Tag Archive for ADC

Thank Tolerant War Criminals

Park51 continues to serve its house function; leading Muslims away from the urgent priorities of opposing the occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine and shifting Muslims’ attention to pleading for recognition from the empire and expressing gratitude for its acknowledgement of their legal rights. A number of recent examples on how the Arab-American and Muslim-American “leadership” encourages the Arab and Muslim communities to ignore Zionist politicians’ war crimes and thank them for consenting the establishment of an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan.

Arab American Institute grateful to Dubya’s administration

James Zogby’s one-man outfit, the Arab American Institute, praises members of the criminal administration of George W. Bush.  Afghanistan destroyed, over a million dead Iraqis, 4 million displaced, unflinching support for Israel throughout the second intifada and the Gaza massacre, yet the AAI praises them for “repudiating anti-Muslim rhetoric” instead of working to send them to the Hague.

Muslim Public Affairs Council flattered for acknowledgement of constitutional rights

MPAC is very grateful to Obama and Bloomberg’s “visionary and principled leadership” for supporting “religious freedom.” They are deeply indebted to Bloomberg and Obama for recognizing the US Constitution applies to Muslims.  Obama’s continued bombing of Afghan civilians and Bloomberg’s fanatical support for Israel should be ignored. Afghanis certainly understand that New York City, scarce in prayer locations, needs a Muslim community center. Future politicians can learn from this that the easiest way to shield yourself from accountability for butchering Muslims, the best way to eliminate opposition from the Muslim-American community, is to simply affirm the constitutionality of the obviously constitutional.

The ADC wants you to call and “thank voices of tolerance”

Many of these voices of “tolerance” are militant supporters of Israel’s crimes.  When you do call them, no mention of their support of the ongoing siege of Gaza should made.  It’s not important and it might upset them.  Naturally Michael Bloomberg is on the list. It’s not a bad deal. As long as you end up with a spot to pray in Lower Manhattan, you can ignore Bloomberg’s support of the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which Haaretz documented:

Speaking at a press conference in Ashkelon, the Jewish mayor said that if he was the State of Israel, he would do anything to defend his residents, and they would expect no less from him.

Bloomberg added that New Yorkers have suffered from terror on only two occasions, but they knew all about it, and that since Ashkelon has been under attack every day since Israel left Gaza, it has the right to defend itself.

Stressing the deep ties with Israel, the mayor said that both US President George Bush and President-elect Barack Obama gave legitimacy for the Gaza operation.

Bloomberg continued to say that the situation in the region was one in which Hamas terrorists wished to destroy Israel, and at the same time were destroying Palestinians who are not interested in war.

Surely the people of Gaza can understand our need to support Mayor Bloomberg. What are 1,400 deaths compared to an Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan?

Ray Hanania also wants to thank Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s support of Israel’s slaughtering of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing siege is a minor detail that should not deflect attention from his noble position on the Park 51 project according to this Arab-American comedian. Once again, Hanania’s politics are more laughable than his jokes.

Arab Americans, Muslims Americans nostalgic for George Bush

Bush would visit mosques and differentiate between terrorists and non-terrorist Muslims, although he killed a lot more of the latter than the former. A letter signed by Arab and Muslim Republicans stated:

As you know, our party has had a long history of inclusion – beginning with our great President Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership on the slavery issue was monumental, and continuing through President George W. Bush whose public statements and actions on the differentiation between Islam and the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were critically important. We are particularly proud to note that President Bush appointed more Arab Americans and Muslim Americans to his administration than any other president in U.S. history.

CAIR New York wants you to thank Mayor Bloomberg

If American Muslims continue to thank Mayor Bloomberg at this rate, he will have to expand his staff size and add at least one full time staffer (possibly even Muslim) to accept calls from Muslims expressing their gratitude.

“Lame, Elitist Agenda”

Ikhras reader Hoda sent us the following:

Lately the ADC has been spamming inboxes with the following pathetic email. There is nothing sadder than seeing them co-opt the language of progressive social movements to serve their lame, elitist agenda. The last time I checked, collecting money from rich Arabs doesn’t exactly qualify as “organizing.”

She makes a good point. Ikhras does not recommend donating to the ADC.  It is money wasted.  Better to contribute to a fund for Palestinian or Iraqi refugees.  Besides the ADC gets enough money from Arab oil-Sheiks.

Thank you, Hoda.

An urgent appeal from Ikhras to Arab-American students: 10 Questions to ask before applying for an internship with the ADC

ADC Fall Fellowship and Internship Opportunities in Washington, DC!

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is seeking interns and fellows for the upcoming fall semester.  The internship will be held in Washington, DC, at the ADC headquarters located in the historic district of Georgetown.”

