Dispelling Religious Myths Exploited By Zionism: A Primer For Palestine Solidarity Activists

Ikhras اخرس

 

Ba'al, A Widely Worshipped God In Ancient Canaan

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell.

After recently publishing the 10 Ikhras talking points on Palestine for Arab-Americans we received an enormous amount of feedback and questions. Talking point #8, in particular, “Religion: A Distractor And An Opportunity”, was a subject of great interest and led to many questions and inquiries. This is not surprising given the currently dominant, but false, religious framing of the conflict in Palestine in public discourse and the continued exploitation of popular religious mythology in Zionist propaganda narratives. In addition, the religious right within the US Muslim (Palestinian, Arab and non-Arabs alike) community and its counterproductive role in Palestine solidarity activism has further reinforced the Zionist claim system by repeating essentially the Jewish Zionist narrative as if historical while overlaying Muslim titles on the characters.

It is essential for Palestine solidarity activists to be informed about the ancient history of Palestine, the abuse of religion by advocates of the Zionist colonial project, and the adoption of self-colonizing myths by members of our own community.

In order to effectively dispel the religious myths exploited by Zionism, informed activists will be addressing myths common to all three monotheistic religions. This must be done without catering to the religious sensitivities of any faith group, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. To help confront and effectively respond to this abuse of religion in furtherance of the Zionist colonial project, ikhras is publishing this primer on the topic of religion and Palestine for activists. We are also providing a list of books for further reading on various aspects of the ancient and modern history of Palestine. Before Zionism appropriated the land it sought to appropriate its ancient past. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine begins by reclaiming our history and heritage. This contribution comes in response to the many inquiries and questions ikhras has received on the subject. It is our sincere hope that it helps cast aside self-colonizing mythologies, generates real knowledge, and empowers Palestinian, Arab, and all Palestine solidarity activists.

While religion has been exploited in all settler-colonialism, it has a particularly insidious variety in the Zionist state, which exploited all past religious and cultural preconceptions and notions that have since been shown to lack historicity. The Zionist project is keen to keep people in the condition of ignorance which existed before about various religious aspects. It has relied on and extended, in particular, extremist 19th-century fundamentalist/millennial movement in the US and Britain, described in general as “sacred geography,” what can now be described as Christian Zionism, which still provides a solid base of Western support. Zionism has given people the false impression that the conflict is a religious one and that Jewish claims predate the Muslim/Christian presence in Palestine. Since religion is the declared agenda, this represents a great opportunity to disentangle its grip on people’s minds.

Depending on whether the audience is religiously inclined or unreligious, the activist can approach a wide range of issues from points of religious (mis)understanding, analysis of key biblical narratives, or debunking of religious mythology.

It should be possible, with the right tools, to dispel many of the religious myths that underpin the Zionist claim system, indeed the credibility and historicity of the Old Testament (Tawrah/Torah) and the accounts used to justify colonial projects (particularly in what became the US, in South Africa and elsewhere). Whether one believes in biblical accounts or not, the argument can be made that they have been abused as convenient models for dispossession and genocide of native peoples. (See the books by Michael Prior and Nur Masalha.)

Each one of the Zionist claims can be dismissed (for example, in a book by Basem Ra’adHidden Histories, more than 30 Zionist claims are listed in the index and analyzed in the text). Perhaps most relevant to the claim-system is to disconnect the Zionist strategy of extending “Jewish” presence to the myths about ancient Jews, Israelites and Hebrews. The last two are idealized communities whose presence has been exaggerated by the influence of biblical accounts in Western consciousness, and who are not linked except by tradition to ancient Jews. Don’t let the Zionists succeed in extending their claims by confusing themselves with ancient “Israelites” and “Hebrews” (in fact, there are even Zionist agendas now to equate the “Israelites” with the “Cana’anites”). Moreover, ancient Jews are not present Jews, as shown by the conversions in many parts of the world in more recent periods, particularly the Khazars in the 8th century CE (see Arthur Koestler’s The Thirteenth Tribe and recently Shlomo Sand’s Invention of the Jewish People). There is now sufficient knowledge and scholarship to state that present Jews (especially European, North African and Spanish Jews) were converts to the religion in more recent centuries, that “Exodus” and later “Exile” are both myths, and that present Jews have no real links to Palestine or the region. In fact, many (even early Zionists) have argued that present Palestinians are the likely descendants of past “Jews” or “Israelites.” You don’t need to make this same argument, but it is clear that the Palestinian population (which is based in its region) is a diverse mixture of all the past populations, regardless of changes in religious affiliation over millennia. One could give the parallel that Jews saying Palestine is their “ancestral” land is like Muslims in Indonesia or Afghanistan claiming Mecca and Arabia as theirs to own (in the past the Crusaders and others tried to make the same claim about Palestine because they said Jesus was born and crucified there).

