Who is Brigitte Gabriel?
August 2, 2006 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Brigitte Gabriel showed up in my inbox today. My links to the evangelical subculture have provided me with many icky moments but none more so than this. An acquaintance forwarded me (and 20 others) a cut and pasted article about a speech she made at Duke University almost two years ago outlining Muslim atrocities in Lebanon during the 70s and I'm curious about the woman. Obviously someone like this is a great spokesperson for those who think Islam is bent on world domination and the destruction of all infidels. And apparently she gets quite a few speaking engagements at universities as an "expert" on the Middle East. But who is she?

After a little googling, I see the same "speech" cut and pasted into dozens of conservative blogs. And her page on Wikipedia dates from just two weeks ago, with a bit of a revert war starting already. What's going on here?
posted by jmcnally to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have an answer, but you've gotten me curious. And boy, is that a terrible Wikipedia article:

She migrated to the United States in 1989

What, is she a bird?

Ms. Gabriel is available as a speaker.

Book her today! Wikipedia as PR flack site!
posted by languagehat at 10:53 AM on August 2, 2006

is she a bird?

Wikipedia's entry on Human Migration.
posted by meehawl at 11:01 AM on August 2, 2006

Human migration denotes any movement by humans.
posted by zhivota at 11:05 AM on August 2, 2006

SourceWatch says she's a "contributing editor" to Family Security Matters, a 'conservative front group that claims to represent "security moms"', which itself it a front for the Center for Security Policy.

Here's an article she wrote about CBS apparently "going soft" on Islamic terror. She takes personal calls from Jeff Epstein, who was one of the people behind Vietnam Vets for the Truth, an anti-John Kerry campaign front.
posted by meehawl at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2006

Judging from the date of the original speech, the speech was scheduled on the Duke campus at the same time as a conference hosted by the Palestinian Solidarity Movement. The PSM is a very controversial group- being a "solidarity group," the group as a whole abstains from taking a position on whether or not terrorist attacks are a legitimate counter-balance to the activities of the IDF. It should be mentioned that the beliefs of many in the PSM, including those of the two organizers, were that terrorist acts were immoral, but that it wasn't the purpose of the group to engage with that issue. See this for background.

Anyway, the entire event at Duke was incredibly controversial, and various student and alumni groups that supported Israel raised funds to organize an entire weekend of speakers and events that were explicitly "anti-terrorist"-- which I put in scare quotes because the seeming intention was to paint the PSM as a bunch of terrorist-supporters or apologists.

So, she was probably not invited so much by the faculty to give an academic perspective on the Middle East, but rather invited by constituent groups for an expressly political purpose.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2006

Human migration denotes any movement by humans.

Duh. But we still don't say "she migrated to the United States." We say "emigrated." Language is funny, huh?
posted by languagehat at 1:17 PM on August 2, 2006

Ooh! Ooh! Do I get to be the one to remind languagehat about the difference between "immigrate" and "emigrate?"

See, one indicates she's coming to the US, and the other indicates that she's coming from Scary Eye Makeup Land (apparently).

As for human migration, I think that's a macro term not fit to describe the movement of one person, no matter what her PR budget.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2006 [2 favorites]

and the other indicates that she's coming from Scary Eye Makeup Land (apparently).

For what it's worth, when I saw her picture, the first thing I did was my best Austin Powers impression of: "That's a man, baby!"
posted by thanotopsis at 2:00 PM on August 2, 2006

Migration is a geographic term; emigration a politcal one.
posted by baylink at 2:35 PM on August 2, 2006

If we're done with the derail...

It's worth noting that the coordinators of the Duke rally Brigitte Gabriel spoke at in 2004 quickly apologized for her comments and then wrote a letter to Duke's student paper calling her comments a "detestable aberration":

At every rally, speakers deviate from the talking points provided, and it is not the rally organizers’ fault. The organizers of this event wanted victims of terrorism or survivors of victims to relate their experiences. We did not pre-approve speeches, as we believe in free speech and the power of personal accounts.

Had we known Brigitte Gabriel’s speech would have been as inflammatory and offensive as it was, we would have unhesitatingly removed her from the speaker list. Despite her detestable aberration, the message of the concert and rally still came through, and The Chronicle failed to portray that adequately.

That's from *the organizers* of the opportunity for her speech - the one you got in your mailbox. I think that gives you what you need to know about Brigitte Gabriel.
posted by mediareport at 3:10 PM on August 2, 2006

You might be interested in the editing history, and the Talk pages, of the one originally responsible for this wikipedia page : CltFn (talkcontribs), along with his other accounts, Diglewop (contribs) and (talkcontribs).
posted by XiBe at 5:40 AM on August 3, 2006

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