Posts Tagged ‘Arabs’

Islamophobia – Now in American Children’s Textbooks?

April 20, 2010

Middle East Online, April19, 2010

True, the demonizing of Arabs and Muslims in America began well before the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001 but, what is new post-9/11, is that now demonizing Muslims and Islam is not only more widespread but also considerably more mainstream and respectable. In short, Muslim-bashing has become socially acceptable in the United States, notes Abdus Sattar Ghazali.
As if the adult media’s vitriol wasn’t enough, the seven-million strong American Muslim community, is now being faced by the alarming publication of a series of ‘children’s books’, containing misleading and inflammatory rhetoric about the Islamic faith. The 10-book series – entitled the “World of Islam,” – is published by Mason Crest Publishing in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based pro-Israel and pro-war Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Anti-Islamic sentiment pervades the entire series, portraying Muslims as inherently violent and deserving suspicion. It encourages young readers to believe Muslims are terrorists, who seek to undermine US society.

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Slandering Muslims is increasingly acceptable in Western media

February 22, 2010

Foreign Policy Journal, February 22, 2010

by Barnabe Geisweiller

In July of last year, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group, organized a mass wedding celebration for hundreds of couples in the Gaza Strip. The happy adult grooms, immaculately dressed in black suits and colourful ties, received $500 each from Hamas, no small sum in the besieged territory.

It might have been a joyous event if not for the fact that the brides were “pre-pubescent girls, dressed in white gowns and adorned with garish make-up,” according to the article written by author and journalist Paul L. Williams, and republished by rightwing pundit David Horowitz’s Frontpage Magazine, who regularly appears on mainstream news networks such as Fox and CNN.

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The Rogue State: Israeli violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions

January 28, 2010
Foreign Policy Journal, January 27, 2010

By Jeremy R. Hammond

Following is a list of United Nations Security Council resolutions directly critical of Israel for violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, international terrorism, or other violations of international law.

Res. 57 (Sep. 18, 1948) – Expresses deep shock at the  assassination of the U.N. Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists.

Res. 89 (Nov. 17, 1950) – Requests that attention be given to the expulsion of “thousands of Palestine Arabs” and calls upon concerned governments to take no further action “involving the transfer of persons across international frontiers or armistice lines”, and notes that Israel announced that it would withdraw to the armistice lines.

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Why Support for Palestine Ebbs

November 19, 2009

Rami Khouri, Agence Global, Nov 18, 2009

CAIRO — The atmosphere in Cairo this week tells us much about the contemporary Arab world’s view of the Palestine cause in relation to domestic issues in every Arab country. Ordinary Arabs and their governments alike seem fed up with the incompetence of the Palestinian leadership, while remaining strongly committed emotionally to the justice and rights of the Palestinian cause.

Fittingly, it’s emotionally satisfying for Palestinians, but not very promising politically.

The contrast is vividly reflected this week in the national frenzy over the Egyptian football team’s World Cup qualifying playoff match against Algeria in Sudan, in contrast with little attention being paid to the condition of the Palestinians. Years ago, thousands would have marched in the streets of Cairo to express support for Palestinians against Israel’s occupation and colonization policies. Today, it is a sign of the times that the Egyptian border with southern Gaza remains firmly locked. The Palestinian threat to seek support for an independent state at the UN Security Council receives only passing attention, while the authorities are busy organizing an airbridge to send supporters to cheer on their Egyptian national football team in Khartoum.

In many ways it is hard to criticize the Egyptians, who broke away from the Arab pack three decades ago and signed their separate peace agreement with Israel — to be followed 15 years later by the Jordanian-Israeli peace agreement, after the Palestinians tried to negotiate a permanent peace settlement with Israel via the Oslo agreements. That attempt failed, for many reasons, the primary ones being the Israeli lack of seriousness about an end to colonization of Palestinian land, insistence on annexing much of Jerusalem, and refusing to deal with the Palestinian refugees seriously, while on the Palestinian side the use of suicide bombs against Israelis added a fatal blow to the negotiations.

