal back door."
Brigitte urges Americans not to allow mosques to be built and suggests that if citizens observe one being constructed, it should be immediately reported to the FBI. Brigitte has joined Daniel Pipes and the thought-policing and silencing actions of AIPAC and its Zionist affiliates and instructs students that "if a college professor or public figure criticizes U.S. policies you have a patriotic duty to report this un-American activity to the Dean, or alert the media and authorities."
During her talk at a Hillel House–arranged event, and without giving a source, Brigitte claims that up to 25 percent of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims are "radicals who have their eyes against the West, and are willing to become suicide bombers like Muhammad Ata." One sarcastic young lady in the audience interrupted: "Holy cow Brigitte, that's roughly, ah let me see…ah,…. 440 million Muslims suicide bombers coming after us! Could you help us just a little bit with a source for your claim when you get a chance?" Brigitte glared and refused to continue her talk until the audience hilarity subsided.
"We used to think, 'Al-Qaeda [is] the only problem; Al-Qaeda is the only terrorist organization that is causing problems for the rest of us.' Well I am telling you that way of thinking needs to be changed because Al-Qaeda is an umbrella organization where many different organizations come underneath it, such as Hamas, such as Hezbollah, such as Fatah . . . many different people that share the same ideology and that is Islamofascism [sic], and they have their eyes on the West."
Practically every school-child in Lebanon knows that Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Salafist Al-Qaeda are mortal enemies, with Hezbollah protecting UNIFIL's back from Al Qaeda–inspired groups in the south Lebanon.
For her Valentine's Day message this month Brigitte warns that "We must start doing more than exposing or resisting the advances of Islamofascism—we must go on the offensive to roll it back and fight for the bedrock values that made America the beacon of hope to the world. ... The only real question is: Do we have the will to do what is necessary to stop Islamofascism, in whatever form it takes? Because, simply put, if we do, we will. If we don't, we won't. That's it. Bottom line."
Brigitte has exhibited little hesitancy in boldly lying to her audiences when pressed with inconvenient questions. For example, she is prominently displayed as a member of an arm of the Israeli propaganda ministry known as the Hasbara Fellowship Speakers Bureau, from whom she gets lucrative speaking engagements. Her photo appears just above the pictures of Dori Gold and Caroline Glick, well know Arab-phobes. However, during the Q&A section of a recent talk at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, she was apparently not prepared to be so easily and thoroughly exposed as a Zionist shill whose main loyalty is to Israel:
Brigitte Gabriel: You can not trust having a Muslim in office when he has to make a decision to either be loyal to the United States or be loyal to Islam.
Audience member: Ma'am, thank you. I'd like to point out that I'm an American soldier and practicing Muslim, served the U.S. Army for the past 19 years very proudly [a rebuttal to your previous point]. . . . Two questions. Are you a member of Hasbara Fellowship?
BG: What's Hasbara Fellowship?
AM: A fellowship in Israel. [An] organization—
BG: No. No.
Brigitte's writing and speeches are full of historical errors, including her recent statement that "The world protected the Palestinians after the PLO left from Lebanon in 1983" (she probably meant 1982 when the PLO evacuated Beirut only after repeated pledges by the US and Israel that the Palestinians refugee camps would be protected.) She denies that the pledges were not kept and that Israel organized the September 16-18, 1982, massacre at the Sabra-Shatila camp. She claims it has never been proved who caused "that greatly exaggerated incident, and we may never know. Muslims are always killing each other. Like what's new, that is all they know."
Brigitte's book, Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America claims she spent 10 years in a bomb shelter until rescued by the Israeli army. Recently, she mentioned it was actually 7 years. In a February 2008 update on her website, she writes:
"As many of you know, I have a unique perspective on the threat we face. I lived for seven years in a bomb shelter in my home in Lebanon. I am a victim of Islamic terror. Most of my friends were killed by Islamic militants. I watched helplessly as we lost our beautiful country to radical Islam – I am determined that nothing even approaching that tragedy happens to my adopted country."
Brigitte used to tell her audiences that Hezbollah was the group that terrorized her family for seven years, between 1975 and 1982, until people started to object pointing out that Hezbollah was organized after she left Lebanon with Israeli escorts following their 1982 invasion. Hezbollah was created as a resistance movement as a direct result of and to confront the Israeli occupation until it drove Israel from most of Lebanon by May of 2000—by then Brigitte was long gone and had never crossed paths with Hezbollah.
Her former neighbors in Marjayoun say she may have spent a few nights in her homes shelter at times, or more likely in her basement, as did many in Marjayoun, but to their knowledge Brigitte lived fairly normally in her family home, given 'the situation' of the Israeli occupation.
There can be little doubt that Brigitte Gabriel is on a rich roll with the Israeli lobby and various Zionist organizations as she spews anti-Arab and anti-Muslim venom, the likes of which America has never witnessed.
The Act for America and American Congress for Truth (ACT) sites packages its hate and scare tactics much like Ann Coulter and the right wing anti-Islam Human Events website. According to Campus Watch, Brigitte is modeling her career after Ann Coulter's, but she wants to specialize not in simply harassing 'liberals' but to go after "real terrorists."
