Ikhras Endorses Muntadhar Al-Zaidi

Ikhras Special Report: Linda Sarsour Finds A Patsy In Local Palestinian Pastor

Ikhras Shoe-Of-The-Month Award Winner – August 2017

Ziad Asali Relapsed Into Peace-Processing, Says Israel "Most Successful Model Of Modern Nation-Building"

Ray Hanania and ADC: A Combination as Perfect as Chocolate and Peanut Butter

I respectfully differ with Programmer Buydatti over at Kabobfest for calling to remove Ray Hanania from the ADC’s national board. Hanania is actually at home with ADC (or should we say “at house”?) No shock or disappointment on my part. Hanania and ADC make unauthorized concessions on behalf of the Palestinian people. They both operate within the framework of the US empire and accommodate it instead of opposing it. They both lower the bar on Arab rights. They both undermine the political standing of our people in the US and in the Arab world. They both subscribe to self-defeating, compromising positions. The fundamentals of their politics overlap. Any differences are negligible nuances no more significant than preferences of condiments on the same dish. Here are a few examples:

1) Both Hanania and ADC support the so-called two-state solution for the occupation of Palestine

The two-state solution is immoral and unjust. Nobody has the right to concede Arab property stolen in 1948 to Zionists. The Palestinians who have been waiting for over 60 years to return to their homes did not authorize Hanania or ADC to impute legitimacy to “Israel.” The fact that over 60 years have passed since the Nakba does not diminish Palestinians’ claim. All colonialisms will end no matter how long they seem to last. Just ask India, Congo and Algeria.

Hanania supports the two-state solution.

“I support two-states, one Israel and one Palestine. As far as I am concerned, I can recognize Israel’s “Jewish” character and Israelis should recognize Palestine’s “non-Jewish” character.”

While ADC has sporadically hosted speakers who raised suspicion about the viability of a two-state solution, such as Mustafa Barghouti, ADC has far more frequently demonstrated support for the two-state solution. For example:

ADC’s ex-president, Ziad Asali, has stated:

“The two- state solution addresses the legitimate fundamental fears of both people and cannot be abandoned because violent men, on either side, are allowed to exercise their veto power by unleashing their deadly wares.”

The ADC also hosted Greg Khalil: “Mr. Khalil worked on a variety of issues–including Israel’s construction of a barrier in the West Bank and Israel’s unilateral evacuation of its settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005–that might impact prospects for peace and a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

ADC reprinted a Washington Post editorial by Mahmoud Abbas in which he wrote: “poll after poll shows that a majority of the Palestinian people wants a negotiated two-state solution to our conflict with Israel”

ADC published Yousef Munayyer’s paper, which advocates for the two-state solution:

“7. The United States should work diligently for the recognition by a unified Palestinian partner and Israeli government of a two-state solution as it is the foundation for any successful peace negotiations.”

2) Both Hanania and ADC support J Street

Buydatti rightfully criticizes Ray Hanania for “[expressing] admiration for J Street, an Israeli lobbyist group.” But ADC admires J Street, too! Hanania supports J Street in writing but ADC went a step further and hosted J Street’s founder as a speaker at its 2009 convention:

“J Street Director Jeremy Ben-Ami Confirmed to Speak on Israeli/Palestinian Conflict at ADC Convention …  Jeremy Ben-Ami, is the Executive Director of J Street, a pro-Israel and pro-Peace lobby in Washington, DC.”

That is the same Jeremy Ben Ami who states “I am a Zionist personally. I am deeply committed to a Jewish home, to a democratic home, to a Jewish Israel. I’m deeply committed to that and you know my family background … we are unabashedly for a Jewish home in the land of Israel, that there should be a Jewish home that is a democracy, that has a Jewish character and a Jewish flavor and where the law of return is a fact.”

It is perplexing why an Arab civil rights organization would host a speaker who “unabashedly” subscribes to a racist ideology that, by definition, involves ethnic cleansing and expulsion of indigenous Palestinians and theft of their land, resources and culture. Kabobfest is right to call Hanania out for admiring J Street but why let ADC off the hook for doing the same thing?

3) Both Hanania and ADC condone “Saudi” meddling in Arab affairs

“Saudi” Arabia’s crimes against Field Arabs are too numerous to list. It has provided military bases from which the US raided Iraq; supported Salafi sectarianism globally; offered concessions to “Israel”; continued to pump oil to the US in spite of nearly a decade of occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq; and discriminated against its own Shiite minority, to mention a few examples. It is by no means a friend to occupied peoples. None of that has stopped Hanania or ADC from forming alliances with the House of Saud.

