When Mona Eltahawy addressed the racist, Zionist J-Street conference she told the audience “not one anti-Israeli…sentiment was expressed” during the uprising in Egypt. Here is a video in which three million Egyptians clarify their position on the Zionist occupation of Palestine. They are chanting “To Jerusalem We Are Heading…Martyrs In The Millions.”
Mona Eltahawy recently proclaimed at a J Street conference that during the Egyptian revolution:
“not one anti-Israeli or anti-American sentiment was expressed”
Me: “Hello, I received your telephone number from the journalist, X.” He: “Please, I’m at your disposal.” Me: “My name is so and so, I have been living in Ramallah for the past X years and I write for the newspaper Haaretz.” He: “No, I don’t deal with the Zionist entity.”
He was polite but determined. And he is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hass goes on to describe the categories of Egyptians who refused to give her an interview. While details vary, all categories hold in common categorical rejection of normalization with “Israel,” or even the appearance thereof.
Get the hint ya Mona. Your normalization with Israel is not shared with or appreciated by your fellow Egyptians. Your Arabic is presumably better than Amira Hass’, so how could you possibly still be blinded to Egyptians’ rejection of Israel? If you can’t renounce your normalization with Israel, it’s better to just ikhrasi.
Mona Eltahawy who takes pride in being “the first Egyptian journalist to live and to work for a western news agency in Israel” was a big hit at this year’s J-Street gathering. This is a video of her opening remarks at the racist, Zionist group’s 2011 conference.
Eltahawy, unlike Ray Hanania and James Zogby, two other Arab-Americans who enthusiastically promote J-Street, does speak Arabic with native ability and closely followed the Egyptian revolution. Therefore, when she told the audience “not one anti-Israeli or anti-American sentiment was expressed” during the uprisings in Tunisia, and Egypt (11:40), she was knowingly making a false statement. While the immediate demands of the Tunisians and Egyptians were naturally focused on domestic issues, the tyrants’ relationships with the Zionist entity, and American support for these autocrats were on the minds of the millions who took the streets to demand not only an end to dictatorship, oppression, and poverty, but also subservience to the West and collaboration with Israel. This was clear to everyone who followed the uprisings, listened to the chants, read the signs, and paid attention to what people in the streets were saying. This is especially true in Egypt where American sponsorship and support for the regime was directly linked to the regime’s alliance with Israel which is a complete anathema to the Egyptian people. The suggestion Egyptians were unaware of American support for their tyrant or failed to understand the nexus between Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorial rule, and the regime’s relationship with the US and Israel is to assign them a level of naivete verging on contempt.
Check out the below video of Mona Eltahawy answering Alan Dershowitz on the Egyptian revolution. It is interesting to note that:
1) Eltahawy fails to mention that a major component of the US “hypocritical foreign policy” toward Mubarak was support for Israel. Part of the reason he remained in power for 30 years, was to maintain peace with Israel, contrary to the wishes of the Egyptian people, and that therefore peace with Israel is incompatible with democracy for Arab peoples. Even Dershowitz referred to his concern for maintenance of peace with Israel but Eltahawy didn’t address it.
2) Eltahawy thinks Israel is a democracy. Millions of Palestinians would strongly beg to differ.
3) She says to Alan Dershowitz: “Surely you and everyone in Israel should be happy that your neighbor wants to be a democracy. Democratic neighbors are happy. Israel can’t be the only democracy in the region and not want Egypt to be a democracy.”
To be fair, Mona is right to state that democracy is people choosing a government they want and that Egyptians are now determining their future. With the Israeli flag removed from Cairo, and natural gas pipelines to Israel damaged, the people of Egypt have clearly and loudly said that Israel is not part of that future. Mona still isn’t picking that up. Hopefully, the fact that Israelis are having panic attacks about the Egyptian revolution, will give her a hint.
[Ikhras Note] Mona Eltahawy would have us believe all her detractors are bearded, misogynistic, religious fanatics determined to crush her enlightened, progressive, feminist views, but nothing could be further from the truth. This guest submission first appeared on Middle East Reality Check(MERC)
Oh my mama told me
‘Cause she said she learned the hard way
She say she wanna spare the children
She say don’t give or sell your soul away
‘Cause all that you have is your soul
So don’t be tempted by the shiny apple
Don’t you eat of the bitter fruit
Hunger only for a taste of justice
Hunger only for a world of truth
‘Cause all that you have is your soul
(All That You have Is Your Soul, Tracy Chapman)
The Age has finally today managed an opinion piece on Egypt’sintifada – by an Egyptian-born “writer and lecturer on Arab issues” no less. Unfortunately, while Mona Eltahawy ‘s All Egyptians are being liberated from the burden of history promised a fresh, Egyptian perspective, it delivered little more than cliches: “Generation Facebook – kicking aside the burden of history, determined to show us just how easy it is to tell the dictator it’s time to go.”