One of our readers has brought to our attention the above announcement the ADC has been circulating through email. We strongly discourage all Arab-American students from working with this lousy organization which is not representative of the Arab community nor any significant constituency within it.   College years are among the best years of our lives.  It is a time of learning, growth, and development.  It is a period where we seek knowledge and understanding of the vast world we live in while searching within ourselves for that which is important to our personal lives.  It is during this college quest when we mature politically and develop the values that remain with us for a lifetime.  We can’t think of a worst organization than the ADC for a young and energetic student to waste valuable time with during this important and special stage of life.

If serving and empowering the Arab community is your goal this is not the organization you want to be affiliated with.   If you are a motivated political activist who cares about the issues and challenges facing our community, society, and world then you must not waste your energy with this elitist and corrosive organization.  We strongly urge college students to channel their efforts towards more fruitful political activism. You can do so by joining anti-war organizations, issue oriented groups such Al-Awda, or boycott campaigns against Israel, along with human rights groups, and a variety of other student organizations on your campuses. If none exist than take the initiative and begin one yourself with other like-minded students.

As wars and occupation continue in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Zionist entity intensifies its efforts to solidify its colonial project in Palestine, Gaze remains under siege, civil rights remain under attack, and anti-Arab racism and Muslim xenophobia goes mainstream, this is not the time to waste any of our human resources on this failed organization.  If defeating Zionism, bringing wars to an end, promoting civil and human rights, and empowering the Arab community are your goals you will be greatly disappointed with your experience at the ADC.  It has a well established 30-year record of failure and disappointments which should be more than enough to dissuade you from wasting one afternoon applying for an internship, let alone an entire summer or semester working there.

We strongly advise you to utilize your time and energy in the interest of a community, society, and world that needs dedicated and concerned individuals more than ever.  We strongly discourage you from pursuing such an illusory opportunity which is a waste of both your personal potential and our community’s assets and human resources.  If you feel you might still want to give the ADC a chance by applying for an internship at the ADC headquarters in Washington DC, we would like to provide you with a series of questions to contemplate and ask during your interview for the internship position:

1)      Will I have to visit Congress and shake the hands of Pro-Israel members who finance the Zionist colonization of Palestine and Israeli wars on Arabs?

2)      Will I have to attend or participate in any ADC events where war criminals like Colin Powell are invited to speak?

3)      Will I have to attend or participate in any events where representatives of Pro-US Arab tyrannies will be guests of “honor” because the building I will be working in was partially financed by them or they made other financial donations?

4)      Do I have to stand and applaud every time an American politician generously concedes not all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists or makes other politically correct statements?

5)      During my work period at the ADC will I be able to openly condemn US Imperialism and warmongering at ADC events?

6)      During my work period at the ADC will I be asked to visit any embassy or meet with an ambassador of any Pro US Arab tyranny?

7)      I do not support Zionism or the “right” of the Zionist entity to exist.  I support the liberation of Palestine, and the Palestinian right of return.  Will I be able to express these common sense political positions at ADC events?

8)      I adhere to a complete boycott of the Zionist entity and all Zionist groups.  Will I be expected to participate in events where Zionist groups such as J-Street will participate?

9)      I read that Ray Hanania has joined the ADC National Board.  As an intern would I have to talk to him?

10)     What is the difference between a Banquet and a gala?

God approves of ADC

American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) is excited that the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) has opened up a new channel of income for it: “sadaka” (sic). On July 19, 2010 FCNA issued a fatwa (religious opinion) that ADC is eligible to receive this form of Islamic charity.

This fatwa is problematic and offensive to Islamic sensibilities on many levels. First, the ADC does not deserve Muslims’ money. The ADC has consistently undermined the struggle for Muslim rights both in the US and abroad. It has invited war criminals who have Muslims’ blood on their hands, most notably Bill Clinton and Colin Powell.

It should come as no surprise that FCNA issued this fatwa. FCNA, like its sister affiliate ISNA, gives more priority to giving a Muslim face to American empire than to mobilize its membership to throw a wrench in the imperialist war machine. It is insulting to the Islamic religion to use fatwa-granting authority to reward ADC opportunists. The ADC, FCNA and ISNA have kept the bar of the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities’ activism low. Instead of mobilizing people on the grassroots level to stand up for themselves and their oppressed brethren abroad, these groups have encouraged spinelessness and cowardice.

It has become unimaginable that Muslims and Arabs in the US react to their own oppression or to massacres in Afghanistan and Iraq the way African-Americans, for example, conducted the civil rights movement in the sixties. Maneuvered by a collaborating leadership, the Arab and Muslim American communities rarely do sit-ins, civil disobedience, boycotts or uprisings no matter how many bombs rain on innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians.

