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Dr. Louis Safi at the University of Manitoba.

Erez Rotem, JNF Emissary, Prairie Region.


By Rhonda Spivak, February 17, 2011

In January 28 2009, I attended a conference on the Middle East put on by the University of Manitoba, where Louis Safi , a Islamic academic originally from Damascus was on a panel with Erez rotem, JNF Emissary, Prairie Region.

I haven’t forgotten that panel because at the time I  remember how Safi  made it clear that he felt there was no place for the state of Israel in the Middle East.  I couldn’t figure out what the organizers had in mind when they put Safi and Rotem on a panel together—what kind of dialogue could they have?

Fast forward,  two years later.  I have just now found an article by Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist who converted to Christianity and became pro-Israel, that was written on Feb 2 of this year which outlines how “ Safi held a top official status at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Muslim Brotherhood front.” [emphasis added]  Safi’s writings in Arabic are translated and examined by Shoebat  in his article  titled “Inside the Mind of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Shoebat  identifies Safi  as an Arab “Pro-Muslim Brotherhood scholar”, and  explains how the goal is for a Moslem union in the Middle East based on Sharia law. As Safi writes in Arabic [translated by Shoebat]:  “The war against the apostates [non-believers of Islam] is carried out not to force them to accept Islam, but to enforce the Islamic law and maintain order.”

Shoebat’s article which is worth reading can be accessed at  Shoebat reports that “ The U.S. Defense Department even brought Louay Safi to Fort Hood, right after the massacre; he was invited to work as an instructor lecturing on Islamic sensitivities… He also advocates direct talks between Washington and Iran’s leaders.”

Based on what Shoebat (who spoke in Winnipeg a number of years ) has written, it seems that  we got a to see a little inside the mind of the  Muslim Brotherhood  right here at the  University of Manitoba:

Below is the article I wrote in 2009 reporting on Safi’s exchange with Rotem:


By Rhonda Spivak ,  January 30, 2009

Although Erez Rotem, JNF Emissary and Dr Louay Safi, from the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy  sat next to each other on a panel discussion  about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recently, the two did not find any common ground. The panel discussion, which also included Dr. Martin Bunton of the University of Victoria was  part of  U of  M’s Political Studies Student’s Conference that took place  on January 28 2009.

Rotem was not pleased when Dr Louay Safi, an Arab American who was born in Damascus, advocated a so-called one state solution where Jews would become a minority in a Palestinian majority in the land between the Meditteranean Sea and the Jordan River (this land is currently pre-67 Israel, the West bank and Gaza).  Safi’s denial of the right of Israel to exist as a state in the region meant that there was nothing for he and Rotem to discuss further.

As Rotem said in an interview after the event, “After 60 years I am not willing to debate whether I should exist or not.” He also said it was very unfortunate that the Student’s conference flew Dr Safi all the way from Indiana to hear his view, which is a complete-non-starter rather than find someone with a more moderate position, willing to contemplate a two state solution.

Safi said that “this land is very small and it can’t take two states (Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza)”, and accordingly, in Safi’s view, Israel is supposed to agree to commit national suicide.

“If there isn’t a one state solution,” Safi said there will be “an escalation between the Muslim world and the Western world.”

Safi also said that all Palestinian refugees “forced from their land should be permitted to return to their towns and villages” to live in his theoretical one state. He said he knew this position “is difficult for my Jewish friends to swallow.”

Rotem in his presentation said that in 2005 Israel withdrew from all of Gaza and 8000 Israelis who use to live there were uprooted. “It was a vey hard and traumatic action for a large part of the Israeli public…We did it as a test, thinking maybe we can open a new page…What did we get in response for this sacrifice?

He said “the Palestinians used Israeli moderation and pragmatism to start a terror war.”

In his power point presentation, he showed the faces of Israelis who have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks.  He showed a graph showing that in the years 2001-2007, 1176 Israelis were killed, and 8,341 wounded, in 140 suicide attacks.

He said “Hamas activists are about 20-30 percent of the Palestinians.”  He said Hamas uses Palestinian children as human shields.

He said he didn’t see leadership “on the Palestinian side that will renounce violence and go back to the route of peace.”  He said that Palestinians “would get much more from Israelis if they abandoned terror and violence.”

He ended his presentation with a quote from Former Israeli Prime minister Golda Meir, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Rotem referred to a section of the Hamas Charter in his presentation at U of M. The Hamas charter says “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day.  It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews killing the Jews…”

Dr Martin Bunton, who was the third panelist, said in his remarks that a two state solution would have been much simpler without all of the Israeli settlements.  He said there are now questions “as to the extent to which a two state solution is an appropriate legitimate solution.”   He said “It is remarkable how the one-state solution has taken off in the last number of years.” But he also noted that with Hamas in Egypt, there are those who are speaking of a three state solution (Israel, The PA in the West Bank with ties to Jordan, and Hamas in Gaza with ties to Egypt)

Bunton, said at the end of the panel discussion that the only bright spot in the current situation is that President Obama chose George Mitchell as his envoy to the Middle East. “Mitchell is an excellent choice,” he said.

Rotem however noted, that while Mitchell was able to broker a peace agreement
In Ireland, “No one in the IRA ever denounced England’s right to exist.” 

Bunton also added, “Obama may be the last American president to be elected that has the opportunity to bring about a two-state solution.”

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