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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

LETTER: Small mistake makes big difference in Shoebat article

Published: February 11, 2005
Section: Opinions

To The Editor:

We could not help but notice that in the last edition of The Hoot, an article by Danny Wolfe identified Walid Shoebat as being from the town of Bethlehem, Israel. Though this might seem a trivial matter, given the rather inflammatory (or at least highly controversial) character of Mr. Shoebats presentation, we consider it extremely important that all efforts be made to present as brutally accurate a picture of Middle Eastern affairs as possible both for the sake of public discourse, and to avoid the puerile finger-pointing which so often characterizes such discussions.

Bethlehem, as anyone familiar with Israeli-Palestinian geography would recognize, is well within the bounds of the West Bank, both currently and in the peace proposals of all parties. Moreover, its predominately Palestinian character is challenged by none. Mr. Shoebat, and those who advertised his appearance, made much of his Palestinian upbringing, and his segregation from the Jewish community. This is to say nothing of the fact that his presentations raison detre was the remarkable nature of his transformation from terrorist to Zionist.

Conflating the occupiers of Bethlehem (Israel) with its legitimate inhabitants (Palestinians) not only creates a false image in the minds of readers, but also undercuts Mr. Shoebats claim to represent a potential transformation of the Palestinian community. Whether or not one believes this to be the case, surely to claim an Israeli identity for (and in spite of) Mr. Shoebat deprives his message of what little moral relevance it might otherwise have possessed.

Farrah Bdour 07 and Michael Nahum 07