Hanania believes there is such thing as “moderate Saudi Arab leadership” No wonder they call him a comedian.

In a Huffington Post article titled “President Obama Did Not Bow Far Enough,” Hanania also defends Saudi Arabia in the context of King Abdullah’s meeting with Obama in 2009. “Saudi Arabia has also been a strong ally in the war on oil prices, holding down prices to help American consumers who have guzzled gasoline at outrageously cheap prices for generations”

Once again, ADC supports in deeds what Hanania supports only in words. The ADC hosted a high-profile Saudi prince, Al-Walid Bin Talal, as keynote speaker at its 2009 convention:

“at the Anniversary Gala the keynote speaker was Prince Al Walid bin Talal Al Saud, recipient of ADC’s Global Achievement Award”. ADC actually has a heritage center named after him. Heritage of what? Heritage of Arabs in the House?

4) Both Hanania and ADC support perpetrators of imperialist aggression

The US was founded on genocide of Indian tribes, slavery of African peoples and land theft. From inception to the present day, the US has raided and robbed innocent peoples and overthrown democratically elected governments from Hawaii to the Philippines, Vietnam, Panama, Haiti, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s no more consistent to oppose the war while supporting the troops than it is to oppose a rape while supporting the rapist.

So why would Arabs, who as a people have more or less been on the receiving end of US aggression, support US troops? A look at civil rights history may give us some insight. M. S. Handler wrote in June 1965 about his meeting with Malcolm X. He wrote that Malcolm “repeatedly cautioned me to beware of Negro affirmations of good will toward the white man. He said that the Negro had been trained to dissemble and conceal his real thoughts, as a matter of survival. He argued that the Negro only tells the white man what he believes the white man wishes to hear, and that the art of dissembling reached a point where even Negroes cannot truthfully say they understand what their fellow Negroes believe.” The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley. New York: Ballantine Books, 1999, xxvii, emphasis added.

Both ADC and Hanania dismiss atrocities committed by US troops in order to state such blindly loyal assurances. It would have been bad enough to ignore the history of US crimes towards other peoples. But it’s particularly puzzling of ADC to support US troops at the same time those troops are occupying Iraq, a majority Arab country last time we checked.

Hanania “served with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and in the Illinois Air National Guard.” I was unable to find evidence of Hanania renouncing his role and apologizing to the Vietnamese people, who never did the US any harm. It was a war that led MLK Jr. to call his country the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Hanania’s service is proudly displayed on his website.

So there is abundant proof that Hanania reflects, not contradicts, ADC’s values. That the ADC invited him to join the board should come as no surprise, especially since they already enjoyed a warm relationship having identified common themes. “Hanania also served in many roles with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which awarded him a Media Freedom Award in 1988 and again in 1993, including recently as a media advisor to the Chicago ADC board.”

I say to Hanania and ADC: Congratulations on embracing each other and IKHRASOO. For our non-Arabic-speaking readers, Ikhras means shut up in Arabic. The double O is for addressing the plural.

No House Arabs were harmed during the research and writing of this piece.


Let’s Meet David “Go GOP” Ramadan: An IKHRAS Political Profile


A smiling David poses proudly with the murderer of the Iraqi people

You in all likelihood never heard of this ordinary, uninspiring, run of the mill house Arab, but he’s been speaking in our name for a while now, and we think it’s time for him to IKHRAS. So allow us to introduce you to David Ramadan, a name not unlike Mustafa Rothschild, but house Arabs have a habit of substituting their Arabic name with a more English-sounding one, an exchange they consider an integral part of their assimilation process.  Anyway, David Ramadan, who is very patriotic as you can see from his blog and never leaves home without an American flag on his lapel, wrote this article, “Why I Support McCain”, at the height of the Presidential campaign back in September of 2008.   In this piece David introduces himself as a member of the Virginia delegation to the Republican National Convention and also vice-chairman of the party’s outreach work to the Arab and Muslim communities in Virginia.   In other words, we are immediately informed that David, a Republican in the era of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz will either be completely unknown to the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims or, when noticed, become a natural target of their contempt and ridicule.  It’s virtually impossible for David not to know where he stands within these communities, but for someone who sought the participation on the Virginia Republican delegation to the Republican convention, he probably doesn’t care.   These “political activists” view   the Arab or Muslim label as a gateway into American mainstream politics providing them an opportunity to participate in activities such as this once-every-four-years, meaningless American festival.  It should come as no surprise to anyone the one Arab-American who approves of David’s politics and activities is none other than James Zogby, who plays a similar role as his counterpart in the Democratic Party.  Around the same time David scribbled his unoriginal and vapid little piece, the website of Uncle Zogby’s one-man outfit featured David in an article hilariously titled “Arab-Americans on the move,” which for Mr. Ramadan appears to be a challenge both literally and metaphorically.

