[Ikhras Note: The following was a comment by Jeffrey Blankfort.* It's not just Arab-Americans that reject the political pandering of establishment Arabs. Palestine solidarity activists and all Americans opposed to the US policy in the Middle East have been equally frustrated with Washington Arabs that are busy garnering mainstream media acceptance and clamoring for photo-ops with US officials. Although these opportunistic careerists are unwilling to address the false narratives and assumptions of American officialdom, principled social activists and other Americans of all backgrounds do not hesitate to do so. ]
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this December, 2011 is Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi, the President of the International Union for Muslim Scholars is the most prominent Islamic theologian in the Arab world and within the Sunni branch of Islam. He is best known for his weekly talk show program on Aljazeera, al-Sharia wal hayat (Sharia & life), in which he discusses a myriad of issues and their relationship to Islamic law as he sees it. He is also the leading figure behind the popular website Islam online and is among the most influential clerics and unofficial leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Not only has Ibish’s strategy of presenting himself as a defender of Arabs and Muslims by taking on the lunatic fringe failed, it has also contributed to legitimizing the mainstream racists and extremists. It’s Ibish’s friends, collaborators, co-authors, partners in “peace”, and ATFP gala keynote speakers that are most troubling for the Arab and Muslim communities, not Manji and the other assorted nuts.
James Zogby, the poster boy for all that’s wrong for what passes as an “Arab Lobby” in Washington DC, has pursued a comfortable, air-conditioned career as the self-appointed spokesperson for the Arab-American community. An unprincipled, career opportunist pursuing petty ambitions and false prestige, this cheap political prostitute for the State Department (which organizes most of his appearances in the Arab world) and the Arab oil-Sheiks of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates maintains a busy social calendar which he wants us to believe is a sign of Arab-American political empowerment. The following are a few entries that establish a pattern we have discovered in his writings and talks. When we stopped we still had over 20 more examples we could have included, but the following should suffice:
Mona Eltahawy’s broken arms have now become a part of Egypt’s revolution, or so she says. In each media appearance wherein she dons two casts, now full of signatures, well wishes and smiley faces, Mona Eltahawy draws attention to her alleged abuse while in the clutches of Egyptian officers. All the while she sits in green-room studio’s around the United States she makes passerby acknowledgment of abuse other Arab women have faced.
Despite having bones broken in both wrists, one broken, swollen arm, and a broken hand Mona Eltahawy was able to tweet some 12 hours after her supposed physical and sexual assault, an assault a number of major media outlets cannot yet verify.
Yet there she is, her face plastered on our television screens, her story being covered by Democracy Now!, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360 etc. etc. ad nauseam.
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this November, 2011 is King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Hashemite puppet of Jordan has spent the entire month of November reminding the world of his family’s traditional role as a pliant tool of Western imperialism and Zionism’s best friend in the Arab world. After recently being invited to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the American-sponsored club of Arab reactionary monarchs, King Abdullah II has been working hard to remind Israel and the West of the important service his regime continues to provide them. This month he met with the head of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised Palestinian (illusory) Authority (PA), and hosted the Zionist war criminal Shimon Peres in Jordan. Next week he will be coming to Washington to receive his instructions and learn what’s expected of him in the near future.
No other Arab regime has been as loyal to Zionism and imperialism as the illegitimate regime of Jordan. In this special guest submission Sumaya Al-Shawish takes a look at how the Hashemite King is spending his time pursuing his families’ traditional role as a puppet regime in the service of Western imperialism and a pliant tool of Zionism.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has been a busy man of late. Last week, he paid a visit to the West Bank for the first time in ten years to meet with Palestinian President and fellow House Arab Mahmoud Abbas. Then he played host to Israeli President Shimon Peres during a brief visit to the Hashemite Kingdom. Next week he is reportedly heading to Washington.
Arab, Muslim-American comedian Dean Obeidallah thinks Muslims “worship” Jesus and Mary.
This statement conveys an appalling ignorance of Islam’s most basic teachings. It’s even worse than Hussein Ibish’s definition of Sufism as “squishy.”