Claiming chapters for her ACT advocacy group in all 50 states and Israel as well as affiliates in many countries, Gabriel is in the process of 'going international.' As part of her move to Europe, last week she reached out to endorse Susanne Winter, the extreme right-wing Austrian politician with the FPÖ party running for a city council seat in the city of Graz. Winter had blasted Muslims two weeks ago saying that "in today's system" the Prophet Mohammad would be considered a dirty "child molester," and that "child abuse is very common among Muslim men."
"In 20 or 30 years," she warned in an interview with the daily Osterreich a couple of weeks ago, "half of Austria's population would be Muslim." Winter claims it is time that Islam was "thrown back out of Europe behind the Mediterranean," and alleges Mohammad wrote the Koran during "epileptic fits."
While Austrian prosecutors are looking into the possibility of filing charges against Winters for incitement, Gabriel heaps praise on her across the Atlantic.
On February 12, 2008, Brigitte emailed her subscribers what she told them "may be the most important message I have ever emailed to you, our members." She has decided to up the ante in order to maintain her position as the Jeanne d'Arc of the forces to liberate America from what God told her are the Islamofascists.
Lori Loves Brigitte
In addition to divine motivation, Brigitte has earthly concerns. Some of her friends are telling her that her 'message' is getting stale from overuse and shrillness and many of her 'facts' are increasingly being refuted (e.g. Hezbollah bombed her house, when in fact the modest damage occurred before Hezbollah was formed in the area and those who shelled her house were likely either Israeli artillery positions or their proxy Christian militia).
To use a term the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) leader in Philadelphia applied recently to Brigitte saying she is 'hot,' it may be that she has cooled a bit.
But, dear reader, don't think for one moment that Lori Lowenthal Marcus, who runs ZOA-Pa., doesn't still love Brigitte. She adores her! Far be it from this observer to ignite intra-Zionist movement tension between the Dark Maid from Marjayoun and the Light ZIO-ZOA Princess from the City of Brotherly (and presumably Sisterly) Love!
What is troubling and at the same time motivating Brigitte's 'makeover' is the appearance of new young-guns on the street corner who she claims are encroaching hustlers and phonies, yet they are definitely cutting into her market share with her creators and benefactors in the Israel Lobby.
The subjects of her wrath, who publicly she praises as "colleagues and kindred spirits," are Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem, and Zachariah Anani, to whom journalist Chris Hedges, author of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, refers to as Curly, Larry and Mo—the three stooges.
Brigitte is livid! "Not only are these creeps Arabs, but two of them are Palestinians!" she explained to ACT staff during her appearance at the Christians United for Israel Conference in Washington, DC. And they are trespassing far too often into her private space, which primarily includes right-wing Christian audiences, Zionist gatherings, and American audiences with little knowledge of Islam, the Middle East, or the Question of Palestine.
Proving Brigitte's claim that you can never trust an Arab ("Never! Never! Never!" she often adds for emphasis), these sneaky fellows have been ratcheting up their rants to get speaking engagements, some of which may have gone to Brigitte, and one of them is now telling audiences, according to Hedges, "that the only way to deal with one-fifth of the world's population is by converting or eradicating all Muslims."
Shoebat, the author of Why We Want to Kill You, recently chortled, "Let the spoiled brat from South Lebanon top that!" following an appearance on Tovia Singer's radio broadcast.
For his part, Shoebat, notes Hedges, also promises to explain in 2008 the many similarities between radical Muslims and the Nazis, and how "Muslim terrorists" invaded America 30 years ago and how "perseverance, recruitment and hate have fueled attacks by Muslims."
The way Brigitte sees it, according to a former colleague at ACT, she has got to "refresh" her own niche in this market because too many others are homing in and crowding the Islamic terrorism/Islamofascism racket. Brigitte has been running out of fresh material for her website and speeches. She has recently complained to friends that only a few months ago no fewer than 11 of the candidates for US president were trying to scare up votes using her Islamofascism material. Remember Giuliani, Richardson, Thompson, and the still running McCain ("the greatest threat facing the world is Islamic terrorism"), Clinton and Huckabee ("Islamofascism is the greatest threat this country has ever faced")?
A gifted businesswoman, Brigitte knows a crowded market when she sees one and has recently increased her market share by moving into the Daniel Pipes Campus Watch lucrative territory and is mining the juicy resources of colleges, religious institutions, state legislatures, and government agencies—all the time endearing herself to the Israel lobby by tracking down would be Islamofascists.
Brigitte Plans Ahead
In a recent post on actforamerica.org, Brigitte poses a question to would-be donors:
"Do you want to see terrorists detonate weapons of mass destruction in America, killing tens of thousands of our people, destabilizing our government and plunging our economy into a deep recession? ... We are preparing to launch a series of projects that, combined together, will put us on the offensive against the infiltration of militant Islam in America in a way that no other organization has ventured to even try. ... I'm asking you to make a choice, take action, make a contribution, and help us do what needs to be done. We are prepared to launch this offensive—but we can't do it without your financial help."