In discussing his background Ramadan says “I grew up recognizing the civic duty of every member of the community to be involved in politics.”  This is not true.  Ramadan according to his own website emigrated from Lebanon in 1989 where the state and civil society hardly existed during a civil war which would not end until a year later.  The savage Lebanese civil war that raged from 1975-1990, when David came of age, did not provide an environment conducive for learning about civic duty and political activism, but it’s something he thinks sounds enlightened.

Republican Politician: "Get a picture of me with Abdoolaah" David: "My name is David Ramadan Sir" Republican Politician: "Whatever"

Ramadan says his job is “educating the public about the Republican Party and also educating the Republican Party on the Arab-American and Muslim community on what we need from candidates in order to support them.”  Yes David, the Arabs and Muslims in this country really did not know what John McCain and the Republican Party stand for until you came along to explain it to them.   And can you let us know what it is you told the Republicans we “need” from them in order to support them?  And what did you actually get as far as substantive policy assurances that lead you to conclude you should support McCain and contribute almost $10,000 to his campaign? Since immigrating to the US, David has proudly supported every Republican candidate for President  including the  first war criminal named Bush to launch a war on Iraq  (who was also Vice-President in 1982 when the Marlboro man’s administration “green-lighted” and supported Israel’s summer invasion of Lebanon which lead to the killing of over 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese.  David was still there at the time)  as well as the second son of a Bush who,  following in his father’s footsteps launched an even bloodier  war on Iraq,  and was complicit in Israel’s latest barbaric onslaught on David’s native Lebanon in 2006.

Given his past behavior and personal ambitions it was only natural for this despicable Arab to support a war criminal like John McCain who made his “service” during the US war on Vietnam a defining feature of his campaign and character.  This so called American “hero” flew over 20 combat missions during operation “Rolling Thunder”, the “shock and awe” of Vietnam which killed a million Vietnamese civilians, before he was shot down and captured by the Vietnamese resistance which, incidentally, treated his wounds the same way Iraqis treated Jessica Lynch.   McCain has even referred to his Vietnamese victims as “gooks” and has unsurprisingly shown the same callous indifference to the death of Iraqis.  On several occasions during the campaign season McCain “visited” occupied Iraq and turned sites which just a few days earlier were scenes of bombings, bloodshed, and corpses into backdrops for campaign stops.   Yet all this did not bother Ramadan who set out to convince the Arab community McCain (and his kooky, Pro-Zionist, airhead running mate) were worthy of their support and vote on election day.  “Every vote counts” parrots David in the article published on Uncle Zogby’s website, and then shockingly adds “we have a social and cultural duty to our ancestry to vote.”  No we don’t you poorly performed parody.  In fact, we have a moral duty to NOT vote for war criminals that launch wars on the Arab world.   We have a duty to our ancestry and the friends and families we left behind, and to any other people who fall victim to the US industrial war machine to atleast Ikhras if we can’t stop the bombs from being dropped on their homes and loved ones.  We can only imagine the reaction of the families of the dead Iraqis and Lebanese had they heard such a reprehensible statement coming from someone claiming to be looking out for their interest half way across the world in America, but we can console ourselves with the fact they never heard of this character with his patriotic talking points driveling down without any consideration or respect for the lost lives of their innocent loved ones.

In a very sinister piece of political advice Mr. Ramadan tells Arabs and Muslims “we need to separate our ties to the homeland and foreign policy from local policies.”  When translated this means they should ignore the wars waged by the Republicans on Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan and support them anyway “because they are conservatives.”   Let’s ignore David’s stereotypical assumption all Arabs or Muslims are conservative. Yes this is the same person I quoted above as saying “we have a social and cultural duty to our ancestry to vote.”  If you’re a little confused by now, let me explain.  David believes we have a duty to our ancestry to vote, and this duty to vote is best fulfilled by voting for Republican candidates even if they are waging war on our living family and friends in the Arab world today.   Rational people, especially those with the misfortune to live in a country and belong to a group potentially targeted by those David wants us to support, would (although I concede their bias and vested interest) vehemently disagree with this baffling line of reasoning.  My ancestors are dead, and my living family and friends in the Arab world would not want me to vote for someone who may drop bombs on their cities and villages and burn their children’s flesh with white phosphorous, but I’m sure they would appreciate me marching along side other American citizens of all backgrounds in opposition to immoral wars which may prematurely lead them to join my ancestors.

