When I expressed horror and incredulity at reports that the Department of Homeland Security has paid a man who sometimes calles himself “Walid Shoebat” $5,000 to give a speech at the 2011 South Dakota Homeland Security Conference in Rapid City on May 11, I was asked for details as to why it think he is a fraud, liar, conman and fanatic. It really couldn’t be easier to explain. The following is just the most cursory and perfunctory review of this loathsome character’s history as a flimflam man. There is much more to be said about him, but this ought to satisfy any reasonable person that it is a scandal and disgrace that DHS has had anything to do with him whatsoever, let alone paying him thousands of dollars to spread his poison and lies.
This individual can’t even keep a straight story as to whether his is an assumed or real name, but claims to be a “former PLO terrorist” now converted to evangelical Christianity. Nothing about his story is verifiable. The pro-Israeli “Hasbara Fellowships” speakers‘ bureau, closely associated with honestreporting.com, even describes him as “the grandson of a Nazi ally.” Although he has often said that “Walid Shoebat” is an assumed name, adopted to avoid retribution from other Arabs, in one of his most overwrought articles, “Shoebat” insisted that this is, in fact, his actual birth name: “I even showed documents to prove that my true name is 'Walid Shoebat' and is not an assumed name as they say in the media…” However, the biography posted on his own website, shoebat.com, once clearly stated that, “Walid is an American citizen and lives in the USA with his wife and children, under this assumed name.” It now states, "For the record, my name is Walid Shoebat."
His tale is so improbable, contradictory and unsupported by the least trace of evidence that even some passionate supporters of Israel have questioned its veracity. "Shoebat" has frequently complained about this publicly: "I get continual accusations for doing this for money, an accusation I already get from my enemies, but also from my Jewish friends." He has produced a littany of the most improbable tales of his youthful terrorist attrocities. According to a friendly article in Joseph Farah’s worldnetdaily.com: "His stated mission was "to kill as many Jews as possible." He started murdering people at 14, and within four years had accumulated "223 points" – a PLO term for 223 kills, two-thirds of them with daggers." Naturally, there is no mention of when and where these hundreds of supposed murders took place exactly. This sounds more like a sick joke than anything else, and its certainly completely untrue.
“Shoebat” has also claimed that at age 16, PLO cadres recruited him to bomb the Bank Leumi branch in Bethlehem. In 2008, the Jerusalem Post reported that this story is “is rejected by members of his family who still live in the area, and Bank Leumi says it has no record of such an attack ever taking place.” The Post concluded, “If the Bank Leumi bombing claim is unfounded, it is unclear why Shoebat would have wanted to manufacture a terrorist past. True or not, however, it has plainly brought him some prominence and provided him with a means to speak in favor of Israel and be paid for doing so.” And that last detail, clearly, is the whole point.
The New York Times reported that in 2008, along with Kamal Saleem (another evangelical self-described “former terrorist,” who has claimed to be a descendent of the entirely imaginary and preposterously named “Grand Wazir of Islam”) and the equally bizarre Zak Anani, “Shoebat” was paid $13,000 to address the Air Force Academy about their alleged recruitment and training as terrorists. These men have presented a number of talks under the title, “Why We Want to Kill You,” which is also the title of a book written by “Shoebat.”
“Shoebat” claims that after a youth devoted to violent anti-Israel activity, “In 1993, Walid studied the Tanach (Jewish Bible) in a challenge to convert his wife to Islam. Six months later, after intense study, Walid realized that everything he had been taught about Jews was a lie. Convinced he was on the side of evil, he became an advocate for his former enemy.” The only thing that outstrips his passionate love of the Israeli state is his even more passionate hatred of the Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and Islam, claiming “The so called ‘Israeli occupation‘ is currently the only real freedom any Arab has had in any part of the Middle East in the 56 years of Israel's existence.” He encourages Israeli violence against Palestinians and has urged Israel to “take back the holy Temple Mount.” He condemns the majority of Jewish Americans for being too weak on pro-Israel issues: “If I was a Jew I would be ashamed to call myself one,” since, “The Jews are not up to the task and no matter what we say, Jews will continue to fight Brit Zedak [sic], Norman Finklestein [sic] and Naom Chomsky [sic] et al. What we need is the support of a handful of people, and not the majority belly-achers.”
”Shoebat” is an extremist Christian fundamentalist who yearns for the apocalypse and the battle of Armageddon, is passionately anti-Islam and anti-Muslim. He has frequently called Islam ”the anti-Christ” and has written that ”both the Antichrist and the revived beast empire will very likely be Muslim.” (Why I Left Jihad, Top Executive Media, 2005, p. 369) He also claimed during the 2008 election campaign that then-Democratic presidential candidate and now President Barack Obama is a secret Muslim saying that simply because of his name, “it is very clear that Barack Hussein Obama is definitely a Muslim.” And, according to “Shoebat,” Islam is not merely linked to demonic forces, “Islam is not the religion of God — Islam is the devil.” Just what we need officials at a DHS conference to hear, of course, and what American taxpayer dollars should be paying for.
A follow-up posting is now on the Ibishblog: More on “Walid Shoebat” and his allies and competitors in the “reformed terrorists” scam