The ikhras awards committee is pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-Of-The-Month Award for March, 2015 goes to the euphemistically described Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid. Eid earned the prestigious award for his participation in the StandWithUs Anti-BDS Conference 2015. Eid, who played the role of that rare “good Palestinian”, was touted as one of the two most notable speakers along with Alan Dershowitz, the high-profile, “liberal” pro-Israel Harvard Law Professor that has advocated torture, the demolition of Palestinian homes and eradication of entire towns. Eid has made a name for himself among a select few by traveling around the world as a pro-Israel advocate. His travels, itineraries, and speaking engagements have been organized by Zionist lobbying groups that apparently have assigned him the task of undermining pro-Palestine solidarity activism with a special focus on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.
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The ikhras awards committee is pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-Of-The-Month Award for December, 2014 goes to the former Executive Director of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), Ghaith Al-Omari. After eight years with the ATFP Al-Omari is leaving to join the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). As is well-known WINEP was founded by AIPAC donors and employees as the research arm of the pro-Israel lobby in order to provide ostensibly objective research that supports the AIPAC policy positions while masquerading as an objective “think tank.”
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Hussein Ibish, the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), which functions as the two-man wing of the pro-Israel lobby, has a habit of lecturing Arabs, Arab-Americans, and Muslims. He’s given us lectures on everything from crackpot realism to political strategy, morality and proper social etiquette. It’s not unusual for establishment Arabs like Ibish to adopt and internalize the racist, condescending, and paternalistic behavior and attitude of the US political class. In his latest exploration of the Arab mind Ibish returns to an old orientalist cliché about the crazy Arabs and their crazy conspiracy theories.
Writing about the Arab public’s response to the declaration of a “Caliphate” by the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), now renamed simply the Islamic State (IS), Ibish begins by saying:
“One of the most alarming features of Arab responses to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq is a persistent pattern of neurotic denial in the form of conspiracy theories and other escapist fantasies.”
Ibish does not speak Arabic, and has no understanding of Arab politics or culture. His almost daily Neocon bile masquerading as informed opinion pieces reveal that while he’s well-versed in the US State Department’s discourse on the Middle East he has no knowledge or training. The primary Arab response to the declaration of the “Caliphate” has been mockery and ridicule seeing it as a publicity stunt by a crazed, murderous gang of lunatics. And while the Arab world has its share of kooky conspiracy theorists, they do not represent a higher percentage of Arab society than kooky conspiracy theorists here in the US or in any other country or region. Ibish goes on to write:
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In our previous post we pointed out that Ghaith Al-Omari, one of the three stooges at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), appears to be the ATFP’s main liaison to the pro-Israel lobby. The ATFP, of course, has a very strong working relationship with AIPAC and other racist Zionist groups like The Israel Project. Part of AIPAC’s work includes an ongoing series euphemistically referred to as “Educational Seminars on the Hill.” AIPAC describes these events as “unique opportunities to hear from leading policy experts on the key issues facing the U.S.-Israel relationship.” The picture above is an invitation to one of these “unique opportunities.” It says “for more than thirty years AIPAC has hosted this series to provide interns and young professionals the opportunity to learn more about the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel and to consider its impact on American interests in the Middle East.” It goes on to indicate the next events in this series will be held July 9th and 22nd. The first picture from the right is none other than Ghaith Al-Omari. It’s safe to assume that AIPAC would not be promoting anyone unless it believed he/she served its interests and the interests of Israel, which is the sole stated mission of this group. In its newly created and extensive list of FAQs the ATFP proclaimed it’s now ready to place “more emphasis on outreach” to the Palestinian-American community. It’s probably too late for that, but if they really want to try they can begin by answering and adding the following three questions to their FAQ’s.
If the ATFP is not part of the pro-Israel lobby, why does it collaborate exclusively with the pro-Israel lobby?
Why is AIPAC promoting the ATFP?
Why would AIPAC choose Ghaith Al-Omari to address a Congressional staff briefing on its behalf?
Unlike most Arab-American Zionists which collaborate with the “liberal” and “moderate” wing of Zionism, The American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) is closely aligned with the most extreme right-wing Zionists like AIPAC and The Israel Project. Here Ghaith Al-Omari, one of the three ATFP stooges is seen with Noam Gilboord, the “Director of Community Strategy” at the Israel Action Network (IAN). Gilboord’s responsibilities include:
“strengthening the capacity of local community professionals in combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, he coordinates the activities of the field of Israel advocates throughout North America.”
