The Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award for May, 2013 is the Al Jazeera English website. The website earned this month’s shoe after deciding to remove an article, The Last Of The Semites, by Palestinian-American academic & Columbia University Professor Dr. Joseph Massad. The article’s criticism of Zionism as inherently anti-Semitic and its focus on the historical relationship between the Zionist movement and anti-Semitic European leaders and governments (including Nazi Germany) and their shared vision and objectives was more than the present day Zionists would tolerate. The article was first published on May 15. After an uproar by Zionist fanatics and pro-Israel lobbyists including Jeffrey Goldberg and Hussein Ibish, Aljazeera bowed to the pressure and the article was removed on May 19. After a backlash from Aljazeera insiders and free speech advocates the website restored the article two days later on May 21, but not before dealing a severe blow to the credibility of the English-language sister channel and website of the already thoroughly discredited Arabic-language network.
Two Arab-American women, Michigan State Representative Rashida Tlaib and Rana Abbas, a former member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination (ADC) in Michigan, have accused Imad Hammad, the ADC regional Director and Senior National Advisor for Public Affairs of sexually harassing them and several other women. The allegations stretch back to 1999, and apparently a formal complaint submitted to the ADC National Office in 2007 went ignored.
Sexual harassment is the most pervasive form of workplace harassment and takes several forms. According to Tlaib & Abbas, Hamad engaged in aggressive verbal and physical sexual harassment over an extended period of time. Such behavior should never be tolerated, and the failure of the ADC to investigate these allegations immediately after they were brought to the attention of its leadership is as alarming and troubling as the sexual harassment itself.
The Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award for April, 2013 is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR earned this prestigious honor for its reaction to Boston marathon bombings that killed three and injured more than 200 on April 15. The competition was stiff this month as the predictable buffoonery, expressions of moral outrage, and calls for the always ridiculous “interfaith meetings” commenced immediately after the bombing and continue as of the time of this writing. One community clown who recently discovered his Islamic heritage after the age of 40 as part of a new career path actually began a CNN segment with “I’m a Muslim and I despise terrorism.” April was a month in which we regret we have but one shoe to throw and we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination (ADC) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) were among the finalists. After an initially strong showing the ADC fell behind when it was reported that the suspects were Muslims, but not Arabs. The ADC is only responsible for the potential transgressions of 350 Million Arabs. Like CAIR, MPAC also assumed responsibility for about 1.5 billion Muslims and earned the dubbing Muslim Public Apology Center. However, after careful consideration the ikhras awards committee determined that the response of CAIR’s far more extensive network to the Boston bombings was the best illustration of the house behavior this award was established to recognize.
The Ikhras awards committee is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe of the Month for March, 2013 is Lebanese journalist Octavia Nasr. Nasr is receiving this coveted award for an article she wrote titled “What the city of Haifa taught me.” The article first appeared in Arabic in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar, and the English version appeared the next day on the website of the Saudi family news channel Al-Arabiya.
Nasr begins her article reminiscing about the “countless stories about Haifa’s golden days pre-1948.” The reader can almost detect a mocking undertone, as if life in pre-Nakba Haifa was not quite as “Golden” as relayed by the Palestinian refugees she encountered growing up in Lebanon, or was at least only part of the story of Haifa. Sure enough Nasr then goes on to share her awakening:
As part of an effort to construct and promulgate a public relations narrative in preparation for Barack Obama’s visit to the Middle East, the White House summoned a group of Arab-American “leaders” to a meeting. Overcome by the lure of being invited to the White House and being part of the mainstream these groups and individuals sacrifice intellectual honesty and personal integrity while adopting all the false pretenses of the American imperial project.
Barack Obama met with several so called leaders and organizations that allegedly represent Arab and Muslim Americans ahead of his visit to occupied Palestine. The “Arab-American” groups that attended the meeting were the same unrepresentative, Washington-based cliques that are usually called upon when American politicians need submissive token Arabs to perpetuate the fiction the US government is taking all views into consideration. The groups included the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the two-man American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP), and James Zogby’s one-man shop, the Arab American Institute (AAI).
Outside of Venezuela and Latin America, there was no greater outpouring of support and sympathy for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez than in the Arab world.
