Tag Archive for James Zogby

A Question For James Zogby. Really, Why?

The Arab world is witnessing historic popular uprisings.  The US occupation of Iraq has not come to and end.  NATO fighter jets are bombing Libya.  The Zionist project intensifies its violent occupation and colonization of Palestine while Gaza remains under siege.  An American counter-revolution has enlisted the Saudi regime, and other American puppets in the region to bring to a halt the people’s march towards freedom, democracy, and true independence.

At this moment in time why would any Arab-American “activist” who never lived in the Arab world, does not speak the Arabic language, and is a second-generation Lebanese-American be concerned with the business environment in Saudi Arabia, “Abew-Dobey”, and “Dew-Bye” ?  Really. Why?

Zogby Still Loving The “Shakes: “labor rights, political reform, elections” Not Necessary

James Zogby is assuring everyone that a wave of democracy and freedom uprisings across the Arab world will not reach the Arabian Gulf states, the American oil-colonies are stable, and business confidence remains high:

WASHINGTON // Business confidence in the Gulf region remains high despite the revolutions convulsing parts of the broader Middle East and North Africa. And the major concerns of business leaders in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are external macroeconomic shocks rather than domestic political turmoil.

Those are the conclusions of a new Oliver Wyman-Zogby International poll released on Monday and presented in Washington at a reception held by the UAE, Saudi and Qatar-US business councils.

Zogby goes even further claiming labor rights and democracy are not even a priority in those societies, and people can live without it:

Labour reform, Mr Zogby said, meant access to labour rather than labour rights. Political reform in the three countries was the least of the business leaders’ concerns.

“Executives don’t feel governments need an election to get to education and labour reform,” Mr Zogby said.

The results of Zogby’s polling of a small business elite conducted on behalf of his friends in the region may not be inaccurate, but they hardly represent the views of the general population.  The brutal Saudi regime continues to be the most repressive regime in the world, and the only one that openly rejects democracy in principle and considers peaceful protests a “sin against God.”

The regime also continues its crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain on behalf of its monarchist counterparts.  Zogby came out in support of the Saudi assault on peaceful protesters in Bahrain that apparently are more concerned with freedom and democracy than they are with the business environment.  If people were not rising up demanding freedom and democracy why would the Saudi regime unleash its security forces against its own population and send reinforcements to help the equally thuggish Bahraini regime violently put down a peaceful democratic uprising?

In the past Zogby has described Bahrain as a “beacon of democratic reform” and continues to describe Saudi Arabia as a state engaged in some uniquely Wahabi process of evolving reform.  Zogby’s “Gibran Gala” last month was sponsored by Saudi Aramco and the Saudi embassy in Washington DC with each donating a minimum of $100,000.

A Response to James Zogby’s Toady

وإذا أتتك مذمتي من ناقص  فهي الشهادة بأني كامل

The writer of the recent article titled “Confronting the Needless Hostility Within” which first appeared on the Arab-American website Kabobfest is the media coordinator at James Zogby’s outfit, the Arab American Institute (AAI). Although the vitriolic attack piece was aimed at Ikhras it can only be received and understood as an attempt by a Zogby team member to defend and justify continuing the repeatedly and demonstrably failed approach to political “activism” pursued for decades by the AAI, its president, and the cliquish cast of characters that comprise the mythical Arab-American Lobby in Washington.

We at Ikhras have always recognized the right of all Arab-Americans to engage in any form of political activism they choose, but we do not recognize a right for any single individual or empty shell organization whose board members outnumber their grassroots membership to speak in the name of the entire Arab-American community. What appears to have riled up Zogby’s toady is that we have exercised our own right to criticize the exploitation of our ethnicity and heritage by unprincipled careerists, and condemned their routine and callous disregard of the US government’s purveying of violence in the Arab world in consideration of personal or “organizational” interests in Washington.

