Hussein Ibish continues his dialogue with representatives of the Zionist entity. The Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine which claims to provide “an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters” has never reached out to any Palestinian-American leader or activist within the Palestine Solidarity Movement in the US. It’s counterproductive, not to mention a bit bizarre, for an outfit that ostensibly seeks “peace” between two groups to meet, talk, and work exclusively with members of one side of the conflict.
Hussein Ibish has recently been pre-occupied with Abdel Bari Atwan, editor and publisher of the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi. Although Ibish’ characterization of Atwan is obviously a politically motivated caricature of some sort we do agree with Ibish when he writes:
There is a lot of complaining about double standards between the West and the Arab world, and that’s absolutely justifiable. So in this case, I think we yet again have to look for a single standard: people who consistently talk the worst crap — especially if they are influential with large audiences — need to be held to account.
Ibish describes Atwan as:
something like Pat Buchanan’s level of chauvinism with a Michael Moore-style lowest common denominator populist demagoguery. His are politics that are guided by fear and suspicion, mainly of the West and Israel, but generally speaking of anything that undermines his paranoid and chauvinist worldview.
Atwan is an admirable and courageous journalist based in London and free of any Arab government control or pressure. Al-Quds al-Arabi is among the most professional and credible Arab news organizations, and one of the few that has not been corrupted by Saudi Oil Money. Ironically, Ibish’ criticism is so over the top he comes across as a much closer portrayal of his own descriptions of Atwan and Moore.
That was fast. The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), the Washington public relations firm of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised collaborationist Palestinian Authority (PA) in occupied Ramallah made sure to “deplore violence” immediately after the bombing in occupied Jerusalem yesterday.
While the Zionist entity routinely murders Palestinians it is only when an act of violence targets Israel does the ATFP feel obligated to issue a condemnation. The statement expresses the ATFP’s concern with recent events by saying:
The clowns at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), James Zogby, and the other careerists posing as Washington’s “Arab Lobby” can learn something from the leaders of Egypt’s revolutionary youth when it comes to dealing with US officials.
The Coalition of the Youth of the 25 January Revolution rejected an invitation to attend a meeting with Hillary Clinton. The coalition of six youth groups that emerged from Egypt’s revolution refused to meet with Hillary in protest of the United States’ strong support for the ousted tyrant. The group said it did not welcome Clinton’s visit to Egypt and demanded that the US administration make a formal apology to Egypt’s people for its foreign policy towards the country in the past decades. It also added “the Egyptian people are the masters of their own land and destiny and will only accept equal relations of friendship and respect between the people of Egypt and the people of America.” One of the youth leaders told Aljazeera the decision was based on US policies including “US support for regional dictators and the Zionist entity.”
From As’ad Abu Khalil’s blog:
According to its website, The American Task For on Palestine (ATFP) “was established in 2003 to provide an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters and to promote peace. AFTP’s Board of Directors is made up of a large group of noted Palestinian-Americans who agree with these principles.”
However, the ATFP has virtually no support among Palestinian-Americans, and no activities outside of Washington DC. Ziad Asali, the empty tuxedo and President of this outfit recently described his organization as “Washington-centered“, and publicly admitted the organization ignores the grassroots Palestinians because the Palestinian diaspora holds views that are “holier than thou.”
Asali’s pro-Zionist views have won him some friends in Israel, and his career appears to now be taking off. In an article on the Haaretz, blog Asali said:
“What is this right of return? It’s a recipe for non-negotiations,” Asali said. “No one in Israel will accept the return of 4-5 million people, it’s ridiculous….I do not speak off record – I am not looking for a job,” Asali jokes as he describes how his group decided to have connections with AIPAC.”
Althought such statements have won Asali some friends at AIPAC and in Israel, these career-enhancing positions have made him an outcast among Palestinian-Americans, and those who truly desire to work towards a just and lasting peace will have to ask themselves what a single individual with no support or credibility among Palestinians can offer?
Asali’s Zionist friends understood the ATFP has no support among Palestinian-Americans even before he publicly conceded his outfit is a “Washington-centered” operation that made a decision to ignore the Palestinian diaspora. Asali’s career is taking off now, but when its time to reach out to authentic representatives of Palestinians, his new found friends will be the first ones to let him know his petty role has come to an end. And he won’t find Hussein Ibish willing to write a letter of resignation for him.