Comparisons to the great Egyptian president Gamal Abdul-Nasser began immediately. Many even declared Chavez himself an Arab based on his anti-imperialist policies and support for Palestinian liberation. Political commentators, at least those not on the Saudi and Qatari payrolls, emphasized his public support for Palestinian rights and Iran’s right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, as well as his opposition to the wars on Iraq, Libya, and most recently the proxy war on Syria.
Ikhras fully supports Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine and all SJP chapters across the United States. SJP branches nationwide have been one of the leading organizations in the Palestine Solidarity Movement in the US. Columbia SJP’s misguided and divisive decision to sponsor an event featuring Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi as a guest speaker at what was dubbed a “Syria Solidarity Event” served as a distraction and did not help advance the mission of SJP. Our criticism of this controversial decision stems from our deep appreciation for this organization and the critically important role it plays on US campuses. SJP represents one of the most successful organizations working in the most hostile environment for any Palestine solidarity activism anywhere in the world. We trust Columbia SJP will learn from this mistake and remain focused on its mission as it continues its invaluable work in the future. As it does so we will continue to support Columbia SJP and all SJP chapters on their respective campuses across the country.
Long Live Palestine Arab and Free From the River to the Sea!
p.s. No Zionist should take any comfort in whatever disagreements that may exist within the Arab world or among Palestine solidarity activists. When it comes to justice in Palestine we are all unified and will continue our unrelenting struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees to their homeland.
After posting a photo of Nihad Awad from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with George Bush Jr on our twitter feed with a comment (السفاح الذي قتل اكثر من مليون عراقي هو الذي تقف الى جانبه لتآخذ صورة تذكارية) about his willingness to attend a White House photo-op with the butcher of over one million Iraqis Mr. Awad sent us the following message:
لا مانع ان يكون لك رأي مخالف لكن لا تدعي ما لا تعلم. هذه الصورة أخذت في عام 2000 م. فأرجو ان تتحلى بألجرأة وتصحح خطأك.لم التقي ببوش بعد 2001
There is no problem with you having a different opinion, however, do not make assertions about what you don’t know. This picture was taken in the year 2000 so I hope you would have the courage to correct your mistake. I did not meet with Bush after 2001. [Translation by ikhras]
Yes Mr. Awad, we have no problem correcting any “mistake” you can plausibly claim we may have made. We did not indicate the date of the photo, but since we were clearly criticizing your willingness to attend a Bush White House photo-op, we’re willing to point out this photo was taken prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. But this then presents a question for you which we also hope you have the courage to answer honestly. Are you implying that you would have declined an invitation to a Bush White House event after 2003 in protest of the criminal invasion of Iraq? Your own political “activism” and CAIR’s almost 2o-year record of continuous and uninterrupted working relationships with successive US administrations would suggest otherwise.
To our knowledge, during the entire eight days of Israeli air, sea, and land bombardment of Gaza not a single authentic Palestinian-American voice or any neutral, objective expert on the Arab world was invited to appear or write in mainstream television or print media. Instead what we watched was a parade of pseudo-analysts, Arab Zionists, anti-Palestinian ideologues, self-appointed spokespersons of all stripes, and even a couple of comedians. All of them, without exception, were invited to parrot the Israel narrative, or at best, offer polite criticism of Israel in the name of Palestinians and Arab or Muslim Americans.
Arab students at the University of Pennsylvania have joined with pro-Israel campus advocacy groups to invite a token Syrian from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) to speak on the their campus. Undoubtedly this Syrian will come to University of Pennsylvania to speak on behalf of the neoconservative and Zionist agenda in Syria.
The event is being sponsored by, among others, the Pennsylvania Arab Student Society (PASS), Penn Friends of Israel, and StandWithUs. Penn Friends of Israel “is a student initiative-led and student-run Israel advocacy group on Penn’s campus” which “acts as an open and supportive forum for Israel advocacy.” StandWithUS is a pro-Israel campus advocacy group that is proudly “supporting Israel around the world.” It is dedicated to spreading Zionist lies and propaganda with a special focus on whitewashing the crimes of the Israeli terrorist army and seeking out token Arabs willing to work with them.
