California State University Political Science Professor As’ad Abukhalil recently shared (originally in Arabic on Facebook but subsequently translated and published on his Angry Arab blog in English) his “Tips for Arabs About Speaking (about Palestine) to Western audiences.” We highly recommend Arab-Americans study it. We at ikhras have formulated a comprehensive set of ten talking points on Palestine that Arab-Americans will also find helpful. They would be most effective when used in conjunction with Professor Abukhalil’s recommended preparation and presentation style and methods. Undoubtedly there will be those who will not use these talking points because they offend the sensibilities of the US political class and fall outside the strictly defined parameters of acceptable public discourse on Palestine. To those people unwilling to challenge the dominant and rigid narrative that prevails in the US and are more concerned with garnering mainstream acceptance than speaking truthfully and forcefully, you have already rendered yourself useless before uttering a single word. You cannot be an effective advocate on behalf of the Palestine cause unless you’re willing to challenge the false assumptions and lies about the Zionist settler-colonial entity and the supposedly virtuous US imperial project that undergirds it. If you’re unwilling to do so it’s preferable to just ikhras rather than join the mealy-mouthed blathering which serves only to reinforce false narratives and assumptions. Remember, you don’t have to talk about Palestine, but should you choose to do so, these talking points will help you do it properly.
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Hussein Ibish, the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), which functions as the two-man wing of the pro-Israel lobby, has a habit of lecturing Arabs, Arab-Americans, and Muslims. He’s given us lectures on everything from crackpot realism to political strategy, morality and proper social etiquette. It’s not unusual for establishment Arabs like Ibish to adopt and internalize the racist, condescending, and paternalistic behavior and attitude of the US political class. In his latest exploration of the Arab mind Ibish returns to an old orientalist cliché about the crazy Arabs and their crazy conspiracy theories.
Writing about the Arab public’s response to the declaration of a “Caliphate” by the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), now renamed simply the Islamic State (IS), Ibish begins by saying:
“One of the most alarming features of Arab responses to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq is a persistent pattern of neurotic denial in the form of conspiracy theories and other escapist fantasies.”
Ibish does not speak Arabic, and has no understanding of Arab politics or culture. His almost daily Neocon bile masquerading as informed opinion pieces reveal that while he’s well-versed in the US State Department’s discourse on the Middle East he has no knowledge or training. The primary Arab response to the declaration of the “Caliphate” has been mockery and ridicule seeing it as a publicity stunt by a crazed, murderous gang of lunatics. And while the Arab world has its share of kooky conspiracy theorists, they do not represent a higher percentage of Arab society than kooky conspiracy theorists here in the US or in any other country or region. Ibish goes on to write:
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The Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-of-the-Month Award for July, 2014 goes to Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). Rep. Keith Ellison earned this award for his July 29 Op-Ed in the Washington Post. Rep. Ellison’s disgraceful Op-Ed came just a few days after the “White House Iftar” which he attended and was joined by other guests including the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer. That evening as the Congressman dined with Dermer, he listened politely to a short speech by the US President in which he justified Israel’s massacre in Gaza and made sure to remind the ostensible leaders of the US Muslim community that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” Instead of walking out immediately and issuing a condemnation of the outrageous remarks, Rep. Ellison waited until the end and applauded.
Looking back now, Ellison’s timid and short-sighted article was foreshadowed by his rejection of community calls to boycott the annual event in which establishment Muslims are invited to serve as props in a government propaganda spectacle. Instead, Rep. Ellison defended his decision to attend by employing vapid and worn out clichés about a having a “seat at the table” and engaging in the “conversation.” It was reported that Barak Obama left immediately after the speech so it’s unlikely Rep. Ellison had much of an opportunity to engage in a “conversation” with the President about his supposed opposition to the US-backed, Israeli pogrom.