For some reason Hussein Ibish is willing to continue praising and promoting Ziad Asali.
ATFP President Ziad J. Asali gives an outstanding talk at Oxford University about the Paestinian State-Building Program – http://9mch.sl.pt
Given the role envisioned for the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) those behind the establishment of the outfit needed a Palestinian to serve as President. Despite a large pool of highly capable and accomplished Palestinian-Americans they couldn’t find a single Palestinian-American of average ability and intellect willing to do the job and had to settle for an empty tuxedo. One of the main reasons the ATFP is not taken seriously, in addition to the fact that it has virtually no grassroots support among any Palestinians in the US, is that not a single known and respected Palestinian-American is willing to associate with this shop. The US-based public relations firm for the collaborationist Palestinian Authority then needed someone with the ability to write press releases, articles, and speeches for Asali, and provide whatever tutoring he needed which is the likely reason Ibish was hired.
With Ibish political descent complete he was then reduced to the role of Washington concierge to Salam Fayyad and other PA officials organizing meetings between them and racist, Zionist groups in Washington and New York. He’s recently been further reduced to the role of Asali’s booster, and has been making some unbelievable statements such as “Ziad is brilliant and writes many great articles.” In fairness to Ibish this over the top statement did come after questions were raised about who’s behind the articles that appear with Ziad Asali’s name in the byline. Nevertheless, the unbelievable nature of such descriptions of Asali and the repeated insistence by Ibish that Asali can write his own material only reinforced everyone’s suspicions that he (Ibish) was indeed writing Asali’s articles and speeches.
Ibish’ cheerleading for Asali is clearly related to his role and function at the ATFP, but his now recurring praise of the buffoonish Asali will only harm whatever little credibility (not moral credibility, that was lost long ago) he may still enjoy among a select few in Washington. It will be interesting to see if his admiration for Asali extends beyond his tenure at the ATFP when his stint there comes to an end.
By now all Arab-Americans who follow the activities of their self-appointed representatives in Washington are convinced Hussein Ibish is the ghost writer for the empty black-tie tuxedo Ziad Asali. If that’s the case, this recent article which appeared in the Huffington Post with Ziad Asali’s name under the title shows Ibish has a sense of humor. When you read the title keep in mind the most undignified Arab in America considers dressing up in black-tie-tuxedo and bowing in front of a US official the highlight of his year. Is Hussein mocking his employer? We can’t know for certain, but let’s put that aside and look at what Asali allegedly wrote by himself.
One thing is clear-the status quo has come to an end. Arab unity, long proclaimed dead and buried, has reemerged in a political contagion which is spreading among the Arabs
Its unlikely the reborn Arab nationalist will end his efforts at reaching out to racist, Zionist groups and go looking for at least one supporter within the Palestinian and Arab communities in the United States. Asali recently admitted the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), his misnamed shop that functions as the Washington public relations firm of the collaborationist Palestinian Authority (PA), chose to be a “Washington-centered” organization. He went on to describe his pro-Zionist views as “controversial” and described the views of the Palestinian Diaspora as being “holier than thou.” This version of Arab nationalism is unlikely to win Asali and his tutor any Arab friends so in the future they will continue to be familiar faces at pro-Israel gatherings, but will not be found at any grassroots, Arab-American event.
It is tragic for an eighty-two-year-old leader to cling to his public job of thirty years, and it would be irresponsible to enable him to keep his job as a president of a people who have rejected him.
This is an audacious statement to make for the President of an outfit that works as a lobbying arm for the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised PA. Neither Mahmoud Abbas nor Salam Fayyad are legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people, and were clearly rejected by the Palestinians in the last elections. Fayyad was the American selected Prime Minister of the illusory PA who received less than 2% of Palestinian votes in the occupied territories of 1967. And when Abbas and the remnants of Fatah were rejected in a free and fair election PA thugs were enlisted into an American plot to overthrow the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Yet when Fayyad or Abbas come to Washington you can see how frustrated they are with Asali for hanging on just a little too closely for a bit too long.
