Jeffrey Blankfort On Ibish & Zogby

[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. ] 

Ibish does not walk around in the West Bank. He spends his time burnishing the bottoms of the lords of Washington, but not by walking. The last time I saw him he was unable to look down and see his feet. The American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP) is to AIPAC and the Zionist establishment what the Washington Generals were to the old Harlem Globetrotters, winning six games and losing more than 13,000, according to Wikipedia. They were on the court to give the audience a feeling that the Globetrotters had some competition although everyone knew the outcome in advance. (Before black basketball players were accepted in the NBA, the Globetrotters offered the only postgraduate opportunities for black stars to make a living, such as it was, on the basketball court.)

Before Ibish was with the ATFP he worked for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) which invited Colin Powell to address its national convention during the first Gulf War (along with Michael Lerner!). When the SF Bay Area chapter complained about the speaker selection, Ibish threatened to suspend the chapter from the national organization. No major Arab-American organization has had a leader committed to justice for Palestine since former senator James Abourezk and attorney Abdeen Jabarah were at the ADC and that was a long, long time ago..

Jim Zogby, for founded the Arab American Inst. was once among that group until he decided to play the same game as Ibish, only in a more sophisticated way. It was Zogby who advised Rev. Jesse Jackson not to raise the issue of Palestinian statehood at the Democratic Convention in 1988–the year of the Intifada– despite the fact that resolutions supporting Palestinian statehood had been passed by seven state conventions. When I wrote a critical piece on him in the Middle East Labor Bulletin in the 90s, entitled, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” Zogby complained that I was being unfair and that he had to feed his family.

*Jeff Blankfort is a radio program producer with KZYX in Mendocino. He is a journalist and Jewish-American and has been a pro-Palestinian human rights activist since 1970. He was formerly the editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin and co-founder of the Labor Committee of the Middle East. He was also a founding member of the November 29 Coalition on Palestine and the Palestine Solidarity Committee. He won a settlement from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in February 2002 for its vast illegal spying against him, as well as hundreds of other progressive social, political, labor and environmental organizations and thousands of individuals (including anti-Apartheid groups/activists).

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