Monday, October 22, 2007

CAIR on the racist Islamo-Facism Week of Hatred

Robert Spencer is main speaker for upcoming Islamophobic campus tour

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/21/2007) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) revealed today that the main speaker for an upcoming series of "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" lectures at university campuses nationwide recently offered a keynote address at a European gathering that included representatives of racist or "neo-Nazi" political parties.

Author Robert Spencer, who is scheduled to appear beginning next week at universities such as Brown, DePaul and Dartmouth, is regarded by American Muslims as one of the nation's worst Islamophobes. His virulently anti-Islam website promotes the idea that life for Muslims in the West should be made so difficult that they will leave.

Spencer recently spoke at a so-called "Counterjihad Brussels 2007" conference in Belgium attended by those with links to far-right parties such as Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang (Belgium) and Ted Ekeroth of Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden). Both parties have been accused of either having a racist platform, a neo-Nazi past or having links to neo-Nazis and other racists.

Vlaams Belang is the successor to the Vlaams Blok party, which was banned in 2004 for being an illegal racist political faction. (Vlaams Belang's founders were Nazi collaborators in World War II.)

Of Sverigedemokraterna, the International Herald Tribune wrote: “Sverigedemokraterna, or the Sweden Democrats, have been part of this country's political landscape for almost 20 years, but they were considered too close to the Nazi-inspired far-right to contend for large numbers of votes.” (7/7/06)

SEE: European Organizations Gather in Brussels to Organize Resistance to Islamization and Shariah

SEE: Court Rules Vlaams Blok is Racist

Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch Board Vice President "Hugh Fitzgerald" wrote on that hate site: "Only one group, only one belief-system, distinguishes itself by appearing incapable of fitting in. And that is Muslims, and Islam ... if one really knew what Islam contained ... then how could any decent person remain a Muslim?"

He also recommended that western nations be "Islam-proofed the way a house is child-proofed," compared Muslims to Nazis and urged that they be boycotted: "[I]t should not be hard to find ways to limit the spread or practice of Islam. And if in addition to whatever local, state and federal government officials do, private parties simply conduct their own boycott of goods and services offered by Muslims, in the same way that they would have refused to buy, in 1938, a German Voigtlander camera..."

Other speakers on the "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" tour include Ann Coulter, who refers to Muslims as "rag heads," and Daniel Pipes, a supporter of the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II and of the views of French racist Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“All those who value religious tolerance and diversity should be concerned about the growing links between European racists and American Islamophobes,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Publicity for the tour got off to a bad start when it was revealed that the poster promoting the campus events used a photograph that purportedly showed a Muslim woman being stoned to death, but which was in fact an image from a fictional movie.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, 10/20/07

A controversial week of events, billed as Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, launches at the University of Washington and some 100 other colleges next week — drawing condemnations from Muslim groups here and across the country.

The UW College Republicans, organizer of the local events, say the week is intended to foster awareness of the terrorist threat posed by a small number of extremists within Islam.

But some local Muslims say the week fosters Islamophobia and racism and attempts to paint all Muslims as terrorists.

Beginning Monday, the group plans to hand out information sheets describing what the week's activities are all about.

And it's hosting two events open to the public: a showing of "Suicide Killers," a documentary about suicide bombers, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Smith Hall, and a talk by conservative author and talk-show host Michael Medved at 7 p.m. Thursday in Kane Hall.

Amin Odeh, a board member with the local Arab American Community Coalition, said he agrees that "radical anything is dangerous — radical Muslims, radical Christians, radical Jews. Education is needed."

But Odeh says Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week makes too general a link between extremism and Islam, and that the term "Islamo-fascism" links fascism with an entire religion.

"Unfortunately, when people hear the term they don't think of only a small group of extremists, but of Islam in general," he said.

Hala Dillsi, a member of the UW Muslim Student Association, believes Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week promotes fear and intolerance. She is distributing green armbands and encouraging people to wear T-shirts that are green — traditionally the color associated with Islam — on Wednesday in solidarity with local Arabs and Muslims.

The student group also is organizing a forum Oct. 29 in which professors and local Muslims discuss and answer questions about Islam.

Members of the Muslim Student Association, along with other organizations, also plan to hold protests outside Wednesday and Thursday evening's Awareness Week events.