Describing his thuggish candidate in glowing terms Ramadan said McCain “supports the US finishing the trouble that George Bush got the US into in Iraq.  The US should withdraw its troops from Iraq but first they need to get the job done and that job is to secure America’s interests and secure democracy in a solid Iraq.”  Trouble?   And what sort of trouble did the US get into, David?  This sounds like 200 thousand American soldiers and mercenaries involuntarily stumbled into Iraq, and, in the process of their unfortunate mishap, accidentally destroyed an entire country.  Is “trouble” an appropriate word to describe the invasion of an innocent country leading to over a million dead and over four million displaced Iraqis? And if so, how would you suggest the Iraqis describe their own plight brought about by America’s trouble? Is that what you consider “outreach” to Arabs and Muslims in the US?  Is that how you “educate” them about the Republican Party?  All we have to do is pick up the NY Times or switch our TV to CNN to read or listen to this gibberish so don’t waste your time and please spare us the clichés about “getting the job done” or “securing democracy”.  It’s insulting enough listening to it from those who wrote the talking points for you.

David also says “As an Arab, I am very worried about what would happen in Iraq if US troops withdrew today. I would anticipate genocide and civil war in Iraq if that happens.” If you were truly worried, “as an Arab”, or an American, or whoever you are spoofing at the moment, you would not have supported any war on Iraq and you would today call for the immediate withdrawal of the US occupation.  And your anticipation of “genocide” and “civil war” shows that you, in addition to the slogans and catchphrases, have adopted the white man’s burden and its accompanying paternalistic notion that Iraqis need the US to keep them from slaughtering each other.  I have news for you David:  Iraq has never seen civil strife until the Republican president you supported along with his minions and the Pro-Zionist forces decided to invade the country, dismantle its institutions, and actively stir civil strife.  As for the Genocide, that started long ago with the first Bush you supported and the US imposed sanctions and routine bombings which lasted over a decade (presided over for eight years by the Democratic Administration of Bill Clinton which the same Uncle Zogby who provided you with his imprimatur, was defending much the same way you defend the Bush’s) killing one million Iraqis prior to the 2003 invasion including five thousand children under five each month.

After explaining why Arabs and Muslims should support McCain and not Obama, David confirmed, as if we needed any confirmation, he is not seriously interested in appealing to Arabs and Muslims in this country by saying “Obama is not good for the Arab world, just as he is not good for Israel.”  Is this really an issue for our community?  Since when does anyone in our community care about what’s good for Israel?  And why should anyone care about the usurping Zionist entity?  David says this because he realizes appearing to be anti-Israel in this country will be an obstacle to participating in mainstream politics and becoming a member of the Virginia Republican Delegation, but he will never admit it, just as he will never admit his views render him an outcast in his native Lebanon, the Arab world, and among all people of conscience.

Besides proving his willingness to spit on the graves of millions of murdered Vietnamese and Arabs, David Ramadan, in just two short and silly articles, manages to discuss his Middle-School level understanding of US government, declare his devotion to Republican “values”, demonstrate his support for all of America’s wars, express his concern for the Zionist state, and demonstrate an ability to regurgitate American clichés and slogans.  Good Job David or whatever your real name is.  Now please IKHRAS!

Contributed by Thabit.

Incurable Subservience

While the Zionist lobby grants approval and disapproval of US politicians based on their respective stances towards “Israel,” the yardstick for ADC’s assessment of US politicians is anything but US policy towards Arabs suffering under imperialism.

We were initially pleasantly surprised to see no war criminals listed as guests at ADC’s convention this year. In the past it had hosted Colin Powell, for example, a few months after he presented false evidence of WMD in Iraq to the UN in 2003, and Bill Clinton, who starved and bombed Iraq for eight years and enabled the expansion of Zionist land theft. Having invited Ralph Nader, we thought perhaps ADC had decided to consider the plight of Field Arabs.

Turned out it was too good to be true. Jennifer Loewenstein, Faculty Associate of Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote recently in Counterpunch (emphasis ours):

“Halfway through his speech, Nader [keynote speaker at the ADC] noted that President Obama had been the original choice of the ADC as the keynote speaker. When I asked Dr. Safa Rifka, Chairman of the ADC’s Board of Directors, if he would verify that President Obama had been invited to address the audience that evening, Rifka responded in undisguised contempt, “Absolutely; and you can mention my name as well.” He said he himself had sent the invitation and that the White House hadn’t even bothered to reply.”

