[Ikhras Note: As we were writing this blog post Hisham Melhem appeared on CNN to once again repeat the comments that are addressed in it and added what appeared to be a justification for Israel’s extrajudicial assassination of Lebanese citizen Samir Kuntar.]
After news of the extrajudicial assassination of Lebanese citizen Samir Kuntar in a Damascus suburb by Israel broke we could not help but remember a recent series of tweets by Hisham Melhem about the Arab resistance icon. After Syrian officials confirmed the death of Kuntar the Israeli hasbara machine immediately began repeating the stale propaganda narrative about “operation Nasser” that Kuntar led into occupied Northern Palestine in 1979 during which he was captured. Kuntar spent 30 years in prison before Israel was forced to release him in a prisoner swap with the Hezbollah resistance organization seven years ago. Melhem’s comments deserve to be highlighted as illustrative of a certain type of Arab, but first some background.
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On behalf of all Palestinian refugees denied the right of return, those who remain under occupation and not included as part of any papal delegation, and on behalf of all Lebanese victims of the Israeli occupation army and its proxy militia, the Ikhras editors are pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras-Shoe-of-the-Month Award for May 2014 is Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai.
Ikhras condemns the lamentable and unprecedented decision of the Maronite Patriarch to visit occupied Jerusalem as part of the papal delegation greeting Pope Francis during his May 24-26 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
No Maronite patriarch, not even Rai’s predecessor, Nasrallah Sfeir—a sectarian and polemic figure who openly advocated on behalf of the U.S. and Saudi-backed March 14 political coalition—has traveled to Israel since the Zionist state’s inception in 1948.
“I told Prime Minister [Tammam Salam] that we are going to Jerusalem on a church- and pastoral-related visit,” Rai said. “There is no political motive behind the visit.”
No political motive? As one of the highest religious authorities in Lebanon, and in light of the brutal legacy of Israeli occupation of Lebanon and its savage 2006 assault, the mere act of travelling there becomes political.
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British-Lebanese Attorney and “Human Rights Expert” Amal Alamuddin.
A little-known partner to a U.S.-Israeli project and a brutal dictator is suddenly cast as a source of admiration and pride. Ikhras takes a look at Arab reaction after news broke of actor-celebrity George Clooney’s engagement to British-Lebanese Attorney Amal Alamuddin.
We at Ikhras feel compelled to disabuse Arabs of the notion that Amal Alamuddin, “barrister specialising in international law, human rights, extradition and criminal law” and recent fiancée of actor-celebrity George Clooney, is a source of admiration or pride. The reaction of more than a few House Arabs to her announced engagement to Clooney has been very troubling, and can only be described as symptomatic of an inferiority complex.
Let us put aside for the moment the fawning indulgence often expressed by many whenever an Arab becomes associated with a famous Westerner:
“Tell me when George Clooney will be coming to Lebanon so I can greet him in Moukhtara,” sectarian warlord Walid Jumblatt wrote, referring to his ancestral home in the Chouf mountains. “I will bring a delegation of Druze sheikhs.” It’s unlikely Clooney gave any serious thought to his upcoming marriage to Amal Alamuddin, but whatever little time he may have spent contemplating on the matter he certainly never imagined an entire clerical establishment in Lebanon could be summoned to express its joy over his (latest) escapade with a member of the flock.
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