For some, it may work to debunk the biblical accounts through various means: the Bible as an edited version of earlier mythologies in the region (e.g., the creation story, or the Flood, which is a duplicate of the earlier account in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ugaritic mythology and its pantheon of gods). Some scholars have argued that the monotheistic religions are a direct development from the previous founding polytheistic religions in the region. Even the biblical text itself can be used to prove this point. As an example, you can ask the more knowledgeable about the Bible to compare various translations of a passage such as Deuteronomy 32:8-9. The Qumran (or Dead Sea) Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 and were unknown before, show clearly that the biblical text was doctored by scribes to remove evidence of worship of many gods. (The correct translation is clarified in only one official translation now, The New Jerusalem Bible.) This passage also shows that Yahweh, god of the Israelites (or Jacob’s descendants) is one of many sons of the chief god in the pantheon, the Most High, Īl (El). The implications of this passage dismantle notion of chosen-ness or Jewish monopoly concerning the idea of the One god.

Another subject to address is sacred places and their invention. As shown in Ra’ad’s Hidden Histories, invariably the holy sites are inventions, unrelated to the events they purport to register, and so even if one is to believe in the accounts the places are not genuine. This applies to Christian and Muslim sites, but even more specifically to Jewish sites such as the Western or Wailing Wall which was not known as part of any Jewish tradition until the 18thcentury or at the earlier Ottoman conquest in 1516 CE (that is five hundred years ago at most). Other now “Jewish” maqams were taken over from Muslim tradition after 1948, as Meron Benvenisti shows. The appropriation of Muslim traditions is therefore, ironically, other than such practices as translating place names from Arabic to Hebrew phonetics, one of the methods used to cover up Palestinian presence and make the landscape look like it has a Jewish character.

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There are many topics to be raised on religious issues about the three monotheistic religions, and about the discoveries and scholarship that enlightens them. Recommended readings (in alphabetical order; this is not the place to comment on sources or particular points in them, or any reservations about the content):

Abu El-Haj, Nadia. Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Benvenisti, Meron. Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. [Mostly about the ungrateful use of Arabic names by Zionist naming committees, distorted to Hebrew phonetics; caution: some of Benvenisti’s linguistic assumptions are Zionist and he seems to believe the original names were “Hebrew-Aramaic” and Jews were in exile and returned “home,” though he attacks the insidious work of the committees and is appreciative of the beauty of Arabic place names.]

Ben-Yehuda, Nachman. The Masada Myth: Collective Memory and Myth-Making in Israel. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995.

Blau, Joshua. The Renaissance of Modern Hebrew and Modern Standard Arabic: Parallels and Differences in the Revival of Two Semitic Languages. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981. [It shows that Hebrew was revived by committees in the early 20th century by using mostly Arabic roots.]

Finkelstein, Israel, and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. New York: Free Press, 2001. [This book discredits the historicity of several biblical accounts, but has to be read with caution for possible replacements in the claim system.]

Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh (about 2500 bce). Transl. with an introduction by Andrew George. London: Allen Lane, 1999 [re-issued by Penguin.]

Khalidi, Walid. All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington, D. C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992.

Koestler, Arthur. The Thirteenth Tribe. New York: Random House, 1976.

Masalha, Nur. The Zionist Bible: Biblical Precedent, Colonialism, and the Erasure of Memory. London: Acumen, 2013. [Be aware this text has some typos; in places quite good on misappropriation of biblical accounts in militarizing Israeli “civic religion” and creating a false Jewish memory.]

Obenzinger, Hilton. American Palestine: Melville, Twain, and the Holy Land Mania. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. [It shows these two authors were basically the first anti-Zionists, or at least anti-fundamentalist; see discussion of them in Ra’ad, Hidden Histories.]

Pappé, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006. [By now a classic and authoritative reading of the 1948 Nakba, along with Walid Khalidi’s All That Remains.]

Prior, Michael. The Bible and Colonialism: A Moral Critique. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.

Ra‛ad, Basem L. Hidden Histories: Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean. London: Pluto, 2010;التاريخ الخفي Beirut: Dar el Adāb, 2014. [Eleven chapters on various topics: religious developments; sacred sites; Ugarit; the alphabet; identity; appropriation; self-colonization; place names in Palestine; and retrieval of ancient heritage.]