ADC obviously felt comfortable enough with Obama’s abhorrent policies to invite him. For some mysterious reason, Obama’s Cairo speech must have somehow whitewashed Obama’s crimes both abroad and domestically. If Obama’s Cairo speech was intended as propaganda, it certainly worked on the ADC. As Malcolm X told us, the whip isn’t the only tool that the slavemaster uses to subjugate the slave. The slavemaster clothes, shelters and feeds the slave. Those slaves who live in the house get impressed and feel grateful. ADC’s “undisguised contempt” surfaced only when it was given the (predictable and somewhat deserved) cold shoulder. Had Obama accepted, ADC would have received him with the same red carpet that met Clinton and Powell before him.

The ADC’s “undisguised contempt,” we hope, was not accompanied with surprise. One could say Bush tried harder than Obama to win over Muslims. Obama, after all, has had the burden of disproving he is a Muslim. On the other hand, nothing prohibited Bush from making mosque visits, dancing with Saudi kings, Keith Ellison was sworn in, and the first congress to be opened with an Islamic prayer happened during his presidency.

The way ADC decides who to invite as keynote speaker is puzzling. We would denounce Palestinians of ’48 who invite Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni or Ehud Olmert because those are Zionists leader who have killed and dispossessed innocent Arabs and stolen Arab land and resources. How exactly is the US occupation of Iraq any less criminal than the Zionist occupation of Palestine?

Can’t ADC see the futility of prostrating itself to the White House? Why does ADC subject itself to this kind of humiliation? Hasn’t Obama already made his anti-Arab, anti-Muslim politics clear enough? When will ADC learn that defiance is more useful than subservience?

UPDATE: ADC finally speaks on Helen Thomas

At the time of our first post on the House Arab and House Muslim reaction to Helen Thomas’ remarks, we noted that Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) had not yet issued a statement. ADC eventually got around to it. While the cliché goes “better late than never,” in ADC’s case it’s appropriate to say “better never than late.”

First, ADC states that it “acknowledges Ms. Thomas’ apology.” It is unclear why ADC has a position on her apology at all since it wasn’t directed to them, unless ADC was as outraged by the remarks as Zionists, the actual audience the apology was intended for. Had ADC issued an immediate, unequivocal support of Thomas as Consejo Nacional de Comunicadores Ciudadanos, Alison Weir and Gary Leupp did, she probably would’ve felt less intimidated into retracting her brave comments knowing her fellow Arab-Americans stood by her.

Second, it is clear that ADC, like the Arab-American Institute, does not support the substance of Helen’s comments and is attempting damage control. Helen Thomas is perceived as a successful Arab-American. Any strong statements she makes may reflect on other Arab-Americans including the ADC. If it disagrees with the content of the remark, ADC is bound to distance itself and wash its hands of it to avoid the mainstream’s wrath. So are we to understand that ADC does support European Jews’ appropriation of Palestinian land, the expulsion of the native inhabitants of Palestine, and the establishment of an exclusivist colonial settler state?  And does the ADC consider it immoral to ask the colonial settlers to pack and vacate the occupied homes?  Some of them, like the openly racist, Moldovan ex-nightclub bouncer-turned “Foreign Minister” of the Zionist regime, who spent most of his life outside of Palestine, over one million other former residents of the USSR have been in Palestine for less than 20 years.  And if the unprecedented and magnanimous Palestinian offer of establishing a non-racist Palestine with equality for both the indigenous population and the invading population is unacceptable to the colonial-settlers then packing and leaving is a solution they should be the first to embrace.  Besides, aren’t’ they always complaining about the “rough neighborhood”?  The opportunity to move into a better neighborhood (their greatly improved old neighborhood) might be welcomed.

Maybe the ADC Legal Department could spend its time advocating for the Palestinian right to restitution of their homes and property.  If they need help they can look to the many European Jews and non-Jews who are doing exactly that in the post-Communist Eastern European states.  And doesn’t the ADC remember that when Yassir Arafat was at Camp David negotiating, the Israelis and Americans proposed that Palestinians who have been living in refugee camps since their expulsion from their homes in 1948 “get the hell out” out of the entire region, and instead of going home, accept resettlement in various other countries in Europe, and Canada, the US, and as far as Australia?  Why was that not considered an appalling idea by the ADC, and did they issue any press releases at the time? ADC’s soft position (to put it mildly) is not surprising considering the long list of Zionism-supporting speakers the ADC has hosted in the past including Bill Clinton and Colin Powell.