Assistant Chief Ray Wittmier with the UW Police Department said his department is meeting with student organizers on all sides "to make sure everybody stays safe."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Anti-Semitism from activists who hate Arabs and Muslims

Little Green Footballs is a racist anti-Arab and anti-Muslim site that attacks and slanders anyone who questions Israeli policies or the actions of government agencies that engage in racist and discriminatory behavior. The site is notorious for vicious hate and constantly publishes falsehoods about Arabs, slanders and libels individuals who embrace a moderate voice and who apply one principle to both sides. Little Green Footballs and its author are among the worst haters and vicious namecallers in America today, and an example of the hypocrisy of how Arab anti-Semities are constantly called out and rightly so, but that vicious racists like Little Green Footballs enjoys the support and apathetic endorsement of mainstream Americans and extremists who support Israel's government excesses.

Ray Hanania

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vicious hate letters continue in response to reasoned columns

Here's another letter from the Arlington Heights Dalei Herald in response to my reasoned column on Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Notice the viciousness in the slander against all Arabs and Muslims blaiming them for the Holocaust. It's fanatics like this who are behind the hatred that continues to fuel the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews, and why their strident voices continue to inflame and prevent peace:

I don't know which is more comical: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speeches at the United Nation and Columbia University or Ray Hanania's column "Too busy ripping Ahmadinejad to hear his message" (Oct. 1) praising him.

(Of course I did not "praise" Ahmadinejad, but fanatics rarely report anything accurately)

Ahmadinejad does not accept the Holocaust as fact. That is why he called for it to be scientifically investigated in his speech and why he sponsored a Holocaust Denial conference in Tehran last year. The Holocaust is probably the most documented event in human history and doesn't need further investigation to prove what happened.

(The writer ignores the FACT that in his speeches Ahmadinejad openly acknowledged the Holocaust and the murder of "5 Millions" Jews ... it sounds like Ahmadinejad questions the totla number but that is ridiculous, too, but still contradicts the lies from this writer.)

The Palestinians were active participants in the Holocaust. The leader of the Palestinians, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, organized Muslim death squads in Europe to murder Jews. He had to flee to Berlin and spend the duration of the war as Hitler's personal guest. And Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial.

(This is an outright lie and slander and represents pure hatred, the kind of hatred that is behind the murderous terrorism ripping apart Israelis and Palestinians.)

Is Hanania admitting that Ahmadinejad did state that Israel must be "destroyed"? That would make him more than the "foe of Israel" Hanania describes him as. In Ahmadinejad's own words, he stated this past June "God willing, in the near future we will see the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime," and in 2005 he made the widely publicized statement "Israel must be wiped off the map of the world."

(Amazingly, this writer accepts what has been written about Ahmadinejad that is critical but rejects Ahmadinejad's own words.)

Iran is a signatory to the U.N. Genocide Convention. It prohibits calling for the annihilation of another member state. Instead of having been given a public forum, Ahmadinejad should have been arrested and indicted for incitement to commit genocide as soon as he landed in New York.

(Of course, the writers may not know much about freedom of speech which he so abuses and yets sets to deny to anyone else who responds to his outrageous falsehoods.)

Hanania's claim that Israel was established on land that was majority Arab is false. The November 1947 U.N. partition plan called for creating a Jewish state in the areas that were majority Jewish populated and an Arab state where the Arabs were the majority.

(The FACTS show that the proposed Jewish State under the Partition was majority non-Jewish and every major Israeli leader acknowledges this. But why have to argue the truth when you can lie so viciously.)

The Jews accepted this even though it would have only given them 10 percent of the land designated for them as a homeland under the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

(This is another outrageous falsehood by a vicious Arab-hater and little more. He is saying that Palestine also included Jordan and other Arab countries which is a pathetic rejection of truth. Under the Partition, the Jews were given half of Mandated Palestine, and the Christian and Muslims were given the other half. Before Israel was delcared on May 14 and the Arab armies attacked, Jewish fighters already occupied 10 major cities in the proposed Arab State and kept them. On the end, Israel included not only the half given to them but the half given to the Arabs and had occupied much of that land prior to the May 14 fighting.)

The Arabs, along with all the other Arab countries, unanimously rejected this and launched a war to wipe out the Jews. Israel survived and Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza. The fact that an Arab Palestinian state was not created in 1948 is 100 percent the fault of the Arabs.