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In our previous post we pointed out that Ghaith Al-Omari, one of the three stooges at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), appears to be the ATFP’s main liaison to the pro-Israel lobby. The ATFP, of course, has a very strong working relationship with AIPAC and other racist Zionist groups like The Israel Project. Part of AIPAC’s work includes an ongoing series euphemistically referred to as “Educational Seminars on the Hill.” AIPAC describes these events as “unique opportunities to hear from leading policy experts on the key issues facing the U.S.-Israel relationship.” The picture above is an invitation to one of these “unique opportunities.” It says “for more than thirty years AIPAC has hosted this series to provide interns and young professionals the opportunity to learn more about the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel and to consider its impact on American interests in the Middle East.” It goes on to indicate the next events in this series will be held July 9th and 22nd. The first picture from the right is none other than Ghaith Al-Omari. It’s safe to assume that AIPAC would not be promoting anyone unless it believed he/she served its interests and the interests of Israel, which is the sole stated mission of this group. In its newly created and extensive list of FAQs the ATFP proclaimed it’s now ready to place “more emphasis on outreach” to the Palestinian-American community. It’s probably too late for that, but if they really want to try they can begin by answering and adding the following three questions to their FAQ’s.
If the ATFP is not part of the pro-Israel lobby, why does it collaborate exclusively with the pro-Israel lobby?
Why is AIPAC promoting the ATFP?
Why would AIPAC choose Ghaith Al-Omari to address a Congressional staff briefing on its behalf?
Unlike most Arab-American Zionists which collaborate with the “liberal” and “moderate” wing of Zionism, The American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) is closely aligned with the most extreme right-wing Zionists like AIPAC and The Israel Project. Here Ghaith Al-Omari, one of the three ATFP stooges is seen with Noam Gilboord, the “Director of Community Strategy” at the Israel Action Network (IAN). Gilboord’s responsibilities include:
“strengthening the capacity of local community professionals in combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, he coordinates the activities of the field of Israel advocates throughout North America.”
Al-Omari, who spends more time at WINEP, AIPAC’s “think-tank”, than at the ATFP offices is not as well known as Hussein Ibish and Ziad Asali, but he appears to be the ATFP’s main liaison to the pro-Israel lobby. All three often lash out against Arab-Americans, dismissing their criticism of the ATFP as the Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, but pro-Israel advocacy groups like IAN continue to view the ATFP as a reliable partner that’s making a valuable contribution to their common cause.
One of Palestinian-American Zionist Ray Hanania’s uncles passed away last week, and Ray has been talking about him on his website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. In his last tweet about his uncle Assad Shorrosh Ray describes him as his “last surviving uncle.” The tweet included a link to a Facebook entry which, in turn, included a link to an obituary on his website in which he describes his late uncle as follows:
“ASSAD SHORROSH, age 85, of Spring,Texas. Beloved son of the late Augustine and Olga Shorrosh, Nazareth, Palestine. Dear sibling of brothers Anis and Samuel, and his late sister Kamleh.” [Bolded by ikhras]
The reader will notice that only the sister’s name, Kamleh, was preceded with the adjective “late”, not the other two siblings which would indicate they are still alive. Admittedly, this may just be the latest example of Ray’s typically confused, incoherent blathering; however, ikhras has discovered some interesting family ties that suggest something else might be at play. Before we share what we’ve learned we would remind our readers that although Ray has spent a great deal of time this past week discussing his family on Facebook and Twitter, including many specific names and pictures, he did not mention Anis Shorrosh until he (perhaps mistakenly) included him in his late uncle’s obituary.
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On behalf of all Palestinian refugees denied the right of return, those who remain under occupation and not included as part of any papal delegation, and on behalf of all Lebanese victims of the Israeli occupation army and its proxy militia, the Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras-Shoe-of-the-Month Award for May 2014 is Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai.
Ikhras condemns the lamentable and unprecedented decision of the Maronite Patriarch to visit occupied Jerusalem as part of the papal delegation greeting Pope Francis during his May 24-26 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
No Maronite patriarch, not even Rai’s predecessor, Nasrallah Sfeir—a sectarian and polemic figure who openly advocated on behalf of the U.S. and Saudi-backed March 14 political coalition—has traveled to Israel since the Zionist state’s inception in 1948.
“I told Prime Minister [Tammam Salam] that we are going to Jerusalem on a church- and pastoral-related visit,” Rai said. “There is no political motive behind the visit.”
No political motive? As one of the highest religious authorities in Lebanon, and in light of the brutal legacy of Israeli occupation of Lebanon and its savage 2006 assault, the mere act of travelling there becomes political.
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British-Lebanese Attorney and “Human Rights Expert” Amal Alamuddin.
A little-known partner to a U.S.-Israeli project and a brutal dictator is suddenly cast as a source of admiration and pride. Ikhras takes a look at Arab reaction after news broke of actor-celebrity George Clooney’s engagement to British-Lebanese Attorney Amal Alamuddin.
