BY ADINA LEVINE
In an event sponsored by Harvard Law School Alliance for Israel, Harvard University Graduate Student Friends of Israel, Stand With Us, Hasbarah Fellowships and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, among others, former PLO Terrorist Walid Shoebat spoke about what made him a terrorist and his ultimate realization of the fallacy of his actions on November 8th.
“The issue is not the issue of occupation,” asserted Shoebat. “The issue is the occupation of the minds of the youth. The issue is hatred and anti-Semitism. There is no other explanation for this.”
Born in Bethlehem, Shoebat explained that his family and his community had never thought of themselves as Palestinians, but as Jordanians. Reflecting on his childhood, Shoebat asserted that he was told that a Jew was a dog before he even knew what a Jew was. He believed that Jews had type AB blood, and they had type O – that they share their blood, while a Jew doesn’t. His father, whose life was saved by a Jewish doctor, said that there was no prayer for the doctor who had saved his life, reiterating the old phrase “I knock at the doors of heaven with Jewish skulls.”
“You might think I’m a freak, that this doesn’t happen in civilized countries,” stated Shoebat. “But myth was taught as fact and we were like sponges believing everything we were taught.”
He was told that the Holocaust never happened, that it was a ploy that the Jews made up in order to win sympathy from the world. During Yom Hashoa, he recalls watching the documentaries on television while eating popcorn and laughing. He believed that the graphic scenes of dead bodies were all enacted by the Jewish control of the media.
“We felt the Jews have no shame, that they will take their clothes off to make up this plight called Zionism,” asserted Shoebat. “No one ever told me the Holocaust was a reality.”
From such a society, Shoebat claimed, it was no wonder he became a terrorist.
“What did you expect me to do?” he asked. “What product did you expect from such a system?”
As a terrorist, Shoebat stoned Jews from a perch above the Western Wall, almost planted a bomb before he saw Arab children nearby, stoned an Israeli who was attempting to get help for a child that he had hit with his car. His cousin was sent to explode a bomb in Ben Yehuda before he was killed by Israelis.
“It took me twenty years to realize who killed my cousin,” said Shoebat. “My cousin was not killed by the Israelis, my cousin was killed by the hate pushers. Terrorism is like a drug – you push it on the youth.”
Shoebat contrasted the religious frenzy he was taught – that the community had a responsibility to kill as many Jews as possible – with the reactions of Israelis. He recalled a man from his community who was imprisoned by Israelis because the man had sliced off his daughter’s neck because she was suspected of adultery. The notion Shoebat could not understand, however, was why the entire community donated money to bail him out. He also compared the community reaction to the Israeli soldiers who were killed in Ramallah – how the community was cheering as they watched the mutilation and the killers held up their hands to show that Jewish blood was in their hands – with the Israeli reaction of outrage and concomitant censure of lone actors such as Baruch Goldstein.
“If you want to understand what happened to my country, look to Nazi Germany,” asserted Shoebat. “The Holocaust never ended, but the victims just decided to protect themselves… Antisemitism is alive and well. Antisemitism is alive – even in the west.”
Shoebat likened the desecration of Joseph’s tomb to Kristallnacht. “People took axes, defacated on the Torah Scrolls, urinated all over the place,” he recalled. “Tonight I ask one question: Have you ever seen a Jew desecrate a mosque or a church?”
The solution, according to Shoebat, lies not in the hands of Israelis, who continuously try to establish peace. The problem, he says, is in the society of hate that he grew up in, the lies he was told, and the fanaticism that is the communal norm.
“Arafat stands and says to mothers ‘Give me your children so I can make martyrs out of them,'” Shoebat said. “Why is it that the Jews want peace and we want war?”