James Zogby continues to promote racist, Zionist groups on his website. This isn’t the first time Zogby has promoted or worked with J-Street, but it is another example of Arab-Americans trying to prove they’re not “radicals”, “fanatics”, and “anti-Semites” by reaching out to anti-Arab bigots, and promoting self-described supporters of Israel.
The fictional Zionist narrative must be accepted by all Washington Arabs as the point of reference for the Arab-Israeli conflict before being granted permission to hover around the fringes of Washington officialdom. The narrative which we’re all familiar with presents Israel as a small, democratic, civilized state that seeks only to live in peace in a tough neighborhood. Unfortunately for Israel, it’s surrounded by a sea of hostile Arabs and Muslims driven by a violent religion and culture, and determined to “push the Jews into the sea.”
Beginning with this narrative as a starting point, establishment Arab-Americans then move on to prove their civility, opposition to racism, and non-violent disposition by reaching out solely to Israel’s supporters, and ignoring everyone else including anti-Zionist Jewish-Americans. The Arabs’ view of the illegitimate, Zionist entity in Palestine is then evaluated to determine if the Arab is violent, fanatical, and anti-Semitic, thus placing him/her beyond the pale, or, on the other hand, a reasonable, peaceful, and moral person worthy of acceptance among the “civilized” members of humanity.
It’s only within this context that Zogby’s promotion of J-Street can be explained. And it’s not just Zogby. The formation of J-Street was a source of great celebration among members of the “Arab Lobby.” Finally, after spending decades ludicrously claiming they are on the verge of supplanting AIPAC as the premiere lobby (the actual and sometimes exaggerated role of AIPAC in US foreign policy making is beyond the scope of this article) in Washington, they quickly threw themselves into the arms of the new “moderate Zionists” that would help them provide a counterbalance to the power of AIPAC. Never mind that J-Street is committed to the colonial Zionist project, and the “legitimacy” of the racist, exclusivist state in Palestine. J-Street provided an opportunity to cling onto a “new” type of “good Zionist”, and provided a fig leaf to justify their relations with Zionist organizations. Of course, this was not even necessary for the two-man outfit at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). The empty tuxedo Ziad Asali, and his ghost writer and tutor Hussein Ibish never had any qualms about dealing with AIPAC.
At the end of a Washington day, it doesn’t really matter anyway. This is all about proving they’re one of the “good Arabs”deserving the right to pursue comfortable, air-conditioned careers on the outer fringe of the US political establishment. Given the definition of what makes a “good Arab” we clearly do not fall in that category. We maintain Zionism is a racist, illegitimate, colonial project that must be defeated. Just in case that’s not clear enough, Israel has no right to exist in Palestine. We also don’t make any false distinctions between “good Zionists” and “bad Zionists”, and consider the notion of a “moderate Zionist” as ludicrous as that of a “moderate fascist.”
Zogby and the other self-appointed representatives of Arab-Americans in Washington do not speak for the Arab community, or even a segment of the community. More importantly, the legitimacy that Israel so desperately wants the indigenous population of Palestine to bestow on the Zionist project does not derive from anyone in Washington, and the acceptance it seeks from the Arab world can’t be provided by anyone in the United States.
The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), the Washington lobbying arm of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised Palestinian Authority has been making friends, but not within the Palestinian-American community. The stated objective of the ATFP is to make peace between two peoples, but all it has been able to achieve is peace between racist, Zionist groups and two individuals in Washington.
But adopting a moderate line and cozying up to the establishment has come with a price. Some pro-Palestinian advocates have been criticizing ATFP…Ziad Asali, the group’s founder and president, is used to brushing off such criticism. “I’m wearing a bullet-proof vest under my tuxedo,” Asali joked as he greeted guests to at the group’s annual gala in October, an event that’s become important to Washington’s Middle East peace community.
Notice, he loves wearing a tuxedo. And which “peace community” considers the ATFP’s annual gala important? And what is a “peace community”?
Fayyad’s plan, which has won praise from Americans and Israelis, stresses the need to build Palestinian governance instead of focusing exclusively on negotiating a final status agreement…ATFP has taken on this plan as a key advocacy issue and succeeded, in the past year, in selling it to a U.S. administration.
