Thursday, March 31, 2016

#1633: Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is a Lebanese-American fundie TV pundit who used to work for Middle East Television when it was owned by the South Lebanon Army (a Christian militia allied with Israel; the station was later sold to Pat Robertson). Today, she travels the world giving presentations sponsored by wingnut groups, mostly claiming that Jews Muslims are conspiring to seize power in the world, while promoting her personal biography describing her as a victim of Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists. Gabriel’s anti-Islam rhetoric does have the kind of disconcerting quality that have made many Jewish groups uncomfortable with her, but her hysterical conspiracy mongering has been happily picked up by various wingnut organizations, websites such as the WND, and events such as the Values Voter Summit 2015. And there is reason to be afraid, apparently: According to Gabriel, there are up to 300 million Muslims who want to be suicide bombers out there. Moreover, you should remember that it is impossible for Muslims to assimilate into American society, apparently because only Christians can be true Americans. Gabriel has accordingly endorsed Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering America, claiming in the process that “he is the General Patton of our lifetime.” Here is her take on the common “America will not survive if X wins the election argument.

Gabriel heads ACT! for America (formerly American Congress for Truth), an organization that has tied up with various rightwing groups to promote some common and silly conspiracy theories – in particular the delusion that they have to pass laws banning the supposed danger of American courts being taken over by sharia law. Among her other targets are American public schools, whose students are currently being “indoctrinated in Islam” through their history textbooks, which have turned classrooms into “recruiting grounds for Islam” (her group even got the Alabama state board of education to delay approval of history textbooks due to their complaints). She is also somewhat nonplussed that “Jewish leftists in this country” such as Anti-Defamation League president Abraham Foxman “are eager to embrace Islam.” The target of blame, she concludes, should be the universities, which are teaching more complex and accurate  “anti-America and anti-Israel” material – with the help of Saudi oil money. President Obama’s anti-American attitude is also “a direct result of what is being taught at our universities.” And presumably because he spent his childhood as a fanatic Muslim who attended a religious “madrassa” and grew up “praying just like Osama bin Laden prayed”. In fact, he is still a Muslim, according to Gabriel, and a terrorist supporter, a conclusion she can safely make on the observation that she disagrees with him on policy issues.

In 2014 there was much consternation among various less intelligent wingnuts in the wake of the announcement that the federal government will relinquish oversight of the Internet to a US-backed nonprofit. Gabriel’s response was among the more impressively stupid one. According to Gabriel, Obama is handing the internet over the UN control (which is, in fact, more or less precisely the opposite of what the administration did), and it will lead to the imposition of Sharia law on the Internet. It is hard to reconcile that claim with the assumption that she does, in fact, know what sharia law is. Or the internet. (She doesn’t have the faintest clue what was actually happing, of course, but that is less surprising.)

Here is Gabriel agreeing with Dennis Michael Lynch that Obama (“a girly man in an empty suit sitting in the White House endangering the country”) is intentionally allowing ISIS to gain territory in order to cause a refuge crisis that he can use as an excuse to settle said refugees in the US to forcibly “intermingle America.” No, the step from there to demanding an end to lizard people mind control over Americans through chemtrails is not a big one.

Here is the leader for the Texas chapter of ACT! for America, Dorrie O’Brien, talking about stealth jihad; yes, these people are in all seriousness promoting ideas that remarkably resemble the most medieval ideas of the kind of Taliban-style fundamentalism they imagine that Muslims in general support.

Diagnosis: It is interesting (but hardly surprising) that groups like Gabriel’s tend to promote policy suggestions and a sense of paranoia that to a very large extent resemble the target of their paranoia. As for Gabriel herself, there are reasonable people who take her seriously. Don’t. Brigitte Gabriel is a deranged conspiracy theorist.

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