In response to our post “Hey Hussein Ibish, No it doesn’t”, “Abu Abed” offered the following comment:
“It seems that we live in a perfect world where values and principles are the rule of law and people all stand up and object when they see injustice… Actually, wait… we don’t, but some human rights activists (and writers) live in a fantasy that if only we say the truth enough and loud enough without any compromise, our land will one day be free… I wish, my friend. For now, criticizing all sides is necessary, and if you disagree, then you’re part of the problem.
Israel is the number one culprit. But, Hamas, Fatah, Egypt, Iran, Jordan… all part of the problem. And the only way you can show those who don’t know that Israel is no democracy and no good is by being objective so you can get to the people you need to get to. Tried it lately?”
No we haven’t “Abu Abed”, and we don’t plan on doing so in the future. We find your comment, like the approach you try to defend, contains serious moral and political flaws. Since these serious flaws extend beyond our post on Ibish and your comment to a prevailing school of political thought that governs the behavior of Washington Arabs, we want to share a reply with all our readers.
First, you appear to suggest that since raw power politics prevents the realization of a world based on values and principles among which is opposition to injustice, then we need to discard these same values and principles and pursue a political path devoid of any moral considerations. If that’s what you’re arguing, we disagree and suggest the best approach is to reaffirm our fidelity to the values and principles that guide our politics and continue the struggle for a world free of injustice.
Second, are you opposed to speaking “the truth”? And what’s wrong with repeating the truth “loud enough without any compromise”? We never suggested if we speak the truth loudly and without compromise “our land will one day be free.” Occupied Palestine, which is the specific topic under discussion when we address Hussein Ibish and the ATFP clique, will one day be free. That’s inevitable, but we never suggested it will happen if Arabs in the US simply speak the truth. That will require a long-term strategy beyond our concern here. However, why would anyone argue that NOT speaking the truth is the actual solution to the problem? I admit I don’t understand. When did a truth-based approach become “part of the problem”?
Third, you say that “For now, criticizing all sides is necessary.” No, it isn’t. That is simply not true. And why would anyone think “criticizing all sides is necessary”? The two “sides” we were discussing were the usurping Zionist entity in Palestine, and the indigenous Palestinians and Arabs that have been defending themselves and their homeland for over a hundred years. As we pointed out to Ibish, it is morally reprehensible to draw any comparisons between the two sides. There is no moral equivalence between those who invade, colonize, and occupy another people’s homeland, and the indigenous population that resists a violent, foreign colonial project in their midst. While we concede Palestinian and Arab resistance is open to criticism, it must be constructive criticism geared towards identifying and advancing the most effective strategy and tactics for achieving the complete defeat of the Zionist colonial project in Palestine.
Zionism, on the other hand, should not simply be criticized. It must be condemned as a racist, violent, colonial, and illegitimate project. The notion that it’s necessary to “criticize all sides” without taking into consideration the nature of the conflict, root cause of the problem, or the objective historical facts is not only immoral, but ludicrous. For those interested in ending the conflict and bringing peace and stability to Palestine and the region, they will find this is also futile.
We do agree Arab regimes like Egypt and Jordan should be criticized. They should be criticized for their treason, betrayal of Palestine, and for signing “peace treaties” with the Zionist entity which remain as null and void as they were the day they were signed. They should be criticized for their collaboration with Israel and for their complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Arab world. They should also be criticized for oppressing their own citizens and reducing themselves to nothing more than pliant tools of Western imperialism. The kowtowing Arabs in Washington don’t criticize American approved dictatorships.
You will not find Hussein Ibish, James Zogby, members of the ATFP, ADC, and CAIR or any of the other Washingtonian Arabs criticizing regimes like Jordan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia for their lack of democracy, violations of human rights, and collaboration with Zionism. They are more likely to invite representatives of these regimes as “guests of honor” or keynote speakers at their banquets and galas. The list of the “Honorary Host Committee’s esteemed members” for the upcoming ATFP gala includes figures representing the American-approved dictatorships of Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, and Oman.
Finally, “Abu Abed”, you contradict yourself at the end of your comment by asking us to be “objective.” You’re not really interested in objectivity. If we understood you correctly you felt we spend too much time dwelling on the truth, and suggested it’s counterproductive, a “fantasy” which becomes “part of the problem.” Objectivity requires a commitment to the truth, a truth which you find inconvenient and would prefer we ignore because it’s not politically palatable to those in Washington. Objectivity requires each one of us to speak the objective truth about the root cause of conflict in Palestine, and the nature of the struggle against Zionism. Objectivity does not cater to raw power calculations; it recognizes them and confronts them with truth. And objectivity is not defined by the likes of Hussein Ibish, the ATFP, and the other Washington Arabs who pursue comfortable careers by peddling in the misery of the Palestinians, Iraqis, and other Arab victims of the same ruling class whose approval is the only purpose of their political activism. It’s not ours, so no we haven’t tried this approach lately and we won’t be doing so in the future.
What you have asked us to do is forget about values and principles, ignore injustice, not be too concerned with the truth, compromise the basic rights and lives of peoples, surrender to those who have the most tanks and planes, and advocate amoral (immoral) political positions that fall within the realm of acceptable public discourse as defined in Washington, DC. No, we won’t do that. We prefer you do it our way, and if you’re not going to stand up to injustice and speak truth to power, you can do us all a favor and just Ikhras!