If this handful of individuals is truly interested in engaging the political establishment, a futile approach in our opinion, rather than launching vicious attacks on a long overdue, sorely needed Arab-American voice criticizing their opportunism and decades old record of continuous failure, they should allocate their time to building authentic, national political organizations that actually have a grassroots membership base with internal democratic mechanisms that ensure the members’ views are represented.  This would be a worthy objective which, even if achieved, would allow them to legitimately claim to speak only for the members of the organization. (For an alternative approach see Ikhras FAQs #3 and #9)

As long as any individual or empty shell organization with an air-conditioned, K-Street office are appointing themselves representatives of an entire community, any member of the group they falsely claim to represent is entitled to criticize their activities, highlight their lack of support, disassociate from their publicly expressed political views, and condemn the careerism and reprehensible behavior pursued in the appropriated name of the collective community.

It is both ironic and appropriate that such an article would be written by one of Zogby’s employees.  As the highest profile Arab-American “activist” cocooned up in Washington since the 1970s, Zogby has long ago become the poster child for all that is wrong for what passes as an “Arab Lobby” in the United States.  This quintessential opportunist enamored with US officials, Arab oil-“Shakes”, and Lisa Halaby (we decline to call her Queen Noor) can count more supporters among the staff at the embassies of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where he receives his support, financial and otherwise, than the entire Arab-American community from coast to coast. His annual “Gibran Gala” earlier this month was underwritten by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco, with each contributing a minimum of $100,000 according to the AAI website.

Despite the author’s disclaimer at the end of the article, it’s highly unlikely the person in charge of communications at the AAI would have written this article without the prior knowledge and approval of Zogby. Even if the writer was not directly tasked with this assignment, he would be well aware of the political environment at the AAI, and the limits of acceptable public discourse for any of its employees.  Given the decades he’s spent carefully refining his “mainstream message” and assiduously cultivating his image as a “respectable Arab”, it is unimaginable Zogby or any of his assistants would employ the tone or language of this article in the context of describing members of racist Zionist groups like AIPAC or J-Street, anti-Arab fanatics and Islamophobes in the American media, any US official (including war criminals responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Arabs in Iraq), or even the terrorist, Zionist state’s representatives and propagandists in the US.  In the event anyone at the AAI would commit such a serious lapse in judgment Zogby would immediately dismiss him/her from the outfit, call a press conference to repudiate the “inflammatory language”, and issue a series of public apologies.

We reprinted the article as a helpful illustration of the extent to which the political culture and exigencies of Washington have been fully internalized by these so called “activists” and self-appointed representatives of our community.  It also serves as an example of the narratives, yardsticks, attitudes, and behavior that must inevitably be adopted by anyone opting for a strategy of slavishly appealing to Washington officialdom.  Ignoring the lies and mischaracterizations, and putting aside the ad hominem attacks and hyperbole that characterized this article, the few issues raised have already been addressed in our Mission Statement, FAQs, and numerous articles, and we will continue to address them in the future.

P.S. Unlike Zogby who does not speak, read, or write Arabic, the author of the article speaks Arabic with native ability and is an English-Arabic translator.  We trust he will translate and explain the poem that appears at the top of this article for his employer.


AAI Media Coordinator Launches Attack On Ikhras

[Ikhras Note:  The following article first appeared on the Arab-American, variety website KABOBfest as a guest submission on May 23, 2011.  The author is the media coordinator at the Arab-American Institute]

Confronting the Needless Hostility Within

One of the mistakes our community has made in dealing with Islamophobia has been to ignore the forces behind it, assuming they were far too crazy and marginal to ever gain sufficient traction in the mainstream to mount a serious challenge to our communities. Now, as we see Islamophobes elected to Congress, arbitrary controversies erupting at various sites where Muslims sought to build places of worship, and states passing paranoid laws to fight the imaginary creeping of “Sharia Law,” we know we should not have waited this long to take the threat of Islamophobia seriously.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a different brand of extremism, still in its marginal infancy, is trying to stir up trouble in our community. These are people who stridently claim to be the only authentic Arabs who care about justice for their communities in the US and in the Middle East, and they assign the term “house Arab” to any Arab American who promotes engagement with US policymakers or participation in the American political process.

While Islamophobes oppose Arab and Muslim involvement in American politics on the grounds that we are a potential threat and cannot be trusted, these guys oppose such engagement on the grounds that the US political establishment is such an unmitigated evil that there is no reason to engage it (the permeation of either ideology increases the “otherness” of Arabs and Muslims and the sense that they don’t belong in or are an integral part of this country). Anyone who does engage, so their logic goes, must be doing it to gain favor with the political elite, or for personal enrichment and empty self-promotion as a fake community leader with high connections.

