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THE LATE, UNLAMENTED PEACE PROCESS


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On Middle East Affairs

Volume XXXIII, No. 5

August 2014

Telling the Truth for More Than 30 Years… Interpreting the Middle East for North Americans

Interpreting North America for the Middle East

THE U.S. ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE 8 The Palestinians Continue the Struggle—With a Spiritual Lift From the Pope—Rachelle Marshall 11 No Quarter for the Quartet!—Ian Williams 12 The Late, Unlamented Peace Process: What Comes Next?—Two Views

22 For Pope Francis, Actions Speak Louder Than Words —Dale Sprusansky 24 Flying Out of Our Cages—Samah Jabr 26 American Legion Officials Betray American Veterans—Alison Weir

—Uri Avnery, John V. Whitbeck 15 Under Israeli Siege, Gaza’s Children Must Work Lest Their Families Starve—Mohammed Omer 16 The Power to Shun—Julien Salingue

CONGRESS AND THE 2014 ELECTIONS 32 Republicans’ Benghazi “Show Trial” Politicizes Tragic Events—Shirl McArthur

18 Israel’s Cut and Polished Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend—Delinda C. Hanley

34 Conspicuous by His Absence: Who’s Not Getting Money From Pro-Israel PACs—Janet McMahon

20 Papal Visit to Israel Takes Place Amid Increasing Violence Against Christians—Jonathan Cook

35 Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2014 Congressional Candidates—Compiled by Hugh Galford

SPECIAL REPORTS

30 Lebanon Copes With a Growing Population of Syrian Refugees—Philip Davies 39 Listing of IRFAN-Canada as “Terrorist” Bans Aid To Palestinians—Karin Brothers

A RA BA

40 Attacks Draw Attention to Xinjiang Unrest —John Gee

ABI/AFP/GE -HAL TTY AL IM AG ES

28 In the War on Terrorism, Only al-Qaeda Thrives —Patrick Cockburn

A rubble-strewn street in Aleppo, Syria. See story p. 28.

ON THE COVER: Syrian refugee children play outside their makeshift camp in a poor neighborhood in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, May 26, 2014. JOSEPH EID/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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(A Supplement to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs available by subscription at $15 per year. To subscribe, call toll-free 1-888-881-5861.)

Other Voices

Compiled by Janet McMahon

International Kowtowing to Israel Must End Now, Gideon Levy, Haaretz

OV-1

The Racism Playoffs, Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz

OV-2

Congress Move to Ease Visa Rules for Israel Hits Snag Over Spying Reports, Nathan Guttman, The Forward

OV-3

What’s Mine Is Mine; What’s Yours Is Negotiable, Alain Gresh, Le Monde diplomatique

OV-4

A National Hero, Uri Avnery, www.gush-shalom.org

OV-6

Palestinian Soccer: “And Still We Rise,” Dave Zirin, www.thenation.com

OV-7

Bethlehem University—Symbol of Steadfastness, OV-8 Stuart Littlewood, www.redressonline.com Majority of USAC Candidates Sign Joint Ethics Statement, Amanda Schallert, Daily Bruin

OV-8

Women Journalists Seize Initiative In Gaza, Marjut Helminen, Inter Press Service

OV-9

Wolf Lets Oren Howl at CNN Colleague’s Work, Yousef Munayyer, http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/ OV-10 Stanley Fischer—Born in Africa, Served in Israel—Named to Federal Reserve, Nathan Guttman, The Forward

OV-11

Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?, Patrick J. Buchanan, creators.com OV-12 “Fortress Europe” Closing the Doors to Syrian Refugees, Roger Hamilton-Martin, Inter Press Service

OV-12

The Brussels Mystery: Was Shooting Anti-Semitism or Part of Spy Games?, Amir Oren, Haaretz

OV-14

Israel’s New Friend in New Delhi, Vijeta Uniyal, http://blogs.timesofisrael.com

OV-14

A General’s Odd War on the Muslim Brotherhood, Ramzy Baroud, www.counterpunch.org

OV-15

DEPARTMENTS 5 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

50 ARAB AMERICAN

71 BULLETIN BOARD

ACTIVISM: Arab Americans 7 PUBLISHERS’ PAGE

Give Back to Their Communities

72 BOOK REVIEWS: The Mouse Who Saved Egypt

42 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE: KinderUSA Focuses on Fine Food of Gaza At Annual Pre-Ramadan Fund-Raiser—Pat and Samir Twair 44 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE: Spring Festival of Cultures at Berkeley’s International House Draws Large Crowd—Elaine Pasquini 46 NEW YORK CITY AND TRI-STATE NEWS: Journalist Amira Hass Describes “Palestinian Strengths” at Columbia University—Jane Adas

50 MUSLIM AMERICAN ACTIVISM: 39th ICNA-MAS Annual Convention 51 DIPLOMATIC DOINGS: Passport DC Embassy Walk 51 MUSIC & ARTS: Leila Buck’s Play “In the

—Allan C. Brownfeld

New Middle Eastern Street Food: Snacks, Comfort Food, And Mezze from Snackistan

—Reviewed by Andrew Stimson 73 NEW ARRIVALS FROM THE AET BOOKSTORE

Crossing” 74 2014 AET CHOIR OF ANGELS 54 HUMAN RIGHTS: Pakistan’s Fight Against Polio 56 WAGING PEACE: Predicting Israeli, Saudi and Iranian Reactions to a Nuclear Deal

48 ISRAEL AND JUDAISM: Presidents Council Rejection of J Street Generates Strong Backlash Among U.S. Jews

Gertrude

68 THE WORLD LOOKS AT THE MIDDLE EAST — CARTOONS 69 OTHER PEOPLE’S MAIL

49 INDEX TO ADVERTISERS


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Publisher: Managing Editor: News Editor: Assistant Editor: Bookstore Director: Finance & Admin. Director: Art Director: Executive Editor:

ANDREW I. KILLGORE JANET McMAHON DELINDA C. HANLEY DALE SPRUSANSKY KEVIN DAVIS CHARLES R. CARTER RALPH U. SCHERER RICHARD H. CURTISS (1927-2013)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (ISSN 8755-4917) is published 8 times a year, monthly except Jan./Feb., March/April and June/July combined, at 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707. Tel. (202) 939-6050. Subscription prices (United States and possessions): one year, $29; two years, $55; three years, $75. For Canadian and Mexican subscriptions, $35 per year; for other foreign subscriptions, $70 per year. Periodicals, postage paid at Washington, DC and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, P.O. Box 91056, Long Beach, CA 90809-1056. Published by the American Educational Trust (AET), a non-profit foundation incorporated in Washington, DC by retired U.S. foreign service officers to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states. AET’s Foreign Policy Committee has included former U.S. ambassadors, government officials, and members of Congress, including the late Democratic Sen. J. William Fulbright and Republican Sen. Charles Percy, both former chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Members of AET’s Board of Directors and advisory committees receive no fees for their services. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs does not take partisan domestic political positions. As a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, it endorses U.N. Security Council Resolution 242’s land-for-peace formula, supported by nine successive U.S. presidents. In general, it supports Middle East solutions which it judges to be consistent with the charter of the United Nations and traditional American support for human rights, selfdetermination, and fair play. Material from the Washington Report may be reprinted without charge with attribution to Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Bylined material must also be attributed to the author. This release does not apply to photographs, cartoons or reprints from other publications. Indexed by Ebsco Information Services, InfoTrac, LexisNexis, Public Affairs Information Service, Index to Jewish Periodicals, Ethnic News Watch, Periodica Islamica. CONTACT INFORMATION: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Editorial Office and Bookstore: P.O. Box 53062, Washington, DC 20009-9062 Phone: (202) 939-6050 • (800) 368-5788 Fax: (202) 265-4574 E-mail: wrmea@wrmea.org bookstore@wrmea.org circulation@wrmea.org advertising@wrmea.org Web sites: http://www.wrmea.org http://www.middleeastbooks.com Subscriptions, sample copies and donations: P.O. Box 91056, Long Beach, CA 90809-1056. Phone: (888) 881-5861 • Fax: (714) 226-9733 Printed in the USA

AUGUST 2014

LetterstotheEditor Campaign Finance Reform The recent Supreme Court decision on McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission should be another wakeup call about the corruption inherent in present campaign financing practices. As long ago as the 2000 election primaries Sen. John McCain said, “the enormous sums of money given to both parties by just about every special interest in the country corrupts our political ideals, whether it comes from big business or from labor bosses and trial lawyers.…All of our ideals are sacrificed. We are all corrupted.” And it just gets worse. As this champion of election campaign reform made clear later, he was referring to institutional, not personal, corruption, especiallytheinordinateinfluenceof lobbies in the present political system that might fairly be called a lobbyocracy. One lobby he might have mentioned but of course did not is theIsraelLobby;yourperiodiccompilations of its campaign contributionstomembersoftheCongressexplain all too clearly much of the enormous influence it has had on politicians inWashington. This is not the only reason for congressional subservience to Israel, voter support from the Christian Evangelical Right being the other major factor, especially among Republicans. But it is surely safe to say that without it the Congress would be much more able to withstand Israel’s aggressive and mutually destructive intrusion into U.S. politics and the nation itself, and the perennial total congressional roadblock to a just peace in Palestine could be greatly lowered. I have often wondered why the Washington Report lays so little stress on political reform—this crucially important aspect of diminishing Israel’s astounding influence on American politicians. Drastic further reform of campaign financing and curtailing the influence of all lobbies should surely be considered the most essential and urgent objectives of reshaping the system, with great short-term benefit to the nation and in the longer run loosening Israel’s stranglehold on the Palestinians. In all the years I’ve been a reader I can recall only one article that has dealt with this issue of institutional corruption and its reform. I believe it would be a great service to your readers if you were to allot to it more frequent scrutiny and comment. S.A. Brown, via e-mail We’ve always considered our compilations of pro-Israel PAC contributions to candidates for federal office (see p. 35 of this issue for the latest installment) to be an implicit call for campaign finance reform. But we shall cerTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

tainly consider your suggestion that we take a more explicit stance. Ultimately, we believe, it is up to voters—armed with accurate information—to demand that their candidates and elected representatives legislate and implement a serious overhaul to the current system of campaign finance. As managing editor Janet McMahon reports on p. 34, South Dakota Senate candidate Rick Weiland has pledged that the first bill he will introduce as a senator is a constitutional amendment reading, “So that the votes of all, rather than the wealth of a few, shall direct the course of the Republic, Congress shall have the power to limit the raising and spending of money with respect to federal elections.”