Redford, Donald B. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Sand, Shlomo. The Invention of the Jewish People. 2008. Trans. from the Hebrew by Yael Lotan.London: Verso, 2009. [This is a book to read in detail; the title tells the story of the various conversions that resulted in present Jews; it discredits notions of “exile” and suggests present Palestinians are the likely descendants of past populations.]

Thompson, Thomas L. The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Note: Many books can be added of course, and readers are invited to supplement this list.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

CAIR And The Clowns Of Muslim American Organziations

September 30, 2014

[Ikhras Note: The following post first appeared on The Angry Arab Blog on September 27, 2014 (photo added by ikhras). CAIR is the highest-profile House Muslim organization in the US and a recipient of the ikhras shoe-of-the-month award. To learn more about this corrosive, establishment organizationvisit ikhras.]

You know the story: all Muslim and Arab American organizations in DC have fallen under the direct influence of Gulf regimes, as have most Arabs journalists in the capital. This happened right after 1990 when the Saudi regime sent various princes to close the deal to control all Arab media and organizations in the West (as many were under the influence of Saddam or Qadhdhafi). 

Saudi Arabia did not want dissent from Arabs in the West lest they disturb their lobbying and propaganda efforts in the West. I read that CAIR and other Muslim American organizations held a press conference to issue statements against ISIS: as if any Muslims in the US or elsewhere listen to them and adhere to their standards. And why is it their business to issue exclusive denunciations?

Were Jewish organizations expected during the savage war on Gaza to issue statements of denunciations against Israeli terrorism? And don’t they with their theatrics not reinforce the association between Islam and the terrorism and kooky ideology of ISIS (shared by the same patrons of Arab and Muslim organizations in DC)?

They should if they want condemn terrorism in all its form and not focus on “Islamic terrorism” and they should even categorically reject the notion that there is a religious label to terrorism.  But then again: it is a job and they have to do it and those are willing to abandon two of the five pillars of Islam in return for a photo op at the White House.  Instead, they should say that ISIS should be blamed on the foreign policies of the US and its allies who have in the last several decades produced the monsters of Al-Qa`idah and ISIS, among other terrorists roaming the Middle East region.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Israel’s other Occupied Territories

by Roy Bard
Monday, November 26th, 2012

In light of my last article, examining the claims that a cartoon by Carlos Latuff was “almost worse that anti-Semitic”, I was interested to note how little reaction there has been, so far, to Zapiro’s recent cartoon in the South African Mail & Guardian.

Perhaps the algemeiner, which proudly boasts that it is “Labeled the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America” and which was quick to jump on Latuff and Steve Bell for his cartoon (below), haven’t yet registered that South Africa exists ………

They’re also complaining that the “BBC’s Jon Donnison Displays a Professional and Ethical Conflict of Interests”, which roughly translates as he didn’t blame Hamas for the conflict, in line with the obvious hasbara drive that accompanied the war.

Their complaint about the BBC would probably be met with a snort of derision by Craig Murray who was so enraged by the BBC coverage that he renamed them “Beyond Belief Cunts”.

… I have just seen forty minutes of intense and non-stop Israeli propaganda. A live press conference by Netanyahu and Ehud Barak followed by a long, long interview with Mark Regev in which the most searching BBC question could fairly be paraphrased as “How can you be certain that those dastardly Palestinians will not break the ceasefire and start firing rockets again?”
No attempt whatsoever to give a Palestinian a chance to put over their viewpoint. Now fifty minutes of solid coverage around the ceasefire without a single Palestinian view or pro-Palestinian or pro-peace view. And in that entire fifty minutes not one mention of Palestinian dead.

One can only wondered if a light went off in his head as he wrote that, as in his previous post he wondered:

Why the world puts up with this blatant ethnic cleansing and prolonged, agonizing genocide of the Palestinain people, I have no idea.

The ‘Veto House’ that Zapiro draws attention to, is part of the explanation. But I reckon the attempts by the algemeiner to smear Latuff, Steve Bell and Jon Donnison , and the emergence of the social media unit of the IDF, point at another Israeli Occupied Territory – and that is the discourse about the whole issue.

And we were reminded during the conflict that retaliation against those who diverge from the hasbara path can include physical attacks.

But it seems that along with losing the conflict in Gaza, the Israelis are also taking hits in the media war. In the video below, RT journalist, Abby Martin, makes a clear response to the attacks on her and RT:

Quelle suprise that her critics were also based at “the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America”. But it isn’t just Jewish organs that throw the accusation around – sometimes they are even on the receiving end of it.