Some with this ideology have anonymously (that is to say under pseudonyms) created a blog called “Ikhras,” Arabic for “shut up,” which is aimed at what they describe as “House Arabs.” Its content is about 5% spot on (occasionally they do go after people in a deserved fashion), about 10% funny and entertaining, but the remaining 85% is malicious, juvenile, and destructive. Intellectual consistency and clarity are completely abandoned in favor of feeble and often self-contradicting ad hominem attacks that are simply too extensive and convoluted to explain in detail.

To give just one example, the anonymous writers at Ikhras pleaded with the youth of the Egyptian revolution (particularly Wael Ghonim) not to associate themselves with the Arab American Institute (AAI), but when these activists took part in AAI’s Gala they were accused of being fake revolutionaries (including Jawad Nabulsi who was shot in the eye while protesting on the streets of Cairo – dare I speculate that this is more than what the anonymous bloggers of Ikhras risked for the revolution?). This is pretty indicative of their doltishly arrogant “either you’re with us or against us” mentality. If they truly believed in such personal attacks, why don’t they have the courage of their convictions to sign their real names to such vitriol?

Recently, Ikhras contributor Tammy Obeidallah (who I’m told is not Arab but who signs her real name) wrote a screed on Ikhras attacking Arab American comedian Dean Obeidallah as “the father of all House Arabs.” What was his crime? He didn’t condemn Israel and the United States in the course of an interview he did on CNN. During an exchange in the comments section on Ikhras and on twitter, Tammy accused Dean and Maysoon Zayid (another Arab American comedian) of being “Zionists” (consistent with Ikhras’ style of wild and baseless accusations). Once you’ve reduced yourself to making enemies out of Arab American comedians and staunch supporters of Palestinian rights like Dean and Maysoon with personalized vitriol, you’ve basically made it impossible to identify the limits of the depths to which you are willing to sink in vilifying anyone who disagrees with you. This type of strident orthodoxy demanded by Ikhras to spare oneself from baseless attacks is the sort of nasty bullying that must be confronted by all of us who value political and ideological diversity within our community before it becomes a poisonous source of unnecessary division and antagonism.

For those who consider themselves reasonable, but nevertheless find themselves partially sympathetic to the attitude of Ikhras, let me say this: there are a thousand approaches to advocacy, and we don’t have to agree with them all. Some of us prefer congressional advocacy, some of us like mass demonstrations, some prefer to write Op-Eds and letters to the editor, and some think BDS is more effective. Some of us prefer the principled stance that the US should end military aid to Israel until the latter abides by international law and respects the rights of the Palestinian people, while others prefer to advocate for what they see as more pragmatic and achievable goals like an even-handed diplomatic approach coupled with more moderate pressures.

The DC-based political advocacy approach requires one to play by specific rules, and they include constraints and considerations that people doing grassroots advocacy don’t have to bother with (maintaining relationships with various governments and government officials and using language and talking points that are suitable for that sphere). Whatever you think of the Washington game, it is what it is. Our political opponents who are so effective in Washington also play the game, and exceptionally well.  If you don’t like the game, then find ways to limit the time you devote to it, or don’t play it at all. But don’t waste valuable energy denouncing those who choose to play it because they see the value in giving our community a voice in Washington. If you think you can do advocacy more effectively, by all means the stage is wide open.

And finally, a word to the anonymous folks who run Ikhras: the fact that people like Zuhdi Jasser, Irshad Manji, Nonie Darwish, Brigitte Gabriel and the rest of the self-promoting clowns (who do sell out their communities) don’t provide you with enough material to regularly update your website constitutes no license to expand your list of victims to anyone whose approach to advocacy you happen not to agree with. Had you chosen to focus on those who really deserve harsh criticism and delivered it in a thoughtful manner, your site might have served a constructive purpose. I hope you will take a moment for introspection on the role you play in the causes you say you care about. Sensationalism and contrived controversy is precisely what has reduced public discourse in the US to its current sorry state. The last thing the Arab American community needs is its own version of this mindless, angry divisiveness and McCarthyite stridency. Instead of being distracted and driven apart by irrational and anonymous public hate letters, we need to come together and work, if not in a cooperative, at least in a complementary fashion to advance the causes we care about. Let us elevate the discourse in the pursuit of a better model.