John Kerry and Israel John Kerry’s recent comment warning Israel it is in danger of becoming an apartheid state predictably caused much consternation. While Israel can rightfully claim to be a functioning democracy for Jews it cannot claim to offer non-Jews the same citizenship rights. Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh of Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities exposes the myth of this touted claim in a recent letter to The Wall Street Journal [see “Other People’s Mail,” p. 69]. Qumsiyeh, a U.S. citizen, echoes much of what was stated by Prof. George Bisharat at a recent NPR forum broadcast. Both charge Israel with systematically destroying churches, mosques and Palestinian homes to construct illegal Jewish settlements. Israel has more than 50 Jim Crow-type laws that discriminate against non-Jewish Israelis, and hundreds more in the occupied territories. Nationality rights apply only to Jews; for example, American Jews can immigrate to Israel and are accorded all the rights of citizenship—a right denied to non-Jews. Jews have exclusive use of bypass roads, land, privileged access to private and public employment, special educational loans, home mortgages, preferences for admission to universities, and a host of other privileges. A wide disparity exists in costs and availability for critical resources such as water. 5


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Equal opportunity employment the Israel Lobby. As you may be Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming! does not exist for non-Jews. Deaware, all these “spontaneous upSend your letters to the editor to the Washington spite Israel’s booming economy, risings” are backed by NED, Report, P.O. Box 53062, Washington, DC 20009 Palestinian unemployment has skywhose longtime Trotskyite presior e-mail <letters@wrmea.org>. rocketed. Vast disparities exist bedent Carl Gershman is a “onetween Arab towns and Jewish towns time” Anti-Defamation League operin government spending on schools and so by coloring in these sections in a ative, as well as other lobby-connected medical systems, condemning non-Jews to slightly different color. groups such as Freedom House and the lives of incredible hardship and suffering. Doris Rausch, Columbia, MD Washington Institute for Near East PolJagjit Singh, Los Altos, CA icy’s “Arab democracy” front, Fikra American and Israeli officials seem to have A Would-Be Color Revolution? Forum. While the United States has difficulty keeping up with the times, don’t I’m writing in response to Marvine Howe’s hardly benefited from the so-called “Arab they? We remember when Israeli soldiers Special Report on the recent Algerian elec- Spring,” the subsequent destabilization of would shoot and kill Palestinian children for tions in the June/July Washington Report. I the region is very much in line with Oded carrying their national flag. Now they shoot was particularly dismayed to read the fol- Yinon’s “A Strategy for Israel in the Palestinian soccer players in the foot. When it lowing: 1980s.” “A new group of young people called became clear that Israeli actions were jeoparMaidhc Ó Cathail, via e-mail dizing a two-state solution, suddenly that so- Barakat, or ‘Enough is Enough,’ sprang up While we don’t believe Howe’s reporting lution became all the rage. And now, after prior to the election and is determined to on the recent Algerian election constituted an more than 65 years of dispossession and 47 continue its protest demonstrations, which endorsement of Barakat, we agree that these years of occupation, Israel “is in danger of be- have been forcefully repressed by the po- seemingly spontaneous uprisings—the latest lice. Led by a heretofore unknown gyne- example being Ukraine—do bear scrutiny. coming” an apartheid state? cologist, Amira Bouraoui, Barakat is de- We also found your 2012 article “Fikra: An Mapping Reality scribed as a ‘citizen’s movement.’ Co- Israeli Forum for Arab Democrats,” posted I gave out quite a few Washington Report founder and journalist Mehdi Bsikri, 31, on your blog The Passionate Attachment, to magazines at the Middle East/North Africa said following the election: ‘We want to be most instructive! Culture Fest, sponsored by the Columbia change the system peacefully and are now Focusing on the Outside World Association on May 18, which had actually drafting our platform.’” mentioned Palestine as one of the entities Reading the slogan, I couldn’t help think- With all due respect, I heard a lot about involved. I hope you get some subscrip- ing of all the other citizens’ movements that you and being as though I am confined in tions from this. have “sprung up” prior to National Endow- Huntingdon prison RHU [Restricted HousIncidentally, the Israeli display showed a ment for Democracy (NED)/George Soros- ing Unit], or HOLE. I’m currently broke map of Israel, with no indication of Gaza, backed color revolutions around the world. and have no way to buy anything to read. the West Bank or the Golan Heights. When While there is no denying that Algeria Can you please send me a yearly subscripI asked about this, they said, well, this is leaves a lot to be desired in terms of political tion to your Washington Report? Being in the map we use. I mentioned it to the di- freedom, and we all would like to see gen- the RHU, a lot happens in the world withrector of this effort (who had asked me to uine democracy emerge throughout the out me having any idea, and I’m trying to take down the “Ethnic Cleansing of Pales- Middle East, the last thing it needs is an- keep my mind focused on the outside world instead of prison. I would be very tine” poster because this was to be strictly other Libya, Egypt or Syria. cultural, not political), and she did ask the I believe that America’s “democracy thankful of your kindness. Keith Griffin, Huntingdon, PA Israeli group to change their map. They did promotion” policy is mainly driven by One of our Angels is happy to provide you with a year’s subscription. We hope the outside world proves worthy of your focus! Other Voices is an optional 16-page

supplement available only to subscribers of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. For an additional $15 per year (see postcard insert for Washington Re port subscription rates), subscribers will receive Other Voices with each issue of their Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Back issues of both publications are available. To subscribe telephone 1 (888) 881-5861, fax (714) 226-9733, e-mail <circulation@wrmea.org>, or write to P.O. Box 91056, Long Beach, CA 90809-1056. 6

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

A Fitting Tribute An old friend/colleague at the Voice of America, Ghassan Sabbagh, whom Washington Report co-founder Richard Curtiss and his wife, Donna, knew in Rhodes, Beirut and Washington, died last week. David and I feel that the best way to honor him is through supporting a foundation that helps the Palestinians. Would you please accept the enclosed check and see that it’s recorded in the Washington Report as a donation in Ghassan Sabbagh’s memory. Could you please also send a copy of the Washington Report in which the donation is noted to his widow, Mrs. Henriette Sabbagh of Reston, VA. Thank you very much! Renee Lent, Woodstock, VT We are honored by your gift, and note that Donna Curtiss and Alan and Dot Heil have joined you in honoring your longtime friend and colleague. ❑ AUGUST 2014


publishers_7_August 2014 Publishers page 6/12/14 7:11 PM Page 7

American Educational Trust

Publishers’ Page

Middle East in Turmoil.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

ticles and asking the hard questions A lot was happening in the Middle responsible media should be asking East as we went to press. Syria’s civil at press conferences. They’re proofwar is devastating its neighbors’ reading articles and helping us find economies and Congress is deciding and reconnect with lost subscribers. to increase U.S. military aid to the Re-Vamping Our Bookstore. Syrian opposition, including providing portable air-defense systems, or In two weeks our amazing interns Manpads. Iraqi militants are marchhelped our equally amazing new ing toward Baghdad, facing little inbookstore director, Kevin Davis, terference from what remains of miraculously transform our popular Iraq’s disintegrating U.S.-trained seMiddle East Bookstore’s Web site, curity forces. Egyptians just elected <middleeastbooks.com>, adding a new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the latest books and DVDs, Palestinwho supporters say can rescue Egypt ian pottery and olive oil into a At a June 11 news conference, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) from the economic collapse caused modern and efficient online cash announces he will step down as House majority leader July 31. by its political turmoil, which has register/inventory system. You’ll no hammered the tourism industry. His detrac- Middle East policies and that it “under- longer be frustrated after thinking you’ve tors are afraid the former general could erase stands the special relationship between placed an order, only to discover we no Egypt’s fragile democratic gains and seal the Israel and the United States.” Brat, a profes- longer have that item in stock. This should doom of Gazans, who depend on entry and sor of economics and ethics at Randolph- speed up delivery and minimize delays. exit through their border with Egypt. The Macon College, criticized Cantor for voting U.S. mounted a drone strike in northwestern in favor of the National Defense Authoriza- Hope for the Future. Pakistan days after a brazen airport attack al- tion Act and against Rep. Justin Amash’s Best of all, these interns—who are from legedly carried out by the Pakistani Taliban. bill reining in the National Security Egypt, Sweden (by way of UAE), WisconA second round of elections was well under- Agency’s bulk collection of citizens’ data. sin, Minnesota, North Carolina and DC — way in Afghanistan—the first time in Despite Cantor—the House’s only Jewish have inspired each one of our tiny staff here Afghanistan’s history that power will be de- Republican—being a favorite of pro-Israel at the Washington Report. We can see a new mocratically transferred, U.S. headlines boast. PACs (see p. 34), voters in Virginia’s 7th con- wave of unbiased journalists and talented But what happens to that war-torn country gressional district made it perfectly clear leaders coming along—and we’re confident that the skills they learn here will help when U.S. soldiers finally leave? Will it suffer that they no longer were satisfied with… change the world! Iraq’s fate, after it couldn’t fix what we Business as Usual. broke, to paraphrase Gen. Colin Powell? For We Need Your Help, Too! that matter, what happens to U.S. soldiers A Little Self-Promotion... when they finally return home after Amer- It’s clear that there are endless subjects for the With a paid staff of five, the Washington Washington Report to cover. In fact, come to Report works tirelessly to reach more readica’s longest war? think of it, we’ve never been at a loss for some- ers and educate voters. Twice a year we imMoney Talks…But Cantor Walks! thing to write about over the past 32 years. plore you to help the Washington Report Official Washington was reeling June 11, the We’re pretty sure that will continue to be the continue by giving subscriptions to day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor case for the next 32 years—if we’re still around. friends, family, local opinion-molders, ediwas defeated by David Brat in a Virginia Retors, libraries and schools—and by buying publican primary election. The numbers Flip Through Digital Pages. books and DVDs and solidarity items from were indeed stunning: Brat raised $206,793 Don’t forget, paying subscribers can read the <Middleeastbooks.com>. By now you’ve and spent $122,793, while incumbent Cantor digital, flip-page magazine cover to cover on received our biannual donation appeal. raised $5,447,290 and spent $5,026,626. De- your computers, tablets and phones before it spite this huge discrepancy, Brant received even leaves our printer in Richmond. You’ll We Aren’t Kidding. 55.55 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44.45 notice some exciting changes when you visit We’re in urgent need of your generous conpercent, in an election characterized by a our website, <www.wrmea.org>. While tributions. Many of you have praised the large voter turnout. Speculating on the rea- you’re there you can also sign up to receive National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship,” co-hosted with the sons for the historic loss, the neocon Wash- our important Action Alerts. Council for the National Interest (CNI), the ington Post cited Cantor’s aloofness, a poorly Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy run campaign, and his attempts to “play Manna From Helen Thomas Interns. both sides of the intra-party divide.” What it We hope you’ll also notice a host of new (IRmep) and If Americans Knew. You’ve contributors to this issue’s “Activism” pages. urged us to create a DVD and book about the didn’t mention was… That’s because our summer “Helen Thomas event and hold future discussions. But if you Cantor’s 2010 Pledge to Netanyahu… Intern Program” is in full swing—with stu- don’t help fund the Washington Report we That the then-new Republican majority in dents using their talents to help us fill our won’t be around to do that—or to..... the House would “serve as a check on the perennial staffing gaps. Each day they’re [Obama] administration” with regard to its covering events, taking photos, writing ar- Make a Difference Today! AUGUST 2014