We at Ikhras feel compelled to disabuse Arabs of the notion that Amal Alamuddin, “barrister specialising in international law, human rights, extradition and criminal law” and recent fiancée of actor-celebrity George Clooney, is a source of admiration or pride. The reaction of more than a few House Arabs to her announced engagement to Clooney has been very troubling, and can only be described as symptomatic of an inferiority complex.
Let us put aside for the moment the fawning indulgence often expressed by many whenever an Arab becomes associated with a famous Westerner:
“Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara,” sectarian warlord Walid Jumblatt wrote, referring to his ancestral home in the Chouf mountains. “I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs.” It’s unlikely Clooney gave any serious thought to his upcoming marriage to Amal Alamuddin, but whatever little time he may have spent contemplating on the matter he certainly never imagined an entire clerical establishment in Lebanon could be summoned to express its joy over his (latest) escapade with a member of the flock.
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Palestinian-American Zionist, anti-Arab racist, homophobe (See “Hanania Emails Scandal”), failed comedian, Radio Talk Show host (but only because he buys his own airtime), former ADC National Board member , former Jerusalem Post columnist, and Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award winner Ray Hanania is calling on Arab-Americans to join the pro-Israel lobby. According to Hanania, J Street, the racist, anti-Arab organization dedicated to the destruction of at least 78% of Palestine, “has given American Arabs who support peace based on compromise someplace to go.” Hanania considers J Street to be the “moderate”, “pro-peace” voice within the pro-Israel lobby which we’re supposed to believe stands in stark contrast to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which Hanania says “has actively opposed peace.” In his typically confused, incoherent fashion, he goes on to invoke the model of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) which he characterizes as the only “major” (it consists of two people and a Washington DC office kept open with generous support from Arab oil-Sheikhs) Arab-American organization “that actively supports the two-state solution” without mentioning the ATFP proudly flaunts its collaborative relationship and alliance with AIPAC. Hanania specifically mentions Ziad Asali, giving the ATFP head a nod of approval. Asali, another recipient of the Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award, joined Hanania on that honor roll after becoming the only Palestinian in the world to celebrate “Israel Independence Day.”
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“For whatever reason”
Whether on his twitter feed or in his never ending churning out of repugnant opinion pieces in the guise of objective analysis, ever since Russia stepped up to play a central role in blocking US imperialist designs on Syria, including a potential Libya-type bombing campaign, the empire’s most dedicated Arab-American Shabih Hussein Ibish has been regularly bashing the government of President Vladimir Putin. Writing in the Hariri family-funded website NOW Lebanon, Ibish begins his latest anti-Russia rant (Russia is no ally for the Arabs) by dismissing those Arabs calling for closer ties with Russia “who are, for whatever reason, fed up with United States.” For the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP), which functions as a two-man, Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, it always begins with the assumption of a virtuous US government, unlike all other governments, in its pursuit of an altruistic foreign policy. This assumption is not to be questioned or challenged lest you be dismissed as “anti-American”, “extremist”, or, at best, “unreasonable” and “ill-informed.” But for the unreasonably reasonable, politically astute Anglophile on the Potomac it’s simply unfathomable why Arabs may be fed up with US foreign policy. After all, US “interventions”, bombings, and invasions are always carried out in the best interest and for the well-being of Arabs.
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In his uniquely respectful approach to disagreements Hussein Ibish claims we lied when we said he supported the US wars on Iraq. He then proceeded to offer several links which he seems to believe demonstrate his opposition to the first war on Iraq, the subsequent sanctions, and finally, the 2003 invasion. We took the time to go through all of them, and we did not find a single instance of Ibish condemning any war on Iraq. Ibish did offer some polite criticism, all of which was based on US national interests, and restricted to the strictly defined Washington parameters of acceptable discourse.
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Hussein Ibish finally apologizes, but it’s not to those he’s been publicly attacking over the last few years and to whom he actually owes an apology. No he’s not apologizing to the Arab-Americans he regularly attacks in a highly personal and vicious manner. He’s apologizing to a Zionist fanatic for a tweet that doesn’t really require an apology. The Zionist fanatic and what Ibish initially stated and was considered a transgression are not important. What is noteworthy here is Ibish’s willingness to humble himself and offer an apology.