Steven Peck

(Sadly, it is people like Peck who continue to stamp their angry feet and wave their arms in anti-Arab hatred and yell in their vitriolic way who are fueling the conflict. Palestinians and Israelis must both set aside their rejection of peace and accept the reality in order to achieve peace, and they should ignore fanatics like Mr. Peck and instead focus on the hope of the majority that peace can be achieved withut violence.)

-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Disturbed by persecution of Azmi Bishara

Azmi Bishara, like all "Arab citizens" of Israel, is the victim of persecution and discrimination. He has the right to criticize, challenge and try to change the government in which he has worked. But the pressure and persecution that has forced him to resign from the Knesset proves that the Israeli Democracy is a failure and that Arab citizens are not citizens at all.

Here's the YnetNews story:,7340,L-3390826,00.html

It's tragic because there are extremists in Israel and Bishara's experience proves they exist and are a real threat to peace, just as there are extremists among Palestinians. Regardless of his political views, Bishara has every right to express hiw views without having to fear persecution in Israel.

It's a blow to peace and empowers the fanatics in Israel -- and among the Palestinians -- to push harder to destroy each other.

It makes it harder for those like me who support two-states, believe in the hope that is the foundation of the Palestinians and Israelis, to believe that two-states or any solution besides continued conflict is an option.

Ray Hanania

Friday, April 13, 2007

The truth about the "Don Imus" Affair: It's not about race but about the unfair of "free speech"

The truth about the "Don Imus Affair"
By Ray Hanania

The Don Imus controversy is not really about the limits of free speech as some are contending, but rather about the discrepancies in how "freedoms" such as free speech are tolerated for some in America but not for others.

These discrepancies are based not on merit but solely on the basis of race, stereotypes and a mainstream society of plagued by the ugliness of America’s unbalanced racial realities.

I enjoyed seeing the Don Imus empire collapse in such utter humiliation. Why? Well, I am Arab American who is most often mistaken for a Muslim.

I disliked Don Imus passionately and am celebrating in his demise. I’d like to see a handful of other American media bigots tumble down along the same ugly path including anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigots like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others like them.

But is the issue curtailing free speech? No. Because free speech is more free for some than it is for others in America.

Those who have enjoyed free speech as unrestrained and as viciously as Imus has, deserve to be judged by a tougher standard of morality.

Those who come from communities who are excluded from the mainstream media, denied equal rights of expression not just in principle but more because of the practice of media exclusion have more flexibility in how they may express themselves.

The freer you have been to disparage people who do not have the same ability to respond to the attacks, the less your right of free speech, in my opinion.

The more you have been a victim of hate speech, the more you have the right of flexibility in what you can say.

Imus and others like him have made sport of Arabs and Muslims, blaming an entire race and religion for the actions of a few fanatics. The horrors of today’s terrorism has been used to rip away the Constitutional protections from a race of people, I believe because they were never popular in this country to begin with.

Most Americans hated Arabs and Muslims long before 19 Saudi Arabian hijackers commandeered four airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

Should Imus have been fired for the three words he uttered. As an Arab American who watched and listened helplessly as Imus ranted, slandered, insulted and defamed Arabs and Muslims relentlessly, never giving us the opportunity to respond.

Am I glad he is fired? Absolutely. Was it fair? No.

But fairness has nothing to do with this not because I say so, but because Imus rose to fame on the basis of an unfair system anyway.

In other words Imus rose in popularity to host one of the nation’s premier syndicated radio shows that was also broadcast on an important and high profile Cable Network because 2.5 million people cheered on his rants against Arabs and a select few others in America, mostly Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, Muslims and even some Jews.

He rose not because of talent, but because his message of hatred, disguised as "satire," defended wrongly as humor, was popular among a growing class of Americans who look down on other ethnic groups. Imus was not popular because minorities loved him. Imus was popular because Whites in mainstream America loved him.

Therefore, his fall from the pinnacle of that mountain of discrimination is justified to be brought down not on the merits of whether what he said was right or wrong, but because just as 2.5 million people can elevate him to popular radio and TV host status, 10 million mostly minorities, Blacks, Asians and Hispanics, and Arabs, have the right to bring him down.

Defenders of Don Imus offer the ridiculous contention that he is the victim of free speech hypocrisy.

Imus merely said in one moment what some African American hip-hop artists, comedians and other entertainers say all the time, endlessly.

But the difference is that Imus directed his comments against individuals of another race. The African American members of a basketball team.

The Black rappers and hip-hop artists are saying things are that considered distasteful to many Americans, but they are almost always speaking about their own experiences of the environments in which they have lived.