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

7


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The Palestinians Continue the Struggle— With a Spiritual Lift From the Pope SpecialReport

THOMAS COEX/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Rachelle Marshall

Relatives of Mahmoud Odeh Salameh, 16, wave good-bye as his body is carried to the cemetery in Bir Zeit, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, during his funeral procession the day after Israeli soldiers killed him and fellow protester Nadeem Nawara, May 16, 2014. he 10,000 Palestinian Israelis who

Tmarched in northern Israel on May 6,

and their fellow demonstrators in the West Bank and Gaza, were commemorating the anniversary of al-Nakba, the Catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in 1948 when the new state of Israel forcibly expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, destroyed 400 Palestinian villages, and began the process of eliminating the Palestinians’ presence from the land their ancestors had inhabited for centuries. Today, 66 years later, the Nakba has not ended. The expulsion of Palestinians from their homes continues, restrictions on almost every aspect of their lives remain in place, and they live in constant fear of raids and arbitrary arrests by the army, and of attacks by settlers, often as the army looks on. But Palestinians are no longer passive victims, as many were in 1948. Using nonviolent tactics such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, peaceful demonstrations, volunteer guard committees that confront violent settlers, and the leverage of U.N. membership, they are Rachelle Marshall is a free-lance editor living in Mill Valley, CA. A member of Jewish Voice for Peace, she writes frequently on the Middle East. 8

working actively to achieve their independence. Unity between Hamas and Fatah, which is essential to the Palestinian struggle, came closer to reality on May 30. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in Rami Hamdallah, a former university president, as prime minister of a government composed of academics and professionals with no ties to either Fatah or Hamas. Abbas said the new government is pledged “to recognize Israel, denounce violence, and recognize international agreements,” to which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded, “Today Abu Mazen [Abbas] said yes to terrorism and no to peace.” Israel immediately announced it would withhold a portion of the tax revenues it collects for Palestinians, and more punishment is certain to follow. Instead of echoing Israel, as Washington has done in the past, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. would work with the new Palestinian government while continuing to watch it closely. There is no prospect that negotiations will resume any time soon, but the Palestinians have learned by now they can expect no help from a U.S.-mediated “peace process.” The failed talks again exposed a fact that presidents from George H.W. Bush to Barack Obama have steadfastly refused to THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

acknowledge, that Israeli leaders prefer permanent control over the West Bank to a peace agreement. The two-state solution envisioned by U.S. policymakers and supported by a majority of Palestinians was never on Israel’s agenda. Meanwhile, as the charade continued, Israel proceeded to confiscate a quarter of a million acres of Palestinian land—a figure that is still rising. The illusion in America that Israel was committed to peace, despite the evidence of rapidly expanding settlements, had survived for a number of reasons. Presidents often came into office with limited knowledge of the Middle East conflict and its history (the Reagan administration got rid of most of the State Department’s Arab specialists); and a combination of sympathy for victims of the Holocaust, skillful Israeli propaganda, and a well-financed pro-Israel lobby made acknowledging the truth politically difficult. All the more remarkable, therefore, was an interview conducted by Nahum Barnea in Haaretz in early May with a U.S. official who spoke anonymously, but candidly. The official was later identified by Haaretz as Martin Indyk, a founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an offshoot of AIPAC, who was chosen by Secretary of State John Kerry to act as mediator at the latest round of peace talks. Despite his affiliation with AIPAC, Indyk largely blamed Israel for causing the talks to fail. “The unending settlements,” he said, were acting to make a binational state inevitable and “mortally wound the idea of Israel as a Jewish state.” He also urged Israel to delineate its borders, something Israeli leaders have steadfastly refused to do, despite their demand that Palestinians recognize the Jewish state. Indyk expressed surprise on learning what Palestinian negotiators could have told him months ago: “We didn’t realize that continuing construction allowed ministers in [Netanyahu’s] government to very effectively sabotage the success of the talks,” he said. “Only now, after talks blew up, did we learn that this is also about expropriating land on a large scale.” That knowledge was late in coming, to say the least. Israel has been seizing Palestinian land for Jewish settlements since the mid-1970s, and has steadily increased the pace of construction. Since 1991, when peace talks began, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem AUGUST 2014


has grown from fewer than 200,000 to 650,000. Peace Now reported that while the latest round of peace talks was taking place, Israel was building 14,000 new settlement units in the West Bank. Many of them are on land the Palestinians intend as the site of a Palestinian state. But there will never be such a state if Israel’s right-wing leaders can help it. Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s point man in sabotaging the talks, predicted in mid-May that the number of settlers would grow by at least 200,000 by 2019, and Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett has reinforced that prediction. The Foundation for Middle East Peace’s recent report on settlements quoted Bennett as saying, “There are those who say we can build inside the settlement blocs, and others who say we may not be able to hold onto the towns outside the blocs. I am here to tell you what the Arabs already know—that the Land of Israel is one settlement bloc.” New housing for Israelis inevitably means more demolitions of Palestinian homes and more old growth olive trees uprooted, since room has to be made for Jewish-only access roads, utilities and military installations. More than 500 Palestinian homes were demolished during the recent round of talks and, according to a EU report, some 100,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are in danger of losing their homes. Israel is also forcing Bedouin families out of areas east of Jerusalem, where the government plans to replace them with settlers. The hilltop community of Jabal al-Baba and a neighboring village have received eviction notices, and a U.N. official said nearly 3,000 Bedouin are in danger of losing their homes. The EU provided trailer homes for many of the homeless families, but Israel dismantled them. The displaced families face an uncertain future. When the giant settlement of Ma’ale Adumim was built, the Bedouins in the area were moved to a pest-infested site near the Jerusalem city dump and had to sell their herds because there was no place for them to graze. Home demolitions involve more than destroying buildings. “They destroy families,” says Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights. “We see children who no longer trust their parents.” Social workers say that children who see their homes turned to rubble can suffer long-lasting trauma. The brutality that marks the army’s destruction of Palestinian homes is surpassed only by its treatment of protesters. Throwing stones at heavily armed soldiers is a crime that results in harsh interrogation and prison, no matter how young the suspect is. Sometimes the punishment is far worse. A shocking video distributed by Defense for AUGUST 2014

ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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Mahmoud Odeh Salameh (top) and Nadeem Nawara lie on the ground after they were shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes following a protest outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank Palestinian village of Betunia marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba, May 15, 2014. Children International shows Israeli soldiers killing two teenage boys, Nadeem Siam Nawara, 17, and Mahmoud Odeh Salameh, 16, during a protest outside Ofer prison against Israel’s detention without trial of 160 Palestinians. B’Tselem consulted medical experts, who concluded their wounds were caused by live ammunition, not rubber bullets, raising suspicion that the killings were deliberate. The soldiers were in “zero danger,” the Israeli human rights organization said. The owner of the building where the video camera was mounted, Fakher Zayed, said that at the moment of the killing no stone throwing was taking place, and that the youths in fact were moving back. As usual, the soldiers will not be punished. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at first excused the killing, saying, “It was a life-threatening situation. The soldiers acted accordingly.” Then Israeli officials suggested that it was Palestinians who fired the shots. But Philip Luther, director of Middle East Amnesty International, said, THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