I wish that were the worst of it, but it wasn’t. Well into her puffery Eltahawy came out with this decidedly peculiar statement:
Mona Eltahawy has been touring the media circuit as the champion of freedom and democracy in Egypt and the Arab world, but what would a free and democratic Arab world look like? And what would it mean for those few who share Eltahawy’s views.
Now that Mona Eltahawy is posing as the voice of the oppressed Arab masses, and an advocate of democracy, we think it would be helpful to compare her political outlook to the well-known, and repeatedly verified views held by a vast majority of the Arab public.
We can begin by contrasting Mona’s pride in being “the first Egyptian journalist to live and to work for a western news agency in Israel” with the Egyptian people’s refusal for over 30 years to normalize with the Zionist entity. Like many of the wonderful chants of the unfolding Egyptian revolution the phrase “The first (government) to sign, but the last (people) to normalize” rhymes in Arabic.
To help us compare the views of the New York-based advocate of Arab democracy with Arab public opinion, we will rely on a very revealing article she wrote about two years ago with the obnoxious title “Israel is the opium of the people, and other Arab taboos.”
Thanks to sister Leila for sending this in. Posted with her permission:
Thanks for your post about Mona Eltahawy–such a relief! Her recent piece (Jan 29) in the Guardian really hits some new lows. A few gems stand out, such as,
“Meanwhile, the uprisings are curing the Arab world of an opiate, the obsession with Israel,” and “Enough with dictators hijacking sympathy for Palestinians and enough with putting our lives on hold for that conflict.”
Certainly no one will deny that Arab dictators use the cause for their own gain, but for Eltahawy to write about Palestine as an “opiate” and a burden (from her comfy perch at Borders in NYC according to Twitter) is not only offensive, but remarkably out of touch. She must be upset because the burden of Palestine prevents her from getting published in more zionist rags like JPost. The average falafel ball has a better understanding of “that conflict” and its direct causal relationship to 30+ years of Egyptian repression than Mona Eltahawy. She needs to ikhras.
House Arabs change colors so quickly, it puts chameleons to shame.
On one hand, Mona Eltahawy presents herself the American-based spokesperson for the Egyptian people. Kudos for supporting the Egyptian revolt, Mona. You get a cookie.
However, prominently brandished on her website, colonial feminist and Israel-normalizer Mona Eltahawy states the following:
Ms. Eltahawy was the first Egyptian journalist to live and to work for a western news agency in Israel.
Mona also writes for the right-wing Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post. It would’ve been bad enough if she wrote for the more liberal Haaretz. Behold these excerpts:
when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict these days, the harder place to be is on that fence and – see above with self-hating – I never turn down the opportunity to take the harder option
Would Eltahawy have displayed such brazen neutrality during the civil rights movement or the South African anti-apartheid struggle?
Eltahawy may want to think about Desmond Tutu’s words before embarrassing herself like that on the enemy’s pages:
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Now that the Egyptian people have made clear that they do not want an Israeli embassy on their land, can we expect Mona Eltahawy to apologize for her flagrant disregard for the Egyptians, Palestinians and Arabs’ political aspirations? Probably not. When it comes to speaking out against the dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians from their land, Eltahawy has already made her position clear “I refuse to get off this fence“.
This Christmas, please ensure continued aid to Israel considering that the treacherous BDS movement is picking up steam. Could you replace the late Shake Soccer with a dozen greedier and more racist oil princes for me to befriend? I’d also like to be promoted from my current position as a DNC committee chair; I’d like to become President Obama’s valet. Let me know if you have a shortage of elves so I send you a couple AAI interns. And if you have time, could you by any chance look in to your lineage to see if you have any Arab ancestors?
Can you get an Arabic dictionary for Christmas so I put it under my pillow and learn the language by osmosis? And do you still give out “integrity packages”?
Though I support the French niqab ban, this Christmas I would like to ask you for a niqab. I’m too embarrassed to show my face for having normalized with Israel.
