"Seeing through the lies" about Israel:
A Lebanese-born journalist speaks out

Published: 10 April 2005
Briefing Number 137

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Summary: A Lebanese-born journalist, Brigitte Gabriel, has recently described publicly how she was indoctrinated as a child into hating Israel, and how she learnt later in life to “see through the lies”. Below, we reprint a full report of Gabriel’s speech, which she delivered at Columbia University in New York. Source: WorldNetDaily.com, 6 March 2005. (We have inserted the section headings to make the text as user-friendly as possible – Beyond Images).

Learning to hate Israel, as a child in Lebanon

Brigitte Gabriel, founder of American Congress for Truth, recalled being raised “on a steady diet of lies, poisoning our attitudes towards the Jews. Israel – Aaesrael”, Israel is the devil. “Al-Yahud shayateen” - the Jews are evil. “Sarakou al-ard al Arabiyah” - they stole Arab land. “Al wakt al wahid allazi yassir endana salam huwa lamma naqtul kul al yahud wa narmihum bil bahr” - the only time we’ll have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea.”

“Every time Israel was mentioned it was attached to the phrase ‘al adew al Israeli’ – the Israeli enemy.”

“My country and others saw nothing wrong with practising this form of mind abuse” she said. “Of taking a generation hostage, molding them into misguided weapons; some willing to be martyred in the name of Islam or Palestinian nationalism. It’s a form of mental child abuse taking place in every Arab country”.

How her eyes were opened…. as a patient in an Israeli hospital

Gabriel told her audience that only a personal experience with the Israelis allowed her to see through the lies she was taught throughout her childhood.

“My eyes were opened when I spent 22 days in a hospital in Northern Israel in the early 1980s,” she recalled. “I watched in disbelief as Israeli doctors treated my mother wounded by an artillery shell before they treated the wounded Israeli soldier lying next to her. They treated Lebanese Muslims and Palestinian militia fighters on a par with wounded Israeli soldiers.

“I was shocked that this enemy, hated by the Arabs, treated us all with utmost courtesy, compassion and respect. It was a transforming experience countering the lies and all the propaganda with which I had been indoctrinated as a child.”

Ultimately I made a commitment to leave my home country and move to Israel to be with these people whose values I respected.”

The reality of Israel as a multi-racial and multi-cultural country

Later, Brigitte Gabriel became an Israeli newscaster.

“As a Middle Easterner brought up on this patent ‘Israel is a racist state’ propaganda, I discovered it is total hate-inspired nonsense,” she said. “I’ve seen with my own eyes what kind of society Israel is. I consider Israel to be one of the most multi-racial and multi-cultural countries in the world. There are no racial restrictions on becoming a citizen of Israel like there are in many Arab countries. Remember, Jews can’t live in the neighbouring Arab kingdom of Jordan or in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.“

How Israel reaches out to help disadvantaged peoples

She explained that more than 100 different countries of the world are represented in the population of Israel. “Consider how the Israeli government spent tens of millions of dollars airlifting more than 40,000 black Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984 and 1991,” she said. “Since 2001 Israel has reached out to help others taking in non-Jewish refugees from Lebanon, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Liberia, Congo and even Bosnian Muslims. How many such refugees have the 22 states in the Arab league taken in? The Arab league won’t even give Palestinian refugees citizenship in their host countries.”

Rights of Arabs in Israel

Gabriel added that more than one million Arabs are full Israeli citizens, that an Arab sits on the Supreme Court of Israel, that there are Arab political parties expressing views hostile to the state of Israel sitting in the Israeli Parliament, that women are equal partners in Israel, and have complete human rights.
“Show me an Arab nation with a Jew in its government” she challenged. “Show me an Arab country with half as many Jewish citizens as Israel has Arab citizens. I’ll borrow some of your academic freedom now and say that Arab nations are the real racist and oppressive states.”

How Israel-hatred has entered US college campuses

Gabriel also charged that the kind of hatred she had been describing is infiltrating US college campuses like Columbia. “These ideologues know that they are teaching students who have no background or prior knowledge of the Middle East situation”, she said. “What they are doing is an extension of what is taking place in Palestinian and Muslim colleges across the Islamic crescent.”

“Repeat a lie enough and it becomes truth. You listen to what we say. If you don’t there will be consequences…”

Beyond Images comment

Brigitte Gabriel’s words largely speak for themselves. While we can’t agree that everything in Israel is as she suggests - Arabs do suffer discrimination, and it is arguable whether women enjoy “complete human rights” (for instance in areas of Jewish family law) - nevertheless Gabriel’s speech contains a vital message. Israel has been demonised in the Arab mind, through persistent lies and brainwashing. Yet in reality Israel is a humane, compassionate, and basically tolerant multi-ethnic society. The sooner the Arab world (and Israel’s worldwide critics) realise this, the greater the chances for peace.