Hussein Ibish took a moment and less than 140 characters to reminisce about his past. He didn’t want to concede he was thinking about a previous time when he was defending Palestinian rights so he mentioned it in reference to an article where his name appeared along with Ali Abunimah, writer, and founder of Electronic Intifada, and a pro-Palestine activist. That must have reminded Ibish of an earlier time and a different person than the one he now sees when he looks in the mirror. In an obvious attempt to redefine the earlier version of Ibish and the basis of his previous collaboration with Abunimah he tweeted those were the “good old, long-lost, days when Ali Abunimah and I used to call out anti-Semites.” Ibish has been reaching out to the pro-Israel lobby for a while and he now appears to have adopted the tactic of calling all anti-Zionist activists anti-Semites, which he clearly seems to be suggesting here. Ibish’ newest associates and partners haven’t told him the anti-Semitic card lost its currency long before they became friends.
What Ibish most likely remembered and was trying to make us forget is that back in the “good old, long-lost days” he was defending Palestinian rights. This is the same Ibish who co-authored with Abunimah an articulate defense of Palestinian rights, including the right of return, and that’s exactly what he’s trying to make us forget with his shameless, suggestive tweet.
For Ibish those days are indeed “long-lost.” He is now Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), the public relations firm of the Israeli sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised, collaborationist Palestinian authority in occupied Ramallah. Among his duties at the ATFP is to argue with the same rigor he displayed when he was, along with Abunimah, defending the Palestinian right of return, for the abandonment of those same Palestinian rights. He also functions as the Washington concierge to the PA, organizing meetings between racist, Zionist groups, and Salam Fayad and other PA officials. And when he’s not tutoring Ziad Asali or writing speeches for him, he can be found organizing galas, reaching out to pro-Israel fanatics, or dining with the Israeli ambassador.
Abunimah and other pro-Palestine activists are still calling out anti-Semites while they continue to defend the same Palestinian rights Ibish articulated so well in those old days. The Palestinian activist community condemns all racists including the rabid racists Ibish now describes as partners for “cooperation towards peace.” Those long lost days are indeed gone Hussein, and you now have a new set of friends and colleagues, but unfortunately you appear to have lost much more. It didn’t take very long to replace your old friends with new ones from among the folks at the Israeli embassy, AIPAC, and The Israel project. In fact, your descent unlike your friend Christopher Hitchens, was a very short-term process. You quickly made new friends and completed your metamorphosis, but unfortunately you can’t ever find a replacement for self-respect, and it took you less than a 140 characters to remind us all just how low you have sunk.