An Ali Abunimah acolyte, Asa Winstanley accused the Jewish Chronicle of anti-Semitism, after they published an article under the headline (later changed) “Unanimous UK Jewish community support for Israel”. Fellow blogger, AZZ* Mark Elf echoed the claim. Yet it seems that in this case only AZZ’s and their friends could detect the anti-Semitism, which further suggests that the claim is often motivated by ideological bias, rather than on the basis that it a reaction to racism against all Jews. Surely most readers of the JC would recognise true Jew hatred when they saw it?

There can be no doubt that the relentless accusations do cause some people to shut-up, and there are other ways in which the discourse remains Zionist dominated. A recent Ikhras article noted:

To our knowledge, during the entire eight days of Israeli air, sea, and land bombardment of Gaza not a single authentic Palestinian-American voice or any neutral, objective expert on the Arab world was invited to appear or write in mainstream television or print media. Instead what we watched was a parade of pseudo-analysts, Arab Zionists, anti-Palestinian ideologues, self-appointed spokespersons of all stripes, and even a couple of comedians. All of them, without exception, were invited to parrot the Israel narrative, or at best, offer polite criticism of Israel in the name of Palestinians and Arab or Muslim Americans.

It is frustrating and soul-destroying to see the Palestinians come under attack again and again, whilst Israel and a myriad of Jewish groups and publications around the world attack the critics in an attempt to retain control of the discourse. And yet Israel is taking hits, the hasbara is being rejected by an increasing of number of ordinary people, and many websites, of which deLiberation is proud to be one, are dedicating time and energy to liberating the discourse.

It’s a move that hasn’t gone well with many activists. Witness expulsions from the Palestine ‘Solidarity’ campaign, and the Call for disavowal from Gilad Atzmon.

Whilst those ‘solidarity’ activists who are obsessed with anti-semitism withdraw into their activist shtetl’s, allowing the Zionists and AZZ’s to dictate who is kosher, and who is not, others of us have not forgotten that the primary focus needs to remain on Palestine and the injustice being perpetrated on the Palestinians. We will not be deterred from examining the way the discourse is being controlled, nor who is doing the controlling.

It is Zionists who are part of a genocidal, RACIST programme, and the claims that the anti-racists who oppose them are the actual racists rings increasingly hollow.

The name-calling will not stop us, any more than the bombing of buildings where journalists are based will stop journalists with integrity from presenting the truths that the Zionists and their mates work so hard to obscure. Any more than the barbarous Israeli attacks will stop resistance from Palestinians and others in the Middle East.

____________________________________________________
* AZZ: Anti-Zionist Zionist, Jewish activist who prioritizes Jewish tribal loyalties over all else, ref: Wandering Who by Gilad Atzmon

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Gaza & The Cowardly Blathering Of Arab & Muslim Americans


November 23, 2012

Zogby with his good friend Martin Indyk on MSNBC

[Ikhras Note: During Israel’s eight-day onslaught on Gaza a select few Arab and Muslim Americans appeared in the mainstream US media as representatives of the Palestinian side of the conflict or spokespersons for the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities. These groups and individuals do not represent the views of the Palestinian, Arab or Muslim communities in the US, and were certainly not appointed as spokespersons for the Palestinian people under occupation.]

To our knowledge, during the entire eight days of Israeli air, sea, and land bombardment of Gaza not a single authentic Palestinian-American voice or any neutral, objective expert on the Arab world was invited to appear or write in mainstream television or print media. Instead what we watched was a parade of pseudo-analysts, Arab Zionists, anti-Palestinian ideologues, self-appointed spokespersons of all stripes, and even a couple of comedians. All of them, without exception, were invited to parrot the Israel narrative, or at best, offer polite criticism of Israel in the name of Palestinians and Arab or Muslim Americans.

Lebanese-American neo-conservative Fouad Ajami appeared on CNN almost daily to do what he does best which is justify every Israeli aggression as the inevitable consequence of the Arabs’ refusal to behave as civilized people. Hussein Ibish, from the American Task Force on Palestine, the Arab-American wing of the pro-Israel lobby, also appeared on CNN & published a couple of articles during this period advocating views no different than Israel’s Ambassador to the US and Ibish’s dinner companion, Michael Oren. Under the façade of somber, objective analysis Ibish offered a version of events that would be welcomed by the propagandists of Benjamin Netanyahu’s (Hussein refers to him with the loving nickname “Bibi”) Zionist regime.

