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/
Los Angeles, CA – A special town hall-style meeting Friday night brought together a large crowd of Syrian and Arab-Americans from Southern California and across the country. The atmosphere was slightly tense as the attendees lined up immediately outside the ballroom of the West LA hotel to go through tight security. The special guest that evening was Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar Jaafari. Dr. Jaafari was warmly welcomed by the crowd as he entered the room and took his seat on the stage. He was also joined via video-conference from Damascus by the Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun and Archbishop Luka Khoury of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Mufti Hassoun began the evening with an address that emphasized the common history and civilization that’s shared by Syrians of all faiths. Pointing out Syrian history predates Christianity and Islam by thousands of years, he stressed the historic unity of the Syrian people and the essential strengthening role it’s played in countering the current onslaught on Syrian society. “Never throughout the entire history of Syria has a Syrian killed another Syrian on account of his faith”, he told the crowd. During the address a member of the audience shouted out his condolences to the Mufti for the death of his son. The Mufti’s son was shot and killed in an ambush near Ibla University in October of 2011. In response Mufti Hassoun told the crowd “all the Syrians that were martyred are my children” and called for peace and an end to violence. The Mufti concluded on a positive note expressing his confidence that the “dark cloud” that now hangs over Syria will pass and all Syrians will come together in a Syria once again at peace. Following Mufti Hassoun Archbishop Khoury also addressed the crowd and stressed the same themes, the historic unity of the Syrian people and the need for an immediate end to violence in the country. The Archbishop also made clear that what is happening in Syria is not a civil war among Syrians, but a war on Syrian society by outside forces.
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: Given Hussein Ibish’s
lack of credibility and seriousness among Arab-Americans, his inability to have the slightest impact on Arab-American thought or debate, and the almost total lack of response his writings elicit from the community we have revised our previous post and substituted “Arab-Americans that do not share his political views
” for “his critics
In our previous post, “Hussein Ibish: “We Should Disagree Respectfully” we incorrectly referred to Ibish “disagreeing respectfully” & engaging in “polite, calm & reasoned conversations” with “his critics.” We should note that several of the names mentioned are actually not critics of Ibish at all. It would be more accurate to say that the remarks we collected and published below serve as examples of the way Ibish himself disagrees with people of whom he is the critic. Columbia University ProfessorJoseph Massad, for example, has never mentioned him in any article, spoke of him in any public forum, or engaged him in any online interactive medium. Likewise, Palestinian-American author and activist Ali Abunimah has also never been a critic of Ibish and we were unable to find a single instance in which Abunimah mentioned him in any article or public forum. As for California State University ProfessorAs’ad Abukhalil we did locate a single blog entry from 2006 in which Professor Abukhalil does reply to Ibish. It’s the only time we’re aware of that Professor Abukhalil mentions him, and to us it appeared he did so only in the context of making a larger point about the “Myth of the Arab lobby.” We do recommend reading it, not only does it provide yet another example of how Ibish wears civility like cheap makeup that quickly disappears with the slightest challenge, but it’s also very funny.
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[Ikhras Note: The following does not exhaust the many examples of Hussein Ibish “disagreeing respectfully” with Arab-Americans that do not share his political views. Readers are welcomed to submit more examples of Ibish’s past “polite, calm & reasoned conversations” or the ones he will inevitably be having in the future for continuous updating.]
Ibish on Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad
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[Ikhras Note: As we continue to advance the ikhras mission and critique “ikhras responds” will be a recurring feature in which we respond to House Arabs & Muslims commentary and views, if they can be called that, on current events and issues of importance to the community. This feature in our ongoing coverage of the establishment Arabs and Muslims will serve to highlight their subservience and ignorance, counter-defeatist tendencies, and promote discussion that goes beyond the strictly defined parameters of mainstream US political discourse. We are launching this feature with a response to an article titled “Time For Honesty About Dialogue With Israel” by anti-Arab activist and Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, Hussein Ibish.]
