United 4 Freedom

A multiethnic speakers bureau that promotes

understanding about the Middle East

Speakers

Unity doesn't mean uniformity.

We come from different countries and cultures, but we all believe that sharing our knowledge and experiences can help campus communities exchange fresh ideas and debate more honestly about what's happening in the Middle East. Here are our stories:


David Baker
Jerusalem-based Senior Foreign Press Coordinator of the Israeli Prime Minister's Office

A native of Queens, New York, David liaises between the Prime Minister's Office and the international press corps, explaining the Prime Minister's policies, presenting Israeli government spokespeople to the international media, and serving on the front lines of Israel's media battleground. Mr. Baker has also spoken extensively in the North America, both on university campuses and within the Jewish community.

Prior to his work in the Prime Minister's office, David worked as a writer and editor for the Ministry of Education's International relations division and as a journalist for several English-language publications in Israel. He graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo and made Aliyah to Israel in 1985. David holds the rank of Captain as a reserve officer in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Suggested lecturing topics include:

  • The image of Israel in the International Press
  • What's being done to strengthen Israeli's Image?
  • Working with the Global Media
  • Why is Israel constantly on the news?


Phyllis Chesler
Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies. She is the author of thousands of academic and mass market articles and of thirteen books, including the international best-seller Women and Madness, (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism (2005) which describes her own captivity in Afghanistan long ago and the nature of Islamic gender and religious apartheid in Muslim countries and in the West. She is a founder of Women's Studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969), the National Women's Health Network (1974), and a co-leader of the Jerusalem-based group Women of the Wall (1988). Her works have been translated into many European and Asian languages and into Hebrew.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler was among the first to describe the new anti-Semitism as anti-Zionsim. She is a passionate and witty speaker.

Dr. Chesler maintains a website (www.phyllis-chesler.com) which has drawn more than three million hits in the last three years from more than 150 countries on every continent. 


Elliot P. Chodoff
Political and Military Analyst

Elliot Chodoff is a political and military analyst specializing in the Middle East conflict and the global war on terror. His articles have appeared in the Washington Times, National Post of Canada, In the National Interest, and Front Page Magazine. Elliot is the founding and managing editor of MidEast: On Target, an e-journal and newsletter.

Elliot is a major in the IDF reserves and is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Population for the Northern Region of Israel in Home Front Command. In that capacity, he served on active duty in the North during the Lebanon War of 2006. In 2004 he was a member of the rescue team in the aftermath of the bombing of the Taba Hilton. He was selected for the IDF Home Front Command Outstanding Officer award in April 2006.

Elliot received a BA with honors in Sociology as well as a BS in Biological Sciences from SUNY at Stony Brook and an MA in Sociology from The University of Chicago. He is currently writing a PhD dissertation in International Relations at the University of Haifa. His specialties include military, political, and organizational sociology, international terrorism, military strategy and tactics, and the Arab Israeli conflict. He will be a visiting professor at the University of Memphis for the spring semester, 2008.


Diane Covert
Artist, Creator of the X-Ray Project

The X-rays and CT scans in this exhibit are new ways to make figurative images and portraits. They represent life in the modern cross-section of these artistic traditions – both the desire to observe and describe reality with the most modern techniques available, and the need to think and talk about it. All of these images are the by-products of terrorism, which is a war on a civilian population. Terrorists pack their bombs with common objects – hex nuts, bolts, nails, watches – all meant for peaceful, utilitarian purposes. By blasting them into human beings, they create the madness of our times.


Nonie Darwish
Freelance Writer/Speaker/Interpreter/Founder of www.ArabsForIsrael.com

Nonie Darwish was born and raised as a Muslim in Cairo Egypt and the Gaza strip. She is a writer and translator. She speaks extensively around the US and also internationally to promote peace and mutual respect between Israel and Arabs. Her articles have been published worldwide, the Sunday Telegraph, Maariv, by frontpagemag.com, the Jerusalem Post, worldnetdaily.com and many other publications.

Her father headed the Egyptian military intelligence in Gaza and the Sinai when Gaza was under Egyptian control. He was appointed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt to head the Fedayeen operations against Israel. In 1956 her father was killed as a result of these operations became a national hero, a “Shahid.” Nonie was only eight years old.