Many attempts to negotiate comprehensive peace in the last three decades have failed, and each time the Israelis and Palestinians fall back on the same rhetorical positions: Israel says it is prepared to discuss peace arrangements without preconditions (its colonization and strangulation of Palestinian land and society being set aside, presumably, as a non-reality), while the Palestinians accuse Israel of not being serious about negotiating peace. Because Israel is militarily stronger and in control of daily life arteries for Palestinians — like entry and exit points, water, food, electricity and fuel — it tends to define conditions on the ground. The Palestinian leadership, for its part, appeals to the world’s conscience and respect for international law, but with little impact, and even less credibility.

The world has slowly tired of the Palestinians in their current political mode, and focused on other issues, because the prospects of a negotiated Arab-Israeli peace seem slim, as diplomatic attempts to reach a full peace have repeatedly confirmed in the last three decades. It is no wonder that Egypt became weary with this and went its own way. Now it cheers enthusiastically and naturally for its national football team, while keeping the gates to southern Gaza firmly shut.

The astounding thing is that the Palestinian leadership over the years has not woken up to the fact that however just and powerful is the cause of Palestine, it is not an inexhaustible well of emotional and political support from others in the Arab region or abroad. We are likely to witness this demonstrated again in the Arab and international shrug of the shoulders in response to the latest Palestinian idea of seeking Security Council recognition for the political fact and formal borders of a Palestinian state. It is hard to imagine a more unrealistic and fanciful idea than this, given that Israel controls the actual land where the borders should be drawn, and the United States — with its veto — controls the decision-making capacity of the Security Council.

It would have been much more productive for the Palestinian leadership to go to the UN and fight for adoption of the Goldstone Report on the atrocities committed mostly by Israel during the Gaza war last year. Having flip-flopped on the Goldstone Report and now threatening to make a meaningless approach to another UN body, the current Palestinian leadership persists in its legacy of living in a dream world. It is deeply detached from its own — and fellow Arab — people who should be its core support. It is also totally disrespected by the Israeli government, and largely ignored by the rest of the world.

This prevails at a time when Israeli war crimes and colonization continue unabated, but are marginalized politically because of the incompetence of the Palestinian leadership. No wonder more and more Arabs and others turn away from the Palestine issue, and give it only perfunctory rhetorical support without making more costly political moves to oppose Israeli policies or help the Palestinians. Israeli national criminality and Palestinian political incompetence are a deadly combination.

Rami G. Khouri is Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon.

Peace Prospects after the Fatah Congress

August 18, 2009

By Patrick Seale, Agence Global, Aug 17, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama is widely expected to announce his peace plan for the Middle East this coming month. He is convinced that America’s national interests — and Israel’s long-term security — demand a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement, including the end of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution.

Obama’s determination creates a unique opportunity which Arabs and Israelis should seize with both hands if they are to resolve an obdurate conflict which has brought them nothing but pain.

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Anti-racist Jews against racist Zionism

July 25, 2009

Editorial

Gideon Polya, Media with Conscience, July 24, 2009

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The World has been horrified by latest Gaza Massacre inflicted by Apartheid Israel on what the Catholic Church describes as Gaza Concentration Camp – over 1,300 Palestinians killed (one third being children) and over 5,000 wounded in response to zero Israeli deaths from Gaza missiles in the preceding year.

This latest Israeli atrocity has highlighted the utter racist obscenity of the continuing 42 year Occupation and has led to growing indignation against Apartheid Israel and the Zionists and other Western neocons who support Jewish colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The racist Zionists routinely falsely condemn critics of the State of Israel as “anti-Semites” and indeed extend this false abuse to Jewish critics of Zionism by falsely calling them “self-hating Jews” as well as “anti-Semites”.

