Egyptian Student Convicted of ‘Indecent Ideas’ Posts Passionate Defense of Israel on YouTube (VIDEO)
by Ruthie Blum
A new YouTube clip defending Israel is causing a stir. What is unique about the recently posted video, which has reached more than 60,000 viewers so far, is that its creator is an Egyptian student on the run from authorities who sentenced him to jail after he questioned his professor’s religious, rather than scientific, approach to homosexuality in a science class.
The 22-year-old (now former) sociology major from Suez Canal University in Ismailia, though living in hiding, is continuing to use social media to get his views across.
“Why do you hate Israel?” is the latest in a series of polished videos produced by Sherif Gaber, whose “crimes” — which include “contempt for religion” and the “dissemination of indecent ideas” — were reported to the Egyptian police by university faculty and fellow classmates in 2013. After being thrown in prison and having his computer, phone and books confiscated, Gaber was convicted in February and sentenced to a year of hard labor.
On the verge of escaping the country with the help of an American lawyer who took up his case, Gaber decided to stay in the meantime, because – as he said in an interview last week with Cairoscene, “I’m not a coward.”
From an undisclosed location in Egypt, keeping his distance from his family, who could be put in jeopardy, Gaber has been voicing the opinions that got him into trouble in the first place, “to encourage freedom of speech and help people think and present to them alternative viewpoints, simply to let people know they exist. Whether people want to believe or not is their own choice, not mine. But I didn’t want to simply get arrested without being heard.”
Though most of his focus is on the ills of Muslim society, “Why do you hate Israel?” – showing Gaber ranting in Arabic with English subtitles — takes his critique a step further.
The following are excerpts of the transcript from the video below:
“This is a true story. In 2011, there was this ‘third Palestinian uprising.’ When they said, ‘Let’s unite us – the Arab world – from everywhere’ and attack Israel to free Palestine.
“I myself was about to join them, and actually wanted to free Palestine, back when I was a dumb Muslim. But I tried to understand the situation differently.
“I said, let’s assume that the land actually belongs to the Palestinians. Meaning that the Palestinians came to it first. So it’s theirs. And if someone from outside came to take a piece of it, then it’s called ‘colonization.’ …
“But when I looked at the reality, I found it a bit different. For example, I found that Egypt itself is colonized! How? Egypt was first a Coptic country. But when Abu Ibn Alaas invaded it, he turned it into a Muslim country… They told you that it’s called ‘Islamic conquest.’ But it’s actually colonization…
“Second, I told myself, let’s assume the land is actually theirs, and Israel doesn’t exist. Palestine – what do you think it’ll look like? Will it be like Japan? Will it be like the USA? Or Germany? I mean, will it be a civilized country?
“To put it simply, let’s imagine someone who can’t talk and he found a ‘microphone’ in the ground. Just like the Palestinians when they found themselves on Palestinian land. But that guy who found the ‘mic’ can’t speak, so he can’t use the ‘mic.’
“But there’s this other guy, who saw the mic in the first person’s hand, and he can use the mic really well…
“I told myself, so who should take the mic? The first one, the one who can’t speak or use the mic. He found the mic first, just like if we assumed the Palestinians found the land first.
“But there’s someone else who can use the mic. Just like Israel, when we see it uses its land pretty well. So who should take it? Your ethical thinking may make you choose the first guy, whether he uses it, damages it or even throws it away. But actually, if you thought about it more rationally, you’d find that Israel… is the one who should take it. Cuz it’ll benefit him personally, alongside the other guy who can’t use it.
“Maybe when the guy who can use the mic speaks in it, the other guy may listen and know things he didn’t know. Just like now, when Israel invents many things… And it’s helping the whole world. If Palestine took the land, it would’ve been just like any Arab country…
“What’s happening in Palestine and the continued battles there, only happens because of Hamas. The Palestinian people has nothing to do with anything… the battles are between Israel and Hamas and the armed jihadists.
“In 50 years, what did Israel manage to do? Doubled its population up to ten times. Its agricultural production has expanded 16 times. Its industrial production has expanded 50 times. Its use of water has decreased by 10 percent… The percentage of Israelis engaged in scientific and technological inquiry, and the amount spent on research and development, is the second highest in the world… Israel is the fifth most clean tech country in the world… Israel was ranked 2nd in space sciences… Israel is the best country for women in the Middle East…”
Gaber winds down his tirade by asking rhetorically what Muslims think would happen if they all got their stated wish to band together to defeat Israel and conquer the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“What then? You won’t develop in science, because you’d already be developed if you could. You Arab countries are the worst in everything…
“In fact, the controversy between Arabs and Israel is no longer because of the land and who deserves it. Actually, Arabs don’t care so much about that. All this anger and violent resentment has nothing to do with anything but envy…”