Ba’al, A Widely Worshipped God In Ancient Canaan
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell.
After recently publishing the 10 Ikhras talking points on Palestine for Arab-Americans we received an enormous amount of feedback and questions. Talking point #8, in particular, “Religion: A Distractor And An Opportunity”, was a subject of great interest and led to many questions and inquiries. This is not surprising given the currently dominant, but false, religious framing of the conflict in Palestine in public discourse and the continued exploitation of popular religious mythology in Zionist propaganda narratives. In addition, the religious right within the US Muslim (Palestinian, Arab and non-Arabs alike) community and its counterproductive role in Palestine solidarity activism has further reinforced the Zionist claim system by repeating essentially the Jewish Zionist narrative as if historical while overlaying Muslim titles on the characters. It is essential for Palestine solidarity activists to be informed about the ancient history of Palestine, the abuse of religion by advocates of the Zionist colonial project, and the adoption of self-colonizing myths by members of our own community. In order to effectively dispel the religious myths exploited by Zionism, informed activists will be addressing myths common to all three monotheistic religions. This must be done without catering to the religious sensitivities of any faith group, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. To help confront and effectively respond to this abuse of religion in furtherance of the Zionist colonial project, ikhras is publishing this primer on the topic of religion and Palestine for activists. We are also providing a list of books for further reading on various aspects of the ancient and modern history of Palestine. Before Zionism appropriated the land it sought to appropriate its ancient past. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine begins by reclaiming our history and heritage. This contribution comes in response to the many inquiries and questions ikhras has received on the subject. It is our sincere hope that it helps cast aside self-colonizing mythologies, generates real knowledge, and empowers Palestinian, Arab, and all Palestine solidarity activists.
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As George Bush was slaughtering Iraqis CAIR hosted the war criminal at a Mosque
[Ikhras Note: The following post first appeared on The Angry Arab Blog on September 27, 2014 (photo added by ikhras). CAIR is the highest-profile House Muslim organization in the US and a recipient of the ikhras shoe-of-the-month award. To learn more about this corrosive, establishment organization visit ikhras.
You know the story: all Muslim and Arab American organizations in DC have fallen under the direct influence of Gulf regimes, as have most Arabs journalists in the capital. This happened right after 1990 when the Saudi regime sent various princes to close the deal to control all Arab media and organizations in the West (as many were under the influence of Saddam or Qadhdhafi). Saudi Arabia did not want dissent from Arabs in the West lest they disturb their lobbying and propaganda efforts in the West. I read that CAIR and other Muslim American organizations held a press conference to issue statements against ISIS: as if any Muslims in the US or elsewhere listen to them and adhere to their standards. And why is it their business to issue exclusive denunciations? Were Jewish organizations expected during the savage war on Gaza to issue statements of denunciations against Israeli terrorism? And don’t they with their theatrics not reinforce the association between Islam and the terrorism and kooky ideology of ISIS (shared by the same patrons of Arab and Muslim organizations in DC)? They should if they want condemn terrorism in all its form and not focus on “Islamic terrorism” and they should even categorically reject the notion that there is a religious label to terrorism. But then again: it is a job and they have to do it and those are willing to abandon two of the five pillars of Islam in return for a photo op at the White House. Instead, they should say that ISIS should be blamed on the foreign policies of the US and its allies who have in the last several decades produced the monsters of Al-Qa`idah and ISIS, among other terrorists roaming the Middle East region.
The Ikhras awards committee is pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-of-the-Month Award for August, 2014 goes to the Washington bureau chief of Al Arabiya News Channel Hisham Melhem. Melhem earned the award for an article he wrote for the Al-Arabiya website on the rise of ISIS. Blaming the rise of ISIS on Arab societal ills and political culture has become very fashionable among those working in the Arab oil and gas media and catering almost exclusively to a western audience, but rather than offering any insight into the rise of ISIS they are easily recognized as transparent attempts to leverage the recent attention garnered by the dramatic rise of the ruthless terrorist group to advance a political agenda.
We can all agree that self-criticism is healthy and necessary, but we need to also be mindful of the difference between constructive self-criticism and unhealthy self-flagellation which serves no purpose other than revealing the personal or political pathology of the person engaging in it. We must also draw a clear distinction between self-criticism intended to address the political or social ills of any given society and racist clichés and bigoted narratives of individuals trying to ingratiate themselves with an elite group from a different society perceived to be superior by the individual ostensibly engaging in the constructive and healthy form of self-criticism.
