[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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American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee’s ex Media Director and current senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine’s Hussein Ibish wrote the following, encouraging a hierarchical power structure in the Occupy Wall Street over its current decentralized, grassroots format:
The Occupy Wall Street movement, by contrast, shows no signs of being mobilized by a political party or organization to create real change in politics or policy. Any movement so broad-based, leaderless (though there are some organizers who can be identified) and, frankly, unfocused runs the risk of simply fizzling out without leaving any lasting legacy … Arabs should be very familiar with this conundrum. The Egyptian experience in particular has shown the limitations of a leaderless, spontaneous movement. It creates momentum but cannot harness it. That can only be done by organized political groupings.
Ibish’s own previous statements undermine the value of the above unsolicited advice to Occupy Wall Street. His concern is more about tailoring popular discourse to his own taste than preserving the movement’s influence. A case in point: he recently reprimanded Egyptian revolutionary Gigi Ibrahim for her criticisms of some Egyptian activists’ lobbying on Capitol Hill.
Ms. Ibrahim had battled Mubarak’s hoodlums in the streets and endured tear gassings and beatings from the Egyptian military. Nevertheless, she became the object of Hussein Ibish and Arab American Institute’s Omar Baddar’s criticisms for rejecting the idea that meaningful change could come from the same institutions of power that had enabled Mubarak, armed Israel and waged wars, occupations and sanctions on millions of Arabs.
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How desperate are the three guys at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) for Palestinian-American support? Well, they’re desperate enough to invoke the endorsement of Palestinian-American Zionist and failed comedian, Ray Hanania. The outfit, which functions as a Washington public relations firm for the collaborationist Palestinian (illusory) Authority (PA) in occupied Ramallah posted Hanania’s latest article in defense of the ATFP on its official website.
That the ATFP has been reduced to highlighting the support of Hanania for the group says all we need to know about this organization’s relationship with the community it claims to represent.
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[Ikhras note: Michael Oren is not only Israel's Ambassador in Washington representing a criminal regime, he's also a war criminal himself who participated in Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 in which over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were killed. He's also Hussein Ibish's dinner companion: See here
“We interact very frequently and on a friendly basis with the ATFP,” he said. “We view them as partners and as friends.”
“The group is led by president and founder Dr. Ziad J. Asali, Ghaith Al-Omari, a former foreign policy advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish. The trio has managed to attract high-level administration favor (Secretary of State Hillary Clintonkeynoted their gala last year) and praise from the pro-Israel community. The downside of their strategy, however, has been a notable absence of grassroots Palestinian support…”
ATFP is respected in Washington policy-making circles, including the pro-Israel community, “because they are seen as serious players with ideas and access — on the Hill, with the White House, and in the region…One of the things that distinguishes them from the other actors in the Arab pro-Palestinian camp is their willingness to challenge corruption, condemn terrorism without equivocation and meet with other stakeholders without precondition…Credibility in Washington is hard to come by, and Ziad Asali has certainly earned it.”
“Thank you very much, Ziad, for that introduction and for your leadership of this important organization, and for you and the steadfast support that ATFP has given to the cause of peace…Now, when it comes to the conflict in the Middle East, it is all too easy for positions to harden into dogma, for tempers to flare, for rhetoric to outpace reality. But you have provided a welcome voice of reason and a steady advocacy on behalf of a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.”
“All of us who are committed to peace and the right of both peoples to live in security and dignity have a responsibility to do what we can to help them succeed. You who are Palestinian Americans are here tonight because you understand that. And this organization has stood for that over so many years… The American Task Force for Palestine has been a consistent advocate for this path, and I thank you for your efforts…Please don’t give up in the face of difficulty.”
“There is another way you can contribute as well. Many of you are leaders in your own communities. Others, here and over there, take their cues from you. So when you leave tonight, I hope you will be champions for this cause. Keep writing and speaking, keep working for tolerance and understanding, keep building a broad constituency for peace…I thank you for what you have already done. I thank you for your commitment.”
It was the night before the gala when all through the house
The House Arabs were stirring, Ziad was practicing to prounce
The tuxedos were hanging in Hussein’s closet with care
With hopes Salam Fayyad will tomorrow be there
[Ikhras note: The following article was first published on ikhras.com last October in preparation for the ATFP’s 5th annual gala. The same rules of etiquette remain applicable this year. Please read it carefully.]
The anticipation for the American Task Force on Palestineannual Gala continues to grow as we near the event later this month. You have less than two weeks to secure a black-tie tuxedo, refine your etiquette skills, and join the ranks of the elegant Arabs. Please don’t procrastinate and put things off till the last minute. One and a half million Palestinians in Gaza have placed their hopes on ending the siege and living a normal life on this event. Millions of displaced Palestinian refugees are convinced this gala will secure their eventual right of return to their homes, land, and property. Palestinian liberation and full sovereignty over all of Palestine from the river to the sea depends on the success of this event. Your social behavior is critically important.
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