After cancelling its annual gala last year without any explanation, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) 2013 gala appears headed for failure. Unlike previous years, the two-man organization’s flagship event hasn’t generated much buzz this time around, and with only one month to go the keynote speaker remains a mystery. Previous ATFP galas in the heyday of the peace-processing industry became, along with James Zogby’s “Gibran Gala”, among the premier yearly events of the Arab-American establishment complete with US officials as “honored guests” and high-profile, war criminals as keynote speakers. This year the mood surrounding the preparations for the gala is subdued and the vapid ATFP President Ziad Asali along with his more articulate side-kick Hussein Ibish haven’t had much to say about next month’s event.
The fortunes of the high-profile, Washington organization have been on the wane the last couple of years. After the cancellation of last year’s gala rumors swirled that the ATFP was about to close shop and a series of quiet resignations left the Board of Directors with just thirteen members, including its empty-tuxedo President, his wife, and their family friends.
The ATFP was never able to win any support among the Palestinian-American community which shunned the empty shell organization that began as an ostensible Palestinian-American lobbying group, was quickly revealed as a public relations front for the collaborationist Palestinian Authority, and eventually evolved into the Arab wing of the pro-Israel lobby. After pictures of Asali embracing the Israeli Ambassador at an Israel “Independence Day” celebration at the Israeli embassy emerged, the organization could no longer maintain even the pretense of a Palestinian-American lobbying group. The ATFP has kept its air-conditioned, Washington office open as Asali and Ibish continue hobnobbing with anti-Palestinian US politicians and Zionist think-tankers, but at a time with fewer jobs available in the peace-processing industry, other than keeping these two employed the ATFP hasn’t accomplished anything.
Asali’s and Ibish’s black-tie tuxedos are pressed and ready to go, and with the generous support semi-literate, Arab oil-Sheikhs provide for most Arab-American Washington galas, the ATFP’s annual event will take place on October 29, but all indications are its gearing up to be, like the organization itself, a total failure.