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[Ikhras Editors Note: The 10 talking points on Palestine for Arab-Americans were first published on August 25, 2014 just two days before Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza was coming to an end with the announcement of an open-ended-cease-fire between the Zionist occupation regime and the Palestinian resistance forces. The ikhras talking points were received with great approval. In addition to the positive feedback we also received constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. As a result the following talking points were updated and republished September 4, 2014.
California State University Political Science Professor As’ad Abukhalil recently shared (originally in Arabic on Facebook but subsequently translated and published on his Angry Arab blog in English) his “Tips for Arabs About Speaking (about Palestine) to Western audiences.” We highly recommend Arab-Americans study it. We at ikhras have formulated a comprehensive set of ten talking points on Palestine that Arab-Americans will also find helpful. They would be most effective when used in conjunction with Professor Abukhalil’s recommended preparation and presentation style and methods. Undoubtedly there will be those who will not use these talking points because they offend the sensibilities of the US political class and fall outside the strictly defined parameters of acceptable public discourse on Palestine. To those people unwilling to challenge the dominant and rigid narrative that prevails in the US and are more concerned with garnering mainstream acceptance than speaking truthfully and forcefully, you have already rendered yourself useless before uttering a single word. You cannot be an effective advocate on behalf of the Palestine cause unless you’re willing to challenge the false assumptions and lies about the Zionist settler-colonial entity and the supposedly virtuous US imperial project that undergirds it. If you’re unwilling to do so it’s preferable to just ikhras rather than join the mealy-mouthed blathering which serves only to reinforce false narratives and assumptions. Remember, you don’t have to talk about Palestine, but should you choose to do so, these talking points will help you do it properly.
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Hussein Ibish, the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), which functions as the two-man wing of the pro-Israel lobby, has a habit of lecturing Arabs, Arab-Americans, and Muslims. He’s given us lectures on everything from crackpot realism to political strategy, morality and proper social etiquette. It’s not unusual for establishment Arabs like Ibish to adopt and internalize the racist, condescending, and paternalistic behavior and attitude of the US political class. In his latest exploration of the Arab mind Ibish returns to an old orientalist cliché about the crazy Arabs and their crazy conspiracy theories.
Writing about the Arab public’s response to the declaration of a “Caliphate” by the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), now renamed simply the Islamic State (IS), Ibish begins by saying:
“One of the most alarming features of Arab responses to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq is a persistent pattern of neurotic denial in the form of conspiracy theories and other escapist fantasies.”
Ibish does not speak Arabic, and has no understanding of Arab politics or culture. His almost daily Neocon bile masquerading as informed opinion pieces reveal that while he’s well-versed in the US State Department’s discourse on the Middle East he has no knowledge or training. The primary Arab response to the declaration of the “Caliphate” has been mockery and ridicule seeing it as a publicity stunt by a crazed, murderous gang of lunatics. And while the Arab world has its share of kooky conspiracy theorists, they do not represent a higher percentage of Arab society than kooky conspiracy theorists here in the US or in any other country or region. Ibish goes on to write:
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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.
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In our previous post we pointed out that Ghaith Al-Omari, one of the three stooges at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), appears to be the ATFP’s main liaison to the pro-Israel lobby. The ATFP, of course, has a very strong working relationship with AIPAC and other racist Zionist groups like The Israel Project. Part of AIPAC’s work includes an ongoing series euphemistically referred to as “Educational Seminars on the Hill.” AIPAC describes these events as “unique opportunities to hear from leading policy experts on the key issues facing the U.S.-Israel relationship.” The picture above is an invitation to one of these “unique opportunities.” It says “for more than thirty years AIPAC has hosted this series to provide interns and young professionals the opportunity to learn more about the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel and to consider its impact on American interests in the Middle East.” It goes on to indicate the next events in this series will be held July 9th and 22nd. The first picture from the right is none other than Ghaith Al-Omari. It’s safe to assume that AIPAC would not be promoting anyone unless it believed he/she served its interests and the interests of Israel, which is the sole stated mission of this group. In its newly created and extensive list of FAQs the ATFP proclaimed it’s now ready to place “more emphasis on outreach” to the Palestinian-American community. It’s probably too late for that, but if they really want to try they can begin by answering and adding the following three questions to their FAQ’s.
If the ATFP is not part of the pro-Israel lobby, why does it collaborate exclusively with the pro-Israel lobby?
Why is AIPAC promoting the ATFP?