Yet token Arab Zionists like Ajami or Ibish may not be quite as misleading or harmful as the ostensible advocates and defenders of the Palestinians in the US. After all, by now they’re both largely recognized as anti-Arab, pro-Israel ideologues and political fraudsters. Those that are more misleading and damaging are the likes of James Zogby. After issuing a disgraceful statement on Gaza on behalf of his one-man outfit Zogby appeared on MSNBC with his good friend and Zionist fanatic Martin Indyk to have a friendly chat about what the US should be doing. There were no condemnations and no mention of the unconditional US support of Israel’s war crimes. With his characteristic mainstream blathering the quintessential opportunist has always been quite adept at using Israel’s wars on Palestinians and Arabs as a tool in his shameless self-promoting activism.
And it’s not just Arab-Americans. Palestinians are fortunate enough to have a larger group of Muslim Americans from which the mainstream media can pluck out a select few to represent their side within the strictly defined parameters of public discourse on Israel & Palestine in this country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council also found an opportunity in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza to promote their organizations in the media.

 Spokespersons from these two groups, most of whom are not Palestinians or Arabs, were invited based on the sole qualification of belonging to a Muslim-American organization. Unwittingly playing into the Zionist narrative, they’re invited to represent the “Muslim side” in what is framed as a religious war between Muslims and Jews.

A couple of clowns from that quickly proliferating group of very lame and unfunny comedians were also able to get in on the act, and use Israel’s latest murder spree as an opportunity to appear on obscure cable channels to advance a mediocre career on the margins of American pop culture.

None of these organizations or individuals is invited to speak based on their expertise of the region or as authentic voices of Palestinians or Palestinian-Americans. They are selected based on their willingness and ability to strictly follow the rigid mainstream American narrative on Israel and Palestine. Unburdened by the need to appear as defenders of Palestinian rights, token Arab Zionists like Ajami and Ibish offer more relaxed performances while others strain to ostensibly defend the Palestinians without offending American political and media sensibilities. Not a single US media appointed spokesperson for Palestinians, whether identified as Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim or presented as an academic, activist, or community leader offered a clear moral condemnation of Israel’s massacre in Gaza or US government complicity in its war crimes. That was left to those who will rarely, if ever, be invited to appear in mainstream media outlets because they refuse to sacrifice their conscience and humanity in exchange for being designated as “one of the reasonable ones” among the mostly crazy and extremist Arabs or Muslims.

Palestinian-American Human Rights Attorney and Activist Lamis Deek said it best:

When those who suffer most, who pay the ultimate price in Gaza support the resistance, how dare ‘activists’ opine on whether it’s strategic or it ‘alienates Americans’? ….There is no shortage of resources dedicated to publishing the Zionist perspective, are we afraid of the work associated with publishing all other perspectives? Are we afraid of how it reflects on us when it reflects on Palestinians in Gaza as death and destruction…?

And if those alleged academics, activists, comedians, and community leaders (and it’s often difficult to tell them apart) are indeed afraid of condemning Zionist massacres and defending Palestinian rights, including the right to self-defense, they should at least have enough respect for the victims of the aggression they refuse to condemn to simply ikhras.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – April 2012

Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for April, 2012 is the Lebanese Collegiate Network. This is the first time the Ikhras Shoe is awarded to an organization. The report below explains how and why the LCN earned this prestigious award.

CIA Recruiting Lebanese Students in US Universities: Al-Akhbar (See original Arabic Report)

American universities have been operating Lebanese students in the CIA since 2008, Al-Akhbar revealed Friday.According to a report the Lebanese daily published, an American-Lebanese university club have decided a couple of years ago to gather Lebanese students from various states and offer them courses and volunteer work opportunities in the US Central Intelligence Agency under the slogan “providing jobs to Lebanese students in the United states”.

The paper pointed out that the Lebanese students would allow themselves to work for the CIA under the excuse that “I could work in the languages, Informatics, or engineering departments, and no one will accuse me of being an agent. I am a regular employee in an American organization, no more no less…” and another excuse is: “the agency is not part of the American government… It does not promote the US policies… it rather offers variable job opportunities, so why not make use of that?”

Al-Akhbar reported that “Lebanese students carrying the American citizenship and studying in American universities have established and joined a “non-profit organization” called “Lebanese Collegiate Network” LCN.”

“This network, headed by Lebanese, aims at gathering the biggest number of student clubs with Lebanese members, and relating them to one network… the CIA have succeeded in joining 20 Lebanese clubs until today, and its main activities are organizing conferences, workshops, donation campaigns, and Dabkeh (Lebanese traditional dance) parties,” the paper added.

It further indicated that while the “Lebanese network claims that it is working for the benefit of the Lebanese students in the United States and for providing job opportunities to them,” out of the entire US job market, it merely chose to promote volunteering in the CIA.
In parallel, the paper clarified that “officials in the Lebanese network try to present the CIA as a “human rights” organization, ignoring its role in assassinations around the world, including Lebanon, and during the civil war in specific. This, in addition to its constant coordination with the Israeli intelligence on the information and services level.”

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Every month Ikhras awards the Muntadhar ZaidiShoe of the month” to the House Arab or Muslim individual or organization whose behavior that month best exemplifies the behavior of what Malcolm X described, in the language of his own time, as the “house negro” (see video). The award is named in honor of the brave Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Zaidi who threw his shoes at the war criminal George W. Bush at a time House Arabs and Muslims were dining with him at the White House and inviting him to their mosques. Arab dictators and puppets of the empire are also qualified to enter the shoe of the month competition based on their own subservience to U.S.-led global imperialism. Contest guidelines prohibit any one individual or organization from winning the award more than 3 times a year.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – March 2012

April 18, 2012

Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for March, 2012 is Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. The well-known public activist, former candidate for the presidencylogo of the collaborationist Palestinian National Authority, and head of the Palestine National Initiative earned the prestigious ikhras shoe award by traveling from occupied Ramallah to Washington, DC to attend J Street’s 2012 annual gala.
Since its establishment in 2008 this racist, Zionist organization dedicated to the destruction of Palestine has sought to present itself as the pro-peace faction of the pro-Israel lobby hoping to distinguish itself from its only slightly more obnoxious colleagues at AIPAC.
To advance the pernicious notion that the two are not mutually exclusive, J Street describes itself as both “Pro-Israel and pro-Peace.” To the uninitiated political simpletons J Street may come across as a more humane version of Zionism, but upon closer examination of its substantive policy positions it is virtually indistinguishable from other elements of the pro-Israel lobby.
J Street makes clear its goal is to defend Israel, preserve the racist, colonial project in Palestine, and lobby the US government to maintain unlimited military, economic, and political support for an exclusivist Jewish state. It advocates for maintaining Israel’s technological and military superiority over all states in the region and calls on others to recognize the “right” of members of the Jewish faith from all over the world to colonize Palestine while opposing the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, land, and property. To that end it has adopted a deceptively moderate tone and paid lip service to the “two-state solution” canard.
J Street is not driven by any moral considerations, a search for a just peace, liberalism, or universal human values. Instead, it remains dedicated to the same racist, colonial enterprise all other pro-Israel groups are committed to. As far as J Street is concerned support for a non-contiguous, demilitarized, and defenseless mini-state-in-name-only in occupied Palestine 67 is the best policy to ensure the long-term survival of the Zionist project. It differs from AIPAC in that it believes Israel can survive in the 78% of Palestine occupied in 1948 only if it accepts the repositioning of the Israeli occupation army around the 22% of occupied Palestine 67 and allows the Palestinians to refer to it as a state.
The differences between J Street and AIPAC amount to a minor disagreement over the extent of the repositioning of the Israeli occupation army around occupied Palestine 67 and the tone and propaganda strategy that best serves the mutually agreed upon and expressly stated objectives of both lobbying groups. The differences are not unlike what distinguishes the Likud from Kadima or the Labor party.

Although J Street does not offer a vision for a just peace – which any rational, unbiased, and moral observer recognizes would require Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied Arab land followed by the dismantlement of the colonial Zionist state, the return of the Palestinian refugees, and the establishment of a single unified Palestine – it does offer liberal Jewish-American Zionists an opportunity to feel better about their commitment to Israel while promoting an agenda that is identical to the one supported by the ostensibly more extreme, right-wing members of the pro-Israel lobby.


Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – October 2011



J Street appearance on the scene has also offered a small contingent of establishment Arab-Americans the opportunity to play the role of the “reasonable” and “peace-loving” Arab eager to distinguish him/herself from the stereotypical anti-Semitic, violent, extremist Arab that wants to “drive the Jews into the sea.” Self-appointed Arab-American spokespersons like James Zogby or Ray Hanania have relished every opportunity to appear with members of J Street, interview any of its leaders, or attend their events and galas.
Israel Normalizer Mona Eltahawy
Mona Eltahawy: Selected Quotes On Palestine & Israel
 Zogby actively promotes J Street and Jeremy Ben Ami is a regular on his vapid weekly talk show on Abu-Dhabi (or as Jim says “Abew-Dobby”) TV. Hanania attended last year’s J Street conference spending his entire time there tweeting praise for the racist gathering hoping to be invited back as a speaker this year.
Colonial feminist and a proud normalizer with Israel, Egyptian-American corporate media darling Mona Eltahawy also attended last year’s J Street gathering and received a thunderous ovation. For these establishment Arab-Americans attending a J Street event or being seen with a Jewish supporter of Israel is an affirmation of their humanity and provides evidence that despite belonging to a suspect group they’re really one of “the good ones.”

We expect the likes of Zogby, Hanania, and Eltahawy to clamor for a photo-op with a “pro-peace” J Streeter or an appearance at a J Street event, and while their participation is disgraceful, we can readily (should we choose to do so) disregard that unrepresentative, tiny minority of establishment Arab-Americans, most of whom have no connection to the Arab world, and their American-style buffoonery. However, when a well-known, Palestinian public figure residing in occupied Ramallah travels to Washington to participate in an event for the pro-Israel lobby, it becomes entirely something else that can’t be so easily dismissed. This is not the first time Barghouti has visited the US to engage in a series of misguided public relations stunts. During a previous visit in 2009, Barghouti traveled around in the company of a Jewish-American, female “peace activist” which included an awkward appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It was a strange performance for Barghouti who was visibly strained to send the message that a Palestinian can sit side by side with a Jewish person from which the audience was supposed to extrapolate that Palestinians are indeed human beings who can exist with other human beings of a different religious persuasion. He’s also written editorials in mainstream US print media which almost always sound apologetic and desperate to prove the humanity and peaceful nature of the Palestinians to an American audience. Here is the most recent one in the NY Times in which Barghouti preaches non-violence, as if the Palestinians, the victims of massive violence for over six decades, have an obligation to prove to a Western audience that they are a peaceful people.

In addition to the false notion that J Street is any different than AIPAC, Barghouti’s amateurish public relations efforts proceed from a couple of other false assumptions and misunderstandings of American politics. Barghouti travels to Washington with the belief the US government remains the key to “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.
After decades of unlimited, unconditional support for Israel, and the sacred status Israel continues to hold within the American political and electoral system, any entertainment of the idea the US can play a constructive role in reaching a “peaceful settlement” between Israel and the Palestinians and the Arab world is completely detached from reality and utterly preposterous.
The US government is part of the conflict, and not part of any “solution” and remains the sponsor and protector of Israel’s colonial occupation, an accomplice in all of its crimes, and the single greatest obstacle to peace in the region. It is time to dispense with the obvious lie that the US government is an honest peace broker or interested in anything other than preserving Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its role as a garrison state in the service of imperialism and American domination of the Arab world.

Barghouti’s decision to come to Washington and attend a J Street event is part of a strategy based on several layers of misunderstanding and confusion. Barghouti’s approach betrays a simplistic understanding of US foreign policy that focuses solely on the pro-Israel lobby while ignoring other critical determinants beyond the scope of this piece. Furthermore, Barghouti’s confusion regarding J Street’s alleged support for a just peace is further compounded by his seeming exaggeration of that potentially “positive” influence on US foreign policy towards Arab-Israeli conflict.

The naiveté shown in Barghouti’s approach becomes even more glaring when he presumes any Palestinian support of the “moderate” member of the pro-Israel lobby will help strengthen its influence at the expense of AIPAC. In reality this discussion is between two groups within the pro-Israel lobby about the best way to preserve the Zionist project and ensure the survival of Israel. Palestinian support for either faction in the discussion will have no impact and is ultimately irrelevant. Finally, and most importantly, it is not the role or responsibility of any member of a colonized and occupied people to offer his imprimatur to the ostensibly more moderate faction of the colonizers and occupiers, and if Barghouthi insists on a strategy of reaching out to the mythical pro-peace Zionists, he’s better off saving his air fare and participating in the conferences and conventions of Kadima or the Labor party in occupied Palestine which is what J Street represents here in the US.

Barghouti’s political pilgrimage to J Street was an example of unprincipled, misguided, and foolish antics and an amateurish experiment in public relations that will not serve or help the Palestinian people. His participation in this event, which featured war criminal and butcher Ehud Olmert as an honored guest, was also unconscionable. Olmert was the Prime Minister of the Zionist entity during the winter 2008-2009 slaughter in Gaza, and was responsible for the planning and execution of that massacre. That alone should merit Barghouti’s refusal to be involved in such an event.