Al-Omari, who spends more time at WINEP, AIPAC’s “think-tank”, than at the ATFP offices is not as well known as Hussein Ibish and Ziad Asali, but he appears to be the ATFP’s main liaison to the pro-Israel lobby. All three often lash out against Arab-Americans, dismissing their criticism of the ATFP as the Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, but pro-Israel advocacy groups like IAN continue to view the ATFP as a reliable partner that’s making a valuable contribution to their common cause.
Palestinian-American Zionist, anti-Arab racist, homophobe (See “Hanania Emails Scandal”), failed comedian, Radio Talk Show host (but only because he buys his own airtime), former ADC National Board member , former Jerusalem Post columnist, and Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award winner Ray Hanania is calling on Arab-Americans to join the pro-Israel lobby. According to Hanania, J Street, the racist, anti-Arab organization dedicated to the destruction of at least 78% of Palestine, “has given American Arabs who support peace based on compromise someplace to go.” Hanania considers J Street to be the “moderate”, “pro-peace” voice within the pro-Israel lobby which we’re supposed to believe stands in stark contrast to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which Hanania says “has actively opposed peace.” In his typically confused, incoherent fashion, he goes on to invoke the model of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) which he characterizes as the only “major” (it consists of two people and a Washington DC office kept open with generous support from Arab oil-Sheikhs) Arab-American organization “that actively supports the two-state solution” without mentioning the ATFP proudly flaunts its collaborative relationship and alliance with AIPAC. Hanania specifically mentions Ziad Asali, giving the ATFP head a nod of approval. Asali, another recipient of the Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award, joined Hanania on that honor roll after becoming the only Palestinian in the world to celebrate “Israel Independence Day.”
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“For whatever reason”
Whether on his twitter feed or in his never ending churning out of repugnant opinion pieces in the guise of objective analysis, ever since Russia stepped up to play a central role in blocking US imperialist designs on Syria, including a potential Libya-type bombing campaign, the empire’s most dedicated Arab-American Shabih Hussein Ibish has been regularly bashing the government of President Vladimir Putin. Writing in the Hariri family-funded website NOW Lebanon, Ibish begins his latest anti-Russia rant (Russia is no ally for the Arabs) by dismissing those Arabs calling for closer ties with Russia “who are, for whatever reason, fed up with United States.” For the Senior Fellow at the American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP), which functions as a two-man, Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby, it always begins with the assumption of a virtuous US government, unlike all other governments, in its pursuit of an altruistic foreign policy. This assumption is not to be questioned or challenged lest you be dismissed as “anti-American”, “extremist”, or, at best, “unreasonable” and “ill-informed.” But for the unreasonably reasonable, politically astute Anglophile on the Potomac it’s simply unfathomable why Arabs may be fed up with US foreign policy. After all, US “interventions”, bombings, and invasions are always carried out in the best interest and for the well-being of Arabs.
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: Given Hussein Ibish’s
lack of credibility and seriousness among Arab-Americans, his inability to have the slightest impact on Arab-American thought or debate, and the almost total lack of response his writings elicit from the community we have revised our previous post and substituted “Arab-Americans that do not share his political views
” for “his critics
In our previous post, “Hussein Ibish: “We Should Disagree Respectfully” we incorrectly referred to Ibish “disagreeing respectfully” & engaging in “polite, calm & reasoned conversations” with “his critics.” We should note that several of the names mentioned are actually not critics of Ibish at all. It would be more accurate to say that the remarks we collected and published below serve as examples of the way Ibish himself disagrees with people of whom he is the critic. Columbia University ProfessorJoseph Massad, for example, has never mentioned him in any article, spoke of him in any public forum, or engaged him in any online interactive medium. Likewise, Palestinian-American author and activist Ali Abunimah has also never been a critic of Ibish and we were unable to find a single instance in which Abunimah mentioned him in any article or public forum. As for California State University ProfessorAs’ad Abukhalil we did locate a single blog entry from 2006 in which Professor Abukhalil does reply to Ibish. It’s the only time we’re aware of that Professor Abukhalil mentions him, and to us it appeared he did so only in the context of making a larger point about the “Myth of the Arab lobby.” We do recommend reading it, not only does it provide yet another example of how Ibish wears civility like cheap makeup that quickly disappears with the slightest challenge, but it’s also very funny.
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[Ikhras Note: As we continue to advance the ikhras mission and critique “ikhras responds” will be a recurring feature in which we respond to House Arabs & Muslims commentary and views, if they can be called that, on current events and issues of importance to the community. This feature in our ongoing coverage of the establishment Arabs and Muslims will serve to highlight their subservience and ignorance, counter-defeatist tendencies, and promote discussion that goes beyond the strictly defined parameters of mainstream US political discourse. We are launching this feature with a response to an article titled “Time For Honesty About Dialogue With Israel” by anti-Arab activist and Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, Hussein Ibish.]
