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.”
Hanania goes on to add “J Street’s annual conferences are often the only place where moderate American Arabs have been able to find a voice in support of peace and compromise.” Here Hanania himself concedes that Arab-American “moderates”, a euphemism for those who advocate for the recognition and “legitimacy” of the usurping Zionist entity in Palestine, do not and will not ever have a place among Arabs or Arab-Americans. Hanania, an outcast among the Arab-American & Palestine solidarity communities for his Zionist views and inflammatory sectarian rhetoric, felt right at home when he attended a J Street conference and seemed to have the time of his life.
Hanania, who fancies himself as some type of seasoned “strategic communications expert”, claims “Many American Arab moderate activists have become targets of the extremists, and are reluctant to speak out publicly…pro-peace activists are quickly targeted by extremists in the American Arab community who hope to silence these views.” This unverifiable claim of a mysterious, dissident faction within the Arab-American community has become common among the few Arab-American Zionists that want to convince their US audiences they’re not a fringe element within the community while simultaneously attributing to themselves the personal courage to stand up to the supposed threats preventing other less courageous Arab-Americans from expressing their own similar opinions. Hussein Ibish, Asali’s side-kick at the ATFP and an unabashedly, anti-Palestinian, US ultranationalist has been making the same unverifiable claims. To our knowledge no Arab-American has ever been harmed by supporting either faction of the pro-Israel lobby or collaborating with Zionist groups. And it certainly doesn’t take any courage. In fact, it’s the safest route an Arab-American can take, immediately earning one that coveted entry into US mainstream politics and cementing their status as one of the few “good ones” among a suspect group we all know is full of “extremists” and “fanatics.”
Hanania is not the first Arab-American to endorse and call for collaboration with the “moderate” component of the pro-Israel lobby. The omnipresent James Zogby, who also earned the Ikhras Shoe of The Month Award in part due to his own collaboration with J Street, has maintained a close working relationship with the group since its inception. His one-man shop, the Arab American Institute (also funded by Arab oil-Sheikhs), has co-sponsored numerous events with J Street. For the ATFP, on the other hand, J Street is far too “moderate”, and will likely continue working with AIPAC and The Israel Project.
Hanania and this handful of Arab-Americans are free to associate with and collaborate with whom they choose, but it is deceptive and audacious for Hanania to present the self-defeating position he and his ilk adopt as representative of a rising, brave dissident faction within the Arab community. And Hanania, Zogby, Ibish and other Arab-Americans who support liberal or right-wing Zionist organizations certainly do not have the right to speak in the name of millions of displaced Palestinians that have chosen the path of resistance over whatever short-term gains Hanania et al imagine they’ll obtain from such insidious associations. At best Hanania has a woefully shallow understanding of the history of the Palestinian struggle and at worst he cynically and opportunistically jeopardizes the just plight of a besieged people. Hanania is free to join either faction of the pro-Israel lobby if he so chooses but has no right to lecture, much less scold, Arab-Americans who believe in the justice of the Palestinian cause including the right of return to a liberated Palestine. We are the overwhelming majority of Arabs, Arab-Americans, Muslims, and most importantly, the overwhelming majority of a common humanity united by universal human values and opposed to colonialism, ethnic cleansing, racism, apartheid, and military occupation. The views of the handful of Arab-American Zionists will remain antithetical to our community and to all people who believe in the struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine. And their supporters will remain restricted to the morally and politically repugnant, and the hitherto unknown members of that mysterious, dissident faction of Arab-Americans we keep hearing about.