Arab and Muslim communities in the US have faced civil liberties violations, arbitrary detentions, ethnic profiling and islamophobia. Discussion of those practices are beyond the scope of this article. Our focus is on the community’s leadership, which has not helped to meaningfully confront these troubling measures. The community generally has learned to be scared, to hide in the shadows pending the empire’s approval of the limitations of its discourse and activism. If and when Arab and Muslim Americans are politically active, the majority of their actions do not threaten the status quo. They are encouraged to write letters to politicians, to “yalla vote” and to lobby, repressing the dignified outrage that they could and should sense at massacres committed by the US government.

ADC instills in Arab children at a very young age to engage in these futile, self-delusional practices “Suggest ways that s/he can help from here in the U.S.: writing letters to officials calling for the end of the war, raising money for anti-war and humanitarian organizations, volunteering for a local organization are some ideas”; “Children can also write to the President [and other elected officials] asking for a speedy end to the war so American troops can return home.”

The ADC gives Arabs and Muslims the impression that a right is a favor they should thank their masters for, not something they inherently deserve:

“We commend the statements of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell and the numerous senators and members of Congress who have cautioned against attempts to stigmatize the Arab-American and American Muslim communities or blame them for this tragedy.”

While ADC occasionally objects to clear-cut cases of racism, its “positive” efforts only aim to apply a façade of political correctness to make things slightly more comfortable for itself in the House.  Rather than speaking the community’s conscience, the ADC has applauded enemies of humanity for crumbs they have thrown to Arab and Muslim causes. For example:

“ADC Applauds Blair’s Support for a Palestinian State”

“ADC Hails President Bush on Palestinian State”

“ADC Welcomes Secretary Powell’s Statement that the Occupation Must End”

“ADC Welcomes Bush Call For Ending Israeli Offensive, Endorses Powell Mission”

“ADC Welcomes Administration Commitment to Palestinian Statehood”

“The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes comments from President Bush and Secretary of State Powell that distance the Administration from continuing anti-Islam remarks made by several evangelical leaders.”

Is FCNA aware that the ADC supported US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, a majority Muslim country:

“The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today expressed support for actions by the United States to bring to justice the criminals behind the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, DC”

Is FCNA aware that the ADC hosted Colin Powell a mere four months after presenting a false case to the United Nations about non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to propagate for a war that has killed over a million Iraqis to date?

Does FCNA know that the ADC hosted Bill Clinton at its 2009 convention, one of the most pro-Israeli presidents in history, who had also sanctioned Iraq for eight years? What did FCNA think was Islamic about that?

One could understand FCNA’s approval of the ADC had it, say, organized an Arab-American, Muslim-American strike against the wars and occupations. Or had it organized its interns to do civil disobedience at the White House. Or had it declared a moratorium on working with US administrators, legislators and government branches until Arab and Muslims’ civil liberties are fully respected.

Another reason this fatwa is unwarranted is that the ADC already receives ample funding from US allies, Gulf oil sheikhs. “Prince Alwaleed [bin Talal Al Saud] donated $2.6million toward the purchase of ADC‘s present National headquarters.” Muslim American’s money is better donated to people who are actually disenfranchised and who receive no funding from rich, undemocratic US allies.

Ikhras issues the following counter-fatwa:

It is haram (forbidden) to donate to the ADC until such time that it:
1) ceases to host and engage with war criminals;
2) apologizes to the Afghani, Iraqi and Palestinian people for undermining their causes;
3) ceases to express gratitude for common sense, politically correct statements by politicians;
4) ceases to receive funding from Gulf Arabs and other such undemocratic entities.

To the Health of Palestine’s Starving Children!

One of the first articles ever uploaded to Ikhras involved our opinion of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. We still don’t care about the mosque but it’s been interesting to see arguments unfolding on both sides of the debate. It’s specially amusing to note how it really brings out the “house” in some people.

Ikhras recently indicated that House Muslims like Ahmad Bedier’s United Voices for America were a little too excited about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi’s congratulating Muslims on Ramadan. Not to be out-housed, the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) also joined the grateful chorus by thanking Obama for “his stance on religious freedom” at the White House Ramadan dinner earlier this month. Like UVA, ADC also provided a convenenient online form for users to easily send e-gratitude. Readers are welcome to revisit our analysis of why this eagerness to express gratitude is a bit silly; we won’t reiterate here. 

Muslims dining at the White House

Hijabs and beards at the White House. What more could Muslims possibly desire?

ADC was sure to highlight that Obama’s comments were heard in person by its president Sarah Najjar-Wilson, who was a guest at the White House Ramadan dinner. For a House Muslim or House Arab to be hosted at the White House (no pun intended) is a dream come true no matter how vile the President’s politics. Ongoing wars on Muslims need to be put on the backburner while more important Muslims stuff their faces inside the citadel of power.

Not only does an invitation to this feast indicate elite social status but it is politically and legally significant. As a witty Ikhras reader stated, the guest list constitutes the entirety of the official list of Muslims and Arabs who are not on a government terrorist watchlist.