In this special guest submission Dr. Diane Shammas* takes a look at the selective reporting by Western media outlets on the abuse of Arab and Muslim women, and the colonial feminists’ lack of concern for the real victims of physical abuse and sexual assault which remain unknown.
I just viewed Mona Eltahawy on CNN today and another from Democracy NOW during the wake of the Libyan Revolution. I do not deny that women suffer violation in the Middle East, as I surely have experienced sexism myself living several months in the Middle East.
[Ikhras Note: Whether it's Arab rulers, opponents of Arab regimes, so called human rights and democracy activists, members of the mythical Arab-American lobby, or talentless comedians on the margins of American pop culture, the standard by which Arabs are judged worthy of acceptance remains the same. As the US and its Arab client regimes in the Gulf attempt to hijack the 2011 Arab uprising and set their sights on Syria a clique of Syrians scattered across western capitals have found a new role for themselves in the service of US imperial machinations. In this special guest submission Ikhras friend Tammy Obeidallah takes a look at the sinister activities of Ribal Al-Assad.]
By Tammy Obeidallah*
Most House Arabs are motivated by a desire for personal wealth, fame, acceptance from the West or perhaps all three. They are despicable sell-outs who undermine the struggles against Zionist occupation and broader Western imperialism. However, there are House Arabs with even more sinister intentions than simple self-indulgence.
Enter Ribal Al-Assad, cousin of Bashar Al-Assad and son of Rifaat—notorious for his role in the regime in the early 1980’s—currently living in Mayfair, England and enjoying the support of the Saudi royal family.
The State Department which promotes and sponsors Dean Obeidallah as a comedian is now also promoting a Palestinian-American rapper and radio show host. The State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs which produced this video featuring Obeidallah (and likely facilitates and/or sponsors his Amman Stand-Up “Comedy” Festival) is now promoting “DJ Khaled.”
Ikhras’ friend and guest contributor Roqayah Chamseddine bravely stood up to mass murderer Donald Rumsfeld (she is the second activist in the below video). The day any of the House Arabs and House Muslims confront a war criminal this way, or at least stops collaborating with imperialism and Zionism, Ikhras will be happy to stop writing about them on its pages.
[Ikhras note: Hussein Ibish has now sunk further than we thought was possible, even for him. As far as the intellectual godfather of the establishment Arabs is concerned, it is no longer sufficient to condemn all Palestinian resistance to Israel’s violent occupation nor is it sufficient to simply refrain from condemning Israel’s violence against Palestinians. We must now also condemn, or at least disassociate from and refuse to endorse, any Palestinian condemnation of Israeli violence against them]
American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee’s ex Media Director and current senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine’s Hussein Ibish wrote the following, encouraging a hierarchical power structure in the Occupy Wall Street over its current decentralized, grassroots format:
The Occupy Wall Street movement, by contrast, shows no signs of being mobilized by a political party or organization to create real change in politics or policy. Any movement so broad-based, leaderless (though there are some organizers who can be identified) and, frankly, unfocused runs the risk of simply fizzling out without leaving any lasting legacy … Arabs should be very familiar with this conundrum. The Egyptian experience in particular has shown the limitations of a leaderless, spontaneous movement. It creates momentum but cannot harness it. That can only be done by organized political groupings.
Ibish’s own previous statements undermine the value of the above unsolicited advice to Occupy Wall Street. His concern is more about tailoring popular discourse to his own taste than preserving the movement’s influence. A case in point: he recently reprimanded Egyptian revolutionary Gigi Ibrahim for her criticisms of some Egyptian activists’ lobbying on Capitol Hill.
Ms. Ibrahim had battled Mubarak’s hoodlums in the streets and endured tear gassings and beatings from the Egyptian military. Nevertheless, she became the object of Hussein Ibish and Arab American Institute’s Omar Baddar’s criticisms for rejecting the idea that meaningful change could come from the same institutions of power that had enabled Mubarak, armed Israel and waged wars, occupations and sanctions on millions of Arabs.
Ray Hanania’s best humor is always unintentional. During his Radio Show today, November 11, he misunderstood a reference to Nancy Ajram, a popular Arab singer, and the Arab world’s version of a talentless, cultural “pop-tart”. His gaffe occurred during a discussion of a local election in Michigan and Arab-American political apathy.