Dear Mr. Claus,
I’ve already scored dinner with Michael Oren. If you could arrange for me to dine with any living relatives of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan, that would be awesome. Could you also get me a copy of “Sufism for Dummies“?
More young Arab-Americans in the US Army, CIA and FBI, please! Surely our occupied brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq will understand our obsession with proving loyalty to the stars and stripes. While you’re at it, could you get Barack Obama to acknowledge our existence? It hurts our feelings when he doesn’t return our calls.
Assalamu alaikum Brother Santa,
We’d like a fatwa that it’s ok for Muslims to work for the FBI and enlist in the Army. We already encourage it, but an official fatwa would make more Muslims feel comfortable joining to fight our important war against Afghans and Iraqis. Also, please tell us who your Jewish counterpart is so we complete our interfaith outreach for this year. Rest assured we won’t bring up Zionism.
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Concentration camps for every Muslim-American outside who doesn’t belong to my organization, please. I’d also like to see an American flag shrouding the ka’ba if it’s not too much trouble.
Santa, how the hell are ya!
Could you get Geert Wilders to endorse my book? Having Daniel Pipes and Alan Dershowitz support it is great but not enough.
An Arabic Rosetta Stone would also be nice so I learn how to pronounce “madrasa” and “ijtihad.”
Idea for this post inspired by the witty article by David Macaray at: http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/12/letters-to-santa-claus/
A number of groups organized a protest today outside the White House to oppose the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen and support Wikileaks. Veterans for Peace, GetUp!, Code Pink, Chris Hedges and Ray McGovern were among the organizers and speakers. Braving snow and very cold temperature, the activists also demanded the release of Bradley Manning and an end to civil liberties erosions.
One wonders why housies* weren’t the groups leading, or simply participating in or even promoting, this effort. What could they have possibly been busy with?
Ray Hanania was advocating for the two-state solution on the pages of the Jerusalem Post; an approach that concedes 78% of historic Palestine to Zionist settlers.
James Zogby was tied up promoting his book as well as an upcoming J Street event.
Feisal Abdul Rauf was chatting with the New York Times about his 40-plus year-long career of begging for tolerance from Zionists in the form of interfaith sessions.
Mona Eltahawy was addressing the TEDWomen audience. She spoke about everything there is to know about Muslim women in a nutshell except for the fact that they’re on the receiving end of US bombs and depleted uranium and bear the brunt of oppression under occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine as widows and mothers of shattered, displaced, tortured families.
The American Task Force on Palestine‘s plate was full, hosting war criminal Tony Blair.
David Ramadan’s was too busy advocating for a “a strong Reagan Republican President in 2012” and a “strong US presence and role worldwide.”
Rima Fakih joined World Wrestling Entertainment celebrities to entertain members of the U.S. military at Fort Hood, Texas.
Irshad Manji was discussing the existence of God on the pages of the Global and Mail.
Zuhdi Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy was celebrating “the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Nasser Al-Awlaki, father of Anwar Al-Awlaki, represented by Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights” over the use of targeted killing of American Citizens.
Who has time for serious anti-war activism with schedules as busy as these?
* “Housies” is short for House Arabs and House Muslims, equivalent to Malcolm X’s “House Negro” and “Field Negro.”
We’d criticized Mona Eltahawy’s racist, sexist support for the French niqab ban. Ikhras notices improvement in Eltahawy’s discourse during her debate with Tariq Ramadan about the same topic.
This time, unlike in her Washington Post article, she didn’t say there was no similarity between women’s faces and minaret stone indicating she probably understands the analogy by now. And she didn’t blame European liberals for failing to interpret Islam for women. Keep it up, Mona. Hopefully you’ll retract your support for the niqab ban soon. Is it too much to hope you might stop bragging about normalizing with “Israel” on your website too?
Columnist Mona Eltahawy presents troubling arguments in her recent Washington Post article, From liberals and feminists, unsettling silence on rending the Muslim veil (July 17, 2010).