Omar Baddar is new media coordinator at the Arab-American Institute, but this piece is written in his personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views of AAI or any other organization with which he is affiliated.




James Zogby “Heated”?

James Zogby described this appearance on the McLoughlin Group as “heated.” As usual Zogby fails to challenge any of the basic assumption of US foreign policy, condemn criminal US wars, or respond to racist attacks on Arabs and Muslims such as the comments by a bimbo (see 11:20-11:30) that clearly stated the Muslim religion and entire Muslim world is “violent” until they prove to us otherwise.  Notice also the snapshot he uses at the beginning of the video.  Apparently that picture is intended to depict the cowardly and bland Zogby in a “heated” moment.

James Zogby Too Radical For Hussein Ibish

Forget Dean Obeidallah, Ray Hanania, and Maysoon Zayid.  The self-appointed spokespersons and representatives of the Arab-American community in Washington DC are the real Arab-American comedians.  James Zogby is now the “radical”, “extreme” Arab.  His comments on the Obama speech were too harsh AND uncompromising for the more moderate, pro-peace Hussein Ibish.

James Zogby Concerned about Empire’s Credibility

Would any sincere anti-imperialist lose sleep over the US’s image?

“The last thing we needed is to take an incident like [killing of OBL] and turn it into something that becomes not believed or reinforces the sense that we don’t tell the truth,” says James Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute.

UAE Human Rights Abuses

These are excerpts of the United Arab Emirates’ human rights abuses in 2010 as reported by the Department of State. Keep in mind that the ADC and AAI have strong connections to this Gulf state, which brings into question whether Arab-Americans want organizations like that to represent them. As happened with Egypt, if the people of UAE were to pull off a Tahrir Square, ADC and AAI would be the first to congratulate them and pretend they’d opposed the regime all along.

By now, many people have seen the ghastly video of this incident:

In January a court acquitted a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, implicated by videotape for the 2004 torture of a foreign national, allegedly over a business dispute. Human rights groups decried the acquittal as a sign of the lack of judicial independence.

What about normalization with Israel or enabling the occupation of other Arab and Muslim countries or abusing foreign maids, what’s the penalty for those?

Sharia (Islamic law) courts occasionally imposed flogging as punishment for adultery, prostitution, consensual premarital sex, pregnancy outside marriage, defamation of character, and drug or alcohol abuse. Authorities used canes to administer floggings, resulting in substantial bruising, welts, and open wounds on those flogged.

The UAE has a narrow definition of “mental illness.” It does not include royal psychopaths who torture helpless business associates:

On September 2, local media reported the suicide of an Emirati prisoner in a Dubai jail. The prisoner reportedly was mentally ill and held in solitary confinement, where he committed suicide.

The UAE can be wed to usurping countries like the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, but individuals mustn’t dare think about marrying outside their religion:

Local interpretation of Sharia prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims and Muslim men from marrying women not “of the book,” meaning adherents of religions other than Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

How to test if the following excerpt about media freedom is true or not: watch Jim Zogby’s show Viewpoint, which is broadcast by Abu Dhabi channel, and see if he ever criticizes UAE princes.

The government owned three of the country’s newspapers and heavily influenced the privately owned media, particularly through government subsidies.

You can’t criticize normalization with Israel or the UAE’s relations with the US empire:

Other punishments for violations of libel laws remained in force, including suspension of publishing for a specified period of time and penalties of five million dirhams (approximately $1.4 million) for disparaging senior officials or royal family members and 500,000 dirhams (approximately $140,000) for misleading the public and harming the country’s reputation, foreign relations, or economy.

So much for teaching critical thinking in schools:

The government restricted academic freedom and censored academic materials for schools.

If you listen to Hillary Clinton, you wouldn’t know this:

The constitution provides for freedoms of assembly and association; however, in practice the government did not respect these rights.