Why would AIPAC choose Ghaith Al-Omari to address a Congressional staff briefing on its behalf?
Unlike most Arab-American Zionists which collaborate with the “liberal” and “moderate” wing of Zionism, The American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) is closely aligned with the most extreme right-wing Zionists like AIPAC and The Israel Project. Here Ghaith Al-Omari, one of the three ATFP stooges is seen with Noam Gilboord, the “Director of Community Strategy” at the Israel Action Network (IAN). Gilboord’s responsibilities include:
“strengthening the capacity of local community professionals in combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, he coordinates the activities of the field of Israel advocates throughout North America.”
Al-Omari, who spends more time at WINEP, AIPAC’s “think-tank”, than at the ATFP offices is not as well known as Hussein Ibish and Ziad Asali, but he appears to be the ATFP’s main liaison to the pro-Israel lobby. All three often lash out against Arab-Americans, dismissing their criticism of the ATFP as the Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, but pro-Israel advocacy groups like IAN continue to view the ATFP as a reliable partner that’s making a valuable contribution to their common cause.
One of Palestinian-American Zionist Ray Hanania’s uncles passed away last week, and Ray has been talking about him on his website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. In his last tweet about his uncle Assad Shorrosh Ray describes him as his “last surviving uncle.” The tweet included a link to a Facebook entry which, in turn, included a link to an obituary on his website in which he describes his late uncle as follows:
“ASSAD SHORROSH, age 85, of Spring,Texas. Beloved son of the late Augustine and Olga Shorrosh, Nazareth, Palestine. Dear sibling of brothers Anis and Samuel, and his late sister Kamleh.” [Bolded by ikhras]
The reader will notice that only the sister’s name, Kamleh, was preceded with the adjective “late”, not the other two siblings which would indicate they are still alive. Admittedly, this may just be the latest example of Ray’s typically confused, incoherent blathering; however, ikhras has discovered some interesting family ties that suggest something else might be at play. Before we share what we’ve learned we would remind our readers that although Ray has spent a great deal of time this past week discussing his family on Facebook and Twitter, including many specific names and pictures, he did not mention Anis Shorrosh until he (perhaps mistakenly) included him in his late uncle’s obituary.
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On behalf of all Palestinian refugees denied the right of return, those who remain under occupation and not included as part of any papal delegation, and on behalf of all Lebanese victims of the Israeli occupation army and its proxy militia, the Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras-Shoe-of-the-Month Award for May 2014 is Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai.
Ikhras condemns the lamentable and unprecedented decision of the Maronite Patriarch to visit occupied Jerusalem as part of the papal delegation greeting Pope Francis during his May 24-26 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
No Maronite patriarch, not even Rai’s predecessor, Nasrallah Sfeir—a sectarian and polemic figure who openly advocated on behalf of the U.S. and Saudi-backed March 14 political coalition—has traveled to Israel since the Zionist state’s inception in 1948.
“I told Prime Minister [Tammam Salam] that we are going to Jerusalem on a church- and pastoral-related visit,” Rai said. “There is no political motive behind the visit.”
No political motive? As one of the highest religious authorities in Lebanon, and in light of the brutal legacy of Israeli occupation of Lebanon and its savage 2006 assault, the mere act of travelling there becomes political.
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British-Lebanese Attorney and “Human Rights Expert” Amal Alamuddin.
A little-known partner to a U.S.-Israeli project and a brutal dictator is suddenly cast as a source of admiration and pride. Ikhras takes a look at Arab reaction after news broke of actor-celebrity George Clooney’s engagement to British-Lebanese Attorney Amal Alamuddin.
We at Ikhras feel compelled to disabuse Arabs of the notion that Amal Alamuddin, “barrister specialising in international law, human rights, extradition and criminal law” and recent fiancée of actor-celebrity George Clooney, is a source of admiration or pride. The reaction of more than a few House Arabs to her announced engagement to Clooney has been very troubling, and can only be described as symptomatic of an inferiority complex.
Let us put aside for the moment the fawning indulgence often expressed by many whenever an Arab becomes associated with a famous Westerner:
“Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara,” sectarian warlord Walid Jumblatt wrote, referring to his ancestral home in the Chouf mountains. “I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs.” It’s unlikely Clooney gave any serious thought to his upcoming marriage to Amal Alamuddin, but whatever little time he may have spent contemplating on the matter he certainly never imagined an entire clerical establishment in Lebanon could be summoned to express its joy over his (latest) escapade with a member of the flock.
