April 6, 2006, - 11:57 am
By Debbie Schlussel
For those who think released hostage Jill Carroll is some sort of saint, read this.
Mayer Abrahams actually did know Jill Carroll. He originally posted this in the comments section of this site.
I met Carroll in Cairo two summers ago in an Arabic language training school (Kalimaat).
I admit I was struck by her anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments. From the comments she made she seemed to detest America more than Arabs did. She was pleased that I mistakenly identified her as Canadian and expressed a wish to deny being American. I was surprised knowing how proud Americans normally are of their identity. She refused to use the name Israel but called it ‘that state’ with some venom, which made me feel uncomfortable as she knew I was Jewish.
What’s really funny, considering that she works for the CS Monitor, were the comments she made about the Bible “that shit book” . . . .
I asked Mayer to e-mail me with more detail to prove he did attend Arabic school with Jill Carroll. Based on details he gave me–many of which I’ve not posted for security reasons (for Mayer’s safety)–he and his report are very legit. Here’s what he had to say about the newly-beatified free-lance writer:
Since my ancestors are originally from Iraq, I have made an effort to study Arabic intensively and spend as much time as I can in the Arab world.
I spent about five weeks in the summer of 2004 (August) in Cairo. I was staying in downtown Cairo in the Red Sun Hotel (Talaat Harb Street) and went daily for a morning course in Modern Standard Arabic to an Arabic language school called Kalimaat in nearby Mohandiseen (the college was just of Midan Mustafa Mahmoud), which was run by some chaps who used to run courses for the British Council in Cairo.
The college was attended by students mostly from Europe and America. Most of them were of European descent though one or two had ancestors or family from the region. In my class there were two American girls.
One American was a tall friendly blond girl, a Japanese teacher by profession called Jamiliah from New York (notwithstanding her name she was Caucasian and Christian). I got the impression that she was a missionary or a Christian activist as she was active in the Copt community. The other was our friend Jill.
Jill had arrived, I gathered, fairly recently from Jordan having been in Baghdad just before the war started. She was a friendly, personable person. Her Arabic was not that good, though she was trying very hard to improve it. We generally sat next to each other and were, for some of the time, study partners.
She was very anti-American. I was actually shocked by her attitude, having never come across an American with such opinions. She was against the war and did not see America as being a force for good in the world. I recall her upsetting a fellow American student by telling him that she felt Americans were hated by Arabs. He did not feel that was the case. She expressed satisfaction that I mistook her for Canadian saying she would prefer not being identified as American.
She was more than anti-war. She felt that America was culturally imperialist. She viewed the international success of American culture as being a way for America to impose its values on the world. She expressed the sort of opinions which you would hear from [Noam] Chomsky. It would be fair to say that she would be classified as somebody from the far left. I can not recall all the details of what she said, but I remember her saying that at the end of the day America was just another empire which would come hopefully to an end.
With regard to Israel, she despised the country with some venom, referring to the country as “that state.” She was practically foaming at the mouth. She knew I was Jewish, and I felt quite shocked and vulnerable at the way she expressed herself about the country. It did cross my mind that she may have been anti-Semitic, though I prefer not to label people.
She was at her wits end with regard to Christian support in America for Israel and referred to the Bible as “that shit book” in regard to it being used as a reason for Israelis holding on to the land.
As you can see, she is a girl of strong opinions and I am sure others will come forth to verify this.
When she was kidnapped, I sent emails to the CS Monitor informing them of what I knew of her opinions. I felt that the information might aid them in presenting her as anti-war and hence save her life. Her opinions were so strongly expressed that I was in no doubt that the terrorists would free her. I can tell you honestly that the opinions she expressed in the video would strike me as being hers alone and I am not surprised that she was freed.
Tags: America, Baghdad, British Council, Cairo, Debbie Schlussel, Europe, Iraq, Israel, Jill Carroll, Jill Carroll For Dummies, Jordan, Mustafa Mahmoud, New York, newly-beatified free-lance writer, Red Sun Hotel, Talaat Harb Street, teacher