Third, Helen Thomas stated her remark on May 27, 2010 (as the ADC press release affirms). ADC didn’t issue a statement until June 9, roughly two weeks later. Why the delay? It appears ADC was busy trying to find someone of the right background to quote, namely “Mr. Zool Zulkowitz, who represents American Jews defending Ms. Thomas.” If Zulkowitz hadn’t opined that Thomas meant that “Israel should cease its occupation of Palestine,” the ADC might have never found the courage to issue a press release on Thomas. Known as vociferous defenders against anti-Semitism, the most pressing problem in America right now, ADC may have outright condemned her.

Finally, ADC agrees that “Ms. Thomas should be judged on her ’50-plus years of probing journalism, and not on a 30-second sound bite'”. ADC wants people to remember the career, not the remark. It is probably safe to say that for Palestinian refugees, (the vast majority of which never heard of this American organization which has no right to play politics with their inalienable rights), suffering under wretched conditions for the last 60-plus years, the comment will most certainly be remembered more than the lifetime of journalism. Between demanding the restoration of land to its rightful owners v. posing questions to the presidents of the world’s greatest purveyor of violence, there is little room left for doubt as to which will resonate more with Field Arabs. If ADC couldn’t find it in itself to support Helen Thomas, and defend the morality and legitimacy of her suggestion, it could’ve at least IKHRAS!

Our offer stands. Next next time ADC invites Helen Thomas, Ikhras readers get a hookah on the house.

House Arabs Only Defend Speech That Doesn’t Offend Zionists

By now, many people have heard about the repercussions of Helen Thomas’ comment:

“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine […] Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land; it’s not German, it’s not Poland’s… “they should go home” to “Poland, Germany, […] America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries?”

As can be expected, this remark led to a firestorm. Thomas apologized and subsequently retired from her long career. Her agency dropped her and an invitation to give the commencement speech at a Maryland high school was withdrawn.

Public reaction aside, let’s take a close look at the substance of what she said. She simply called for the decolonization of the Arab land of Palestine in the same sense that Algeria was decolonized of the French. She demanded the reversal of the historical wrong of settler colonialism. Her comment didn’t advocate for any kind of violence. In fact, she didn’t even demand that the Jewish settler community be “removed” or “expelled.” She only advocated that they “leave,” which implies a voluntary act.

Helen Thomas is not the first to note that all Palestine is Arab land. Gandhi stated:

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.”

Even if we were assume for the sake of argument that Thomas’ comment was beyond the pale, doesn’t the First Amendment apply to her? Or does the Arab-American establishment only defend speech that doesn’t offend Zionists? The Arab-American leadership’s reactions to Thomas ranged from deafening silence to outright condemnation. It’s been three days since the controversy erupted. That’s plenty of time for anyone outraged by the attacks on Helen Thomas to voice objection and show solidarity.

American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Although ADC had honored Helen Thomas in the past and hosted her as a speaker, the line was drawn at her remark. As of the date of this writing, ADC has issued no press releases defending Thomas’ fundamental right to free speech, not to mention the Palestinians’ right to full decolonization of their land. Neither did we receive as little as an internal email on ADC’s list encouraging members to stand by their brave fellow Arab. If ADC invites her back to speak or receive awards in the future, Ikhras readers will each receive a free hookah.

Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The classical Islamic position is that Palestine is Islamic land, that Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam from which the Prophet took a voyage to the heavens. Palestine obviously carries much weight with Muslims, observant and secular alike. However, CAIR has said nothing in solidarity with Helen Thomas. She might have won CAIR’s support if she were a rabbi.

Hussein Ibish: Nothing.

American Task Force on Palestine: A search for “helen thomas” reveals no relevant results.

Irshad Manji: Nothing.

American Islamic Forum for Democracy: Nothing.

Arab American Institute: We can understand Arab and Muslim groups’ reluctance to support Helen Thomas. Her comment, after all, offends Zionists in the same way slavemasters would be offended when called upon to free their slaves. Silence regarding Helen Thomas’ right to express an opinion, while not excusable, is understandable. So why would any Arab-American want to join the mob that is attacking her? In what the Arab American Institute’s James Zogby thinks is damage control, he volunteers that “Helen Thomas clearly misspoke,” that “It is a shame that her career ends this way” and that her remark was a “mistake.” Zogby could have stopped there but he went on to compare her remark to Rush Limbaugh’s “disgraceful and insulting comments about African Americans, gays, Muslims, and women” and “Pat [Robertson’s] bizarre pronouncements connecting the devastation of Katrina or Ariel Sharon’s stroke with God’s justice”.  Why is Zogby pouring gasoline on fire? Isn’t that the ADL‘s role? Would Zogby say it’s right and moral to impose the Jews on the Arabs? Does he in fact believe Palestine is German or Polish land? James, if you can’t support Helen Thomas’ right to free speech, at least IKHRAS!