There are whores in this world and the fact is they come in all colors and races and religions. If rap artists of one race, African American or even White, want to write lyrics that address that reality of their lives and experience, they have every right to do so even if someone, a majority of Americans, find their comments distasteful.

They can use the term "hos" because it is about what they see around them. Don Imus was not talking about himself, his experience or even trying to make a social statement about the relevance of "whores" in American society when he described 8 African American basketball players as "nappy haired hos."

He made the comments because that is how White Don Imus viewed eight Black women playing basketball who had tattoos and looked "tough."

There is a difference when you laugh at some one, as racist do, or laugh with someone, as true comedians and satirists do all the time. Black comedians joke about their stereotypes and they have every right to do so.

Don Imus, a White man, has no right to lampoon the stereotypes of Black people.

White people are not under the foot of a new more sophisticated form of racism. Blacks and other minorities are.

At the very bottom of the hatred that is the foundation of some in American, sit Arabs and Muslims. As heavy as the burden is upon our heads, we can find the room to celebrate in the demise of Don Imus, and we will do so with gusto!

(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and standup comedian. He can be reached at

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Found a new home at Blog site

Blogging at one of the Middle East's top sites Current mood: Couldn't be happier!

I am excited because I have been invited to blog with some of the brightest and best writers in the Middle East at blog and eZine. This site is one of the highest ranked Middle East blogs on the Internet, according to Technorati. Although I am far from young (in my 50s, folks), I have the mind of a five year old. And they make 5 year olds pretty darn smart these days.

Anyway, my generation's 50 is my dad's generation's 20. Let's face it, I doubt that anyone my age when I was a kid had the same kind of sense of humor and positive perpsective on Middle East life. I loved my dad, but I just couldn't remember him having a powerful sense of humor.

He had a powerful sense of justice, fairness, ethics and morality, but humor and comedy was not one of his strong suits.

So, I'm off on a new adventure with some great young writers and I urge you to visit and read their writings. They are fresh, young and not jaded like many Arabs and Israelis and people from the Middle East my age. Their approach to the Middle East is reasoned, moderate and passioned. Whether you agree with them or not is besides the point. Reading their writings -- and hopefully mine also, will only help broaden your own understanding of the tough issues the people of the Middle East face, including our youth.

Here's the link:

# # #

Monday, April 09, 2007

FIRE that fat pig of a radio talk show host Don Imus

Imus controversy shows power, not morality, defines racial limits in America
By Ray Hanania

It isn’t enough that Don Imus is the ugliest man to host a TV show.

Imus, the syndicated radio talk show host whose program is broadcast on MSNBC, the NBC Network affiliate, also happens to be one of the nation’s most outrageous racists and bigots.

Imus is always slandering someone, and some how because his show generates profits, and he is popular among mainstream White audiences, he can get away with it.

But Imus may have met his match when he went too far slandering Black people this week.

In referring to the Rutgers woman’s basketball team, Imus called the eight Black women members "nappy-haired hos" who have tattoos.

Immediately, the giants of the African American community, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, demanded that Imus be fired, that his syndicated radio show be dropped and that NBC cancel his MSNBC TV simulcast.

Of course, none of the demands were met because Imus is White. He speaks with a Southern drawl, is so ugly he could be a legitimate target of criticism himself, and he has a track record of slandering everyone.

Not White people, of course, unless they happen to be Democrats.

Why do we tolerate bigots like Imus?

Today’s America is not the same America that it was in the 1960s when it was fashionable to openly slander Black people and minorities. Whole neighborhoods changed from White to Black all because a Black family moved into the community.

The suburbs were born not just out of post-World War II efforts to help returning veterans buy cheap homes, but to also create a haven that was too expensive for Black people and other people of color to move.

America hasn’t become less racist today. America has just become more sophisticated about its racist tendencies.

You can hate Blacks and other people of color in America, as long as oyu don’t say it publicly.

You can fire people of color from their jobs, as long as you are smart about it and find other reasons to dismiss Black and Hispanic and Arab employees. You can discriminate against women, as long as you are not open about it.

In fact, racism is alive and well in America, just as long as the racists don’t get crazy and express their hatred openly, as Don Imus did on his widely broadcast radio and TV show that is listened to by millions of Americans, almost all of them White.

Maybe Imus and other racists are just too comfortable inn today’s world of sophisticated racist hatred.