“Israeli forces have repeatedly resorted to extreme violence to respond to Palestinian protests against Israel’s occupation.” The willingness of the Obama administration to blame Israel for the failure of the recent peace talks has not reduced the flow of U.S. aid to that country, but the Europeans are exacting a price, however small, from Israel for its occupation policies. Germany in mid-May cancelled a deal to give Israel a 30 percent discount on a billion-dollar purchase of gunboats that Israel said were intended to protect its gas fields off the coast of Gaza. The boats are more often used by the navy to shoot at Palestinian fishermen and destroy their nets, even when they are within the imposed six miles of shore. German officials said there was no chance the German parliament would approve the subsidized sale given the breakdown of peace talks caused by Israeli settlement construction. Chancellor Angela Merkel recently reiterated that Germany adhered to the European Union policy of prohibiting financial dealings with settlement-based en9


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Allegiance to Israel Forces U.S. to Defend the Indefensible There could be no more vivid example of how concern for Israel overrides the principles that America claims to stand for than the Obama administration’s decision in April to send 10 Apache helicopters and $680 million in aid to the Egyptian generals who overthrew the elected government of Mohamed Morsi a year ago. Since then the military-dominated government headed by retired Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has shut down all opposition media and imprisoned some 16,000 people, most of whom were simply exercising their right to free speech and assembly. Sisi’s security forces have killed at least a thousand peaceful demonstrators, and the Muslim Brotherhood, formerly a legitimate political party that renounced violence, is now banned as “terrorist.” Thousands of its members are in prison, including Morsi. No one, however prestigious, is safe. Emad Shahin, an internationally respected political scientist who is currently a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC, managed to leave Egypt just before he was charged by the government with espionage. “There is a lack of tolerance for any kind of dissent,” Shahin said of the Egyptian rulers. Reporting the news truthfully is now a crime. Three veteran journalists who worked for the English-language arm of AlJazeera, as well as for international news organizations such as CNN and The New York Times, were jailed last December and charged with fomenting unrest. They were told they must pay $170,000 to see the evidence against them. In a ruling in March that shocked most of the world, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 people to death in a mass trial. A month later the court, after a quick trial, sentenced 680 people to death. “We are living in absurdity,” said 60-year-old school principal Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, who was among those sentenced to death. “The United States is deeply troubled,” the White House press office said, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Egyptian government “is not anywhere near where they need to be” to fulfill their commitment to achieving a democratic society. Nevertheless, the decision to provide the generals with attack helicopters and financial aid stands unchanged. Ever since the 1979 Camp David agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, U.S. aid to Egypt has served terprises. Polls show that only 14 percent of Germans have a positive view of Israel. They may be aware that Israel recently refused to allow a German-funded waste water facility to be built to serve Palestinian villages where the settlement of Ofra is dumping its raw sewage. European Union diplomats stationed in Jerusalem have also expressed concern about the danger of violence at Haram alSharif, the site of Al Aqsa mosque, where right-wing Jews are building structures close to a place sacred to Muslims. The diplomats reported to Brussels in late March that “There remains a significant risk that incidents at this highly sensitive site...may spark extreme reactions locally as well as across the Arab world.” (See “Israel Gives Control of Haram al-Sharif Area to Radical Settler Organization” by Jonathan Cook, June/July 2014 Washington Report, p. 14.) Several Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, including church property on Mount Zion 10

to ensure that the Egyptian government will abide by it. A policy analysis released in early May by the pro-Israel think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy made it clear that protecting Israel’s security is the prime reason for continuing the aid. Titled, “Resuming Military Aid to Egypt: A Strategic Imperative,” the paper argues that “Withholding aid could jeopardize United States ability to ensure Egypt’s long-term cooperation,” and warns of expanding Russian influence in Egypt. In fact, continued U.S. aid could make Israel less rather than more secure. El-Sisi was elected president against only token opposition in late May, but how much popular support he has is questionable. The turnout was so low during the two days of voting that the authorities extended the election period to a third day and warned of a $70 fine for not voting. El-Sisi eventually won with 96.9 percent of the vote in an election critics claimed was rigged from the start and the U.S.-funded Democracy International called “hugely troubling.” If the crackdown on dissent continues and unemployment remains high, discontented young Egyptians may turn to more radical groups that have none of the Brotherhood’s scruples against using violence. Such groups would not be friendly to either Israel or the U.S. The U.S. will continue to pay a price in credibility, as the rest of the world again sees it contradicting its own democratic principles for the sake of Israel. The inconsistencies in U.S. policy became especially evident in May, when Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with sanctions on Venezuela for failing to negotiate in good faith with opposition leaders. In fact, talks between the socialist Maduro and the conservative opposition broke down when opposition leaders questioned the government’s willingness to accept its demands. The issues involved are not the subject of this commentary, but it should be noted that the Venezuelan opposition leaders are not in jail, and Venezuela’s anti-Maduro media are free to publish as they wish. As Venezuelans and their neighbors see the U.S. punishing their own democratically elected government while sending warplanes to an Egyptian military that overthrew an elected president and crushes all opposition, they may well accuse Washington of gross hypocrisy. —R.M.

and the Notre Dame Center, have been vandalized by right-wing religious zealots, and signs appeared on the walls of churches saying “Jesus is garbage,” and “Death to Christians and Arabs.” The fear of violence during Pope Francis’s visit in late May prompted Israeli authorities to ask his Franciscan hosts to take down posters welcoming him, although similar posters are put up throughout the world when the pope visits. At Israel’s insistence, Pope Francis did not greet crowds in Jerusalem from an open car, but traveled in a bullet-proof limousine, with onlookers held back by a police cordon. In Bethlehem, however, he greeted cheering crowds from an open-topped car, at one point stopping at the giant cement wall that separates the city from Jerusalem and is a hated symbol of the occupation. There, in a gesture that will be long remembered, the pope referred to the West Bank as the “State of Palestine,” and called for a “peace based on justice, on the recognition THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

of rights for everyone.” The increasing prevalence in Israel of ultra-religious groups that demonize nonJews with hate messages and attack religious sites raises the question of what the status will be of the 20 percent of Israel’s population that is not Jewish if Israel becomes an officially Jewish state. Netanyahu pointedly chose Nakba Day, the anniversary of the Palestinians’ mass expulsion, to declare, “We shall pass the nationality law which makes it utterly clear to the entire world that Israel is the state of the Jewish people.” The three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, include a common mandate to their followers: to treat their fellow human beings as they would be treated. As Israel sinks further into religious nationalism, Jews in the rest of the world who accept that mandate may be reluctant to become identified with a nation that violates it day after day, year after year. ❑ AUGUST 2014


williams_11_United Nations Report 6/12/14 7:39 PM Page 11

No Quarter for the Quartet! By Ian Williams

United Nations Report

he Quartet was originally set up to per-

United Nations to have a role in the peace process. It was also an oblique American token recognition of Russia’s vestigial Great Power status, which allowed it a squeaky wheel in the peace process, if not an actual hand on the helm. Comprising the European Union, Russian and American leaders, along with the U.N. secretarygeneral, the Quartet’s function was to encapsulate U.N. influence and isolate it from the corpus of decisions made by the U.N. membership. The U.N. members, even after the fall of the Berlin wall, were, of course, much less amenable to U.S. congressional pressure, and thus AIPAC’s influence. Like any institution, the Quartet has changed over the years, but its main purpose has been to preserve the appearance of “doing something” about the Middle East, while avoiding doing anything that could produce practical results—above all putting any form of pressure on Israel. It drew up the famous roadmap, then went along complaisantly when Israel, with American support, crumpled it into an origame finger pointed at the Palestinians. Then it watched, apparently hypnotized, as the peace process stopped proceeding. It had a brief moment after the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla—but even then its main function was providing some diplomatic relief for Israel, rescuing it from the international consequences of its own aggressive actions. Throughout, the Quartet has been a classic fob off for the international public, giving the appearance of action, but none of the reality. Its unique structure of two Security Council members and two multilateral organizations gives it a permanent fudge factor. It was a fascinating display of fuzzy diplomacy, as the Quartet adopted increasingly vacuous lowest-common-denominator positions—which Washington then ignored. The other members of the Quartet did not want a public display of their impotence, so they let the Americans, and by extension the Israelis, get away with it unchallenged. It then developed a new function—how to express U.S. gratitude to former British Ian Williams is a free-lance journalist based at the United Nations who blogs at <www. deadlinepundit.blogspot.com>. AUGUST 2014

STAN HONDA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Tsuade a recalcitrant Israel to allow the

Quartet members (l-r) envoy Tony Blair, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 27, 2013. Prime Minister Tony Blair for his unstinting support of the illegal war on Iraq. As the Quartet’s special envoy, the oleaginous Blair, the most overtly pro-Israeli of recent British prime ministers, was allowed a prominent place on the world stage—and, according to contemporary news reports, the U.S. State Department paid his salary and expenses. It is a measure of how ethical standards worldwide have slipped that there is little or no public outrage that a former British prime minister should be able to masquerade under quasi-U.N. auspices while being paid for by the Americans, usually to do the bidding of the Likudnik govenment of Israel. Blair’s job, in which he officially succeeded former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, is to boost the Palestinian economy. However, while Wolfensohn was occasionally outspoken when exasperated by Israeli frustration of economic growth, Blair has sedulously avoided doing anything that would inhibit his income stream from the Americans and all his sundry highly paid speaking engagments. It is true that in June Blair declared independence of Israel by confirming support for the new Palestinian coalition goverment, but after all it is Washington that pays his bills, and Kerry also has shown considerable exasperation with Israeli inconsistencies over the peace process. In the end, however, apart from keeping Tony Blair busy, the Quartet’s only achieveTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

ment has been preservation of its own unity—a singularly useless feat. It is time to dissolve it, bury it, burn it and force the various parties to state their own positions and hold on to them.