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Palestinian-American Zionist, anti-Arab racist, homophobe (See “Hanania Emails Scandal”), failed comedian, Radio Talk Show host (but only because he buys his own airtime), former ADC National Board member , former Jerusalem Post columnist, and Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award winner Ray Hanania is calling on Arab-Americans to join the pro-Israel lobby. According to Hanania, J Street, the racist, anti-Arab organization dedicated to the destruction of at least 78% of Palestine, “has given American Arabs who support peace based on compromise someplace to go.” Hanania considers J Street to be the “moderate”, “pro-peace” voice within the pro-Israel lobby which we’re supposed to believe stands in stark contrast to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which Hanania says “has actively opposed peace.” In his typically confused, incoherent fashion, he goes on to invoke the model of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) which he characterizes as the only “major” (it consists of two people and a Washington DC office kept open with generous support from Arab oil-Sheikhs) Arab-American organization “that actively supports the two-state solution” without mentioning the ATFP proudly flaunts its collaborative relationship and alliance with AIPAC. Hanania specifically mentions Ziad Asali, giving the ATFP head a nod of approval. Asali, another recipient of the Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award, joined Hanania on that honor roll after becoming the only Palestinian in the world to celebrate “Israel Independence Day.”
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“For whatever reason”
Whether on his twitter feed or in his never ending churning out of repugnant opinion pieces in the guise of objective analysis, ever since Russia stepped up to play a central role in blocking US imperialist designs on Syria, including a potential Libya-type bombing campaign, the empire’s most dedicated Arab-American Shabih Hussein Ibish has been regularly bashing the government of President Vladimir Putin. Writing in the Hariri family-funded website NOW Lebanon, Ibish begins his latest anti-Russia rant (Russia is no ally for the Arabs) by dismissing those Arabs calling for closer ties with Russia “who are, for whatever reason, fed up with United States.” For the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP), which functions as a two-man, Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, it always begins with the assumption of a virtuous US government, unlike all other governments, in its pursuit of an altruistic foreign policy. This assumption is not to be questioned or challenged lest you be dismissed as “anti-American”, “extremist”, or, at best, “unreasonable” and “ill-informed.” But for the unreasonably reasonable, politically astute Anglophile on the Potomac it’s simply unfathomable why Arabs may be fed up with US foreign policy. After all, US “interventions”, bombings, and invasions are always carried out in the best interest and for the well-being of Arabs.
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In his uniquely respectful approach to disagreements Hussein Ibish claims we lied when we said he supported the US wars on Iraq. He then proceeded to offer several links which he seems to believe demonstrate his opposition to the first war on Iraq, the subsequent sanctions, and finally, the 2003 invasion. We took the time to go through all of them, and we did not find a single instance of Ibish condemning any war on Iraq. Ibish did offer some polite criticism, all of which was based on US national interests, and restricted to the strictly defined Washington parameters of acceptable discourse.
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Hussein Ibish finally apologizes, but it’s not to those he’s been publicly attacking over the last few years and to whom he actually owes an apology. No he’s not apologizing to the Arab-Americans he regularly attacks in a highly personal and vicious manner. He’s apologizing to a Zionist fanatic for a tweet that doesn’t really require an apology. The Zionist fanatic and what Ibish initially stated and was considered a transgression are not important. What is noteworthy here is Ibish’s willingness to humble himself and offer an apology.
Those that have followed Ibish over the last few years would have noticed an obvious and stark difference in the language, tone, and attitude he adopts towards Arab-Americans compared to his interactions with non-Arabs, US officials, and pro-Israel lobbyists. We’ve covered this aspect of Ibish’s behavior previously. With Arab-Americans Ibish is abrasive, aggressive, condescending, rude, and contemptuous. We’ve also compiled some of his more colorful outbursts which you can find below. In the past, Ibish has also made racist remarks regarding Arabs which he would never direct towards any other group of people.
On the other hand, when it comes to non-Arabs Ibish displays utmost respect, deference, and civility. Ibish has clearly internalized the ideology, sensibilities, and political culture of the ruling class in this country which allows for a certain type of discourse about Arabs and Muslims that remains unacceptable when directed towards any other non-Arab, non-Muslim group. Ibish’s internalization of this political culture and its inherently racist double standards explains his quick reversal and apology to the Zionist fanatic. It also explains why when it comes to those Arab-Americans deserving of an apology from Ibish, no such apology will be forthcoming.
Visit Ikhras To Learn More About Hussein Ibish: http://ikhras.com/tag/hussein-ibish/