The UAE’s National Media Council censors media “supportive of certain Israeli government positions.” But UAE is not quite the beacon of solidarity with Palestine. For example, normalization with Israel is practiced at the state level. From DefenseNews.com:

Abu Dhabi is negotiating an commercial deal with Israel that would grant the Arabian emirate access to the Israeli-built Eros B satellite and its high-resolution imagery, in addition to services it already receives from its precursor, the Eros A.


The government continued to detain some persons seeking refugee status, particularly Palestinians and non-Arabs, while they awaited resettlement in third countries. As access to employment, education, and other public services is based on an individual’s status as a legal resident, a refugee is not eligible for such benefits.

A reductive term for the foreign-born, “Bidoon,” which means “Without.”

Estimates suggested that an unverified range of 20,000 to 100,000 persons without any citizenship or proof of citizenship (known as “Bidoon”) resided in the country.

No surprises here. Just like the rest of Gulf states:

The law does not provide citizens the right to change their government peacefully. There were no democratic general elections or institutions, and citizens did not have the right to form political parties.

Due to the lack of the independence of the courts, those in power or connected to the ruling families rarely were punished for corruption. Nepotism and corrupt financial and legal practices existed.

There were widespread and frequent reports that foreign domestic workers were raped and sexually assaulted by their employers.

The list of human rights abuses in this “moderate” Arab country goes on and on. Too long to reprint here. On the same website, the DOS’ page, the US indicates the following. What’s the use pointing out human rights abuses if you’re going to maintain friendly relations with that country?

The United States has enjoyed friendly relations with the U.A.E. since 1971. Private commercial ties, especially in petroleum (the U.A.E. is the only GCC state to allow private-sector participation in its oil and gas sector), have developed into friendly government-to-government ties, which include security cooperation. The U.A.E. is the United States’ single largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region, with $14.4 billion in exports in 2008 and more than 750 U.S. firms operating locally. There are nearly 50 weekly non-stop flights to the U.A.E. from six U.S. cities. U.A.E. ports host more U.S. Navy ships than any port outside the U.S. The United States was the third country to establish formal diplomatic relations with the U.A.E. and has had an ambassador resident in the U.A.E. since 1974.

Related articles:

Arab Government Human Rights Abuses in 2010 [Saudi Arabia]

AAI Hosts Egyptian Foreign Minister

Zogby Ignores Egyptian Revolution, Focuses On Investment in UAE


James Zogby Won’t Ikhras, But He Doesn’t Speak For Arab-Americans

James Zogby claims when he appears in the mainstream American media Arab-Americans, and their views, are being represented.

Given the situation in the Middle East, there is a growing need for Arab Americans to be in the media and weigh in on the issues that matter. During the height of the revolution in Egypt, we put a number of individuals in contact with various media outlets to ensure Arab American voices were heard. It is extremely important to AAI and to the community that Arab Americans are represented in the media.

Nothing can be further from the truth.  Just as any American interested in knowing where Arab public opinion stands on any issue should ignore the unrepresentative dictators of the Arab world, Americans interested in learning about Arab-Americans should ignore Zogby.  Zogby should also stop claiming to speak for Arab-Americans.  He’s entitled to his views, but they are his views.

Zogby told to ikhras

Middle  East Commentator Rannie Amiri takes James Zogby to task for his support of US sponsored Saudi/Bahrani repression of peaceful protesters. From Counterpunch on April 5, 2011.

There Was Nothing Friendly About the GCC Invasion

Why Zogby is Wrong About Bahrain


In the March 28, 2011 online edition of CounterPunch, Arab American Institute President James Zogby authored an article titled “The Roots of Bahrain’s Crisis.” In it, he relays data from a years-old McKinsey & Company survey of middle class residents in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. He argues that the economic disparities between citizens of the first two nations and the “distressed” ones in the latter were “yellow flags” heralding Bahrain’s current unrest.

Mr. Zogby writes:

“We found that not only are Bahrain’s neighbours in Saudi Arabia and the UAE wealthier … their citizens are also more satisfied with their current status and more optimistic about their prospects for the future.

