Those familiar with Walid Shoebat’s story may be familiar with the libelous attack on him by former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges, who was arrested in 2011 while participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests. In 2008, Hedges penned a shameful missive entitled, The War Against Tolerance. Ironically, while the title conveys a high-minded and righteous author, Hedges proceeded to smear Shoebat without a lick of evidence.
After asserting that Shoebat was a fraud, Hedges further stated that the former Muslim terrorist is…
…part of a dark and frightening war by the Christian right against tolerance that, in the moment of another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, would make it acceptable to target and persecute all Muslims, including the some 6 million Muslims who live in the United States.
Fast forward to 2014. Hedges has been banned from a University of Pennsylvania conference after writing an article in which he compares Israel to ISIS:
Former New York Times Middle East bureau chief Chris Hedges said he was disinvited to speak at a University of Pennsylvania conference following a column comparing Israel to ISIS.
Hedges, now a columnist for the Truthdig.com website, was to speak at an April forum on prospects for peace in the Middle East sponsored by the university’s International Affairs Association.
Zachary Michael Belnavis, a student leader of the association, wrote to the lecture agency that his group didn’t see Hedges as a “suitable fit” for the conference.
After the article in question opens with a semi-reasonable paragraph, Hedges displays his own extreme intolerance:
ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its quest for an ethnically pure Sunni state mirrors the quest for a Jewish state eventually carved out of Palestine in 1948. Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel. Antagonistic ISIS and Israeli states, infected by religious fundamentalism, would be irreconcilable neighbors. This is a recipe for apocalyptic warfare. We provided the ingredients.
Keeping in mind the fact that Israel is a tiny sliver of land in a sea of Arab countries, Hedges then even compares the desire of ISIS to establish a Caliphate with Israel’s desire to live peacefully within the borders of that sliver of land. Of ISIS, Hedges writes:
It is seeking to establish, as the Zionists did in Palestine, a utopian, religious state. It holds up the ancient Caliphate—which united Muslims throughout the Middle East in the seventh century and whose time is considered the golden age of Islam—as an ideal, much as Jews held up the biblical kingdoms chronicled in the Hebrew Bible. ISIS, to build its state, has called on engineers, doctors and technicians to immigrate to the area it controls.
By comparing ISIS to Israel, Hedges is obviously equating Israel with something worse than Hamas, for example. Yet, earlier this year when Israel decided to fight Hamas in Gaza after having hundreds of rockets fired indiscriminately into civilian areas, it was Israel who caught the wrath of the international community. Despite the IDF going out of its way to minimize civilian casualties, it was Hamas who committed war crimes by launching rockets from hospitals, schools and residential areas.
Israel does not seek conquest like ISIS does. It simply wants to be left alone.
Hamas seeks to destroy Israel and murder every Jew. It’s at the essence of the Muslim phrase, Palestine! From the River to the Sea!
ISIS is worse and Hedges is so completely unhinged from reality that he would call Shoebat a ‘fraud’ for renouncing his former life and converting to a religion that rejects terrorism instead of embracing it.
When people like Hedges levy the ‘fraud’ charge at someone else, it should be worn as a badge of honor. Conversely, as an OWS protester, perhaps Hedges could frame this and put it on his wall as a symbol of the movement he went to jail defending: