Saturday, September 15, 2012

Consequences of hate speech, not for everyone

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Consequences of hate speech, not for everyone
By Ray Hanania

The tragic killings of four Americans during protests in Libya including the American Ambassador to Benghazi, Christopher Stevens, has over-shadowed a major aspect of the role hate plays in provoking communities to hate.

The Stevens killing was a tragic exception to the rule involving protests that are sweeping the Arab and Muslim World against America’s hypocritical standards when it comes to hate speech.

An American extremist originally thought to be an Israeli American produced a movie which defames in the most offensive manner Arabs, Muslims, Islam and the Prophet Muhammed.

To Arabs and Muslims, the film was no different than a man standing up in a crowded theater and yelling “fire,” but then also blaming the “fire” on a specific religious or ethnic group.

While Americans have expressed unbounded criticism of the murders of Stevens and the three other Americans, the initial criticism of the promoter of the hate video was tempered by arguments that “people in American enjoy the right of free speech” and “free speech is a corner stone of Democracy.”

That changed days later when it was determined that the man, who claimed to be Israeli American Sam Bacile, has been identified as an outspoken anti-Muslim Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Immediately, police set upon Nakoula and determined that he had outstanding criminal warrants.

For those who argue that as disgusting as Nakoula’s anti-Islamic and anti-Arab video is, it is protected by free speech and American society is powerless to take any actions, I would remind them about the vicious campaign orchestrated by pro-Israel groups and activists against Helen Thomas in 2010.

Critics charged that Thomas, an award winning veteran journalist and the first female White House correspondent, had engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech when she flippantly responded to questions posed in an ambush by a notoriously racist anti-Arab supporter of Israel.

In fact, the Anti-Defamation League, which selectively fights instances of bigotry and hatred, issued a statement that gave the Society of Professional Journalists, the national organization of mainstream American media, the mandate to act on Thomas, one of the SPJ’s veteran and honored members.

The SPJ had created a Life Time Achievement Award in her name that was awarded to a long list of prestigious journalists.

But the ADL coordinated with the SPJ’s newly elected Israeli American president and a national SPJ board that had become increasing hostile to American Arab SPJ members and that same year terminated its then young program to give American Arab members of the SPJ a voice to raise issues concerning imbalanced media coverage.

The ADL spearheaded the assault on Thomas and issued this statement on January 10, 2010 to give the SPJ’s board cover for their political move to censor Thomas and punish anyone who dared to question media bias in favor of Israel, a foreign country:

“Fortunately, there are consequences in our society for those in positions of power or authority who publicly express racist, anti-Semitic or prejudiced views. We are pleased that the executive committee of the SPJ agrees that this award was no longer appropriate given the unprofessional and unbecoming conduct of its namesake.”

If you dispute that the ADL’s role was merely as an observer, it’s worth noting that the ADL statement denouncing Thomas came one year before the SPJ national board under its Israeli American presidency terminated the Helen Thomas Life Time Achievement Award, Jan. 14, 2011.

What are the consequences of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic hate speech? Statements by American politicians defending the rights of the haters included a declaration by Republican Candidate Mitt Romney attacking President Barack Obama for bowing to Arab and Muslim extremism.

The Egyptian embassy statement read, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

Romney said that a statement issued by a low-level Administration aid from the Egyptian embassy expressing regret for the hatred expressed in the video was a “surrender” to our enemies and an apology for “American values.”

Yes, when someone criticizes Israel, they become anti-American Nazi anti-Semites.

When someone criticizes Arabs and Muslims, or even denounces hatred against Arabs and Muslims, they are ridiculed as contradicting American values of free speech.

Maybe that’s why this year the ADL has been invited by the SPJ’s increasingly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim national board to be a sponsor of this year’s journalism convention which takes place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sept. 20.

Maybe someone should make a video about that. But God Forbid that we might protest, being Arab and Muslim and all.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist who ended his more than 30 year long SPJ association by tearing up his membership card. Reach him at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Palos Heights Restaurant showcases local comedians

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Palos Heights Restaurant showcases local comedians

Sam Buca’s in Palos Heights will showcase a lineup of local comedians at a special performance Wednesday Sept. 26.

Performers will include longtime club owner and comedian Bill Brady, comedians Brian Hicks, Paul Kelly and a special appearance by Southwest News-Herald Columnist Ray Hanania.

The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each with a two drink purchase minimum. Dinner is also available for guests during the show.

For information, call Sam Buca’s, 12231 S. Harlem Avenue, at 708-361-1226.


Friday, September 07, 2012

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow should run for Governor

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The good news in the Drew Peterson conviction is that finally, after tolerating years of Peterson's outrageous arrogant taunting of justice and the public, he was finally convicted for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Peterson is a low-life skank, the kind of human trash that makes you wonder about how someone like that manages to become a part of a police department. Of course, a close look at Bolingbrook's controversy-plagued, corrupt-looking police department pretty much explains the "how" of it all.
But the real good news is Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

Finally, someone who is not afraid to stand up for the rights of the victims of crimes. Someone who is willing to roll up his sleeves and fight the good fight for real justice. Finally, someone who doesn't run for a tough battle but instead goes into it will all of his talents, convictions and relentless energy.

The real victory in the Peterson conviction is the rise of James Glasgow. This is a guy who clearly has shown he cares more about the people he represents than the politics that often corrupts the system and undermines true justice.

The people finally have someone who doesn't let fearing losing a fight prevent him from fighting, especially when it involves the rights of the public who oftentimes are an after-thought for most elected officials.

Glasgow is my candidate for Governor of Illinois. Maybe Illinois Attorney General. Maybe for the US Senate. But surely someone we need in Illinois to stand up and fight for us. Someone the public can trust to defend their rights, not abuse them. Glasgow is the person who we, the public, can give our trust, and then return to our everyday lives without becoming investigators or vigilantes because the current system has let us all down. Glasgow is someone we can proudly say "represents us, the people."

For a change.

Run for higher office, Glasgow. Run!

Fight, now, for Stacy Peterson, Glasgow! And then turn your sights on that cesspool of government corruption, Bolingbrook. The public is with you whatever you plan to do!

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

And important change in the Democratic National Committee Convention Platform

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And important change in the Democratic National Committee Convention Platform (And as fast as it was changed, it was returned to the Israeli enslavement language. President Obama ordered that the issue of Jerusalem and Israel's claim to it be restored to the Democratic National Committee Platform. What a puppy!)
We'll see how long this lasts:
2012 Democratic National Committee Convention Platform

The Middle East. President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel's security. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. For this reason, despite budgetary constraints, the President has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion in the past three years. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation—including funding the Iron Dome system—to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The President's consistent support for Israel's right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel's security.

It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel's security concerns are met. President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel. We will continue to support Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have been pillars of peace and stability in the region for many years. And even as the President and the Democratic Party continue to encourage all parties to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.

Elsewhere in the region, President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran's destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats.
(369 words)

The 2008 Democratic National Committee Convention Platform

Stand with Allies and Pursue Diplomacy in the Middle East
For more than three decades, Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders, and the rest of the world have looked to America to lead the effort to build the road to a secure and lasting peace. Our starting point must always be our special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That commitment, which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense, is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region–a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of Al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. We support the implementation of the memorandum of understanding that pledges $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade to enhance and ensure its security.

It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States, that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.
(392 words)

-- Ray Hanania