Maybe Imus knows that the only color that counts in this country besides White is Green. The holy dollar. Profits decide the line of morality in America, not principle.

MSNBC is making a fortune broadcasting the Don Imus show and it is going to take a lot more than Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson to call for his firing. Why? Because most Black people don’t listen to Imus.

So at the end of the day, MSNBC won’t see a drop in their revenues.

Advertisers will keep buying their ads on the Don Imus show because their market isn’t Black people. It’s White people, the audience that Imus commands every morning.

Don Imus should have been fired years ago. But he hasn’t been fired.

And that fact alone proves that as long as you are White and you make a fortune for oyur sponsors, you can rant and rave against any minority group, any minority religion, any minority ethnic group.

As long as your audiences loves it and doesn’t complain.

And listen to the complaints against Don Imus.

In case you haven’t figured it out, it’s not his audience calling for Imus to be fired. White leaders are not calling press conferences to demand that Imus be fired.

It’s Black leaders. Leaders of color. Columnists like me whose skin color isn’t quite White enough in this country – my skin color is Olive, one of the colors not even favored among the coalition of the minorities in this country.

So Imus will apologize, as he has done, in one of the most arrogant ways I have ever heard someone contritely thumb his nose at the public.

Imus said on his show Monday morning, days after his racist, bigoted and hateful remarks were broadcast to millions of people in America:

"Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it," Imus said.

Is that what you learned, Don Imus? That you can make fun of some, but not everybody because "some people" don’t deserve it and apparently "some people" do.

Don Imus should be fired immediately.

Anything less would be an insult to Americans who do believe that this is a great country of principle, justice and fairness for all.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Radicals Taking over Arab World, By Ray Hanania

Radicals taking over
Religious extremism slowly, steadily consuming Palestinian society
By Ray Hanania


A few weeks ago, stories that were once only whispered as rumors were being confirmed in isolated media reports.

Islamic extremists who have been battling Israel and secular Palestinian forces have also begun targeting secular Palestinian establishments that engage in what the Arabs refer to as "haram," or "sinful activities."

Most of the oppression has occurred in the Gaza Strip where the Islamic movement Hamas has the Israeli-oppressed population in a tightly controlled religious headlock, although there have been some incidents in the more secular West Bank.

Although the "religiousization" of the Palestinian people began more than a decade ago, it only found its strength in the last few years and reared its ugly head publicly after Hamas took control of the Palestinian government.

No secular establishment is safe. An Internet cafe in the Gaza Strip was firebombed. A cultural center was forced to cancel a program deemed unacceptable to the principles of Islam, and other cultural organizations have been carefully screening programs so as not to "offend" the religious police.

Three Palestinian women, believed to be prostitutes, were murdered, each killed with a bullet to the head and chest, and dumped in a public location.

Clandestine Islamic groups with names like the Swords of Islamic Righteousness, suspected to be associated with Hamas or the Hamas security services, have claimed responsibility.

All or nothing
While I don't condone prostitution, the murder of any person is immoral. Not addressed by the religious zealots in the prostitution killings is the fact that the women are solicited by men who go unpunished. But that's not uncommon in a society where increasingly Palestinian women are being forced to wear a Hijab, or head scarves, as a political statement and to prove their faith.
It's no longer enough to believe in Islam.

The threat of the religious fanatics has been on the secular horizon for years. Increasingly during Ramadan, secular and Christian-owned restaurants in "Christian" towns like Bethlehem and Beit Jala have been forced to close their outdoor patios so as not to "offend" Muslims who are forbidden to eat during the daylong fasting.

What is happening is that the Palestine conflict with Israel, which began as a secular battle over land and national identity, is steadily transforming into a religious conflict driven by religious extremists who see secular Palestinians as enemies equal to the "Zionist entity."

That is troubling. While Israelis complained much about the failings of the secular Palestinian leadership, the reality is those secular Palestinians always viewed the conflict as one of achieving "justice" through violent resistance and also through negotiated compromise.

For the religious zealots, however, the issue is "faith." And for them, there is no compromise on faith. Only their version of "jihad."

It's either all or nothing, and they are willing to die for that nothing. For the past 60 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the 40 years since Palestinians took control of their own destiny, the Palestinians have achieved only fragile political gains, but very little substantive gains.

Although it is easy to blame the Palestinians, the truth is Israel has also contributed to the failure of peace by always only offering minimal concessions far short of what is acceptable to Palestinians and fairness.