Anti-Semitism means damaging Semitic people in word or deed for being ethnically or culturally Semitic (something Semites can’t help being), noting that Semites include 300 million Arab Semites, 1,500 million culturally Semitic Muslims and 15 million largely culturally Semitic Jews.

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Robert Fisk: Most Arabs know Obama’s speech will make little difference

June 2, 2009

I suspect that what the Arab world wants to hear is that Obama will take his soldiers out of Muslim lands

Robert Fisk | The Independent/UK, June 2, 2009

More and more, it looks like the same old melody that Bush’s lads used to sing. We’re not against the Muslim world. In fact, we are positively for it. We want you to have democracy, up to a point. We love Arab “moderates” and we want to reach out to you and be your friends. Sorry about Iraq. And sorry – again, up to a point – about Afghanistan and we do hope that you understand why we’ve got to have a little “surge” in Helmand among all those Muslim villages with their paper-thin walls. And yes, we’ve made mistakes.

Everyone in the world, or so it seems, is waiting to see if this is what Barack Obama sings. I’m not sure, though, that the Arabs are waiting with such enthusiasm as the rest of the world.

I haven’t met an Arab in Egypt – or an Arab in Lebanon, for that matter – who really thinks that Obama’s “outreach” lecture in Cairo on Thursday is going to make much difference.

They watched him dictate to Bibi Netanyahu – no more settlements, two-state solution – and they saw Bibi contemptuously announce, on the day that Mahmoud Abbas, the most colourless leader in the Arab world, went to the White House, that Israel’s colonial project in the West Bank would continue unhindered. So that’s that, then.

And please note that Obama has chosen Egypt for his latest address to the Muslims, a country run by an ageing potentate – Hosni Mubarak is 80 – who uses his secret police like a private army to imprison human rights workers, opposition politicians, anyone in fact who challenges the great man’s rule. At this point, we won’t mention torture. Be sure that this little point is unlikely to get much play in the Obama sermon, just as he surely will not be discussing Saudi Arabia’s orgy of head-chopping when he chats to King Abdullah on Wednesday.

So what’s new, folks? Arabs, I find, have a very shrewd conception of what goes on in Washington – the lobbying, the power politics, the dressing up of false friendship in Rooseveltian language – even if ordinary Americans do not. They are aware that the “new” America of Obama looks suspiciously like the old one of Bush and his lads and ladies. First, Obama addresses Muslims on Al-Arabiya television. Then he addresses Muslims in Istanbul. Now he wants to address Muslims all over again in Cairo.

I suppose Obama could say: “I promise I will not make any decision until I first consult with you and the Jewish side” along with more promises about being a friend of the Arabs. Only that’s exactly what Franklin Roosevelt told King Abdul Aziz on the deck of USS Quincy in 1945, so the Arabs have heard that one before. I guess we’ll hear about terrorism being as much a danger to Arabs as to Israel – another dull Bush theme – and, Obama being a new President, we might also have a “we shall not let you down” theme.

But for what? I suspect that what the Arab world wants to hear – not their leaders, of course, all of whom would like to have a spanking new US air base on their property – is that Obama will take all his soldiers out of Muslim lands and leave them alone (American aid, doctors, teachers, etc, excepted). But for obvious reasons, Obama can’t say that.

He can, and will, surely, try his global-Arab line; that every Arab nation will be involved in the new Middle East peace, a resurrection of the remarkably sane Saudi offer of full Arab recognition of Israel in return for an Israeli return to the 1967 borders in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 242. Obama will be clearing this with King Abdullah on Wednesday, no doubt. And everyone will nod sagely and the newspapers of the Arab dictatorships will solemnly tip their hats to the guy and the New York Times will clap vigorously.

And the Israeli government will treat it all with the same amused contempt as Netanyahu treated Obama’s demand to stop building Jewish colonies on Arab land and, back home in Washington, Congress will fulminate and maybe Obama will realise, just like the Arab potentates have realised, that beautiful rhetoric and paradise-promises never, ever, win against reality.