Double Standard on Human Rights In other news, Ban Ki-moon has just appointed Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, one of the most dynamic and effective of Arab diplomats, to replace South African Navi Pillay as High Commissioner for Human Rights. Being quite effective herself explains why Pillay was reappointed for only two years instead of the usual four. Like almost every other previous incumbent, she fell foul of the U.S. for being outspoken about human rights violations around the world including, of course, Israel. The U.S. double standard on Israel, which includes ignoring the State Department’s own reports, provides cover for many of the Arab nations’ double standards, which in turn gives Israel’s supporters cover for pointing out those double standards. While it would be difficult to claim the Hashemites as paragons of human rights, they tend to be less worse than many of their neighbors, and Prince Zeid, who represented Jordan at the U.N., has played as good a hand as he could with the constraints of representing his government. More to the point is that he has consistently supported initiatives in support Continued on page 17 11


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Two Views

AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Late, Unlamented Peace Process: What Comes Next?

The illegal Jewish-only settlement of Ramat Shlomo in Arab East Jerusalem, June 5, 2014. Israel announced plans to build 1,500 new settler homes in response to the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

In Their Own Juice By Uri Avnery

ccording to press reports, President

ABarack Obama has decided to let

Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas “stew in their own juice.” That sounds fair. The United States has tried very hard to make peace between Israel and Palestine. Poor John Kerry has devoted almost all of his considerable energies to getting both sides to meet, to talk, to reach compromises. At the end of nine months, he found out that it was a false pregnancy. No baby, not even a fetus. Nothing at all. So American leaders are justified in feeling angry. Angry at both sides. Neither of them has shown any willingness to sacrifice its interests in order to do a favor to Obama or Kerry. Ungrateful, these Middle Easterners. So it seems that the reaction is justified. You don’t want to fulfill our wishes? Go to hell. Both of you. Uri Avnery, a former member of the Israeli Knesset, is a founder of Gush Shalom, <www.gush-shalom.org>. 12

The important word in these sentences is “both.” But “both” is based on a lie. When one says that “both” did not behave as expected, that “both” did not make the “necessary hard decisions,” that “both” should stew in their own juice, one consciously or unconsciously assumes that they are equal. Nothing is further from the truth. Israel is immeasurably stronger than Palestine in every material respect. One resembles a sleek American skyscraper, the other a dilapidated wooden shack. Palestine is under occupation by the other half of “both.” Palestinians are totally deprived of all elementary human and civil rights. Average income in Israel is 20 times higher than in Palestine. Not 20 percent, but a staggering 2,000 percent. Militarily, Israel is a regional power, and in some respects a world power. In this reality, speaking of “both” is at best ignorant, at worst cynical. The very presentation of this picture of “both” is tantamount to acceptance of the Israeli narrative. What does it mean for “both” to stew in their own juice? THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

For Israel, it means that it can continue to build new settlements on Arab land in the occupied West Bank without foreign interference. It can make life in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ever harsher, in the hope that more and more Palestinians will prefer to leave. Arbitrary killings of civilians by occupation troops occur every few days. Some of us realize that this course is leading to disaster in the form of a binational state, in which an ever-growing disenfranchised Arab majority will be ruled by the Jewish minority. That is called apartheid. But most Israelis don’t see it. Israelis are happy, and never happier than this week. In a modern repetition of the biblical David-and-Goliath story, the Tel Aviv Maccabi basketball team beat the formidable Real Madrid team for the European championship. National pride has risen to Olympic heights. (In a childish race, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu each tried to waylay the winning team on its way to the popular reception in Rabin Square, in order to bask in reflected glory.) So Israel can stew happily, the more so since the U.S. continues to pay us its annual three billion dollar tribute, provide us with arms and use its U.N. veto power to protect us from international censure. For the Palestinian side of “both,” stewing in their own juice means something very different. The effort to achieve Fatah-Hamas reconciliation proceeds slowly and can break down at any moment. It depends on Abbas’ success in forming a unity government composed of impartial “technocrats” and Hamas’ willingness to give up its sole rule in the Gaza Strip. Almost all Palestinians want unity, but ideological differences run deep (though in practice the differences are now much shallower). But even if some kind of unity is achieved and recognized by the international community against Israel’s wish, what can the Palestinians actually do without violence? They could, with the help of Saudi Arabia and the military junta in Egypt, establish some direct contact between the West Bank and Gaza and break the Israeli blockade on the Strip. They can apply for admittance to some AUGUST 2014


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more international agencies and for more positive resolutions of the U.N. General Assembly, where the U.S. veto does not apply but whose decisions have very little concrete effect. They can encourage European countries and the international BDS movement to reinforce the boycott of the settlements or of Israel itself. Altogether, not very much. The stewing period will enlarge even more the imbalance of power between “both” parties. If the stewing lasts long enough, the “moderate” leaderships of Fatah and Hamas will be swept away, and Palestinian violence will raise its head again. Conclusion: “Bothness,” which looks so fair and impartial, is in effect a policy of 100 percent support for the Israeli Right. Will this strengthen anti-Israeli sentiment abroad? Two weeks ago, a U.S. Jewish organization dropped a bombshell: in every country around the world there exists antiSemitism, from 91 percent in the West Bank to 2 percent in Laos. (One may wonder where Laotians find Jews to hate.) Every fifth person on earth harbors antiSemitic prejudices. More than a billion human beings!!! The organization which invested so much money to finance such a worldwide poll is the (Anti-)Defamation League. I put the “anti” in brackets, because its proper name should be the Defamation League. It is a kind of Thought Police in the service of the right-wing American Jewish establishment. (Many years ago, when I was a member of the Knesset, I was invited to give talks at 20 high-class American universities. The hosts were the Jewish chaplains who belong to the B’nai B’rith (Beit Hillel) order. At the last moment, 19 talks were canceled. In a secret letter, the Defamation League had told the chaplains that “though MK Uri Avnery cannot be called a traitor...” etc. etc. In the end, all the talks took place under the auspices of Christian chaplains.) The publication of the devastating results of the poll exposed a curious fact: news about the rise of anti-Semitism is received by many Jews with something strangely like joy. I have often wondered about this phenomenon. For Zionists, the answer is simple: the terms anti-Semitism and Zionism, like Siamese twins, were born at the same time. Anti-Semitism has always driven Jews to Israel, and still does (lately from France). For other Jews, the source of the joy is AUGUST 2014

less obvious. Jews in Europe have been surrounded by anti-Semites for so long, that the sight of them seems normal. Discovering them again and again gives Jews a comfortable feeling of familiarity. And there are, of course, the innumerable employees of the League and the other Jewish organizations, whose livelihood depends on the exposure of anti-Semites. The interpretation of the poll itself is, of course, complete bullshit (sorry). People who expressed misgivings about Israeli policy were listed as anti-Semites. So are all inhabitants of the occupied territories who do not like their occupiers. Muslims in general, who see Israel in a negative light, are of course racists. A similar poll about anti-Russian racism may well achieve the same results in Ukraine. A similar initiative was the May 19 congress of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists. Jewish jurists may sound almost like a tautology. Every Jewish mother wants to boast of “my son, the doctor” or “my son, the lawyer.” In the U.S. and many other countries, Jewish lawyers and judges seem to be in the majority. This meeting has a specific aim: to convince the U.N. to abolish UNRWA, the U.N. agency concerned with Palestinian refugees. It was created after the 1948 war, during which some 750,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out of the territory that became Israel. Their descendents, who are also recognized as refugees, amount now to some six to seven million. UNRWA feeds these refugees, protects them and educates them. It is true that it is a unique institution, expressing the bad conscience of the U.N. It seems that the refugees from no other country have such a specific organization to care for them. Now the Jew-Ju’s (if I may call them so) are mounting an attack, directly guided by Israel, to abolish this organization altogether. I suppose that the aim is to disband the Palestinian refugee camps which exist in several countries around Israel—Sabra and Shatila spring to mind—and disperse the refugees all over the planet, where they will be less of a pain in the neck for the Netanyahu government. All this in the name of fairness and equality. Israelis and Palestinians can “both” stew in their own juice. Very different juices, though.

Europe Should Atone for Its Sins By John V. Whitbeck

ow that the American-monopolized

N“peace process” has expired, Europe

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

should seize the initiative and try to do something useful for Israelis, Palestinians and peace. If European states still believe that a decent “two-state solution” is conceivable, several useful initiatives are immediately available. They could support and reinforce the current two-state legality by joining the 134 states which have already extended diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine. They could also require Israelis seeking visas to visit their countries to produce documentary evidence that they are not resident in occupied Palestine. Most constructively, they could impose economic sanctions on Israel and intensify them until Israel complies with international law and relevant U.N. resolutions and ends the 47-year-long occupation. If European states are unwilling to take such initiatives—or if they have concluded, not unreasonably, that a decent “two-state solution” is no longer conceivable, and that the only issue now is whether the current one-state reality will continue to be an apartheid reality or can be transformed into a democratic one— they should reflect upon their own histories and responsibilities in order to identify the most useful way forward. The harsh reality is that Zionism is, and has always been, an anti-Semite’s dream come true, offering the hope that one’s own country’s Jews can be induced to leave and move elsewhere. The British politician Arthur J. Balfour, who gave his name to the fateful 1917 declaration, was an earnest supporter of the 1905 Aliens Act, which was specifically designed to stem the inflow into Britain of Jews fleeing persecution in czarist Russia. Subsequently, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, a wholly European abomination, European governments, as well as those of the United States, Canada and Australia, shamefully brushed aside Arab pleas to treat the resettlement of displaced Jews as a duty and obligation for the whole world and refused to relax their immigration restrictions, thereby forcing most of them to seek to build new lives in Palestine, even though many would have preferred to settle elsewhere. Rather than continuing to oppose justice, human decency and international law through unquestioning support for an ethno-religious-supremacist, settler-colonial experiment, European states, which are no longer anti-Semitic, could and should be opening their doors wide to any and all Israeli Jews who might be tempted to build a new and better life for 13


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themselves and their children, with less injustice and less insecurity, by returning to their countries of origin or emigrating to other countries of their choice, offering them immediate residency rights, generous resettlement assistance and a fast track to citizenship (if they do not already have it). Such genuine “Laws of Return” would be profoundly philo-Semitic, pro-Jewish and, yes, anti-Zionist. They would reflect a moral, ethical and self-interested recognition that political Zionism, like certain other prominent 20th century “isms” which once captured the imaginations of millions, was a tragically bad idea—not simply for those innocents caught and trampled in its path but also for those who embraced it—which, even if sustainable with Western support, does not deserve to be sustained and which has already caused and, if perpetuated, will continue to cause profound problems for the Western world and its relations with the rest of the world. Western states like to call for “confidence-building measures” from Israelis, Palestinians and other Arabs without offering any themselves. A multinational initiative to atone for Europe’s past sins against

Jews by welcoming Israeli Jews to resettle in European states would constitute a hugely constructive confidence-building measure which should, logically, be opposed only by people who are either antiSemites or Zionists—or both. In the land which, until 1948, was called Palestine, democracy and equal rights in a unitary state, coupled with freedom of choice and attractive options for resettlement elsewhere for those who would prefer not to live in such a state, should offer more realistic hope for peace with some measure of justice than continued recycling of a partition-based “peace process” which is widely recognized to have been a cynical exercise in killing time and which, even if “successful,” would simply legitimize, reward and perpetuate ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid—scarcely a recipe for lasting peace, let alone for any measure of justice.