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“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” George Orwell
“The destruction of culture is the only clear outcome of the phenomenon of the petrol “patronage” of culture.” Mahmoud Darwish (1982)
The Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-of-the-Month Award for October, 2013 goes to UAE-based tweeter Sultan Alqassemi. In an audacious article that generated heated debate on social networking sites, Alqassemi presented the ludicrous suggestion that Arab culture has moved from its traditional capitals, Beirut, Cairo and Baghdad, to the Gulf region, specifically Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai and Doha. Alqassemi offers the laughable idea that “in almost every other sense [Gulf cities have] far outstripped their sister cities in North Africa and the Levant.” While some political commentators, like the Angry Arab, have addressed the absurdity of this premise on a domestic level, it is noteworthy to highlight Alqassemi’s glaring omission of the Gulf countries’ monstrous foreign policies towards life, art and culture in the Levant and North Africa.
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After cancelling its annual gala last year without any explanation, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) 2013 gala appears headed for failure. Unlike previous years, the two-man organization’s flagship event hasn’t generated much buzz this time around, and with only one month to go the keynote speaker remains a mystery. Previous ATFP galas in the heyday of the peace-processing industry became, along with James Zogby’s “Gibran Gala”, among the premier yearly events of the Arab-American establishment complete with US officials as “honored guests” and high-profile, war criminals as keynote speakers. This year the mood surrounding the preparations for the gala is subdued and the vapid ATFP President Ziad Asali along with his more articulate side-kick Hussein Ibish haven’t had much to say about next month’s event.
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[Ikhras Note: Maysoon Zayid’s simultaneous refusal to support BDS or any Palestine solidarity activism considered “controversial” by American mainstream standards while continuing to use the Palestinian cause as a punch line in pursuit of a mediocre career on the margins of American pop culture has led to a community backlash. Her ongoing support for the American Task Force on Palestine and her latest role as Liberal Zionists’ token Palestinian at Open Zion has reinforced the belief that for Zayid Palestine is nothing more than a personal vanity vehicle. In response to her increasing isolation from the Palestinian-American community and its supporters Zayid has resorted to fabricating a busy schedule of “comedy” shows, gigs, and tours from Ramallah to Hollywood that almost always never take place or end up being something very different than what she initially claimed. In this special guest submission ikhras friend and Southern California-based activist Tammy Obeidallah reports on Zayid’s recent visit to tinseltown.]
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Zayid At An ATFP Gala With Ziad Asali: Zayid boasts she has “never missed an ATFP gala.”
[Ikhras Note: Maysoon Zayid‘s refusal to support the BDS campaign against Israel or any Palestine solidarity activism considered “controversial” by American mainstream standards along with her support for the American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) has led to a community backlash. In this special guest submission an ikhras reader and community activist highlights her support for the ATFP and the questions swirling around the US-backed “comedian.”]
On twitter Maysoon Zayid explained why she cannot publicly comment on BDS due to the fact that the Israeli government would ban her entry to Palestine in order to work with the kids of her namesake charity, “Maysoon Kids”. For those who are not familiar with Palestine, entry to historic Palestine or West Bank is via Israel. If your destination is Gaza the entry points are Israel or Egypt—the latter is complicit with Israel so it is the same as applying for entry into Gaza from Israel.
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[ Ikhras Note: An ikhras reader and friend sent us the following letter in response to the awards committee’s decision to present the July 2013 Ikhras Shoe Of The Month (see previous post) to the group of Muslim-Americans that attended the White House iftar. Ikhras continues to welcome all feedback and encourages our readers to continue submitting their nominations for the monthly award.]
In the light of the ongoing drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the nasal forced feedings of the striking Guantanamo prisoners to the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance programs, this award represents poetic justice for those attendees of the White House iftar—slavish and complacent– who accept a few Hansel and Gretel crumbs before standing up to the United States’ record of human rights and civil rights violations.
However, there are exceptions to persons who might disagree with U.S. foreign and diplomatic policies and do not have the time to protest openly , but daily perform good deeds on behalf of the Muslim community that far outweigh any shortcomings in activism.
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