She attended British schools in Egypt and has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology/Anthropology from the American University in Cairo. Early in her carrier she worked as an editor and translator at the Middle East News Agency attended several international and local conferences as an interpreter.

She immigrated to the America in 1978 and is a US citizen. After living in America she grew more independent in her views and started developing an unbiased opinion about the Middle East and Israel. 9/11 was a major turning point for her, when she felt it was her duty to speak out against terrorism and the attack by radical Islamists on Western democracy and Israel. She also speaks about the underlying culture that produced it radicalism and intolerance. Her motivation to speak was out of love for America, love of her country of origin and out of love of Israel. She believes that her support to Israel does not take away from her love of her culture of origin. In January 2002 she founded www.noniedarwish.com  in February 2004 and www.ArabsForIsrael.com. Nonie visited Israel for the first time when she spoke at the Jerusalem Summit in November 2004.

She is now a freelance writer and public speaker. She speaks across the United States at many major universities, Israel, South Africa and Canada. She will be speaking in Europe in March. Several of her articles have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish Hebrew and Russian. Her first book Now They Call Me Infidel; Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror came out November 2006. She is married and the mother of three.


Brigitte Gabriel
Journalist/founder of “American Congress for Truth”

Ms. Gabriel began her career as the News Anchor for "World News" the evening news broadcast for Middle East Television seen weeknights throughout Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Lebanon. She is the former Production Coordinator for ARD (German Television) in South Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. She is also the former Satellite Video Distribution Coordinator for METV/WTN (Worldwide Television News) studios in London for daily Eurovision Satellite Distribution to networks worldwide. She relocated to the United States in 1989 where she founded an entertainment company providing services to national and international media clients. Ms. Gabriel founded ACT, "American Congress for Truth," in 2002 to provide information about the Middle East conflict. She has appeared on news and information TV shows, talk radio and made numerous public speaking engagements. She speaks four languages, Arabic, French, English and Hebrew. Ms. Gabriel is available as a speaker.


David Gilbert
Middle East Correspondent for CBS

David Gilbert is a Middle East Correspondent for CBS, based in Jerusalem. He moved to Israel in the summer of 2000, just as the Camp David peace talks were falling apart. Gilbert has been covering the unfolding conflict for the past four+ years and has interviewed most of the leading players. He has covered more suicide bombings then he'd like to remember and has actually made usually unflappable TV anchors cry with his moving description of the carnage. After poking around Gasser Arafat's Ram Allah compound, David broke the story that Arafat was harboring wanted terrorists. While Arafat eventually kicked out the terrorists, David still manages to talk his way into the corridors of PLO power.

In addition to his years spent in the news business (he got his start at The Washington Post), Gilbert has also spent time in high tech, managing products for Microsoft and Oracle. He's taught high school and has started a non-profit to help integrate technology into the classroom.

Gilbert holds a degree in International Management and Public Policy from Georgetown University, Washington DC, and spent a year at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar.


Aryeh Green
Senior Policy Advisor

Aryeh Green is a senior policy advisor to Minister Natan Sharansky, Israel’s minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs. A former high-tech executive and business consultant, Green holds a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley, MA in international relations from Hebrew University, MSc in business management from Boston/Ben Gurion Universities.


Ariel Halevi
Founding Partner and Co-C.E.O. of Debate

Ariel is a founding partner and Co-C.E.O. of Debate - a company offering group training and personal coaching in the fields of rhetorics and public speaking, teaching people how to better advocate their positions and become more persuasive.

Ariel Halevi is a graduate of the IDC (Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzlia) in Government and Diplomacy. During his studies period, Ariel was elected Captain of the IDC Debate Club and took part in several Hasbara (Israel advocacy) missions to the US and Europe on behalf of a private volunteer based organization.  As a competitive debater, Ariel represented the IDC and Israel in 6 national and international tournaments; won the titles of Best ESL Debate Team in the Oxford Debate tournament (2002) and Best Public Speaker in Israel two consecutive years in a row (2002, 2003).

Prior to his secondary education, Ariel founded and managed several high-tech companies located in Israel with branches in Australia and several European countries.  As founder and C.E.O., Ariel conducted several financing rounds and oversaw the management of the international branches.