Bahrainis report being less satisfied with their jobs and the salaries they receive, and give lower grades to government services than their neighbours in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

Nowhere in his essay, however, does he describe or even mention the “red flags” of institutionalized sectarian discrimination, exclusionary governmental policies leading to the socioeconomic and political disenfranchisement of the country’s majority Shia population, the fast-track citizenship given to non-Bahrainis to fill the ranks of the security services, torture, or the al-Khalifa regime’s brutality in crushing pro-democracy movements in the past.

Sanitizing what Bahrainis have endured over decades to a mere survey of job satisfaction and happiness with government services is both disingenuous and deceptive.

If Mr. Zogby wants to address the “roots of Bahrain’s crisis” he would do well to note that the 70% Shia population fill none of the senior posts in the Ministry of Defense, National Guard, Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Supreme Defense Council, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, the General Organization for Youth and Sports, the Royal Court, the Crown Prince Court, the Central Informatics Organization, and the Survey and Land Registration Bureau.

Likewise, they form a only five percent of the judiciary corps, 16 percent of the diplomatic corps, seven percent of the Ministry of Transportation, 18 percent of the Constitutional Court, 10 percent of the Ministry of Finance and six percent of the Ministry of Information (Source: Bahrain Center for Human Rights). Their representation in the public sector is equally dismal.

Of the 1,000 employees in the National Security Apparatus (NSA), more than two-thirds are non-Bahraini (largely Jordanian, Egyptian, Yemeni and Pakistani nationals) and overwhelmingly Sunni. Bahraini Shia citizens constitute less than five percent of the NSA and occupy only low-level positions or act as paid informants. The paramilitary Special Security Forces (SSF) operates under NSA supervision and numbers 20,000—90 percent of whom are non-Bahraini. A single Bahraini Shia member is not counted among them.

These imported mercenaries are the ones who rampaged through Manama’s Pearl Roundabout on two separate occasions over the past six weeks, beating peaceful, unarmed and defenseless protestors encamped there. Before their violent eviction, Pearl Roundabout was the epicenter of calls for free elections, release of political prisoners, fairness in distribution in jobs and housing, freedom of the press and religion, an end to the regime’s routine use of torture, and ultimately a transition to a constitutional monarchy. It was the SSF who pulled patients out of rooms in Salmaniya Hospital to continue thebeatings, as they did to ambulance drivers, treating paramedics and doctors.

The “roots” of Bahrain’s crisis”?

What of the citizenship laws, granting non-Bahraini Sunnis expedited citizenship and voting rights in a backdoor attempt to alter the state’s confessional makeup? This allows the government to gerrymander districts to ensure a popular majority is not translated into a parliamentary one (the toothless powers of the legislature notwithstanding).

The “roots of Bahrain’s crisis”?

Why no mention of Bandargate: the 2006 scandal that erupted after Dr. Saleh al-Bander, an adviser to the minister of cabinet affairs, authored a 240-page report which detailed how the monarchy hired operatives to rig elections, formed intelligence rings to spy on Bahraini Shias, incited sectarian hatred by disparaging them in the media and subsidized Shia to Sunni conversions?

Mr. Zogby also turns a blind eye to the humiliating and unrelenting crackdownon Bahrainis currently underway (note photo from the hyperlinked AP report).

How many more YouTube videos must we watch of protestors killed with live ammunition or shot point-blank? How many stories of 20-year-old girls beinghunted down for having had recited a poem at Pearl Roundabout do we have to read? Or the arrest of bloggers like Mahmoud al-Yousif whose non-sectarian motto of “No Shia, No Sunni, just Bahraini” was deemed threatening? Or of physicians like Dr. Abdul Khalaq al-Oraibi, detained after criticizing the government for the lack of access to medical care for those wounded by security forces?

Since the king put Bahrain under martial law on March 16, more than 350 people are in custody and scores remain missing.

But Mr. Zogby’s disturbing comments are reserved for the end of his piece. Almost lauding the March 14 GCC invasion of Bahrain by the Peninsula Shield force, he writes:

“In this area, Bahrain’s neighbours have a key role to play. Earlier this year, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members made a commitment of long-term financial assistance to Bahrain. And now they have sent troops into the country, deepening their commitment to their neighbour and fellow member.

As that occurs, the GCC can design a more comprehensive economic package for Bahrain — an incentive to move the reform process forward, and a sign of GCC solidarity with the Bahraini people and government.”