In its excitement, ADC ignored coverage from a source as easily accessible as the online New York Times, which indicated Obama may not be as supportive of the Ground Zero mosque as House Arabs and Muslims would like to think. Ali Abunimah provides this excellent analysis. We  encourage readers to check out Abunimah’s piece in its entirety and we reprint the following insightful excerpt:

What I think is really going on is that at first Mr. Obama did want to say that he supported the Cordoba House project in lower Manhattan, but is retreating — as I expected he would. Or perhaps he wants some people to think he is supporting the initiative, while being able to tell others that he isn’t.

If Obama is just upholding the First Amendment, that is certainly commendable, but let us not pretend he is adding very much to the debate or taking a particularly courageous stand. Has it really come to this that we stand in awe when the President of the United States says he supports the most basic tenets of the Bill of Rights? (I guess so since so many others are flouted). But in fact very few people have challenged the right of the Cordoba Initiative to build its community center on the property it owns in lower Manhattan. The ADL’s Abe Foxman acknowledged that right and even Sarah Palin did not challenge the right. 
For House Arabs and House Muslims, the only regrettable aspect of the White House iftar was the Israeli ambassador’s absence. We’re too afraid to research how many House Muslims and Arabs perceived that scheduling as a deliberate effort on Obama’s part to favor Muslims and alienate Zionists. Regardless, if ADC National was polite and courteous enough to thank Obama for his Ramadan greetings despite his strangulation of Afghanis and Pakistanis, when ADC opens an office someday in Tel Aviv it will surely thank Netanyahu for his Ramadan greetings despite his strangulation of Gaza.
Finally, a picture, especially if drawn by the late Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, is worth a million words:

"In solidarity with the children of the camps who are dying of hunger and thirst. To their health!" Image courtesy of najialali.com

So much collaboration, so little time

Housies™ (that’s a new term I just coined to conveniently refer to “House Arabs and House Muslims”) are usually prompt to voice their opinions regarding non-urgent matters, petty issues and non-newsworthy news. Behold the examples:

Without missing a beat and in spite of limited resources, ADC promptly expresses solidarity with other communities. For instance, it condemned an attack on a Holocaust museum the same day it occurred. “The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation‘s largest Arab-American civil and human rights organization, is appalled by the shooting that took place earlier today at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.” ADC also gave Ann Coulter a scolding within a mere 24 hours of her anti-Semitic remarks on CNBC.

The ADC congratulated Barack Obama for his (undeserved) Nobel Peace Prize on the same day it was awarded him. Incidentally, the prompt compliment didn’t pay off, as Obama later didn’t even respond to ADC’s invitation to deliver the keynote speech at its 2010 convention (that convention story has nothing to do with the main point of this article; I just enjoy recounting it).

You can also count on the Housies to condemn and denounce evil Arabs and Muslims before they even get to trial, much less get found guilty. ADC proclaimed its outrage at Nidal Hassan’s actions at Ft. Hood on the same day they occurred. It also took the ADC only 24 hours to condemn Farouk Abdulmuttalib and offer assistance to the FBI.

ADC commended Obama’s hollow speech to the Muslim world on the same day he gave it: “The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee commends remarks delivered by the President of the United States in a historic speech on U.S. relations with the Arab and Muslim World this morning in Cairo.” Not to be out-prompted, Council on American Islamic Relations CAIR was also on top of it. But the winner on this one was James Zogby’s Arab American Institute, which celebrated the speech before Obama even gave it.

To nip in the bud all chances of the resurrection of Nazism, CAIR promptly waged war against a license plate that indicated support for a regime that was defeated in 1945. It also stood by Rabbi Michael Lerner the same day his house was attacked.

In matters concerning Arab liberation and self-determination, the Housies are faster than speeding bullets. ADC and AAI instantly congratulated Miss USA winner Rima Fakih within hours of her crowning.

These are just a few select samples. There is much more evidence that indicates the Housies (or more precisely, their interns/minions to whom all the work is forked out) are on top of their game. Nobody beats them in engaging in the non-controversial; affirming the obvious; seeking the empire’s approval; and punctually spitting out press releases about the mundane and the irrelevant.

Whether they’re distancing themselves from bad Arabs and Muslims, combating anti-Semitism or congratulating warmongers for receiving peace awards, the Housies could single handedly put to rest the stereotype that Arabs and Muslims are never on time.

Indeed, House Arabs and House Muslims are like superheroes arriving at the speed of lightning to the rescue of sensitive Zionists, warmongering politicians and beauty queens.

It’s a bird!

It’s a plane!

It’s a Housie!