Robert Fisk: Obama has to pay for eight years of Bush’s delusions

November 15, 2008

He will have to get out of Iraq, and he will have to tell Israel a few home truths

The Independent, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Barack Obama

REUTERS

How is Barack Obama going to repair the titanic damage which his vicious, lying predecessor has perpetrated around the globe and within the US itself?

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American lawyers defending six Algerians before a habeas corpus hearing in Washington this week learned some very odd things about US intelligence after 9/11. From among the millions of “raw” reports from American spies and their “assets” around the world came a CIA Middle East warning about a possible kamikaze-style air attack on a US navy base at a south Pacific island location. The only problem was that no such navy base existed on the island and no US Seventh Fleet warship had ever been there. In all seriousness, a US military investigation earlier reported that Osama bin Laden had been spotted shopping at a post office on a US military base in east Asia.

That this nonsense was disseminated around the world by those tasked to defend the United States in the “war on terror” shows the fantasy environment in which the Bush regime has existed these past eight years. If you can believe that bin Laden drops by a shopping mall on an American military base, then you can believe that everyone you arrest is a “terrorist”, that Arabs are “terrorists”, that they can be executed, that living “terrorists” must be tortured, that everything a tortured man says can be believed, that it is legitimate to invade sovereign states, to grab the telephone records of everyone in America. As Bob Herbert put it in The New York Times a couple of years ago, the Bush administration wanted these records “which contain crucial documentation of calls for a Chinese takeout in Terre Haute, Indiana, and birthday greetings to Grandma in Talladega, Alabama, to help in the search for Osama bin Laden”. There was no stopping Bush when it came to trampling on the US Constitution. All that was new was that he was now applying the same disrespect for liberty in America that he had shown in the rest of the world.

But how is Barack Obama going to repair the titanic damage which his vicious, lying predecessor has perpetrated around the globe and within the US itself? John F Kennedy once said that “the United States, as the world knows, will never start a war”. After Bush’s fear-mongering and Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe” and Abu Ghraib and Bagram and Guantanamo and secret renditions, how does Obama pedal his country all the way back to Camelot? Our own dear Gordon Brown’s enthusiasm to Hoover up the emails of the British people is another example of how Lord Blair’s sick relationship with Bush still infects our own body politic. Only days before the wretched president finally departs from us, new US legislation will ensure that citizens of his lickspittle British ally will no longer be able to visit America without special security clearance. Does Bush have any more surprises for us before 20 January? Indeed, could anything surprise us any more?

Obama has got to close Guantanamo. He’s got to find a way of apologising to the world for the crimes of his predecessor, not an easy task for a man who must show pride in his country; but saying sorry is what – internationally – he will have to do if the “change” he has been promoting at home is to have any meaning outside America’s borders. He will have to re-think – and deconstruct – the whole “war on terror”. He will have to get out of Iraq. He will have to call a halt to America’s massive airbases in Iraq, its $600m embassy. He will have to end the blood-caked air strikes we are perpetrating in southern Afghanistan – why, oh, why do we keep slaughtering wedding parties? – and he will have to tell Israel a few home truths: that America can no longer remain uncritical in the face of Israeli army brutality and the colonisation for Jews and Jews only on Arab land. Obama will have to stand up at last to the Israeli lobby (it is, in fact, an Israeli Likud party lobby) and withdraw Bush’s 2004 acceptance of Israel’s claim to a significant portion of the West Bank. US officials will have to talk to Iranian officials – and Hamas officials, for that matter. Obama will have to end US strikes into Pakistan – and Syria.

Indeed, there’s a growing concern among America’s allies in the Middle East that the US military has to be brought back under control – indeed, that the real reason for General David Petraeus’ original appointment in Iraq was less to organise the “surge” than it was to bring discipline back to the 150,000 soldiers and marines whose mission – and morals – had become so warped by Bush’s policies. There is some evidence, for example, that the four-helicopter strike into Syria last month, which killed eight people, was – if not a rogue operation – certainly not sanctioned byWashington or indeed by US commanders in Baghdad.