Questioning Old Assumptions Old assumptions, including the irreversible “success” of the Zionist experiment, should now be questioned. Even once heretical ideas, including the peaceful rollback of the Zionist experiment—at least in

its current, aggressively exclusivist, “nation-state of the Jewish people” form— and its replacement by democracy through voluntary personal choice rather than through violence, should now be considered. If Western politicians cared more about the welfare and happiness of individual Jewish human beings than they do about the money and ability to hurt them of a few wealthy and powerful Zionists, most of whom live comfortably and safely far from the Middle East, democracy, equal rights and freedom of choice—all principles to which Western states profess devotion—might actually come to the “Holy Land.” To encourage European states to act, the governments of Muslim states from which Jewish citizens emigrated to Israel could and should issue a new, post-Balfour declaration that their own former Jewish citizens, as well as their descendants, are welcome to return to their countries of origin, and publicly call upon European states to follow their example. ❑ John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

AUGUST 2014


omer_15_Gaza on the Ground 6/12/14 8:19 PM Page 15

Under Israeli Siege, Gaza’s Children Must Work Lest Their Families Starve Gazaon the Ground

By Mohammed Omer nder the watchful eye of the shop

moves the wheel from a car with speed and agility, his young muscles flexing as he twists the wrench on each bolt. When he’s done, he slides out from under the car. “I have to work, earn money to help support my four brothers and parents,” the boy explains. According to Palestinian labor laws, Abdullah shouldn’t be here. He should be at school, reading textbooks and learning math. But economic necessity has forced this young man, and tens of thousands of others, to forgo pencils for the tools of labor. Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip began in 2007, after Hamas won parliamentary elections described by international election observers as “free and fair.” Israel was swift to impose a harsh collective punishment on a population some 60 percent of which are under the age of 18. The draconian measures included the suspension of basic civil rights, shortages of water, electricity, food and gasoline, and a scarcity in basic materials ranging from paper to building supplies. Prior to imposing its siege, Israeli health officials calculated the absolute minimum number of calories required by each person in Gaza to avoid starvation. These figures were then used to determine exactly what and how much food Israel would allow into Gaza, and when, as well as what it would not. Calories rather than nutrition were counted. Dov Weissglas, an adviser to the Israeli government at the time, famously referred to Israel’s siege and dietary calculations as “an appointment with a dietician,” adding, “the Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.” In addition to food scarcity, residents of the Manhattan-sized enclave also endure midnight raids and arrests, while ducking regular assaults by Israeli military snipers, helicopter gunships, F-16s, patrol boats, tanks, military bulldozers, ground troops and the ever-present checkpoints that preAward-winning journalist Mohammed Omer reports from the Gaza Strip, where he maintains the Web site <www.rafahtoday.org>. He can be reached at <gazanews@yahoo. com>. Follow him on Twitter: @MoGaza. AUGUST 2014

PHOTO M. OMER

Umanager, 13-year-old Abdullah re-

Wael Mashrawi, 13, at work in a Gaza City mechanic’s shop. vent them from leaving Gaza, conducting trade or allowing others to come in. Gaza used to receive 600 truckloads of essential goods daily. Today Israel allows just 160 trucks in. The result of these policies and practices is hyper-unemployment, conditions of near-starvation and extreme stress, and a drastically deteriorating quality of life. Indeed, rather than life, Gazans have been reduced to a never-ending struggle for mere survival. As a result, in 2013 Abdullah was forced to divide his time between school and a mechanic’s shop. “My father was a professional tailor,” he tells the Washington Report, “but needed surgery in Egypt and is now unable to work.” Abdullah’s story is more common than not. He is one of tens of thousands of children in Gaza compelled by desperation to enter the workforce for minimal pay and no benefits—a situation reminiscent of the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Now as then, children work in conditions that are often dangerous. Many are injured as they put their childhood lives on hold to help feed their families. In another instance, Abu Yousef, a farmer in Gaza, enlists his own children, several THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

under the age of 12, to work on the farm. “I have no choice but to ask my son, daughter and wife to work, so the farm and family can survive. I can’t afford to hire workers,” he explains, adding that nearly all his family members work in agriculture.

Palestinian Labor Law Under Palestinian labor laws, children under 15 years of age are exempt from working in industries using heavy machinery, as well as other high-risk jobs. Despite the fact that the law calls for the protection of children, due to ongoing poverty, desperation and the surreal environment that defines Gaza, law and practice often are at odds. Mustapha Ibrahim of The Independent Commission for Human Rights advocates for control over child labor. “Unemployment and poverty rates are increasing dangerously,” he warns, “affecting many Palestinian families who are compelled to ask their children to enter the labor market. We see children working in different places, whether selling on the roads, streets or in workshops, and that is a violation of Palestinian law and the child labor law.” Continued on page 25 15


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The Power to Shun SpecialReport

JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Julien Salingue

Volunteers staff a BDS booth at the 31st annual meeting of the Muslims of France, organized by the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, at the Le Bourget exhibition center near Paris, April 18, 2014. sraeli Prime Minister Binyamin Ne-

Itanyahu’s choice of topics for his speech

at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC; the leading pro-Israel lobby in the United States) in March was the usual—Israel’s security, Syria, Iran’s nuclear program, demands concerning Palestinian negotiators. But among these was a new theme: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), the international campaign against Israeli policies. Netanyahu devoted a quarter of his speech to it. The campaign, launched in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian civil society organizations, calls for “non-violent punitive measures...until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.” These measures include boycotts of Israel’s economy and institutions, the withdrawal of foreign investment and sanctions Julien Salingue is a political scientist. Translated by Charles Goulden. Copyright © 2014 Le Monde diplomatique. Distributed by Agence Global. 16

against the state and its leaders. Netanyahu told the conference: “BDS sets back peace because it hardens Palestinian positions and it makes mutual compromise less likely.” As well as criticizing the principles and objectives of the campaign, he denied its effectiveness, insisting that it would not affect Israel’s prosperity. The contradiction between its central place in his speech and his assertion of its ineffectiveness is summed up in his statement that “the fact that they’re going to fail doesn’t mean that the BDS movement shouldn’t be vigorously opposed.” Netanyahu was effectively recognizing the paradox facing Israeli officials: Admitting that BDS affects Israel would encourage its architects; ignoring it would leave the field open to them. Supporters and opponents of BDS agree that the movement has recently enjoyed unhoped-for successes. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that Israel could find itself isolated if the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed, and during the Munich Security Conference in February commented: “For Israel there’s an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very senTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

sitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things.” This drew criticism from Israel, and even the (erroneous) accusation that Kerry was supporting the boycott and using BDS to pressure the Israeli government into accepting an unfavorable agreement. The U.S.’s concern comes from BDS’s recent victories. In January, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world with assets of $864 billion, blacklisted two Israeli companies—Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus—over their involvement in the building of settlements in Jerusalem. A few weeks earlier PGGM, one of the Netherlands’ biggest pension funds with assets of $206 billion, had withdrawn investments with a total estimated value of several tens of millions of euros from five Israeli banks, on the same grounds. Also in January, the German government announced that in the future it would only subsidize Israeli hi-tech enterprises that were not based in East Jerusalem or West Bank settlements. These examples illustrate BDS’s progress in divestment. The campaign has recently won substantial victories in the academic and institutional world. In April 2013 the Teachers Union of Ireland adopted a resolution in support of BDS, calling Israel an “apartheid state.” In May 2013 astrophysicist Stephen Hawking announced his withdrawal from a conference in Israel. This February a poll of members of the U.S.-based American Studies Association approved by a 66 percent majority a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel. Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian co-founder of the movement, believes these successes count just as much as, if not more than, those on the economic front: “The impact of this institutional boycott in mainstream academic bodies, like the American Studies Association, goes well beyond academia, turning BDS into a mainstream subject of debate in the media.” But the SodaStream affair has most clearly shown the growth of BDS. The Israeli company makes drinks carbonation machines in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem. The BDS movement has long criticized SodaStream. In January 2011 the Israeli association Who Profits, which studies companies in AUGUST 2014