Barghouti’s appearance at J Street did not and cannot achieve anything of value for the Palestinian people, but his latest trip to Washington was not entirely without any personal achievement. For his participation in the J Street gala, his strategy of empowering a racist, Zionist group in America so it may, at some point in the future, impact and change US foreign policy to the benefit of the Palestinians, and his willingness to appear at an event that honored the latest Israeli butcher of Gaza ikhras is pleased to present Dr. Mustafa Barghouti with the March 2012 Ikhras Shoe Of The Month.
***

Every month Ikhras awards the Muntadhar ZaidiShoe of the month” to the House Arab or Muslim individual or organization whose behavior that month best exemplifies the behavior of what Malcolm X described, in the language of his own time, as the “house negro” (see video).

The award is named in honor of the brave Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Zaidi who threw his shoes at the war criminal George W. Bush at a time House Arabs and Muslims were dining with him at the White House and inviting him to their mosques. Arab dictators and puppets of the empire are also qualified to enter the shoe of the month competition based on their own subservience to U.S.-led global imperialism.
Contest guidelines prohibit any one individual or organization from winning the award more than 3 times a year.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – October 2011

October 31, 2011
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this October, 2011 is Palestinian-American Zionist, failed comedian, Radio Talk Show host (but only because he buys his own airtime), Jerusalem Post columnist, and former (following an uproar by members of the organization) ADC National Board member Ray Hanania.
Hanania earned this prestigious honor based on his last column in the Zionist rag that publishes his weekly blathering. In an October 25 piece Hanania criticized the Palestinians’ tenacious and honorable defense of their released heroes, compared an Israeli terrorist soldier to the released Palestinian prisoners, praised “remorseful” Israeli terrorist soldiers while describing Palestinian freedom fighters as unremorseful “mass murderers”, and “terrorists”:

“Palestinians were outspoken in defending some of the most notorious prisoners who were released, including two women…But I was most impressed with Schalit, who upon leaving his captivity, said that he hoped the prisoner exchange would kick-start the Middle East peace process. He also said he hoped all of the Palestinian prisoners would soon be released, too, on the condition that they didn’t return to terrorism…Few, if any, of the terrorists convicted of mass murder have ever expressed remorse for their actions, whereas some Israeli soldiers have expressed remorse for their actions after completing their military service.”

Although this is the first time Hanania has won this recently established award there have been many times in the past when this despicable character deserved to be pelted with a shoe.* Here are a few examples. Hanania called on Palestinians to stop using the word Nakba and to replace it with something, get this, “less offensive” to their occupier. He also criticizes the use of the word “apartheid” to describe the racist Zionist regime, and blames the Palestinian Arabs in occupied Palestine-48 for Israel’s discriminatory practices in that region of their homeland. He supports the pro-Israel lobby and attends the conferences of racist, Zionist group committed to the destruction of Palestine. Like most mainstream Arab-Americans Hanania defends the horrific, but Washington-approved Saudi regime, and routinely compares Palestinian freedom fighters to Zionist fanatics, war criminals, and terrorists. Hanania has also attacked members of the International Solidarity Movement including a disgraceful tirade against the Turkish activists that were murdered by Israel in 2010 trying to bring relief to Gaza. Earlier this year the “Hanania Emails” were released which revealed a series of profanity-laced emails sent by Hanania included a racist, homophobic reference to Arabs as “raghead fags.” Hanania has thus far refused to apologize to the Arab-American community, and continues his offensive rhetoric and cheap sectarian agitation.

Like James Zogby, Hanania’s candidacy for the shoe-of-the-month award is ongoing, and he’s always among the front runners, but his offensive rhetoric on the prisoner exchange between the Palestinian resistance and the Zionist entity merited special recognition this month. So on behalf of the Arab-American community Ikhras is pleased to present the October 2011 Shoe of the Month award to Ray Hanania.

*To learn more about Palestinian-American Zionist Ray Hanania visit ikhras: http://ikhras.com/tag/ray-hanania/

Every month Ikhras awards the Muntadhar ZaidiShoe of the month” to the House Arab or Muslim individual or organization in the United States whose behavior that month best exemplifies the behavior of what Malcolm X described, in the language of his own time, as the “house negro” (see video). The award is named in honor of the brave Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Zaidi who threw his shoes at the war criminal George W. Bush at a time House Arabs and Muslims were dining with him at the White House and inviting him to their mosques. Arab dictators and puppets of the empire are also qualified to enter the shoe of the month competition based on their own subservience to U.S.-led global imperialism. Contest guidelines prohibit any one individual or organization from winning the award more than 3 times a year.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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