But Obama’s not going to be able to make the break. He wants to draw down in Iraq in order to concentrate more firepower in Afghanistan. He’s not going to take on the lobby in Washington and he’s not going to stop further Jewish colonisation of the occupied territories or talk to Israel’s enemies. With AIPAC supporter Rahm Emanuel as his new chief of staff – “our man in the White House”, as the Israeli daily Maariv called him this week – Obama will toe the line. And of course, there’s the terrible thought that bin Laden – when he’s not shopping at US military post offices – may be planning another atrocity to welcome the Obama presidency.

There is just one little problem, though, and that’s the “missing” prisoners. Not the victimswho have been (still are being?) tortured in Guantanamo, but the thousands who have simply disappeared into US custody abroad or – with American help – into the prisons of US allies. Some reports speak of 20,000 missing men, most of them Arabs, all of them Muslims. Where are they? Can they be freed now? Or are they dead? If Obama finds that he is inheriting mass graves from George W Bush, there will be a lot of apologising to do.

MIDEAST: Arabs Despair of U.S. Even More

August 1, 2008

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

CAIRO, Jul 31 (IPS) – For decades, the U.S. has jealously guarded its role of sole arbiter of the Arab-Israeli dispute. In light of recent shows of support for Israel by U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama, however, many Arabs fear that Zionist influence on the U.S. body politic — across the political spectrum — has made the notion of ‘U.S. even-handedness’ a contradiction in terms.

“When it comes to the Middle East conflict, the Arabs no longer see any difference between Republicans and Democrats,” Ahmed Thabet, political science professor at Cairo University told IPS. “Both parties vie with one another in expressing total support for Israel.”

In a speech before Israeli parliament in May, U.S. President George W. Bush went further than any of his predecessors in voicing praise for the self-proclaimed Jewish state. Referring to Israelis as a “chosen people”, Bush pledged Washington’s unwavering support against Israel’s traditional nemeses, including Iran and resistance parties Hamas and Hezbollah.

In statements heavy on “Judeo-Christian” religious references, Bush went on to describe Washington’s alliance with Israel as “unbreakable”.

Similar sentiments have been echoed by Bush’s would be Republican successor, Senator John McCain, who has also pledged “eternal” U.S. support for Israel.

“Israel and the U.S. must always stand together,” McCain declared before the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in early June. “We are the most natural of allies. And, like Israel itself, that alliance is for ever.”

Calling Israel “an inspiration to free nations everywhere,” McCain barely addressed longstanding Palestinian aspirations for statehood. Like Bush, he denounced regional actors opposed to Israel’s occupation of Arab land, referring to Hamas as “the terrorist-led group in charge of Gaza.”

Neither Bush nor McCain so much as mention — let alone criticise — Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinian populations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This treatment includes frequent military assaults often targeting civilians, the use of ‘targeted assassinations’, the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip (which has brought that territory to the brink of starvation), continued construction of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land, and the forced removal of non-Jewish, Arab inhabitants from the city of Jerusalem.

Arab analysts, meanwhile, express little surprise at such blatant pro-Israel bias, coming as it does from a political party thoroughly influenced by the so-called “neo-conservative” movement, of which Israeli ascendancy is a central tenet.

More disturbing to Arab critics of U.S. policy is the fact that Democratic presidential contenders have shown just as much zeal for Israeli supremacy as their Republican rivals.

In his own speech to AIPAC in early June, Obama stressed the need for a “more nuanced” approach to U.S. Middle East peacemaking. He stunned many, however, when he went on to state that Jerusalem would “remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

Although Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, its claim to the city has never been recognised by the international community. Officially, the status of Jerusalem — which Palestinians also want as capital of their future state — is supposed to be determined in long-awaited “final status” negotiations.

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