I doubt a single Bahraini Shia, or anyone who believes in the right to freely elect one’s representatives or lead a dignified life, would say that the arrival of these forces to put down those calling for democratic reforms was a friendly gesture, as he intimates. These troops and the 100 tanks that accompanied them have worked alongside Bahrain’s own paramilitary units to suppress dissent, intimidate, and instill fear. This is apparently what Mr. Zogby refers to as the “GCC solidarity with the Bahraini people.”

International silence on Bahrain is shameful. But for a prominent Arab-American figure who regularly encourages the community’s participation in the United States political process to neglect past and current repression in Bahrain—at the expense of those yearning for the same freedoms—is inexcusable.

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East commentator.

James Zogby’s Gala Brought To You By The Saudi Embassy







The underwriters of James Zogby’s Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala are the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco.  Zogby has a long standing relationship with the ignorant oil-princes of America’s client regimes in the Arab gulf states.  Clearly, this support from the Saudi embassy is not unrelated to Zogby’s recent approval of the Saudi regime’s violent repression of peaceful protesters in “Saudi Arabia” or its US-supported role in the killing and repression of peaceful democracy protesters in Bahrain on behalf of its monarchist counterparts.  With the Saudi regime’s repression of “Saudi” and Bahraini youth still ongoing Zogby invited Egyptian youth activist and blogger Wael Ghonim to his Saudi embassy-supported Gala to accept a “Special Recognition Award on behalf of youth of Arab Spring.”

The James Zogby Gala Is Almost Here

We’re just one month away from the Washington establishment Arabs’ premiere event of the year, James Zogby’s Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala.  Zogby’s Gala this year will be at the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel and, of course, it’s a Black-tie event so prepare your tuxedos and be on your best “elegant, moderate, civilized Arab behavior.”  You can expect to see the same names involved we see every year:  John Sununu, Jean Abinader, Charles Boustany, Darrel Issa, Nick Rahall, and a few others of the handful of that elite sub-set of an earlier wave of Arab immigrants whose relationship with the Arab world amounts to a dish of tabouleh, an occasional “marhaba buba”, and an embarrassing childhood moment trying to do the “Dob-kay.”  Representatives from the embassies of Pro-US Arab tyrannies will be invited along with US officials whose presence reaffirms Zogby’s designation as a Washington-approved “good Arab.”

The Washington Arabs: Hypocrisy And Self-Conscious Deceit

The objectives of the Washington establishment Arabs are garnering acceptance within the political establishment, personal social or economic advancement, the imprimatur of the “civilized Westerner” represented by the American ruling class, and all the false prestige they associate with these “achievements.”  Motivated by the same goals, driven by the political exigencies of Washington, and guided by the logic which requires faithfully following the official US government line we begin to see a common pattern of behavior among these American Arabs whether they identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans.  A comparison of the positions of Democrat James Zogby and Republican David “Go GOP” Ramadan on the Arab uprisings of 2011 will help illustrate this behavior and the logic that guides it.

American support of pro-American dictatorships and opposition to anti-US dictatorships (and democracies) has been a constant feature of US foreign policy since the end of World War II.  No other regime in the world has made democracy and human rights such a consistent part of its propaganda campaigns, and yet no other government has done more to undermine democracy and human rights in the world than the US.  Among the ugliest manifestations of this hypocrisy have been seen in the Arab world where Washington has backed and maintained in power some of the most brutal and ruthless of tyrants.

"Go Go GOP"

As the historic 2011 revolution sweeps across the Arab homeland and the oppressed Arab masses rise up against the despots that have tormented them and their imperialist masters in Washington, the only rational and moral position for the Arab-American community to take is unequivocal support for all uprisings in the Arab world and a clear condemnation of every Arab regime and the US government that has supported them.  Instead, opportunistic, unprincipled self-promoters have adopted the same hypocrisy and cynicism of the ruling class whose approval they slavishly pursue.  Although they are not the brightest among Arab-Americans they do understand any departure from the strictly defined parameters of public discourse or any minor deviation from the very narrow spectrum of political debate in this country will immediately end their careers on the margins of US officialdom and land them a spot among the shunned miscreants.