While the Arab and Muslim American mainstream demonstrably failed to stand up for their fellow Arab-American’s right to express an opinion, we note that at least one Mexican-American group has succeeded where House Arabs have failed. This group’s solidarity with Helen Thomas is remarkable considering the Mexican-Americans community has enough to deal with; the struggle in light of the recent Arizona SB 1070 law. The below was forwarded to us on emaill:

On the day we in Mexico celebrate the Day of Freedom of Expression, Helen Thomas, a bright and daring journalist who until yesterday, had been reporting for the Hearst network of newspapers such as The San Francisco Chronicle, among others, and a reporter who before being forced out occupied one of the first seats at the press conference room of the White House, was fired or, as the current Chairman of the corporation put it:  “presented her resignation…” only for voicing her thoughts in regards to the criminal assault of the Israeli army against 19 human rights activists in the Mediterranean Sea that were in route to the Gaza Strip to carry humanitarian aid to the Palestine People.Besides the violation to one of the most sacred liberties a human being has such as the right of free expression, Helen Thomas was obligated to resign to her job, one she had been performing with brilliance and dignity for more than 50 years, and for this reason we affirm:  WE ARE ALL HELEN THOMAS, AND WHAT HAS BEEN DONE AGAINST HER HAS BEEN DONE AGAINST ALL OF US!

Patricia Barba Avila
Directora General del Consejo Nacional de Comunicadores Ciudadanos, A.C. (CONACC)
Titular del programa Desde la raíz transmitido por Radio La Nueva República todos los martes y viernes de 19 a 21 (hora del Pacífico) y de 21 a 23 (hora del Centro) [ingresar a Google y teclear Radio La Nueva República)
Jueza para el Tribunal Internacional de Conciencia (TIC) – Foro Social Mundial (FSM)

What the Muslim-American Establishment Fights For

If I may sound so callous, allow me to admit that I don’t really care about recent approval of building a mosque near Ground Zero (that’s New York’s ground zero for the purposes of this article, not Baghdad’s or Kabul’s). Aside that this step will anger islamophobes, which is always a good thing, I see nothing to celebrate.

I would be impressed if the mosques that were destroyed in Al-Lid and Palestine 48 were rebuilt for Nakba survivors to pray in, or if the mosques of Iraq that were destroyed during the US invasion and occupation were restored.  However, I fail to see the point of pouring much time and energy into gaining legal and political permits to build a mosque near the site of an event that happened on 9/11/2001, in retaliation for which around 2 million Muslims have been killed between Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan and other sites of the so-called war on terrorism. How will the building of a mosque near Ground Zero alleviate the grief of 2 million Muslim families that have lost loved ones? How will it protect Muslims from the empire’s claws? What role will it play in defanging the US war machine? Will Abu Ghraib survivors’ psychological scars heal? Will this mosque help dispossess Afghani and Iraqi refugees feel safe enough to return home?

Let’s examine what interests will be served. What will Muslims get out of the establishment of a mosque at ground zero? A place to pray at most. And it’s not like there was a shortage of mosques in New York. Indeed, one Muslim who advocated for the building of the mosques stated there were already 200 mosques in New York, so building one at ground zero won’t be a big deal. Any attempt to enhance political standing in the US discredits the entire mosque effort islamically, as the intention (niyyah) behind building a mosque or performing any deed should be made exclusively for pleasing God.

What will the US get out of the establishment of a mosque at ground zero?

1) A PR cover for its war of terrorism against Muslims. The US couldn’t possibly be islamophobic if it builds a mosque near ground zero, right? The best cover for intolerance and xenophobia is building a mosque at ground zero at a time when many Muslims still linger in Guantanamo, many millions live under military occupation, and many Americans approve of Arizona-style immigration enforcement.

2) An opportunity to spy on Muslim congregants. One of the projects sponsors has stated “We have worked to ensure that our mosques are not recruiting grounds for terrorists.” How can that possibly be accomplished without violations of civil liberties? Will people get interrogated about their politics on their way in to prayers? Will there be security cameras installed in the mosque? Will the imam’s Friday sermons be surveilled? Will congregants be required to submit personal data for “record-keeping” purposes? Will phonecalls going in and out of the mosque be monitored? Now that the Muslim American establishment feels indebted to the US for granting it land (it had stolen from Native Americans) to build a mosque on, can you picture Muslims refusing civil liberties intrusions in the name of security at such a sensitive location?

3) A distraction to keep Muslim Americans tied up in the perpetual task of chasing after acceptance in the US instead of engaging in the far more pressing priority of working to end the occupations of three majority-Muslim countries (Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine).

