Jewish Journal

Changing the world, one step at a time - Q&A with advocate Brigitte Gabriel

by Noga Gur-Arieh

July 24, 2014 | 8:32 am

Brigitte Gabriel (49,) a bestselling author, activist, a leading expert on global Islamic terrorism, and founder and President of ACT! for America, has one fascinating life story. She was born in Lebanon to a Maronite Christian family, and spent her childhood in amid the Lebanese Civil War. When she was 10, Islamic/Palestinian militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base near her family house, destroying her home leaving her wounded. She then spent seven years living underground in a bomb shelter, with no sanitary systems, electricity or running water.

Her only life line was Israel who provided medical help, and protection during those years in the bomb shelter. Later in 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon her mother was seriously injured by Muslim/Palestinian rocket and was taken to Zefat hospital for treatment. For her mother it was a life saving experience, for Brigitte it was a life changing experience.  Gabriel was surprised by the humanity shown by the Israelis to their enemies who were brought there for treatment such as the Palestinian and Muslims terrorists, in contrast to the constant propaganda against the Jews she saw as a child.

She moved to Israel in 1984 and worked as news anchor for World News, an Arabic-language evening news broadcast of Middle East Television based in Jerusalem. In 1989 she immigrated to the United States. After 911 Brigitte realized that the Islamic radicals she thoughts left behind in the Middle East have now come to America.  She launched ACT! for America a non-profit, non partisan organization that educates and empowers citizens to help play a role in enhancing public safety. Today, ACT! has 280,000 members and 875 chapters nationwide including chapters in 11 countries around the world.

You were born in Lebanon, in times of constant war with Israel. What did you feel about Israel and Israelis as a child, and when did your opinion change?

“By the time I was born into Lebanon the population had shifted from majority Christians to majority Muslims because of the Islamic birth rate. That situation was aggravated by the influx of Palestinian refugees who were majority Muslims. That tipped the scale and brought the haters of Israel together hoping to use Lebanon as a launching pad to attack Israel and drive the Jews into the sea. The only thing standing in their way was Lebanese democracy.

As a child I was surrounded by voices on television nightly news and news radio talking about the horrible things the Israelis were doing to the “poor Palestinians”. At my home, however, hatred was never taught nor practiced. I lived in the Christian town of Marjayoun on the border with Israel.

In 1975 the combined forces of the PLO and the Muslims bombed my home bringing it down burying me under the rubble wounded. I ended up in a hospital for two and half months and later ended up living in a bomb shelter with my parents for 7 years till 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon.

Since 1975 as we were surrounded and bombed daily and nightly by the PLO/Muslim armies, and Israel was our only life line. Few people from my town went to Israel and begged for help. Israel started coming in the middle of the night bringing food for the children, as well as blankets, bombs shelters and weapons for the Christian military. So since I was a 10 year old child I knew that Israel was our friend and protector from the Islamists and PLO. However in the rest of Lebanon, they looked at Israel as the invader and looked at us as traitors working with the enemy. “


Can you tell a little bit about your childhood in Lebanon? About a leadership that worshiped violence and called for death to the Jews?

“The first 10 years of my life were ideal. I was born into a very civilized country. Beirut was Paris of the Middle East. Lebanon was the Switzerland of the Middle East. Because of the influence of the majority Christians who were good in business, in education, in the arts as well as great hospitable warm people who valued life and family Lebanon prospered. Unfortunately, Lebanon was the only small Christian country in the Middle East and had bought into the whole Arab nationalism thinking if we side with the Arabs we will be protected as “Arabs” as a part of the “Arab Ummah,” Arab nation. The Christians in Lebanon learned the hard way that we were all along considered infidels due to our Judeo Christian heritage.

Despite all that, the culture of worship of death is only an Islamic culture and progressively got worse as the Muslims expanded and drove the Christians out of Lebanon, and now we see out of the Middle East whether in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bethlahem or Egypt. Today’s Christians in Lebanon would leave in a heart beat if they were able to. The ones who are still there are stuck.”