Harder to deal with religious enemies
Israel's governments have consistently undermined peace through compromise. They have refused to acknowledge Israel's role in creating the Palestinian refugee problem. Their uncompromising and extremist policies have often intentionally provoked Palestinian violence. While claiming to negotiate peace in good faith, they have continued to expand illegal Jewish-only settlements. And, they have unilaterally imposed an unjust pre-condition insisting that Jerusalem will never be shared.

In fact, as the Palestinians fail to achieve peace, so to do the Israelis.Israelis are discovering that it is far more difficult for them to respond to the challenge from enemies driven by religious fervor. Just look at the powerful battle waged against Israel by Hizbullah in Lebanon.

When secular Palestinians become extinct - and that future is on the horizon, Israel's ability to negotiate peace will be extinguished too. While secular Palestinians may battle with a violent fervor, their political drive allows for the possibility of compromise.

There is no possibility of compromise with an individual or a movement that bases its drive on religious ideology.

Faith does not permit compromise, and promises a far more frightening future for Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel should negotiate with secular PA
If the Palestinians are incapable of overcoming the Hamas challenge, then Israel has the responsibility to step up to the plate and separate the religious fanatics from the secular leaders. Israel must continue to negotiate with responsible secular Palestinians.

Palestinian public attitudes are driven by the emotions and suffering of the times. When things are good, they are optimistic. When things are bad, they are inclined to anger and rejectionist sentiments reflected in recent polls.

If the Israelis impose a unilateral compromise on the Palestinians that is genuinely fair, most Palestinians will turn away from the religious fanatics and embrace the compromise as an inevitability of their tragedy.

But to refuse to push for genuine compromise or to negotiate with the Palestinians because of Hamas only plays into the hands of the extremists, in the same way that violence also undermines peace and strengthens the cards of the very perpetrators of that violence.

One day, Israelis will wake up and discover there are no more "Arabs" left in the world to negotiate with.

The Arabs will all have been replaced by a more formidable and impossible enemy to defeat, political Islamicists, who are as unwavering in their cause as they are unwavering in their faith.

Ray Hanania was named Best Ethnic American Columnist for 2006/2007 by the New America Media. He can be reached at

Monday, March 19, 2007

SYNDICATION: The Dispossessed often become ambiance, a lesson for Palestinians

Dispossession and the Palestinian-Israeli future

By Ray Hanania

(Syndication Columns can be purchased for republication. Contact Ray Hanania at for details.)

The dispossessed eventually become little more than ambience.

It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true. Once a conflict is resolved, anyway.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is sometimes compared to the conflict between the American pioneers and the Indians, now more respectfully called "Native Americans."

American hasn’t forgotten it’s Native American history, but that history has become more of a national "decoration" than a reality.

But they were originally Indian tribes long before they became politically correct owners and operators of America’s most profitable casinos, living on an American guilty conscience dole, and still, more than a century and a half later, as outsiders.

As a child, I remember always feeling sorry for the American Indians. My only contact was on popular television Westerns which always pitted the American soldiers against the barbaric, uncivilized and brutal "Indians."

It wasn’t because I was Palestinian. That Palestinian consciousness never materialized for me until years later because my dad tried to shelter me from the tragedy he knew would wreck lives in a country driven by stereotypes, racism and lack of education.

Yes, America is the most educated country in the world, populated by the most uneducated people in the world when it comes to "the world."

I think my feelings for American Indians was the result of how they were portrayed so negatively on television. And even if you favored the "cowboys" above the "Indians," every American child was enthralled with the history of the American Indian.

We all knew the fearsome Apache Geronimo and the battle of the Little Big Horn where the arrogant, golden-haired American Colonel George Armstrong Custer lost his life along with the lives of his entire regiment in one of the last great "massacres" of the American-Indian conflict.

In 1875, two of the largest Indian tribes, the Sioux and Cheyenne, left their reservations and Custer led the U.S. Cavalry to bring them back. Instead, he walked into a brilliant trap.

It’s worth noting that the American military and settlers committed heinous atrocities against the American Indians, too. They massacred men, women and children along with the American Indian Braves.

But there is an old saying in journalism, which is the cornerstone of communications. He who controls the pen controls the history. And for many years, and especially on television programs and Hollywood movies, the American Indians were always the bad guys.

This week I thought about all this as I was attending the Will Roger’s Writers Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a "plains state," the 46th of 50 American states. The name "Oklahoma" comes from the Choctaws, American Indians who once roamed there.