Gary Hall
Paralegal/Speaker

Gary Hall, grew up in Venice, California. He works as a paralegal in Century City and is currently in training to become a Police Officer. Gary was a Sunday school teacher at a Southern Baptist Church where he was being groomed for the pulpit. Gary began studying Judaism in 1988 and then converted to Judaism in 1990 and has been an Orthodox Jew by choice ever since. In 1998, he spent two months in a religious institution in Jerusalem near the Old City. Gary has a great love for Israel and enjoys speaking on her behalf. He hopes that through sharing some of his experiences in the Jewish community, both here and in Israel, to shed light on many of the misconceptions about Zionism and the Jewish people.


Micah Halpern
Columnist and Terrorism Expert

Before moving to Israel, Micah Halpern was a long-standing educator with Young Judaea and lecturer at Yale University. In 1997, he was appointed Israel columnist for America Online and writes a weekly syndicated column on foreign affairs, the Middle East and terror. He is also a frequent guest analyst on TV and radio. He frequently contributes commentary and religious viewpoint for network television including CNN, ABC and TLC. He has been the historical advisor for PBS's 4 part series on Herod and is featured in The History Channel's special on Masada. During the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Micah Halpern was the CBS-2 TV commentator on terror and the Middle East - he often provides commentary and analysis on MSNBC. As an expert on terrorism, he has also been invited to consultations in the White House.


Jeff Helmreich
Middle East Expert

For the past five years Jeff Helmreich has worked closely with Ambassador Dore Gold, advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister, at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Jeff previously served as Spokesman and Speechwriter for Israel's UN embassy, then as official speaker for the Israeli Consulate. He has written on the Middle East for dozens of newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, and even wrote the foreward for the Complete Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict. He has also started an Arab-Jewish dialogue group in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Jeff co-produced "Blood and Tears," a highly acclaimed documentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for which he interviewed dozens of Palestinians and Israelis in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, including leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government.


Ishmael Khaldi
Israeli Bedouin

Ishmael Khaldi, an Israeli Bedouin, was born and raised in the Galilee of Israel. Ishmael speaks about his family, his upbringing and his adult life in the Jewish state. While Israel is constantly attacked for being racist towards non-Jews, Ishmael describes the many advantages minorities in Israel enjoy compared to the surrounding countries in the Middle East. To learn more about Ishmael, visit his Web site (www.ishmaelkhaldi.com/).


Cookie Lommel
Author/Speaker/Founder/Executive Director Operation Unity

Inspired by Israel’s 1991 airlift of Ethiopian Jews, journalist and author Cookie Lommel founded Operation Unity in 1992. She saw the airlift as a humanitarian move that embodied the values of an Israeli kibbutz, a village where cooperative labor provides for everyone’s needs. Her award-winning Operation Unity programs involve students from America’s inner cities in the life of Israel’s kibbutzim to break down racial, ethnic and cultural barriers and to promote an appreciation for what people from diverse backgrounds can achieve together.


Itamar Marcus
Founder and Director of Palestinian Media Watch

Itamar Marcus' Palestinian Media Watch has become one of the leading independent organizations monitoring and reporting on media of the Palestinian Authority. Marcus has spoken internationally, including a recent talk to the European Union, detailing the incitement of hatred and violence towards Jews and Christians in Palestinian media and textbooks.


Joel Mowbray
Invetigative Journalist

Joel Mowbray is an award-winning investigative journalist and nationally-syndicated columnist, and he is considered a leading expert on the worldwide spread of radical Islam and the increasing threat of homegrown terrorism inside the United States. He first came to prominence with his exposés of the State Department that led to the end of Visa Express in Saudi Arabia and the firing of the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Mary Ryan. More recently, he uncovered the fact that the Bureau of Prisons was allowing Islamic terrorists in federal prison to communicate with the outside world—yet the agency did not have a single full-time Arabic translator to monitor the phone calls and letters of over 100 Islamic terrorists.

Joel was named “Journalist of the Year” at the Conservative Political Action Conference and won the Eugene Katz award for excellence in immigration coverage, both in 2003, and he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award—that industry’s Pulitzer Prize—for outstanding investigative journalism. He is also the author of “Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.”