Of course, even the most invincible superheroes will experience occasional delays and postponements, especially when it involves actual damsels in distress. These situations arise when it’s time to resist racism and stand up for Arabs and Muslims whom the empire blacklists. We’d shared with you the Housies’ reluctance to defend Helen Thomas when she suggested the reversal of settler colonialism in Palestine. ADC eventually uttered words of damage control nearly two weeks later while most other Housies kept their silence.

Once again, the Housies have recently expressed their disinclination to stand up for even their own fellow Housies. Think Octavia Nasr. See this timeline:

July 4, 2010: Just like her fellow Housies, Octavia is punctual. She promptly tweets words of respect about Fadlallah on the same day he passes away.

July 6, 2010: Zionist groups, including Simon Weisenthal Center and American Jewish Committee, notice the tweet and immediately take action. Octavia mumbles damage control on the same day (once again, she’s punctual).

July 7, 2010: CNN fires Octavia.

July 8, 2010: Ikhras editors feel smug because these events prove the Ikhras mission statement. After publishing their opinions on Octavia’s firing, Ikhras editors kick back and wait to see what the Housies will say in her defense.

July 11, 2010: Ikhras editors still waiting for Housies’ statement condemning CNN’s racist, Zionist-induced decision. Thabit starts wondering if Zool Zulkowitz, the Jewish guy ADC proudly cited in its Helen Thomas press release, is on summer vacation at an undisclosed location without cellphone reception.

July 15, 2010: Ikhras editors start to get really bored. They go as far as watching James Zogby’s show Viewpoint to keep entertained.

July 22, 2010: Crickets still heard chirping in House hallways. Ikhras decides to hold its breath no longer.

Although Nasr is Christian, CAIR and ISNA should have been interested because the person she caused a firestorm about was Muslim. The incident was right up ADC’s alley. Ray Hanania could’ve shown some solidarity. We also note the silence of the Lebanese American Organization, Dahlia Mojahid, Hussein Ibish, American Task Force on Palestine, David Ramadan and Taghreed Khodary.

Walid Shoebat, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, Zuhdi Jasir and Wafa Sultan may detest Octavia’s sentiments but shouldn’t they support democratic values at CNN if they’re as infatuated with Western democracy as they say they are?

In fairness, I worry that Ikhras may have played a role in the Housies’ appalling silence regarding the Octavia affair. So let me say this to avoid any future confusion. By “ikhras”, which means “shut up,” we did not mean keep your silence about Arabs who get fired for offending Zionists!

Ray Hanania and The ADC: TAKE 2

Recently, we at IKHRAS congratuled Ray Hanania on his appointment to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s (ADC) National Board, and came out in support of the ADC’s decision to confirm him.  We also stated why we support his appointment and provided a list of compatibility factors as complete and thorough as MATCH.COM.  In response we received a note from Hanania which stated the following:

“The biggest problem in the Arab World and the American Arab community is the lack of tolerance for differing opinions. There is no debate about the issues, it is always about personality. You don’t like my view, you attack me. That attitude and culture of intolerance has helped to weaken the ability of Palestinians to fight for their rights.”

Thanks for commenting
Ray Hanania

Of course our first article did indeed address the issues; in fact we numbered them, and pointed out that Hanania’s positions are very compatible with the ADC, thus, our approval of the marriage. Since we left Hanania unsatisfied we decided to take an even closer look, and,  in doing so, reaffirmed his views are worthy not of debate, but of rebuke. We think IKHRAS readers will agree.

For those who don’t know Hanania, he is a journalist and comedian, and it’s not always certain which role he is playing at any given moment.  He has a regular column in the Jerusalem Post, the right-wing Zionist rag which also regularly features Daniel Pipes’ hateful rants, their pictures often appearing together in the Op-Eds section as they are now.  As we will see Hanania has been well on his way to “normalization”, not only with Zionism, but with its most extreme elements.  His stand-up comedy routines which I forced myself to watch (a difficult, and at moments, even nauseating task) were very unfunny.  The choice of subject matter for his material (airplanes, terrorism, profiling and humous) was as predictable as his telegraphed punch lines, and when combined with his terrible timing makes for very lame performances.  I rewarded myself for my endurance and recuperated with a couple of performances by Duraid Laham and George Carlin who reminded me just how funny, insightful and provocative political satire and stand-up comedy can be.

Hanania’s choice of topics for his presumably more serious commentaries is also limited.  Naturally, the Arab-Zionist conflict tops the list, but after reading his collection in the Jerusalem Post what we found was largely endless blathering about a distinctly mainstream American (authorized) version of the conflict in Palestine.  Before we get to Palestine for which there is an abundance of material, we did find a couple of interesting and very telling articles about other parts of the Arab world worth mentioning.