The following wish list is truncated:
• Commission a nationwide public opinion poll to assess voter opinion regarding these proposals, as well as other issues relating to the advance of militant Islam. Cost: $40,000
• Prepare a legislative agenda that we will take to our allies in the Congress. Travel expenses and related costs: $5,000
• We have identified a powerful way to disrupt the communication, training and recruitment of terrorists. We want to announce this on a nationwide telephone town hall by March 15th, with a goal of at least 2,500 of you participating. Cost for the telephone townhall: $3,000
• Educate and mobilize one million Americans ... we can reach these Americans through a database of email addresses that will cost us a miniscule fraction compared to what mail and telephone canvassing costs. Cost of this nationwide education and mobilization program: $100,000
• To lobby Congress for our legislative agenda and achieve victory in the project described above, we have just printed 40,000 full-color glossy informational brochures to ship to our chapter leaders for them to distribute. ... By April 15th, we would like to print 150,000 more of these brochures. Cost: $17,500
Congressional Voting Record Research
• We are poised to commission an extensive research study of the voting records of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on issues relating to national security, terrorism, and the advance of Islamofascism. ... The total cost for these programs is $195,500. I know that sounds like a lot of money – But if you think about it, it's a small price to pay for us to start rolling back the tide of Islamofascism. ...
As Brigitte tallies her donations, she is facing a much more serious problem than three unconvincing Christian convert upstarts trying to crowd her in the Souk (marketplace) of hate speech. She is facing the application of US libel laws with the distinct prospect of spending a lot of time in courtrooms in the coming years explaining to American juries why her patently malicious and false writings and rantings should be protected speech under American law.
The problem legal specialists see is that Brigitte has opened herself up to countless libel suits by her outrageously false and malicious statements and actions aimed at inciting hostility against Arabs and Muslims as well as their supporters in America. While Islamophobes like Eric Cantor and Tom Tancredo are said to adore her, some in Congress are pulling back and counseling Brigitte to "cool it a bit."
According to one source at ACT, who insists on not being named because the Maid "can be a little vindictive," Brigitte has been distressed about this problem for more than a year, especially since her new book is being delayed by the same New York publisher St. Martin's Press who issued her first book, and she is counting on the fire in this book to restore her ranking to #1 in the war against 'American Islamofascism.'
Her editor has told her that the publisher is very nervous about the possibility of a raft of law suits for defamation and that it's potentially a big problem.
A natural at "Legislative Solutions," Brigitte contemplates a Congressional race in 2010.
"Not to worry," Brigitte cheerily explained following a huddle with some of her advisors, "the solution was right in front of our noses all the time."Duh. We must change the law!"
ACT's office manager replied, "no problem."
If the dear reader will glance at Brigitte's website, www.actforamerica.org, her 'urgent messages" over the past three months make sense. Supporters of Israel have done Brigitte and her publisher a huge favor when they had Assemblyman Lancman and Senator Skelos introduce into the New York State Legislature just what the doctor ordered. It is called the Libel Terrorism Protection Act.
According to Brigitte's website, the Libel Terrorism Protection Act legislation is as important as it is simple—"protect New York authors like me and publishers from lawsuits filed in foreign court jurisdictions that are intended to intimidate and silence exposure of terrorism and enablers of terrorism." On her February 8, 2008, posting, Brigitte claims that "Our cherished rights of free speech and press are under assault by libel terrorism."
Brigitte has begun circulating a petition to pressure Albany lawmakers to approve the measure. As of February 15, she claims 6,500 signatures but writes "that it would be so great to get 10,000 by March 5."
The Legislation is designed protect Brigitte and she bets that her New York supporters would welcome her to the neighborhood if the legislation is found not to cover her in Virginia. Her friends assume that AIPAC can find her an available and safe district to run for Congress in 2010.
If "Brigitte's Law" passes in New York, it is a done deal that the likes of Rep. Rita Lowery and Anthony Weiner will introduce it in Congress to try to make the protection national.
Quo Vadis Brigitte?
Preaching her repellent idea of patriotism and American values, while condemning nearly 20 percent of humanity as subhuman, Brigitte Gabriel appears oblivious to the fact that she is among the last people who should be lecturing America on subjects as patriotism and loyalty to one's country given her intense collaboration with Israel during and since its occupation of Lebanon.
If anyone is a terrorist sympathizer—if anyone is disloyal to her country for religious or ideological reasons—surely it is Brigitte Gabriel, the Dark Maid from Marjayoun.
Her former neighbors could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps she suffers from a virulent form of Stockholm Syndrome, wherein she identifies with and supports decades of Israeli terrorism against her country, her people, and her religion.
Her message of hate, ridicule, and incitement to action against Islam is akin to shouting Fire! in a crowded theatre, and constitutes egregious and condemnable hate speech. Her rantings are fundamentally un-American, un-Lebanese, and un-Christian. Her campaign should be vigorously rejected by all people of good-will, including those seeking simplistic explanations and solutions for the consequences of a catastrophic Bush Administration Middle East policy, which has caused so much death, destruction and desperation across the region.
-Franklin P. Lamb, PhD is the Director of Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Wash.DC-Beirut, and is a Senior Fellow at The Institute for Middle East Policy Dialogue, USA. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com