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award for September, 2012 is Dr. James Zogby. The omnipresent, self-appointed representative of Arab-Americans earned this prestigious honor for his disgraceful behavior at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Although rarely is there a month in which Zogby is not the front runner for this award, the quintessential careerist and cheap propagandist for the State Department and Arab oil-Sheikhs beat out all other nominees for the September, 2012 ikhras shoe award before the convention even started.
[Ikhras Note: The following is a belated publishing of an Ikhras book review of James Zogby‘s Arab Voices: What They are Saying To Us And Why It Matters. It was written shortly after Zogby launched his book tour with a party and reception at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington in October, 2010.]
James Zogby couldn’t have picked a more appropriate setting to launch his new book than a party and reception at the Washington embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event was hosted by “H.E.” Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, and, true to form, the following day Zogby slavishly thanked the Nahyan family representative: “I was so gratified by last night’s reception. Ambassador al Otaiba’s hospitality, his kind words of introduction and the great work of his staff provided Arab Voices with such a wonderful launch.”
The book is titled “Arab Voices: What they are saying to us and why it matters.” In explaining the objectives and motivation behind the book Zogby says “I wrote the book for two reasons…One [reason] is because the stakes are so high. We’re in real trouble in the Middle East…it’s not getting better”…The second reason, he explained, was to “shatter” the myths Americans have about Arabs.” Zogby, of course, is not going to shatter any myths or change any false perceptions. This is one of those grandiose claims he often makes about his ability to influence public policy and popular perceptions in the United States (US). As the omnipresent, self-appointed representative of Arab-Americans sets out to “paint the most accurate picture of the Arab people, explaining who they are to the American people”, we ask which Arab voices has he been listening to cocooned up in Washington since the 1970’s? Which Arabs is Zogby most familiar with? And is he qualified, and capable of candidly and accurately explaining the Arab world to the American public? For reasons we discuss below we believe Zogby is not only unable to do so, but is probably the last person in America who can explain indigenous Arab voices to a US audience.
IKHRAS ON VACATION: WILL RETURN IN SEPTEMBER
We will resume publishing in September with a feature article on Maysoon Zayid, a belated review of James Zogby‘s book “Arab Voices”, and a look at the Arab American Institute’s promotion of Lebanese-American buffoon David “GO GOP” Ramadan along with full coverage of House Arab and Muslim behavior during the 2012 presidential campaign. In the meantime, you can still follow us on twitter, and we continue to accept nominations for the Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award.
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award for May, 2012 is Ziad Asali. The president of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) earned the prestigious ikhras shoe award by attending an Israel “Independence Day” celebration hosted by the Israeli embassy. As the Palestinian people were commemorating the onset of the nakba Asali decided to celebrate the violent ethnic cleansing of Palestine by European invaders and the creation of the usurping Zionist entity. Two photos (below) from the event emerged showing an undignified but smiling Asali with Michael Oren, the professional propagandist and war criminal (Oren served in the Israeli terrorist army during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 in which over 20, 000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were killed) from upstate New York that was handpicked by Benjamin Netanyahu to serve as Israel’s Ambassador to Washington.
This week ikhras celebrates its two year anniversary. We would like to thank our readers, supporters, contributing writers, and all those who helped make ikhras a community voice. The response we have received over the past two years has been overwhelmingly positive and surpassed all our expectations. Ikhras is proud to have become the long overdue response to those that became an embarrassment to our community, and a detriment to better understanding and increased solidarity among Arabs, Muslims and other citizens of this country, and the world. Over the past two years House Arabs and House Muslims that grew accustomed to engage in outrageous behavior as self-appointed representatives of our community without any accountability have responded with bullying tactics, smear campaigns, and numerous threats to initiate law suits, all of which have failed. By now they have learned we will not be silenced or intimidated. They should also have no doubt that as ikhras enters its third year we will redouble our efforts to expose and shed light on the behavior of all those that hijacked our collective community name in pursuit of false prestige and petty personal ambitions. To our Arab and Muslim-American community, fellow Americans, and all international citizens we, once again, pledge to remain an uncompromising, progressive, anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist voice that will always place truth, justice, and universal human values before any other consideration.