Those that have followed Ibish over the last few years would have noticed an obvious and stark difference in the language, tone, and attitude he adopts towards Arab-Americans compared to his interactions with non-Arabs, US officials, and pro-Israel lobbyists. We’ve covered this aspect of Ibish’s behavior previously. With Arab-Americans Ibish is abrasive, aggressive, condescending, rude, and contemptuous. We’ve also compiled some of his more colorful outbursts which you can find below. In the past, Ibish has also made racist remarks regarding Arabs which he would never direct towards any other group of people.
On the other hand, when it comes to non-Arabs Ibish displays utmost respect, deference, and civility. Ibish has clearly internalized the ideology, sensibilities, and political culture of the ruling class in this country which allows for a certain type of discourse about Arabs and Muslims that remains unacceptable when directed towards any other non-Arab, non-Muslim group. Ibish’s internalization of this political culture and its inherently racist double standards explains his quick reversal and apology to the Zionist fanatic. It also explains why when it comes to those Arab-Americans deserving of an apology from Ibish, no such apology will be forthcoming.
Visit Ikhras To Learn More About Hussein Ibish: http://ikhras.com/tag/hussein-ibish/
Los Angeles, CA – A special town hall-style meeting Friday night brought together a large crowd of Syrian and Arab-Americans from Southern California and across the country. The atmosphere was slightly tense as the attendees lined up immediately outside the ballroom of the West LA hotel to go through tight security. The special guest that evening was Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar Jaafari. Dr. Jaafari was warmly welcomed by the crowd as he entered the room and took his seat on the stage. He was also joined via video-conference from Damascus by the Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun and Archbishop Luka Khoury of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Mufti Hassoun began the evening with an address that emphasized the common history and civilization that’s shared by Syrians of all faiths. Pointing out Syrian history predates Christianity and Islam by thousands of years, he stressed the historic unity of the Syrian people and the essential strengthening role it’s played in countering the current onslaught on Syrian society. “Never throughout the entire history of Syria has a Syrian killed another Syrian on account of his faith”, he told the crowd. During the address a member of the audience shouted out his condolences to the Mufti for the death of his son. The Mufti’s son was shot and killed in an ambush near Ibla University in October of 2011. In response Mufti Hassoun told the crowd “all the Syrians that were martyred are my children” and called for peace and an end to violence. The Mufti concluded on a positive note expressing his confidence that the “dark cloud” that now hangs over Syria will pass and all Syrians will come together in a Syria once again at peace. Following Mufti Hassoun Archbishop Khoury also addressed the crowd and stressed the same themes, the historic unity of the Syrian people and the need for an immediate end to violence in the country. The Archbishop also made clear that what is happening in Syria is not a civil war among Syrians, but a war on Syrian society by outside forces.
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: Given Hussein Ibish’s
lack of credibility and seriousness among Arab-Americans, his inability to have the slightest impact on Arab-American thought or debate, and the almost total lack of response his writings elicit from the community we have revised our previous post and substituted “Arab-Americans that do not share his political views
” for “his critics
In our previous post, “Hussein Ibish: “We Should Disagree Respectfully” we incorrectly referred to Ibish “disagreeing respectfully” & engaging in “polite, calm & reasoned conversations” with “his critics.” We should note that several of the names mentioned are actually not critics of Ibish at all. It would be more accurate to say that the remarks we collected and published below serve as examples of the way Ibish himself disagrees with people of whom he is the critic. Columbia University ProfessorJoseph Massad, for example, has never mentioned him in any article, spoke of him in any public forum, or engaged him in any online interactive medium. Likewise, Palestinian-American author and activist Ali Abunimah has also never been a critic of Ibish and we were unable to find a single instance in which Abunimah mentioned him in any article or public forum. As for California State University ProfessorAs’ad Abukhalil we did locate a single blog entry from 2006 in which Professor Abukhalil does reply to Ibish. It’s the only time we’re aware of that Professor Abukhalil mentions him, and to us it appeared he did so only in the context of making a larger point about the “Myth of the Arab lobby.” We do recommend reading it, not only does it provide yet another example of how Ibish wears civility like cheap makeup that quickly disappears with the slightest challenge, but it’s also very funny.
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[Ikhras Note: The following does not exhaust the many examples of Hussein Ibish "disagreeing respectfully" with Arab-Americans that do not share his political views. Readers are welcomed to submit more examples of Ibish's past "polite, calm & reasoned conversations" or the ones he will inevitably be having in the future for continuous updating.]
Ibish on Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad
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