The Comedy Tour Goes To DARFUR

Let us begin with a small detour to Darfur before addressing Hanania’s favorite topic.  In Darfur, Sudan, a humanitarian disaster precipitated by a civil war overlapped with foreign greed, meddling and interests, and was then seized upon and exploited in a campaign of demonization against Arabs.  Interestingly, the same Khartoum regime singled out for vilification was described by Western governments and media as “Muslim” when it was locked in a civil war in Southern Sudan, but given that Darfur is inhabited by Muslims it was necessary to redefine the regime as Arab, a change unnoticed by Hanania who chimed in on Sudan in this article.  Clearly lacking any basic knowledge of Sudan or the reality on the ground in Darfur, Hanania adopts the narrative and propaganda of the well-funded, star-studded “Save Darfur Coalition”, and   lectures the “racist” Arabs saying “The first people who should be standing up to tell the Sudanese government to stop oppressing innocent people and to disband the Janjaweed are the Arabs, Muslims, and especially the Palestinians.”  Hanania also repeats the old epithet about the crazy Arabs and their crazy conspiracy theories.  He accuses Sudan of blaming it “all on the Jews” and offers a single short quote for a Sudanese official for which he did not give a clear citation, and then builds on it by stating “Sudan’s response sits well with many who would love to distract attention from the atrocities by claiming the negative publicity is being generated by a Jewish conspiracy.”  Arab analysts and observers have rightly pointed out pro-Israel lobbying groups made Darfur one of the main targets of their “moral outrage”, a deeply cynical and blatant hypocrisy difficult to ignore given the non-stop violence of Israel in the service of a racist ideology and system.  This has to make us wonder what Hanania could contribute to the heretofore failed efforts of the ADC at combating negative Arab stereotypes.

In this same article Hanania appears not to speak Arabic very well, if at all.  In a sweeping generalization about Arab racism, he writes “there is a cultural hesitancy over Darfur driven by racism; the victims, who are mostly Muslim, are “Abeds– the Arabic word for “slave,” which, when used in this context, is equivalent to “nigger” in English.”   Hanania is correct the word “Abd” in Arabic does literally mean slave and it is the Arabic equivalent of the English “nigger”, which sounds as ugly in Arabic as it does in English.  However, Arabic, being the Semitic language that it is, does not ad the English letter “s” at the end of a word to form the plural form of the noun.  The plural of Abd” would be “Abeed”, and the English equivalent of Hanania’s “Abeds” would be “fishes” or “mouses.”  It would be really interesting to know if Hanania speaks Arabic.  Given his position on Palestine, which we will shortly look at, it appears he has never understood one single written or spoken word by any Palestinian refugee or resistance fighter.  He has used the word “Insha allah” and referred totabouleh, felafel and humous”, Arabic gems which when employed (and for some reason they appear as a set) usually indicate the Arab-American speaker or writer has immediately exhausted his Arabic vocabulary.  James Zogby also enjoys the Levantine, Arab salad dish and mentioned “taawbooleee” in the course of expressing his pride in his Arab heritage during a recent congressional hearing on, what else, terrorism.

“Moderate Saudi Leadership”?  Bad Satire or Bad Taste?

Unlike us here at IKHRAS, there is atleast one Arab government Hanania is willing to defend.  He apparently admires and supports the Saudi regime which, not coincidentally, happens to be the US-designated representative of the Arab people and Muslims worldwide, and a pliant conduit for American power.  This oppressive, medieval, reactionary tyranny, whose cruelties and obscurantism find no sanction in Islamic Jurisprudence or tradition, which was brought to power in the Arabian peninsula by Western colonialism, and undergirded by American power,  is described by Hanania as “one of our strongest allies” in the “war on terror” and “the war on oil prices” and he has promoted something called “moderate Saudi Arab leadership…” What exactly is “moderate” about any aspect of the Saudi regime?  Can Saudi moderation be defined as 50 lashes for lovers instead of a 100?  Or maybe six heads decapitated by sword in chop-chop square instead of a dozen?  Or could it be that the moderate Saudis have passed a law mandating a 5-year phased in reduction of the diameter of any cable used to “legally” whip women?   Is there any moderation in their treatment of Shia Muslims? And how moderate is their exploitation and abuse of foreign workers and maids who labor under conditions often, and fairly, described as a modern form of slavery?  The only element required for the designation of “Moderate Arab” by the US foreign policy establishment (and Hanania’s Pavlovian adoption of the term) is that all so critical moderation towards the Zionist regime in Palestine and American imperialism and domination in the region.  That anyone would characterize the Saudi regime as “moderate” is unsettling, and when such a characterization comes from a hypocrite feigning concern about an “attitude and culture of intolerance”, the irony should be obvious even to one with his poor satirical skills. This admiration for that Saudi beacon of tolerance and pluralism will be of great benefit to Hanania at the ADC which has always enjoyed coddling ambassadors of Pro-US tyrannies, semi-literate Arab royalty and oil-Sheikhs at their banquets or galas, and I confess I don’t know the difference.  

