The Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-of-the-Month Award for July, 2014 goes to Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). Rep. Keith Ellison earned this award for his July 29 Op-Ed in the Washington Post. Rep. Ellison’s disgraceful Op-Ed came just a few days after the “White House Iftar” which he attended and was joined by other guests including the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer. That evening as the Congressman dined with Dermer, he listened politely to a short speech by the US President in which he justified Israel’s massacre in Gaza and made sure to remind the ostensible leaders of the US Muslim community that “Israel has the right to defend itself.” Instead of walking out immediately and issuing a condemnation of the outrageous remarks, Rep. Ellison waited until the end and applauded.
Looking back now, Ellison’s timid and short-sighted article was foreshadowed by his rejection of community calls to boycott the annual event in which establishment Muslims are invited to serve as props in a government propaganda spectacle. Instead, Rep. Ellison defended his decision to attend by employing vapid and worn out clichés about a having a “seat at the table” and engaging in the “conversation.” It was reported that Barak Obama left immediately after the speech so it’s unlikely Rep. Ellison had much of an opportunity to engage in a “conversation” with the President about his supposed opposition to the US-backed, Israeli pogrom.
In his Op-Ed Rep. Ellison does condemn the Israeli siege of Gaza, but quite remarkably does so by first criticizing the Palestinians’ struggle against it. Highlighting Israel’s “security needs,” Ellison states:
– “Two-thirds of Israelis living in fear from indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas”
– “Israelis likewise deserve to live free of rocket fire and terror attacks. In order for Israelis to live safely and securely in their homes, Hamas must give up its rockets and other weapons”
– “So how can the international community support those Gazans who don’t support indiscriminate rocket fire?”
– “International actors should be involved in the process to address Israel’s security concerns about lifting the blockade.”
We remind Ellison that the occupied are under no obligation to ensure the safety or well-being of the occupiers. The Daily Beast confronted Ellison on his apparent duplicity in the following exchange:
Democrats, when asked a question about Israeli operations in Gaza, had two standard responses: irritation, or else a statement of their broad support of Israel, without going into specifics. It was as if the very mention of Israel turned the question into a hostile interview.
“Look, man, I’m a politician, with multiple constituencies. Why should I alienate one just so that you can write a story?” Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison angrily told The Daily Beast.
Ellison cited a Tuesday Op-Ed he had written that was critical of the Gaza blockade, but became noticeably agitated when asked to expand on his views. In particular, he did not want to address whether Israel had gone too far during its current operations in the Gaza Strip.
The constant condemnation of Palestinian self-defense and resistance as a condition-precedent to what is almost always very mild criticism of Israel has become a despicable meme for establishment Muslims, who in their pursuit of mainstream acceptance have been far too willing to exchange political convenience for principled behavior. On behalf of the oppressed people of Palestine we would like to congratulate Rep. Keith Ellison, the first elected Muslim member of Congress, for highlighting the establishment Muslims’ inability to forcefully condemn Israeli aggression without first apologizing for the right of Palestinians to self-defense and resistance. And for failing to forthrightly denounce the Israeli slaughter of innocent Palestinian men, women and children; for calling for the emasculation of Gaza; for placing Israel’s “security concerns” above the welfare of the hostage, impoverished Palestinians, we are proud to present Keith – “Look man, I’m a politician” – Ellison with the Ikhras July 2014 Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe-of-The-Month.
Every month Ikhras awards the Muntadhar Zaidi “Shoe of the month” to the House Arab or Muslim individual or organization whose behavior that month best exemplifies the behavior of what Malcolm X described, in the language of his own time, as the “house negro” (see video). The award is named in honor of the brave Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Zaidi who threw his shoes at the war criminal George W. Bush at a time House Arabs and Muslims were dining with him at the White House and inviting him to their mosques. Arab dictators and puppets of the empire are also qualified to enter the shoe of the month competition based on their own subservience to U.S.-led global imperialism. Contest guidelines include the “James Zogby Rule” which prohibits any one individual or organization from winning the award more than 3 times a year.