Of course, that’s not true. The ATFP has no influence on the foreign policy making establishment in the American government. They are an (unofficial) extension of the PA. Their basic working premise is to adopt US foreign policy, refrain from challenging any of its basic assumptions, and function as a public relations firm for the PA. They also provide the US government with a barely plausible claim that it has reached out to the Palestinian-American community, and is taking their views into consideration.
Asali said ATFP deliberately chose to be a Washington-centered policy group rather than a grassroots oriented organization “because we knew our approach would be controversial.” He described the views of some in the Palestinian diaspora in the U.S. as being “holier than thou.”
So much can be said about this astounding arrogance and paternalism, but its much too easy. This empty tuxedo, and his ghost writer and tutor Hussein Ibish couldn’t find three Palestinians in the US who support the ATFP. Being “Washington-centered” is all they can be. It’s good to learn Asali is finally admitting he has no grassroots support.
Asali and other ATFP activists have become familiar faces at pro-Israel gatherings, including the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, America’s largest pro-Israel parley. The group has forged ties with other mainstream organizations as well, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, both known for leaning to the hawkish side on issues relating to Israel.
No further comment.
THE AMERICAN TASK Force on Palestine (ATFP) held a June 11 briefing…The panel was moderated by ATFP president Dr.Ziad Asali, and included…Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt Nabil Fahmy
The ATFP’s honorary host committee for its 5th annual Gala included Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry
No surprise here. We all knew the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), the Washington public relations firm of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised, collaborationist Palestinian Authority (PA) in occupied Palestine would come out in defense of the PA in wake of the leaked “Palestine Papers” which were aired by Aljazeera this past week.
“…adding of the memos more broadly: “In terms of the substance, there’s nothing that’s not been in the public domain.”…Al-Omari said the release of the confidential documents, which had “ambushed” the Palestinian Authority, may have been calculated to destabilize the Abbas government and spark “another Tunis,” referring to the recent overthrow of the government in Tunisia. “It has spectacularly failed to do that,” al-Omari argued…”
The ATFP’s position is that the there is nothing new in these leaked papers which is true, but misleading. The significance of the leaks, much like the Wikileaks documents before them, is not in the revelation of any new information, but in the confirmation of what was already known, which in this case is that the PA officials are an illegitimate, unrepresentative group of traitors, criminals, liars, and thugs.
The following article by Antoine Raffoul was originally published by Palestine Think Thank in August of 2010. The author submitted a list of questions to Hussein Ibish, author of What’s Wrong With The One-State Agenda, to which Ibish refused to reply. This article is a response to Hussein’s book and the ATFP’s call for a “two-state solution.”
“Until recently, we had never heard of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). After some research on the subject of the One-State vs the Two-State solution, we discovered a long Study published by the ATFP in 2009 entitled “What’s Wrong With The One-State Agenda“. It made for interesting reading and shed some light on the people behind the ATFP which claim “to promote an end to the conflict in the Middle East through a negotiated agreement that provides for two states – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security”…It is truly farcical, despite the above facts, that anyone should be calling for a Two-State Solution.“
Antoine Raffoul is a Palestinian architect living and practising in London. He was born in Nazareth and was expelled with his whole family by the Zionist underground when they entered Haifa in April 1948. The family settled in Tripoli Lebanon. In 1968, Antoine received his university degree in Architecture in the United States. After a working period of 3 years in New York City, he moved to London in 1971. He is the Founder and Co-ordinator of 1948: Lest.We.Forget, a non-partisan and mutli-professional group campaigning for truth about Palestine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ikhras stands in solidarity and full support of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition, an authentic, grassroots movement representing the Palestinian community in the United States, and Palestine solidarity activists from all backgrounds.
“The Palestine Papers” released this week by Aljazeera have confirmed what we’ve known about the quisling Palestinian Authority (PA). We expect the American Task Force On Palestine, the Washington Public Relations arm of the Israeli-sponsored, Western-funded, American-supervised collaborationist authority in occupied-Ramallah to continue promoting and defending the PA in the wake of the leaked damning evidence of its treason and crimes against the Palestinian people.
We are therefore reminding the supporters of the Palestinian people that the ATFP has virtually no base of support among the Palestinian-American community, and Palestine solidarity activists.
This is the full text of a statement released by Al-Awda in regards to “The Palestine Papers” and the PA.