What brought you to fight against radical Islam and its impacts of Western Civilization?

“I am an eye witness to terror. I am the Anne Frank who lived to tell about it. I know what happens where people turn a blind eye to terror thinking it is not going to happen to me, it is all the way over there. Now that I live in America, I came from “over there”. After September 11th I realized that those radicals I left over there have followed me here. On September 11th my two young daughters came home from school as I was glued to the TV screen watching the images fo the attacks of that day, watching the images of the World Trade Center collapse crying. My youngest daughter looked at me and asked “Mommy why did they do this to us?”. She reminded me of me as a child her age, laying in a hospital bed in Lebanon, looking up at my father asking him the same question. My father’s answer was: “They hate us because we are Christians. The Muslims consider us infidels and they want to kill us.”

I learned since I was a 10 year old little girl that I was wanted dead simply because of the faith I was born into. I had to look into my daughter’s eyes and repeat to her what my daddy told me: “They hate us because they consider us infidels and they want to kill us.” That day was my defining moment. That day I was born as an activist. That day I vowed that I will do everything I can to make sure that my daughter will never have to look into her child’s eyes and tell him or her what my daddy told me and what I had to repeat to her. That day I found my purpose!”


What is your final goal? What are you trying to achieve?

“I am trying to wake up Americans to stand up against evil. When evil goes unchecked, Evil grows like a monster and spreads worldwide. When Christian blood was shed on the streets of Beirut and Jewish blood was shed on the streets of Tel Aviv no one cared. Today innocent people’s blood is being shed all over the world by the same hatred driven radicals who have no conscious, who are willing to kill their own children in order to kill those of us whom they consider infidels. I want to ignite a fire in the heart of every apathetic person to make them realize their responsibility to the universe and to each other as human beings to stop evil whenever we see it, identify it and fight it.

I do not come to this from a Christian point of view. I come to this as a human being and a citizen of the world who has a moral duty to be kind to others and treat others the way I want to be treated and make sure we leave this world a better place than we found it for our children and their children. As someone who comes from the Middle East I appreciate the freedom that America’s constitution gives me to express my views and rally others to stand up and speak up against evil.”


Nowadays, your main Facebook campaign deals with the Obama Administration financially supporting terror organizations. Do you think you and your supporters will be able to stop that funding?

“We are trying everything we can to put pressure on the Obama administration to stop funding Hamas. As a tax paying American citizens I do not my tax dollars enabling Hamas, which is now a part of the unity government, to kill Jewish citizens in Israel and continue its venomous education of young Palestinian children to hate Israel. We are also working on the congressional level with elected officials in doing whatever possible to stop the funding. I hope will will succeed. Failure is not an option at this point.”


So actually, examining the current military operation in Israel against Hamas’ attacks, the U.S is funding both sides. How is that even possible to your opinion?

“The US provides funding for Israel as well as funding for the Palestinian authority. Hamas is now a part of the unity government. The Palestinian authority gives money to Hamas terrorists in jail to support their families thus American tax dollars are now going to the pokcets of those who hate Israel and are devoted to her destruction.”


Have you ever received threats from radical Islamists?

“Speaking out against radical Islamists earns you a lot of bad people wishing to kill you and silence you. I have received too many death threats to keep count. The last one came just three days ago. I had a terrorist call me on the phone listed on the website in 2003 and explicitly and slowly explain just how he plans to torture and kill me. The next day the phone number was removed from the website. Today I take extreme precaution and travel under different names. It is a part of the job but someone has to do it.

For me standing up for what I believe is right, and be willing to lay everything on the line fighting for it is the only right thing to do. These are the values my parents instilled in me. They always stood for what is right. They always told me let your actions speak louder than your words. Talk is cheap, action is much harder. That is what drives me to take a stand. I live to honor my parents’ memory and this is my way in walking in their footsteps.