Ironically, many American cities carry Indian names, like Chicago, which comes from an Indian word for "wild onion" or "skunk." People have long forgotten from which tribe the name originates.

I was brought to Oklahoma City not as an expert on Palestinian native history, but as a journalist and as a Palestinian American comedian. My act has gotten huge publicity because I won’t follow the hateful path of some of my other Arab comedian colleagues by refusing to perform with "Israelis."

I’ll be back in Israel and the West Bank to perform, hopeful, in a few months.

But as we convened to discuss and debate hefty journalism issues as all journalists always do, I was struck by where I was at and the parallels (that are really misleading) between the history of Native Americans and the still incomplete history of the Palestinians.

About six blocks away from the conference hotel is the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. To most Americans, it is better known as the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was destroyed in a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995.

At just after 9 AM that day, a terrorist pulled his truck up to the Federal Government building, walked away and then detonated the explosives inside tearing away half of the buildings front like a volcanic eruption and killing 168 people including many children in the nursery below.

Everyone thought the terrorists were "Arab." But by accident involving a traffic stop, the real terrorist, Timothy McVeigh, a Scottish American Christian Catholic, and a member of one of the many hidden and armed racist militias that exist in America, was caught. He was later executed.
The nation built a huge memorial on the site to remember the attack.

Meanwhile, throughout Oklahoma, massacres that took even more lives of Native Americans remain forgotten.

Nearby, in the city’s trendy "Bricktown Mall" and it’s popular river walk, down the street from the Bricktown Baseball stadium off Mickey Mantle Street. There, restaurants are filled with patrons celebrating sports and other personal events.

Yet, it is hard to forget that this area was once a center of American Indian culture. And today, you can barely see anything of real significance, other than Indian names on streets, some tourist stores that sell "Native American" jewelry and other souvenirs.

A ways from the city is the casino that is run by the region’s major Indian Tribes. No one says Native Americans are not American. They are fighting the way all dispossessed fight assimilation, but they are treated with respect equally under American law. They lost much.

The Native Americans exist here, but their existence if less reality and more ambience. Their history is little more than decoration. Landscaping. Paintings. Trinkets. And interesting memories that continue to fade of their facts.

It makes me think of the Palestinians, many of whom live in refugee camps that are much like reservations, too, I guess. Even those Palestinians like me who have assimilated into American culture, are in a sense, refugees of a sort too. We can’t move back to the homes and land that our father’s once owned.

We can argue about land ownership but I will just point to a recent study by the Israeli organization Peace Now that proves that at least 32.4 percent of settlement lands were stolen from Palestinian owners. Not bought. Not abandoned. Stolen.

Still, I am sitting here in a bizarre world in Oklahoma where dispossession has been completed under the shadow of terrorism. And I am wondering out loud. Does it really benefit the Palestinians to fight against compromise and two states or to insist that everything be returned to the way it was at the beginning of the 20th Century before most of Israel’s Jews immigrated to Palestine, mainly from Europe?

I don’t think the Palestinians are like the Native Americans at all. But I do think that if the Palestinians don’t seriously contemplate their situation soon, they will become a fading memory.

It will take the Israelis a lot longer than 100 years the American settlers took to erase the presence of the Native Americans and force them to surrender, but it will happen one day unless both sides reach a peace accord.

I don’t know how many Geronimos the Palestinians will have in the meantime. There might be more statues erected like the one that greets visitors to Jenin in the Northern West Bank, of Yahya Aiyash, the fearless Palestinian guerrilla who battled the Israelis as seriously as they battled him.

But is that really what we all want?

I don’t think so.

(Ray Hanania was named 2006/2007 Best Ethnic Columnist in America by the New America Media. He can be reached at

Sunday, January 28, 2007


WHile I may still post columns here occasionally, a lot of my effort is now on my MySpace.Com Blog.

Here is the lnk: Ray's MySpace Blog ...

Enjoy the blogging on my current Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour to Israel Jan. 23-Feb 2 with comedians Aaron freeman (Chicago African American Jewish); Charley Warady, former Chicagoan and Israeli citizen for the past decade; and Orthodox Israeli Yisrael Campbell (who I refer to as "The Zionist Entity" Campbell).

Anyway, please circulate if you can.

Also, the web site for the comedy tour is

Shalom and Salam to all.
Ray Hanania
Jan. 28, 2007