Cal Tzedek: 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lee Kaplan Caught in a Lie

UPDATE: For the latest on Lee Kaplan, click here.

Lee Kaplan, one of FrontPageMag's star reporters, is perhaps the most prolific writer in the nation on the subject of the International Solidarity Movement and the Palestine Solidarity Movement. His exposes on the ISM training sessions and the PSM conferences have earned him accolades by the Internet's motley crew of Islamophobes, pro-war activists, and "former" Muslims who have renounced their evil ways. Ironically, his in-your-face-style has largely failed to capture the imagination of the mainstream pro-Israel movement, which also tends to disagree with the PSM and ISM.

But Kaplan's noble crusade against advocates for Palestinian rights turns out to involve some pretty sleazy tactics. Who knew!?

I was reading some back-and-forth between "Defender of Western Civilization" Bill Levinson and Nadeem Muaddi, a Christian Palestinian, and an organizer of the upcoming Fifth National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement, to be held at Georgetown University.

It seems as though Muaddi wrote a book review of "Witnessing for Peace" by Bishop Munib Younan back in July. His review is titled "A Call for Christian Martyrdom." "Martyrdom" is a highly charged word in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those of you who are interested in Muaddi's views on martyrdom, and the role of Christians in such, read his article. But let me point out two things before re-introducing Levinson and Kaplan.

First of all, Muaddi writes:

Living in a region of the world where occupation, oppression, apartheid, and suicide bombings have become the unfortunate norm, Bishop Younan’s claim that the “theology of martyria” is a “concept misunderstood” is not only refreshing, but long overdue.

Muaddi equates suicide bombings with occupation, oppression, and apartheid. He calls all four of them "unfortunate." Perhaps "unfortunate" is an understatement, but by regarding them all in the same vein, he makes clear his opposition to suicide attacks.

He then writes:

Muslim fundamentalists have mistakenly “tied” the concept of “martyrdom to death”.

So he sets parameters for what he does and does not consider "martyrdom" worth advocating. Any sort of "cult of death" is not on his agenda.

Bill Levinson, either mistakenly alarmed by what he perceived as a call for Christians to kill and die, or else simply eager to discredit pro-Palestinian activists by any means necessary, cooked up a little expose on Muaddi. Israpundit, which is hosting this article, is gracious enough to provide space for discussion. The first comment, available on the same page, is Muaddi's response. He informs Levinson that he is seeking damages for libel, since Levinson appears to be deliberately misrepresenting Muaddi's views. Muaddi closes with this:

Your actions are not only morally reprehensible, but illegal. You will be hearing from my attorney soon.

Springing to Muaddi's defense is a commenter using the name Chaim:

Is this guy for real? Bill, what level of education have you reached? Read the guy's article; nowhere can you infer that he's trying to recruit Christian martyrs at this conference. That's just assinine to suggest that, and Israpundit how dare you post such garbage.

Then, in defense of Levinson, we get Abu Abubu, who says:

I honestly doubt that Chaim is real. It's probably Muuadi under a Jewish name. Levinson's article hit the nail on the head, though.

So then, Levinson directs us here, where he says he responds to Muaddi's "insults and threats."

Muaddi responds again. Then Abu Abubu:

You have to excuse Nadeem. His referring to Bill Levinson as "little Billy" is classic in Arab culture. He has to belittle Bill as a man and talk to him as if a boy in order for Nadeem to dissemble his endorsement for terrorism properly and to cover his lies. (. . .)

As an Arab myself, I know you Nadeem: Kus Eumek. You are dissembling to destroy Jews and to dismantle Israel, the best friend the Palestinians ever had. (. . .)

Again, a dare: Write a public article and say you condemn any manner of suicide bombing, shooting , knifing, rock throwing against the people of Israel as a solution to the conflict. No conditions. Noo euphemsisms like "legitimate resistance."

You won't do this, because you use Arabic-style rhetoric referring to murder as "resistance" and "right of return" as dismantling Israel. And it kills you when one of your own like me points it out.

We can now surmise a number of things about Abu Abubu:

-He is an Arab.

-He is frustrated by Arabs who use Jewish names so as to pretend that any Jews other than crazy and stupid ones sympathize with Palestinian grievances.

-He is frustrated with Arabs in general, who either are anti-Semitic, or supporters of terrorism, or both. But not him. In fact, not only does he oppose anti-Semitism, he opposes all opposition to Israel, since Israel is "the best friend the Palestinians ever had." And he's in a position to know all of this, because he is an Arab.

The claim that Israel is "the best friend the Palestinians ever had" seemed familar to me. Then I remembered where I had read something similar: on this very blog. In the very first comment under "Lee Kaplan Responds," someone who is "not Lee Kaplan," but speaking on his behalf, says:

I know Mr. Kaplan. Rather than being a lackey of his, let me say he is a better friend to the Palestinian people than you are, as he exposes the lies and propaganda the thieves and murderers of the PLO use to still try to destroy Israel and prevent any settlement.

I admit that this is a bit of a stretch, since the phrases in question differ quite a bit, and since this friend of Lee Kaplan doesn't claim to be anyone other than Abu Abubu.

But still, this seemed like a red flag, so I took a closer look at Abu Abubu's postings.

Israpundit, I found out, moderates posts from first-time commenters, presumably to filter out spam. In order to determine whether a person is leaving his or her first comment, the site requires commenters to leave an e-mail address. So many things online require an e-mail address that it helps to have multiple addresses, so that our personal or business mailboxes are not overrun with stuff we don't want, be it spam, listserv stuff, or hate mail. The minute I ran my cursor over Abu Abubu's name, the e-mail address listed with it jumped at me. I had seen something very similar to it before.

The e-mail address is TheHussar@netzero.net. A google search of that address brings up this page. It seems as though Abu Abubu was not thinking back five years when he used that as his throwaway address. Way near the bottom of the page, on June 28, 2001, the guest book is signed as follows:

Name: Lee Kaplan
E-mail address: thehussar@netzero.net
Where you reside (City/State/Country) : :California
Ancestor/Family a member of 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA?:Not Sure
How did you like this website?:neat
Other Comments: Was wondering if this unit carried henry rifles
Thursday, June 28th 2001 - 09:08:41 AM.

I do not believe Mr. Kaplan is an Arab. He has gone "undercover" as a Pakistani before, an act which witnesses have compared with black face. If, Mr. Kaplan is of Mizrahi origin and considers himself an Arab, I will gladly apologize to him and retract this post. Otherwise, I would like to point out that misrepresenting oneself on the internet is not "going undercover." It is lying.

UPDATE: Lee Kaplan will be on The O'Reilly Factor on Thursday, February 9th, to discuss the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and his "new" website, stoptheISM.com. For the time being, Mr. Kaplan denies that he is Abu Abubu, but says that Mr. Abubu's comments are "well written." He says that "one of the [multiple] Arabs who works for stoptheISM.com" must have written the messages under an old account of his which, he claims, is now one of "many" e-mail addresses collectively used by stoptheISM.com. When pressed for more information about who used the address that Kaplan was using since before the ISM itself was created, he declined.

-Ehud

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