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the occupied Palestinian territories, published a damning report on its exploitation of Palestinian resources and labor. A number of groups involved in BDS have targeted SodaStream machines and their distributors, such as Darty in France. SodaStream recently hired actress Scarlett Johansson to film a television advertisement, shown during the 2014 Super Bowl on Feb. 2. By then the ad had already been targeted by BDS campaigners, who produced a parody clip criticizing Johanssonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s effective endorsement of settlement. BDS also made a direct appeal to Oxfam, which is active in the territories, and for which Johansson had been an ambassador since 2007. Oxfam announced on Jan. 30: â&#x20AC;&#x153;While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johanssonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador....Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.â&#x20AC;? The affair triggered developments in France, too. Artists participating in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s AngoulĂŞme International Comics Festival learned from BDS that SodaStream was an official sponsor. In an open letter published on Jan. 31, over 100, including a dozen former prizewinners, said they were â&#x20AC;&#x153;surprised, disappointed and angry to find out that SodaStream is an official sponsor,â&#x20AC;? and asking the organizers to â&#x20AC;&#x153;cut all ties between the Festival and this shameful company.â&#x20AC;? Comic artist Jacques Tardi and singer Dominique Grange felt they had been â&#x20AC;&#x153;taken hostage by those who run [the Festival] and have not felt it necessary to inform us that this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event was partly funded by a company based in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and endorsing the settlement policy of the State of Israel, the Gaza blockade and recurring human rights violations of the Palestinian people.â&#x20AC;? The SodaStream affair reveals the limitations, and contradictions, of Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strategy for dealing with BDS. No matter what Netanyahu tells AIPAC, the Israeli authorities see BDS as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;strategic threat.â&#x20AC;? In June 2013 Netanyahu called a meeting on BDS, and gave responsibility for combating the movement he describes as â&#x20AC;&#x153;about making Israel illegitimateâ&#x20AC;? to his Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who coordinates Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s security, intelligence and diplomatic services. The assignment of this new responsibility to a ministry known for its destabilization and â&#x20AC;&#x153;re-informationâ&#x20AC;? (or â&#x20AC;&#x153;disinformationâ&#x20AC;?) operations shows how seriously Israel is taking BDS. But is the strategy effective? Fighting BDS while pretending to igAUGUST 2014

nore it is a strategy that tends to backfire. From the SodaStream ad campaign to the sponsorship of cultural initiatives and invitations to intellectuals and artists, Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strategy can be seen as an attempt to whitewash settlement and colonization. But the end result is often greater indignation among those who have until now remained relatively, or entirely, un-mobilized.

The Israeli Bubble Tzipi Livni, Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s justice minister, has said Israelis are living in a bubbleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;â&#x20AC;&#x153;an entire country that is disconnected from the international reality....The boycott is moving and advancing uniformly and exponentially. Those who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to see it will end up feeling it.â&#x20AC;? The weakness of Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strategy is that it is based almost entirely on ideology and rhetoric, and overlooks Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obstinate refusal to compromise with the Palestinians. BDSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent successes are not due solely to the activism and rhetoric of the campaigners, important though these are. The movement feeds on the reality of Israeli policies: from the bombing of Gaza in 200809 to settlement building in the occupied territories, the blockade of Gaza and the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010. Thanks to the BDS campaign, the movement of solidarity with the Palestinian cause is reaching the middle and even the higher echelons of some institutions. This dynamic is a sign of growing indignation at Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policies, and it will not be defeated by â&#x20AC;&#x153;de-demonizingâ&#x20AC;? Israel. Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell explained: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Trampling the rights of the Palestinians in the name of our exclusive right to the country, and by dint of a divine decree, is an ineradicable stain on Jewish history. Anyone who becomes entrenched in these views will end up bringing about the international ostracism of all of Israel, and if that happens, it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be anti-Semitism.â&#x20AC;? â?&#x2018;

United Nations Reportâ&#x20AC;Ś Continued from page 11

of international justice, notably the International Criminal Court. While looking at international justice, yet another report ignored by the U.S. was that of â&#x20AC;&#x153;the U.N. Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.â&#x20AC;? It expressed grave concerns about the reported worsening health conditions of more than 75 Palestinian detainees on hunger strike now in hospital protesting Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s continued use of administrative detention. The fact-finding commission called on Israel to accede to the demand of the hunger strikers to end the practice of arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinians. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a desperate plea by these detainees to be afforded a very basic standard of due process: to know what they are accused of and to be able to defend themselves,â&#x20AC;? said the committee. Compared with worldwide attention to, say, Irish hunger strikers, it is almost unreported that a first group of around 100 Palestinian administrative detainees launched a peaceful protest on April 24 and since have been joined by a couple of hundred more. The committee pointed out that â&#x20AC;&#x153;International humanitarian law only exceptionally allows for the use of administrative detention, yet the Israeli authorities have detained a large number of Palestinians for reasons not explicitly indicated. Initial administrative detention orders of six-month periods can be renewed an indefinite number of times without producing charges.â&#x20AC;? Included among those imprisoned under Israeli administrative detention are no fewer than eight elected Palestinian legislators. So much for bringing democracy to the Middle East! â?&#x2018;

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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

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Israel’s Cut and Polished Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend SpecialReport

POSTER COURTESY SEAN CLINTON

By Delinda C. Hanley

Seán Clinton’s poster describes how the KPCS “scam” works. ust when you thought the economy had

Jrecovered and it was safe to settle down,

propose to your sweetheart, buy a socially responsible diamond ring and live happily ever after—think again! Oh, go ahead and tie the knot, but forget about buying that engagement ring. It turns out diamonds aren’t really a girl’s best friend—at least not if they’ve been cut and polished in Israel. According to corporate media and effective advertising campaigns meant to reassure consumers, after the U.N. demanded action, the diamond industry got to work to stop the flow of diamonds fueling armed conflicts. The World Diamond Council (WDC) was established in 2000 to track “the export and import of rough diamonds to prevent the exploitation of diamonds for illicit purposes such as war and inhumane acts.” Then, in 2003, the WDC helped create the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) which was supposed to stem the flow of blood diamonds. However, the KPCS tracking system only applies to rough diamonds—so nobody’s looking at what happens next, when the diamonds are cut and polished. It shouldn’t be a surprise that consumers have been hoodwinked once again by a massive advertising campaign, and media compliance. Delinda C. Hanley is news editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. 18

Seán Clinton, chairperson of the Limerick branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, is a human rights activist with a particular interest in the role diamonds play in funding Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine. He has written many articles about the double standard in the diamond industry which facilitates the trade in cut and polished blood diamonds. According to Clinton, “It’s a fact that none of the diamonds on sale in jewelry shops worldwide have to comply with any human rights standards, as cut and polished diamonds aren’t regulated. The term conflict-free is widely used by the jewelry industry to con the public into believing the trade in diamonds that funds human rights violations has ended, but that’s far from true. Cut and polished blood diamonds evade the strictures of the Kimberley Process, which only applies to rough diamonds.” Like other worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) efforts, Clinton and his fellow activists have a recent success story. They shone a spotlight on Israeli diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz, owner of Beny Steinmetz Group Resources. According to the jewelry industry’s leading trade publication, Jewelers’ Circular Keystone (JCK), Steinmetz just sold his cutting and polishing business in Israel—to his brother. The publication claims that THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

profit margins prompted the sale, but Steinmetz was also fighting off protracted legal investigations into his African mining activities, as well as the effective BDS campaign which took the Steinmetz Foundation to task for funding Israel’s Givati Brigade. Does that name ring a bell? It should. The Givati Brigade has carried out thousands of operations in the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of Rafah’s tunnels, which Gazans used to obtain badly needed supplies from Egypt. A Givati Brigade commander deliberately and repeatedly shot at Iman al-Hams, killing the 13-yearold Palestinian girl, in Rafah in October 2004 (see Jan./Feb. 2005 Washington Report, p. 9). After she was hit, soldiers claimed, the officer went up to her and kept on shooting. During his trial, he expressed no regret over his actions and said he would have done the same even if the girl was a 3-year-old. After being acquitted of her murder, the officer received $23,000 in compensation from the state. The Givati Brigade also led Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza, in 2008-09, which killed 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including 308 children (see <www.RememberTheseChil dren.org>). During that horrific attack, Israeli forces used white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas, which included two hospitals as well as the central U.N. compound in Gaza City. That brigade was also responsible for the Jan. 5, 2009 massacre of the Samouni family in Gaza, which the Goldstone Report singled out as a potential war crime. After directing the Samouni family into a building to take cover, Givati Brigade commander Col. Ilan Malka approved an Israeli missile strike on their compound, killing nearly 30 family members. In 2012 human rights activists held regular protests outside the Tower of London, where the Steinmetz’s Forevermark Diamond, presented to the Queen on her Jubilee, was on display. Protesters asked the Queen of England and the British people to decline this offensive blood diamond gift, manufactured by the Steinmetz Diamond company which is funding a regime guilty of war crimes. It didn’t take long for the AUGUST 2014


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Steinmetz Foundation to scrub from its website any information about its support for the Givati Brigade. It no longer mentions anything about supporting the Israeli military, and now emphasizes strengthening the social fabric of the state of Israel with programs for children. The international, Palestinian-led campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel—until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights—has had some other remarkable recent successes. On June 8 Bloomberg News confirmed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had divested $184 million of its holdings in G4S, a British private security company that helps run Israeli prisons. Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians, including children. Some 5,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them held without charge or trial on indefinitely renewable military orders. On April 24, 125 Palestinian prisoners began protesting their detention with a hunger strike. By early June, 70 had been hospitalized. The Gates Foundation and other socially conscious investors finally are distancing themselves from firms that aid and abet Israel’s illegal occupation. The Presbyterian Church (USA), with 1.9 million members, is considering multiple resolutions in support of Palestinian human rights, including a resolution to divest from three American companies which profit from Israel’s occupation. Caterpillar retrofits bulldozers which the Israeli military uses to demolish Palestinian homes and orchards; Hewlett-Packard’s biometric ID system is used at checkpoints; and Motorola Solutions’s surveillance equipment is used in settlements and military camps. In 2012, the Presbyterian divestment decision lost by one vote. Supporters of BDS believe that divestment is an ethical, nonviolent response to the daily violence of the Israeli occupation. Divesting from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard means saying “no” to home demolitions, to confiscation of land, and to segregated communities. SodaStream’s sales dropped precipitously in the U.S. and Europe when conscientious American consumers quit buying the home beverage carbonating devices made in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Edomin. Its stock is down close to 20 percent after a media campaign urged Oxfam to drop movie star Scarlett JohansAUGUST 2014