First, she argues “Some have tried to present the ban as a matter of Islam vs. the West. It is not. First, Islam is not monolithic. It, like other major religions, has strains and sects.” One wonders what Islam’s diversity has anything to do with the anti-Islamic motivation behind the French ban on veils. Had France passed a law against wearing yermulkes, it would have been anti-Jewish regardless of strains and sects within Judaism. Had France passed a law against wearing crucifixes, it would’ve been anti-Christian regardless of strains and sects within Christianity. Granted, there are different interpretations within Islam that range from requiring the woman to cover her body completely (as in Saudi Arabia, for example), to requiring covering only the hair, to not requiring any hijab whatsoever per more liberal interpretations. But the variety of opinions within Islam doesn’t make a ban on an expression of some Muslim women’s faith any less of an anti-Islamic law. In fact, the first paragraph of the Washington Post article she links to indicates that Islam was specifically mentioned in the legislation in issue. “The French Parliament’s lower house passed sweeping but constitutionally vulnerable legislation Tuesday that would bar women from wearing full-face Islamic veils in public.” Eltahawy writes “Minarets are used to issue a call to prayer; they are a symbol of Islam. The niqab, the full-length veil that has openings only for the eyes, is a symbol only for the Muslim right.” Eltahawy distinguishes between the minaret ban and niqab ban only because she herself is for the niqab ban. This distinction makes little to no difference in the Islamophobic mindset. Both the minaret ban and the niqab ban are equally alarming as both stem from xenophobia, specifically Islamophobia. It is highly unlikely that the French legislature intended the niqab ban as a means to present Muslim women with a more progressive, egalitarian interpretation of their religion; the legislation was more likely fueled by intolerance and racism.
Next, Eltahawy writes “Some have likened this issue to Switzerland’s move last year to ban the construction of minarets. On the one hand, it is preposterous to compare women’s faces – their identity – to a stone pillar.” Eltahawy preposterously missed the point of the analogy. Analogies are used to point out a similarity of a particular aspect among entities. To analogize a man to a lion, for example, is to indicate courage. It would be absurd to suggest the analogy concerns consumption of raw meat. Hence, when anti-racist activists and writers liken the French veil ban to the Swiss minaret ban, the point is to track and condemn the growing trend of Islamophobia in Europe. No reasonable reader of that analogy would have drawn similarity between women’s face and stone.
Eltahawy goes on to criticize liberals who oppose their government’s repressive measure. She goes as far as blaming them for allowing “the political right and the Muslim right to seize the situation.” She wonders “[w]here were those howls when niqabs began appearing in European countries, where for years women fought for rights?” Stopping short of calling them hypocrites, Eltahawy writes “A bizarre political correctness tied the tongues of those who would normally rally to defend women’s rights.” What is bizarre is Eltahawy’s implication that it is European liberals’ job to interpret Islam for Muslim women. White man’s burden, anyone? Anti-racist Europeans’ primary task is to hold accountable for unconstitutional infringements their own government to which they pay taxes. While they’re entitled to their opinion regarding the veil, it is not their place to inform Muslim women how to practice their religion. In this regard, Eltahawy presents a racist argument; she sees it fit for non-Muslim Europeans to condemn the veil but we don’t hear her encouraging French Muslims to protest the Catholic Church’s denial of abortion and birth control for Catholic French women, for example.
While Eltahawy feigns concern with “the concept of a woman’s right to choose,” she cites Saudi blogger Eman Al Nafjan’s casual observation (that is, anecdotal observation not based on a scientific survey) that some Saudi women support the French ban. Eltahawy selectively cites excerpts from Al Nafjan’s post about how Saudi women are brainwashed and conveniently leaves out this less palatable part “I don’t live in France and I don’t even to plan to visit anytime soon and yet it made me happy that women there don’t have a choice. Yes this is one area where I’m anti-choice.” In addition, because the veil is required in Saudi Arabia, it’s not too surprising that some of Al Nafjan’s friends support the French veil ban. If a government were to force its citizens to eat burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it wouldn’t be surprising if those citizens were to support burger bans elsewhere.
Eltahawy momentarily expresses unease with the “racist political right wing” but then concludes with making her position clear that “The French were right to ban the veil in public.” With this unequivocal statement, Eltahawy entrusts Islam’s interpretation and Muslim women’s right to choose to a state in top-down fashion instead of bringing about change on the grassroots level. Not any government, but one that has had a long racist, colonial history. This is not shocking coming from someone who brandishes her normalization with “Israel” on her website: “Ms Eltahawy was the first Egyptian journalist to live and to work for a western news agency in Israel.” Ms. Eltahawy, if you cannot support the fight against sexism and Islamophobia, then please Ikhrasi!
Contributed by Qasim
1) Emphasis within quotes added.
2) The term “Islamophobia” was employed in this article due its common usage. However, “anti-Islamic racism” or “anti-Islamic prejudice” are more accurate because they imply active, deliberate agency while “phobia” conveys helplessness and lack of deliberate intention (since phobia is a syndrome that occurs involuntarily).