His work has been published in a wide variety of top publications, including the Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, National Review, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, San Diego Union-Tribune, Investors Business Daily, Philadelphia Inquirer, Arizona Republic, Manchester Union Leader, FrontPage magazine, Jewish World Review, and Washington Times.

Since 2002, Joel has made over 200 appearances on TV news programs, ranging from ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight” to Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” and “Fox & Friends.” He is also a regular on several nationally-syndicated talk radio programs, such as the “G. Gordon Liddy Show” and the “Jim Bohanon Show.”

A graduate of the University of Illinois (with a degree in economics) and Georgetown Law School, Joel worked on Capitol Hill for former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), where he primarily handled Social Security privatization. Earlier he spent two years working for Pioneer Strategies under now-ABC News reporter Heather Nauert.


David Olesker
Director of the Jerusalem Center for Communications and Advocacy Training

David Olesker, director of the Jerusalem Center for communications and Advocacy Training, brings an entertaining mixture of humor and activism training. Based in Jerusalem, Olesker travels to North America often to share his expertise in communicating Israel's message in an effective manner. His presentation is perfect for Israel activists looking to sharpen their communication skills.


Mark Paredes
Press Attaché, Los Angeles Consulate General of Israel

A native of Michigan, Mark served as a Mormon Missionary in southern Italy and subsequently majored in Italian literature at Brigham Young University. As a diplomat in the United States Foreign service office, he worked abroad at the U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. In Tel Aviv, he appeared on Israel’s leading talk show, Dan Shilon, and was featured in Israeli publications Yedioth Aharonath, Ma’ariv, and L’Isha. Following his tour in Tel Aviv, Mark studied law at the University of Texas and clerked at two leading international law firms. Mark speaks seven languages fluently and has lived in Italy, Russia, Mexico, and Israel. He is currently the district attorney on the Telemundo show El Tribunal del Pueblo (Spanish-language People’s Court).


Asaf Romirowsky
Manager of Israel and Middle East Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

Asaf Romirowsky is the Manager of Israel and Middle East Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Campus Watch Associate Fellow of the Middle East Forum. Mr. Romirowsky, a former Israel Defense Force (IDF) International Relations liaison officer in the West Bank, currently serves as an IDF reserve liaison officer to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He holds a B.A. in Middle East Affairs and Contemporary Jewish History and from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from West Chester University. In addition, he earned an M.A. in International Relations and Middle East Affairs at Villanova University, where he focused on the differences and similarities between the Mitchell Report in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Mr. Romirowsky is currently working on a PhD in Mediterranean Studies at Kings College, London.

His writings have appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, National Review, Washington Times, Front Page Magazine.


Roberta Pollack Seid, Ph.D.
Historian/Journalist

Trained at University of California, Berkeley, where she specialized in social and cultural theory and 19th Century European history, Seid published her research in the Garland Series of Outstanding Dissertations in 1987. Seid went on to lecture in European history at University of Southern California. Interested in the cultural trends concerning women’s beauty, Seid published Never Too Thin: Why Women are at War with Their Bodies (Prentice-Hall), a historical critique of America’s obsession with thinness, which led to a monthly column in Shape Magazine. Seeing the need for clear, accurate materials about the Middle East, Dr. Seid turned her attention to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She provides research to the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles and is Historical Research and Education Consultant for Standwithus, a grassroots, non-profit organization.


