The ANTI-PALESTINE Task Force operating under the misnomer American Task Force on Palestine describes itself as an “independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters…”, but as was clearly demonstrated during Mahmoud Abbas’ recent visit to the US, when he couldn’t find any Palestinian community leader willing to meet with him, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian-Americans refuse to associate with the Palestinian National Authority or the ATFP which operates as the Washington public relations firm for the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, and American-supervised PNA. During that visit Abbas did meet with representatives of 50 Zionist organizations.
Last week the unelected, American-approved Prime Minister of the PNA met with Pro-Israel, Jewish groups in New York. The meeting was hosted by The Israel Project, an organization founded by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, and dedicated to defending Israel’s occupation of Palestine and all its war crimes. Mizrahi defended her meeting with a Palestinian by pointing to the imprimatur Benjamin Netanyahu has bestowed upon Fayyad: “The prime minister of Israel said that this is his partner for peace,” Mizrahi said. “If the supposedly right-wing prime minister of Israel says this is partner for peace, it is.” Operatives for The Israel Project don’t deny their “recent aggressive outreach — to Palestinians in particular and Arabs and Muslims generally…” which they describe as an indication of “Netanyahu’s seriousness in his direct talks with Palestinian leaders...” Hadar Susskind of J Street, another extremist Pro-Israel lobbying group formed to provide, in contrast with the obnoxious leaders of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a more polite defense of Zionism, said “You’ve got to welcome anyone who reaches out,” How magnanimous these Zionists must feel when they look across the table and see a smiling Palestinian.
As meetings between PNA officials and members of the Zionist lobby become a recurring feature in the peace process show, and with the ATFP acting as facilitator and organizer, its no surprise Hussein Ibish is found helping arrange the recent meeting between The Israel Project and Fayyad. The ATFP’s “Senior Fellow” made it clear “his organization sees engaging with the mainstream of the American Jewish community as critical to making negotiations work.” Ibish did not hesitate to add “The American Task Force on Palestine also dialogues with AIPAC…” Describing these fanatical Zionists as the “mainstream of the American Jewish community” is first, and foremost, an insult to American Jews, the majority of which are not pre-occupied with Israel and have no emotional or political attachment to it. It’s also an insult to the intelligence of anyone remotely familiar with the role these extremist organizations play in the U.S., and quite possibly to the leaders and members of these groups themselves who don’t pretend to be anything other than anti-Arab extremists, and fanatical Zionists.
Supporters of the Palestinians should not be bothered too much by these meetings. On the contrary, they actually highlight the inevitability of the collapse of the Zionist project. Sure, it’s disappointing when they can find even a single Palestinian or Arab to meet with them, but Palestinians or Arabs that attend such meetings immediately place themselves outside the Palestinian and Arab popular consensus, and lose any legitimacy they may have enjoyed. Fayyad and Abbas don’t have to worry about that. Israel and her supporters in this country are caught in a Catch-22. Such meetings may offer a quisling leader the seal of approval from the occupier, but that also seals his fate making it impossible for him to deliver his own people’s acquiescence. In the final analysis, the occupying power is denied the legitimacy it seeks through signed agreements with the occupied which are born null and void.
Anwar Sadat and King Hussein were in a far better position than Abbas and Fayyad relative to Israel and they failed in their attempts to force their people to accept the legitimacy of the signed agreements or the usurping Zionist entity. They continue to consider those so called “peace treaties” signed by unelected dictators null and void. As these regimes moved closer to Israel over the years they have increasingly resorted to harsher measures in the face of sustained domestic opposition. In fact, a direct correlation is found between the extent of an Arab regime’s relationship with Israel and the level of brute force and raw power that must be applied by those regimes to maintain their rule. This same dynamic can be seen today in the occupied West Bank with an increasingly repressive PNA security apparatus, acting as an extension of Israeli occupation, and presided over by American General Keith Dayton, with the only distinction being the PNA is a police state without a state.
In the meantime Salam Fayyad has become everyone’s favorite Palestinian, everyone other than the Palestinians that is. Israeli war criminal Shimon Peres, known outside of the US for his central role in establishing Israel’s nuclear program which currently includes an arsenal of 200 to 300 nuclear warheads, and the butcher of Qana 1 (There have been so many Zionist massacres over the decades we can no longer refer to them solely by the names of the cities and villages) has described Fayyad as “the Palestinian Ben-Gurion.” Fayyad himself seems to have taken pride in this description and has on several occasions compared his economic plan for the West Bank to the policies of the early Zionist colonizers in Palestine 48 describing it as a blueprint to eventual statehood. Tony Blair, another war criminal with Arab blood on his hands, and whose appointment as a “peace envoy” underscores the West’s moral bankruptcy and contempt for Arabs, described Fayyad as “absolutely first class — professional, courageous, intelligent.”
Glowing reviews for someone willing to surrender all Palestinian rights and adopt the American-Israeli vision of peace should come as no surprise to anyone. Fayyad has signaled (not that it was necessary) his willingness to abandon the Palestinian right of return. In an interview with Haaretz earlier this year he said “Of course, Palestinians would have the right to reside within the State of Palestine” by which he means three to four, South-Africa style Bantustans he and a small, corrupt gang of business associates hope to preside over in the West Bank under Israeli auspices. Fayyad has also adopted Netanyahu’s arrogant notion of “economic peace”, and with economic funding from the West, has attempted to repackage it and sell it to the Palestinians as a first step towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The Abbas/Fayyad vision for a future peace that surrenders Palestinian rights, under the empty slogans of “realism” and “pragmatism”, is exactly what Ibish and the ATFP have been promoting in Washington. This identical framework for a future arrangement with Israel is currently being peddled by Ibish and Ziad Asali through a recently released book by the ATFP leaving no doubt this outfit is the unofficial voice of the PNA.
For those who may be wondering, yes, this is the same Ibish who not too long ago co-authored an articulate defense of Palestinian rights, including the right of return, and was later hired by the ATFP only to argue with equal rigor for the abandonment of Palestinian rights with a special emphasis on the need to abandon the right of return. Now, as meetings between PNA officials and Zionist organizations become routine business, Ibish has been further reduced to an events organizer tasked with the responsibilities of a concierge for visiting PNA officials.
For some Arab-Americans, morally grounded, and principled activism on behalf of a just cause and an oppressed people simply has no chance against the lure of mainstream media acceptance, hobnobbing with US officials, and galas attended by Arab royalty or the “The Honorables” in Congress. But the better informed US officials and Israeli leaders are well aware the PNA does not speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. Likewise, here in the US the ATFP does not represent “Palestinian-Americans and their supporters.” As long as that’s clearly understood the ATFP may continue with preparations for its upcoming annual “gala” at which Ibish will exchange his professional, concierge attire for a dashing black-tie tuxedo as he, and the debonair Ziad Asali, take the stage together on October 20, 2010 at the Ritz Carlton.