Speaking of actions speak louder than words, I buried both my parents on Mt. Zion where Oscar Shindler was buried later. I wanted to make sure that my children, yet unborn, will always be drawn to Israel and not to the Arabic world. If you have ever visited Oscar Shindler’s grave, you have passed by theirs.”



This video, showing your reponse to a woman accusing you of attacking all Muslims when most of them are a “peaceful majority” is now a viral success. In this video, you compare the radical Muslims to the Nazis and other radical minorities throughout history, while showing how when the radical minority rules, the “peaceful majority” doesn’t matter. Do you feel that the concequences of this radical Muslim rule will be similar to the concequenses of the Nazi rule?

“It will be even worse than the Nazi rule. Hitler committed mass murder whithout having nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction at his disposal. Today’s Islamists, whether in Iran or elsewhere, are acquiring and building weapons of mass destruction biological and nuclear, and will use them against us without even blinking. They are filled with hatred and have no conscious. They will be able to do with one bomb in one day what took the Nazis months to do. To top it off, they think they are serving Allah to do it.”


Looking at The Israeli-Palestinian conflict now, how do you think it can come to a conclusion (if at all)? Many Israelis, including myself, are fearing that this conflict will never end, and that once Hamas will be taken down, it is a matter of time until a far worse threat will rise upon us. Because of the radial Islamist education system, teaching children to "kill the Zionist devil," there's a feeling that the war against terror will never end. How do you think Israel, and the rest of the world can handle with the Islamic terror?

“It may be contained but I am afraid it will not come to a conclusion as long as the Arab Muslim teach their children the Koranic verses against the Jews. The prophet [Muhammad] said: 'The time (of Resurrection) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!'" Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985.]

Unless moderate Muslims stand up and speak about reforming the Koran and Islamic teaching, nothing is going to change. The Jewish people need to open their eyes and understand where the hatred is coming from and it has nothing to do with land. Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians, did that solve the hatred problem? Absolutely not. Israel has been facing a worse nightmare in Gaza since they gave it back to the Palestinians.
We as Christians and Jews must do whatever we need to do to protect ourselves. We can work on dialogue. We can work on understanding. We can work on mutual projects. But we can never lose focus that we are dealing with an enemy who is willing to lie and deceive in order to get its way and destroy us.”


Looking at the foreign media, it appears as if the world focuses on Gaza and the West Bank "occupation," while ignoring far worse areas in the world, such as Syria and some places in Africa. Why do you think that is?

“Because the Arabs, rich with oil money have been able to pump millions of dollars into foreign universities by setting up Middle East study departments and political science departments and appointing Arab professors who are anti America and anti Israel to teach students that America is bad, Israel is evil and the Muslim world is oppressed. Add to that the Arabs are willing to lie and even manufacture death and funerals just to have it covered by the media and distributed to the whole world as fact, and that results in a PR campaign for Israel.”


What do you think Israel can do to help the world and the foreign media to better understand where it is coming from? What can Israel do to change its image reflecting through foreign media?

“Arabs use emotions to make their point while Jews use arguments of the law to defend their case. Arabs use images of mothers stuck at checking points nursing babies and Jews debate with the UN resolution 242. The public can relate to a mother fainting at a check point but they cannot feel any emotions to legal code and numbers. Arabs also are more interested in making their case regardless who gets offended. Jews go out of their way not to offend anyone, even their enemies, and try to present both points of views to be fair. That is the difference between the two sides. That needs to change.

Israel also needs to work with people who come from the Arabic world who are outspoken in their support for Israel and send them as ambassadors to speak to different groups – from an Arab pro Israel point of view – about the conflict. I for one would be thrilled to do just that.

Thank you for giving the opportunity to share my views with you. More details about my life in Lebanon and my move to Israel is detailed in my book “Because They Hate”."


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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

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