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After cancelling its annual gala last year without any explanation, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) 2013 gala appears headed for failure. Unlike previous years, the two-man organization’s flagship event hasn’t generated much buzz this time around, and with only one month to go the keynote speaker remains a mystery. Previous ATFP galas in the heyday of the peace-processing industry became, along with James Zogby’s “Gibran Gala”, among the premier yearly events of the Arab-American establishment complete with US officials as “honored guests” and high-profile, war criminals as keynote speakers. This year the mood surrounding the preparations for the gala is subdued and the vapid ATFP President Ziad Asali along with his more articulate side-kick Hussein Ibish haven’t had much to say about next month’s event.
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Zayid At An ATFP Gala With Ziad Asali: Zayid boasts she has “never missed an ATFP gala.”
[Ikhras Note: Maysoon Zayid‘s refusal to support the BDS campaign against Israel or any Palestine solidarity activism considered “controversial” by American mainstream standards along with her support for the American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) has led to a community backlash. In this special guest submission an ikhras reader and community activist highlights her support for the ATFP and the questions swirling around the US-backed “comedian.”]
On twitter Maysoon Zayid explained why she cannot publicly comment on BDS due to the fact that the Israeli government would ban her entry to Palestine in order to work with the kids of her namesake charity, “Maysoon Kids”. For those who are not familiar with Palestine, entry to historic Palestine or West Bank is via Israel. If your destination is Gaza the entry points are Israel or Egypt—the latter is complicit with Israel so it is the same as applying for entry into Gaza from Israel.
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The American Task Force On Palestine started out as the Washington lobbying arm of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised Palestinian Authority, and naturally evolved into the Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby. A two man outfit, its run by the vapid Palestinian-American Ziad Asali and his more articulate sidekick, Hussein Ibish. Ibish was hired when the ATFP failed to find a single Palestinian capable of writing a simple press release willing to join the organization. The ATFP has been shunned and condemned by virtually the entire Palestinian-American community. It has, however, enjoyed the support of US-backed “comedian” Maysoon Zayid. Zayid, who’s turned Palestine into a punch line pursuing a mediocre career on the margins of American pop culture, is a regular at ATFP galas and events. Even before photos of Asali embracing Israel’s Ambassador at an Israel “Independence Day” celebration hosted by the Israeli embassy emerged, earning him the Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award, the ATFP had long lost any semblance of being a Palestinian-American lobby. Zayid, who’s also known as Um-Zohan for her role in the racist, pro-IDF film of the same name, describes Asali as a “good friend” and refers to him as “Ziyaaaaaaaaaaawd.” To this day she has refused to comment on the scandal and continues her support of the ATFP.
Obama posters crossed out in occupied Ramallah.
As part of an effort to construct and promulgate a public relations narrative in preparation for Barack Obama’s visit to the Middle East, the White House summoned a group of Arab-American “leaders” to a meeting. Overcome by the lure of being invited to the White House and being part of the mainstream these groups and individuals sacrifice intellectual honesty and personal integrity while adopting all the false pretenses of the American imperial project.
Barack Obama met with several so called leaders and organizations that allegedly represent Arab and Muslim Americans ahead of his visit to occupied Palestine. The “Arab-American” groups that attended the meeting were the same unrepresentative, Washington-based cliques that are usually called upon when American politicians need submissive token Arabs to perpetuate the fiction the US government is taking all views into consideration. The groups included the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the two-man American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP), and James Zogby’s one-man shop, the Arab American Institute (AAI).
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Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe of the Month Award for May, 2012 is Ziad Asali. The president of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) earned the prestigious ikhras shoe award by attending an Israel “Independence Day” celebration hosted by the Israeli embassy. As the Palestinian people were commemorating the onset of the nakba Asali decided to celebrate the violent ethnic cleansing of Palestine by European invaders and the creation of the usurping Zionist entity. Two photos (below) from the event emerged showing an undignified but smiling Asali with Michael Oren, the professional propagandist and war criminal (Oren served in the Israeli terrorist army during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 in which over 20, 000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were killed) from upstate New York that was handpicked by Benjamin Netanyahu to serve as Israel’s Ambassador to Washington.
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A petition has been posted online to demand the resignation of American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) President Ziad Asali. This came in response to Asali’s participation in an “independence day” celebration organized by the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.
We at Ikhras have decided to not sign the petition. To begin, Asali’s attendance of the Zionist entity’s “independence day” celebration is not the first time Asali or the two other members of the ATFP have engaged in such outrageous conduct. Such appalling behavior by the ATFP is nothing new.
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