What more could the US ask for? I can’t see what the Tea Party and other islamophobes are fuming about.

Mark my words: the ground zero mosque will be a breeding ground for ikhras-worthy events. Muslims will host US presidents, US National Security Advisers and other such war criminals there. Friday sermons will consistently fail to criticize US foreign policy. Muslim-American soldiers will pray there before getting deployed to participate in the empire’s crimes abroad. Groups like “Seeds of Peace” will use the mosque as a site to engage in useless negotiations between Zionists and Palestinians. The FBI and DHS will hold sessions to learn “Muslim culture” to look more politically correct when detaining and deporting Muslims.

Incidentally, it is remarkable to note how victimized the citizens of the world’s only superpower feel; they’re viewing this event with the same sense of bitterness and irony with which Palestinians view the building of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum near the ruins of Deir Yasin, where a horrific massacre took place in 1948.

Contributed by Ikhras writer Kathim.

ADC Congratulates Muntadhar Zaidi as “Arab of the Year” – Not!

The Press Release They Failed to Issue

House Arabs and House Muslims constantly display disorganized priorities. Malcolm X told us that the House Negro values the food the masta throws him while the Field Negro plots for escape from his wretched conditions (see the Ikhras mission statement for a video of Malcolm’s explanation). Below is a satirical spin on a joyful press release issued by the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee on Rima Fakih, a young Lebanese-American woman who won the Miss USA beauty pageant. We observe that the ADC failed to show any excitement about a far more important event, Muntadhar Zaidi’s hurling his shoes at George W. Bush. “The Press Release They Failed to Issue” will be a regular feature on Ikhras.

ADC Congratulates Muntadhar Zaidi as “Arab of the Year”

Washington, DC | May 17, 2010 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) extends its wholehearted congratulations to Mr. Muntadhar Zaidi, who was crowned “Arab of the Year” in Dearborn, Michigan for his heroic action of throwing his shoe at President George W. Bush, Commander in Chief of war on Iraq and five years of US occupation.  His brave act was greatly appreciated by Arab-Americans, and all anti-war Americans from all backgrounds who have rallied behind the Arab community in opposing this immoral and illegal war on an innocent country.

Last year, Mr. Zaidi had competed against 50 other contestants, including James Zogby, Hussein Ibish, Ziad Asali, Dahlia Mujahid and John Abizaid for the prestigious recognition of Arab of the Year.  He will spend the next year traveling the globe to promote a shelter he will build in Baghdad to help war widows and orphans.

ADC President, Ms. Sara Najjar-Wilson, stated that, “we are very proud of Muntadhar Zaidi. He is a very brave as well as a very selfless young man.  We are elated by his success, and are confident that he will honor all Arabs and the anti-war movement in the US in representing the United States in the global “Best Revolutionary Competition.”

Muntadhar, who is 31-years old, is a journalist with Al-Baghdadia news channel.  His contempt for the occupation of his homeland, Iraq, intensified during reporting on countless Iraqi martyrs killed by US occupation.  After his reign, Muntadhar aspires to liberate Arab lands from the Euphrates to the sea.

ADC wishes Muntadhar much success and happiness as Mr. Arab, and extends to him our continued best wishes in all his future endeavors.


The actual press release ADC issued:

ADC Congratulates Rima Fakih as Miss USA 2010


Washington, DC | May 17, 2010 | www.adc.org| The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) extends its wholehearted congratulations to Ms. Rima Fakih of Dearborn, Michigan, who was crowned Miss USA 2010 last night at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  You can read more about Ms. Rima Fakih, who is of Lebanese descent, by visiting the links to the following articles:

The Detroit News: Dearborn woman crowned Miss USA

NY Daily News: Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010 winner: Lebanon-born Miss Michigan is first Arab-American to take crown

Last night, Rima competed against 50 other contestants, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Rima will go on to compete for the title of Miss Universe this summer.  She will spend the next year traveling the globe to promote the Miss Universe organization.

ADC President, Ms. Sara Najjar-Wilson, stated that, “we are very proud of Rima Fakih.  She is a very intelligent as well as a very beautiful young woman.  We are elated by her success, and are confident that she will honor all Americans in representing the United States in the Miss Universe Pageant.”

Rima, who is 24-years old, is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, earning a degree in Economics and Business Management.  She began competing in beauty pageants while in college, as a way to earn scholarship money.  After her reign, Rima aspires to attend law school.

ADC wishes Rima much success and happiness as Miss USA, and extends to her our continued best wishes in all her future endeavors.