Campaign Platforms and More Poor Comedy

Hanania has quite a bit to say about the 100-year war on Palestine.  After forcing myself to read Ray’s views on Palestine I would characterize them as mainstream Likudnick, falling somewhere between Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu on the Zionist political spectrum.  You be the judge.

When discussing Zionism’s century of butchery, ethnic cleansing, and colonialism in Palestine, Hanania likes to “blame both sides” as if there is any moral equivalence between the violence of the colonizer and the resistance to colonialism.  He thinks this makes him sound reasonable and even-handed.  This moral equivalence canard and constant criticism of both sides (very mild when it comes to Israel) appears to be a regular theme in his writings, and an approach seemingly intended to be suggestive of his rational, realistic, and tolerant outlook, in contrast with the emotions, hate, and irrationality of the stereotypical Arab from which he is determined to distance himself.

He also appears to believe marrying a Jewish woman (something he often mentions in his writings and “comedy” routines) qualifies him to lecture Arabs about tolerance, co-existence, and mutual respect.  “My wife and I argue”, he says, “but we don’t yell and scream.” How wonderful it must feel basking in your own civility in Mid-West America.  I suppose it’s not too hard to do when you’re not locked up under siege in the open-air prison Gaza has become, or haven’t been living in a squalid refugee camp for decades.  It must be easier to maintain your civility when you’re leisurely lying around safe and secure in your living room celebrating holidays with your family without fear of soldiers coming to bulldoze your home, or having white phosphorous dropped on your children and neighborhood.  Yes I’m sure that makes it much easier to maintain a cool temperament and casually write about your dinner preparations at a time when the Israeli occupation army counts the calories (much the same as Veterinarians might do for animals at a zoo) entering the besieged Gaza strip.   In this same article the Arab-American comedian again mentions “Humous” and “Falafel” and even throws in “Insha’allah” at the end.  What did I say?

Hanania’s failure in pursuing a stand-up comedy career, which he will be trying to revive when he takes his seat on the ADC National Board, did not deter him one bit.  He continued his attempts at humor by announcing his candidacy for President of Palestine!  No where are his reprehensible views better illustrated than in his campaign “platform.”   Launching his campaign for President of Palestine (which may have upset Saeb Erakat, a comedian in his own right) he says:   “I think what Palestine and Israel need is a candidate who is unequivocal on a vision for peace. So here’s my platform. 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. I oppose violence of any kind from and by anyone. I reject Hamas’s participation in any Palestinian government without first agreeing to surrender all arms and to accept two states as a “final” peace agreement…Palestinian refugees would give up their demand to return to pre-1948 homes and lands lost during the conflict with Israel…I ALSO think Israelis should find it in their hearts to show compassion and offer their apologies to Palestinians for the conflict. I support creation of a similar fund to compensate those Jews from Arab lands who lost their homes and lands, too, when they fled…It’s my vision, but I also think it is a vision shared by a majority of Palestinians…

Hanania’s vision for a solution is identical to what Sharon, Netanyahu, and the other ideological descendants of Vladimir Jabotinsky hope the Palestinians will accept.  He politely calls on the Zionist colonizers to “find it in their hearts to show compassion and offer their apologies” in exchange for which the Palestinians would abandon their right of return and accept and legitimize a permanent existence in three or four Bantustans under Israeli domination and control which they will generously be permitted to refer to as a state.  Wasn’t it Sharon who said they can even call it an empire?  He calls on the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas, which like Israeli propagandists he routinely refers to as a “terrorist” group, to “surrender all arms.”  Hanania  has even claimedmost Palestinians… fear the violent threats from groups like Hamas and other extremists (who would just as soon murder another Palestinian as they would any Jew)”, and that Israel was “provoked” in 1967.  Forget the stupidity about provoking Israel in 1967, but notice the preposterous notion of separating a broad based Palestinian resistance group, and the largest democratically elected political party from the Palestinian people themselves, and the disgraceful conflating of resistance to Israeli occupation with violent anti-Semitism. Condemning Palestinian resistance to the colonization and occupation of their homeland, and attacking their demand of the right of return, the very definition of the Palestinian liberation movement (which began in 1948, not 1967) is a constant element in Hanania’s political ramblings.  In the same article, Hanania again calls on the Palestinians to “accept their own failures” and abandon the “unrealistic” demand of their inalienable right of return which the  Palestinian’s stubborn insistence upon seems to annoy our comedian as much as it does their Israeli occupiers.  He even throws in a favored Zionist distracter by shamelessly invoking the false analogy between the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the emigration of Jews from the Arab world.