Walid Shoebat
Former PLO Terrorist who speaks out for Israel

Born in Bethlehem of Judea, Walid's grandfather was the Muslim Mukhtar (chieftain) of Beit Sahour-Bethlehem (The Shepherd's Fields) and a friend of Haj-Ameen Al-Husseni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and notorious friend of Adolf Hitler. Walid's great grandfather, Abdullah Ali Awad-Allah, was also a fighter and close associate of both Abdul Qader and Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who led the Palestinians against Israel. Walid lived through and witnessed Israel’s Six Day War while living in Jericho. As a young man, he became a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and participated in acts of terror and violence against Israel, and was later imprisoned in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem's central prison for incitement and violence against Israel. After his release, he continued his life of violence and rioting in Bethlehem and the Temple Mount. After entering the U.S, he worked as a counselor for the Arab Student Organization at Loop College in Chicago and continued his anti-Israel activities. In 1993, Walid studied the Tanach (Jewish Bible) in a challenge to convert his wife to Islam. Six months later, after intense study, Walid realized that everything he had been taught about Jews was a lie. Convinced he was on the side of evil, he became an advocate for his former enemy. Driven by a deep passion to heal his own soul, and to bring the truth about the Jews and Israel to the world, Walid shed his former life and his work as a software engineer and set out to tirelessly bring the cause of Israel to tens of thousands of people throughout the world: churches and synagogues, civic groups, government leaders and media. Walid has written several online books including "Dear Muslim, Let Me Tell You Why I Believed" and "Israel, And the World's Mock Trial”, where he exposes anti-Semitism and the hatred of Jews in both the Islamic, Christian and secular worlds. Walid is an American citizen and lives in the USA with his wife and children, under this assumed name.


Danny Sussman
Talent Manager and Public Speaker

Mr. Sussman is a true New Yorker, having been raised in New York for most of his childhood, as well as having attended Ithaca College as a History and Journalism major. After graduating from college, he worked as a journalist for Financial Wire Services during the years of 1985-1987 at Shearson Lehman Brothers. During his tenure there, Mr. Sussman covered OPEC, the United States Defense Industry and the Pennzoil vs. Texaco litigation in 1987.

In August of 1988, Mr. Sussman ventured out to Los Angeles to join the William Morris Agency as a member of its training program. He swiftly moved through the ranks and served as a talent agent there for ten years. Mr. Sussman’s client roster included such actors as Steve Buscemi, Jeff Goldblum, Scott Glenn, Chloe Sevigny and Lili Taylor. At William Morris, he also helped to cast and finance several independent features, including Buscemi’s Trees Lounge and Stanley Tucci’s films Big Night and The Impostors. Mr. Sussman left William Morris in 1998 to join Brillstein-Grey Management, where he has been working as a talent manager with clients such as Noah Wyle, Jimmy Smits, Chloe Sevigny, John Stamos, Heather Locklear, Robert Sean Leonard, and Jeffrey Tambor.

Danny is able to address any number of issues including: The Motion Picture Film and Television Industry Inside of Israel, The Existential War that Israel is Facing, The Obstacles to Peace between Israel and her Arab Neighbors


Khaled Abu Toameh
Journalist and Television news producer

Khaled Abu Toameh, is an award-winning journalist and television news producer. He has reported from the West Bank and Gaza Strip for more than twenty years for both Palestinian and Israeli print publications, and acts as producer for television news programs in the US and Europe.

Having built a reputation for unique and brave reporting on Palestinian affairs, he now produces for NBC and other major TV networks. He is also the Senior Palestinian Affairs writer for the Jerusalem Post.

Suggested lecturing topics include:

  • What's happening in the Palestinian territories?
  • One year after Hamas's victory, where are the Palestinians headed?
  • Are the Palestinians really capable of having their own state?

Gina Bublil Waldman
JIMENA Founder

Born in Libya in 1948, Bublil and her family were forced to flee her home country in 1967 with only the clothes on their back and $20. The persecution and hatred she experienced as a Jew in the Middle East nearly became deadly. As her family fled on a bus to the airport, the driver attempted to set the bus aflame and murder all the passengers. After settling in America, Bublil became a leading activist in the Soviet Jewry movement, for which she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award. As director of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jewry, Waldman was instrumental in winning freedom for thousands of Soviet Jews like Natan Sharansky.

Together with Joseph Abdel Wahed, Waldman founded JIMENA (Jews indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) to bear witness to the suffering of other Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Her own personal story adds much needed perspective to any discussion on the Middle East. Waldman is in great demand nationally as a presenter. She speakers of her own experiences and about Jewish life under Islam.

Suggested lecturing topics include:

  • “Love is Stronger than Hate: A Libyan Jew Addresses the Arab World”
  • “A Jewish Woman from Moslem Libya Reflects on Life in Islamic Lands”
  • “Human Rights in Judaism”
  • “The Culture of Hatred is Coming Our Way”
  • “The Arab-Jewish World: Growing Up Jewish in North Africa”