As many Breitbart readers know, my story is one of a former prominent Leftist revolutionary turned believer in the American Constitution.
My blog posts and public talks often detail the experiences I had and my journey towards believing and appreciating our system of governance. My speeches usually focus on the experiences that brought me from being an anti-American revolutionary to a patriotic American who, having felt a profound sense of owing our nation, began working undercover with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task force.
My writings and speeches usually avoid any discussion or mention of the guilt I often felt in my transition. However, I’d often think of how vocal I had been in critiquing America, our armed forces, and other men and women who protect our rights and our lives. Like most Leftists, I seized any opportunity to knock our heroes and point out any possible failure or shortcoming. I felt shame once my worldview began to mature.
The emotional aspects of the conversion are never as intense as when I think of how I once bought into the dominant left-of-center belief that Israel was to be included in any discussion of why the world was so evil and wrought with war and hatred. My world, though I thought it was full of a variety of information from different perspectives, was quite insular. My historical knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was, in fact, solely based on the perspectives of the enemies of the Jewish state.
[caption id="attachment_404608" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption="Anti-Israel protestors at Houston Holocaust Museum, Jan. 2009"]
I had the privilege recently to visit the National Holocaust Museum and Memorial. I was, as most are, horrified to see what had occurred. The museum walks the attendee through the history of antisemitism; the media and propaganda that were used to dehumanize Jews; and through the subsequent actions to which that dehumanization led. The lack of involvement and intervention from other nations is well displayed, as well as the role such abuses played in the creation of modern state of Israel.
The visit made me think of just how wrong I had been in my analysis of issues surrounding Israel in my past--and showed me why that nation fights like it does for its own survival.
I couldn’t help but feel horrified that I had once held such a lack of understanding for that nation. I couldn’t stop feeling a profound sense of guilt for having once actively worked against the Jewish effort to ensure that what happened in Europe never happened again.
These feelings were also joined by a sense of pride that I had worked hard alongside the men and women tasked with keeping Americans--and Israelis--safe from terror, as I describe below.
At one point in my past I helped a group named the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund raise money and find individuals to travel to the Palestinian territories to be human shields against the “evil” Israeli Defense Forces. The group’s then-leader, Riad Hamad, even slated me to go there on multiple occasions. Thankfully, I never went.
My perspectives began to change over the years, and I began backing away from the groups I had been close to. That backing away was even more prevalent with Palestinian/anti-Israeli groups. At one point, Hamad had approached me and shared that he had been able to skim off money that he intended sneak to Palestinian comrades in Israel. I asked him why he needed to sneak anything when he was able to send funds legally. He responded with a detailed analysis of all the ways suicide bombers could get through checkpoints and achieve their goals. I declined and he told me that I had fallen back into my white privilege, but would come back to the revolution soon.
I was torn. I no longer saw Israel as the clear aggressor as my sources of knowledge broadened. Even in the worst days of my revolutionary fervor, the killing of civilians would not have been okay with me. I couldn’t sleep. and I debated within myself if I should go to the FBI. Anything involving the FBI was taboo in the world I had been so devoted to for so many years.
Then two things happened that made my mind up for me. Another activist who knew Hamad came to see me and told me that he had been approached about setting up a fake business to help Hamad funnel money for Palestinians. That told me clearly that Hamad was going about his plans with or without me. I called Hamad and asked him to meet me for coffee. He agreed and we met. I told him that it wasn’t okay for him to ask someone else to do what he had asked of me, especially considering he hadn’t told the other activist why he was doing it and what the possible consequences would be. Hamad responded by saying it would be good for white people to get caught in the war on terror and that people would limit what the government could do if the war on terror had whites in Guantanamo instead of just Arabs.
I got home after meeting with him and checked my email. My mother’s pastor had sent me a link to a video which showed Israeli first responders going to the scenes of suicide bombings. I hadn’t told anyone about my internal struggle at that point, and I saw the fact that the video had been sent as a sign. As I watched and saw Israeli children’s body parts blown against red, blood-soaked walls, I knew I had to do something. I decided to find a way to contact the FBI.
I wanted to sleep on my decision. I spent most of the night wondering if my previous support and efforts for the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund meant I had blood on my hands. I wondered if I had inadvertently helped fund the killing of Israeli civilians. I woke up resolved that I would stop Riad Hamad, and I set out to do so.
I ended up meeting with the FBI. They were kind and gracious. Hamad and the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund were raided. I heard from Hamad one last time. He called me and said it was “just a matter of time.” I asked what he meant. He told me of the raids and said they had taken all of his documents, and that I would know soon. He said he had to go and he did.
His body was found in Austin, TX in Lady Bird Lake a few days later. He apparently chose not to face the consequences of his actions. There’s a lot more to it all and in how it all went down, but I spent the next two years working undercover with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in the International Terrorism Division. I did so because I owed it to our country and our allies. It cost me a bit, but I was and am proud to have done what I could to pay back those I might never know how much I’ve wronged.
My own journey from pro-Palestinian, anti-American revolutionary to defender of Israel has been long and eventful. I now do my best to help and advocate for others to support the effort the Jewish people have pulled together to defend themselves.