Hanania’s “platform” (which if not for the Palestinian’s daily suffering and continuing Nakba would have been the  stand-up comic’s best chance of getting a chuckle out of me) accepts the legitimacy and permanence of the Zionist entity in Palestine, and its manifestation in a Jewish, exclusivist state at time when Zionists themselves are recognizing the inevitable collapse of their project.  What is truly astounding is that Hanania, with his crackpot realism, really believes those of us who reject Zionism, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and occupation, are the “extremists.”  The apparent sincerity of a Palestinian-American’s belief  (even one driven by self-interest) in this skewed definition of extremism is a testament to just how completely and overwhelmingly the fictional, Pro-Israel narrative has come to dominate any discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the US.

When he’s not attacking Palestinians and ostensibly criticizing an openly fascistic thug like Avigdor Lieberman, he does so not for the morally repugnant views and genocidal utterances other Israelis restrict to less public forums, but because “his ideas fall right into the hands of Palestinian extremists.” And just a few weeks ago when Israel, in a barbarous act of piracy, attacked the Freedom Flotilla trying to break the siege of Gaza in the International waters of the Mediterranean sea, Hanania once again pulled out the blame both sides formula and wrote “Both sides are at fault in this confrontation…” He described the humanitarian activists including the nine brave Turks slaughtered on the high seas as being “against peace…”  He blamed them for choosing confrontation instead of negotiation and dismissed their efforts to help the besieged people of Gaza as a “dramatic PR drive.”  It wasn’t Israel, but the organizers of the flotilla that “brought more death and violence.” Ignoring the fact the Turkish peace activists were killed defending the Mavi Marmara ship from a military assault, Hanania viewed the incident as another opportunity to refer to Palestinian resistance groups as “terrorists” and managed to insert something about the killing of “innocent Israeli civilians” without offering a single kind word of condolence to the families of the murdered peace activists.

And if you’re not yet sickened by this Hanania character, he has even called on Palestinians to stop using the word Nakba and to replace it with something, get this, “less offensive” to their occupier.  He also criticizes the use of the word “apartheid” to describe the racist Zionist regime, and blames the Palestinian Arabs in occupied Palestine-48 for Israel’s discriminatory practices in that region of their homeland sayingA big part of the problem is the Arab citizens themselves. They don’t help matters much. Arabs claim to want to be citizens, but they act like foreigners.”  On the contrary Ray, the Palestinian Arabs, the indigenous population of Palestine never asked to be Israeli citizens.  Their second-class Israeli citizenship was imposed upon them, and they hardly act like foreigners. They live steadfastly on this land with the self-assurance that comes with being the original and  true owners of Palestine exuding courage, dignity and the silent confidence that this homeland will be liberated making the occupiers and colonizers feel like the insecure, foreign land-thieves they are.

Hanania’s positions are not simply foolish and naive, but also unconscionable.  They are detached from the Palestinian reality and struggle for liberation, and clearly tailored for an American audience within the context of the Zionist narrative that dominates any discussion of Palestine in this country.  This is typical of many Arab-American commentators seeking acceptance and approval from the establishment, but Hanania has gone further than most with his efforts to undermine the Palestinians people’s struggle for freedom.   His readiness to accept the permanence of a racist, colonial project and calls for abandoning the right of return constitute an abandonment of any legal consideration and represent a moral failure, not to mention a lack of pragmatism.  His attacks on Palestinian resistance groups and International solidarity activists are shameless. The reader also detects a strong anti-Muslim streak and a sectarianism in his writings alien to Palestinian society.  Hanania is entitled to his barely distinguishable political views and comedy routines, but he needs to be reminded the Palestinian people are not interested in his American inspired, Zionist approved formula for a “solution”, and the dispossessed Palestinian refugees did not authorize this journalist/comedian to make concessions on their behalf from the comfort of his American living-room nor do they need to be lectured about realism and civility.  We can go on, but we won’t.  We have seen enough.

Hanania accused us of not debating the issues and having a “lack of tolerance.” Maybe he’s right.  At some point it becomes useless to debate certain people and views.  Hanania falls into this group.  We have no tolerance for Zionism and its apologists regardless of their personal background.  The views he expresses are contemptible, and giving them any serious consideration would be a disservice to the Palestinian people.

Hanania’s comedic bankruptcy, vapid writings, and his stance on the struggle for Palestinian freedom and justice confirms, as we said in our first piece, his suitability for a position with the ADC.  As he prepares to take the stage on the National Board with the other jokesters of that lousy and failed organization we wish him better success in this second chance at a career in comedy.  We usually ask such people to IKHRAS, but we won’t ask Ray to do so.  We are looking forward to his gig at the ADC, and we’re still hopeful he may yet get a laugh out of us.

By: Thabit

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.

-Qasim

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)

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.

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The actual press release ADC issued:

ADC Congratulates Rima Fakih as Miss USA 2010

http://www.adc.org/media/press-releases/2010/may-2010/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.

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