POSTER COURTESY SEAN CLINTON

Other BDS Successes

son as its global ambassador after she appeared in advertisements for SodaStream. Israeli exports decreased from $4,887.30 in March 2014 to $3,605.30 million in April, partly as a result of BDS. In his articles and on his Facebook page, <www.facebook.com/Israelblooddiamonds>, Clinton points out that its cut-diamond industry is vital to Israel’s bottom line. Every year, he says, unwitting consumers spend billions of dollars on diamonds cut and polished in Israel that help fund Israeli atrocities, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, genocide, apartheid, extrajudicial executions and continuing breaches of the Geneva Conventions. “The diamond industry helps fund one of the world’s longest and cruelest conflicts,” according to Clinton. The global diamond industry tells us consumers that the diamond trade has been cleansed of “blood diamonds” that fund human rights abuses—but that’s just not true. Israel’s diamond exports accounted for $10 billion in revenue in 2008. Israel’s defense budget in 2008 was $16 billion. Cut diamonds, pearls, precious metals and stones account for 31 percent of Israel’s main exports. Israel’s diamond industry is notorious for discrimination in the workplace against non-Jews. Furthermore, Clinton reports that although authorities uncovered the “world’s largest illegal bank,” involving fraudulent trading worth billions of shekels, in the Israeli Diamond Exchange in 2012, the international jewelry industry continues trading with Israeli diamond companies. Clinton urges consumers not to continue to be fooled by a small number of “tycoons” who have a cartel-like grip over major parts of the jewelry economies. As THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

long as the WDC limits its concerns about human rights violations to those funded by rough diamonds only, the much more lucrative trade in cut and polished diamonds avoids human rights regulations. The world’s leading diamond company, De Beers, promotes “Forevermark” diamonds backed by “The Forevermark Promise,” which claims it has established stringent business, social and environmental requirements that must be adhered to by all of its approved mining, as well as cut and polishing sources. Forevermark requires “a positive and proven human rights record, a stable and acceptable political climate, and a stable and acceptable socio-economic situation.” It’s obvious to even a casual observer that Israel’s 236 diamond companies can’t meet those requirements as long as Israel’s brutal occupation continues. It’s equally apparent that the diamond industry’s self-regulation has failed. Governments with a vested interest in the diamond industry need to amend the definition of a conflict diamond to include all blood diamonds and not just rough diamonds used by rebel groups. Jewelers, including Tiffany’s, Sotheby’s, Harry Winston, Cartier, Ritani, Blue Nile, Zales, Brilliant Earth, Graff Diamonds, Chow Tai Fook and many more, should refuse to sell diamonds that fund human rights violations in Palestine. Clinton urges civil society to act to end the trade in all blood diamonds. This might just inspire Israel’s powerful diamond industry to support an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land and human rights violations. Diamonds funded the killing of Iman alHams. They are certainly not a girl’s best friend. ❑ 19


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Papal Visit to Israel Takes Place Amid Increasing Violence Against Christians TheNakbaContinues

By Jonathan Cook

AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

from the Israeli government over a religious site, the Cenacle, close to Jerusalem’s Old City walls. Part of the building houses a room the Vatican believes to be the site of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. For Jews it is the location of King David’s tomb. Neither claim likely has much of a historical basis, but Jewish extremists have been gradually taking over the whole site, with Christian access severely restricted. The Vatican has been negotiating in the hope of gaining more rights. In a sign of the climate of hostility shortly before the pope arrived, the Notre Dame center in Jerusalem, where Franics was due to meet Netanyahu, was daubed with “Death to Arabs and Christians.” The police barred Catholic authorities from putting up banners on the same building celebrating the pope’s impending visit, apparently fearful they could trigger wider protests from Israeli Jews. To avert the danger of a damagA nun walks by Jewish extremists protesting at the Cenacle, or Upper Room, on Mount Zion, against ing incident, Israeli police arrested Christian pilgrims praying there for Pentecost, June 9, 2014. or issued restraining orders against There was another difference from Bene- several dozen Jewish extremists in the days ope Francis’ three-day visit to the Holy Land in late May was overshadowed by dict’s trip five years ago. Then, Israel’s secu- preceding the Pope’s visit. Referring to the litany of attacks over high levels of security, chiefly on the last leg rity concerns related to a potential threat supposedly from Muslim extremists. This the past two months, Fouad Twal, the of his trip—in Israel. As was the case with his predecessor, time, the Shin Bet was worried—with good Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, warned that Benedict XVI, Israel’s security services were reason—that the pope might be in danger “acts of unrestrained vandalism are poisoning the atmosphere.” on high alert. Shin Bet, the domestic intelli- from Jewish fanatics. In April Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, the The precautions were invasive, leading gence service, urged the pope to travel at all times in a bullet-proof car. But, unlike Bene- one Vatican official to complain that Israel Roman Catholic bishop of Nazareth, redict, Francis rejected the advice, using—on had turned “the holy sites into a military ceived a note at his home, warning that he the few occasions he came face to face with base.” Some 9,000 police were drafted in to and his followers had until May 5 to leave Jerusalem to protect the pope, while Chris- the “land of Israel.” According to the letter, the public—an open popemobile. In an apparently unscheduled stop as he tian institutions were under round-the- 100 Roman Catholics would be killed for every hour of delay. traveled through Bethlehem, he even clock suveillance. Israeli police announced that a Jewish It was not an overreaction. In the precedstepped out of the vehicle to pray next to the concrete wall Israel has erected around much ing weeks Jewish extremists, presumed to man from Safed had been arrested shortly of the city. Infuriated by the gesture, which be from the most hard-line of the settle- after delivering the threat by hand. On the same day, vandals targeted a church grabbed headlines around the world, Israeli ments in the West Bank, had attacked reliPrime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted gious sites—both Muslim and Christian— at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee that marks the site where Christians believe Jesus performed the pope pray the next day at an Israeli inside Israel and occupied East Jerusalem. There was no let-up as the pope arrived in the miracle of the loaves and fishes. A cross memorial to Jewish victims of terrorism. theregion.Vandalssprayedachurchinthecity was smashed and several pews damaged. These incidents followed weeks of vanJonathan Cook is a journalist based in of Beersheva with “Jesus is a son of a bitch.” Hundreds of Israeli Jews also demon- dalism and offensive graffiti on non-Jewish Nazareth and a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His most strated angrily against the pope in Jerusalem, places of worship, including an arson attack recent book is Disappearing Palestine. fearful that he might extract a concession on a mosque, the desecration of cemeteries,

P

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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

AUGUST 2014


cook_20-21_The Nakba Continues 6/12/14 5:48 PM Page 21

and the continuing verbal and physical abuse of clergy in Jerusalem. “The Christian community feels increasingly threatened,” said Samuel Barhoum, the Episcopalian archdeacon of Jerusalem. “We see that Israel is going further and further to the right. It does not matter whether you are Muslim or Christian, in these people’s eyes we are the enemy.” The recent attacks have raised fears among Israel’s Palestinian minority, comprising a fifth of the population, that rightwing extremists have shifted their attention to areas inside Israel. On April 18, Palestinian worshippers arriving at the Araq al-Shabab mosque in Umm al-Fahm for morning prayers discovered the mosque had been the target of an arson attack. The doors, according to Jamil Mahajana, the local imam, were still smouldering and the words “Arabs out!” had been spray painted nearby. The attacks prompted Amir Peretz, a dovish minister in Israel’s government, to warn that violence by Jewish extremists had become a “dangerous epidemic.” Shortly afterward, another mosque, this time in the village of Fureidis, south of Haifa, was defaced with a Star of David and graffiti reading, “Shut down mosques.” Some 20 cars parked nearby had their tires slashed. The next day some 2,500 residents of Fureidis staged a protest march to demand action from the police and government. They chanted, “Netanyahu is a coward” and “Racism is spreading.” Mohammed Barakeh, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, blamed Netanyahu personally for the spate of attacks. “Extremist groups are being encouraged by Netanyahu’s constant sloganeering that Israel is a Jewish state, suggesting that an Arab population has no right to be here,” he said. “The extremists see Netanyahu has made recognition of Israel’s Jewishness a central demand in the peace talks,” he added. “They see the racist legislation his government adopts. They see the police do nothing to tackle this phenomenon. And they conclude that the government quietly approves of their behavior.” In January, a report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 2,100 incidents of settler violence in the occupied territories alone since 2006. Right-wing extremists describe violence against Palestinians, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel, as “price-tag” attacks. The term is meant to indicate that there will be a cost to Palestinians if either the power of the settlers is challenged or the PalestiniAUGUST 2014

ans seek diplomatic concessions from Israel. The first major price-tag attack inside Israel occurred in late 2011, when a mosque in the Galilee village of Tuba-Zangaria was set on fire. No one was charged for the attack. Palestinian leaders have accused Israeli authorities of repeatedly turning a blind eye to attacks by Jewish extremist groups. “If these crimes were being committed by Palestinians against Jews, the culprits would be caught within hours or days,” said Awad Abdel Fattah, a member of the Higher Follow-Up Committee, the main political body for Palestinians inside Israel.

Going Too Far Israeli officials have indicated recently that they intend to take price-tag attacks more seriously, after several outbreaks of violence by extremist settlers against Israeli security forces. In April, police were beaten as they tried to enforce a court order to demolish unauthorized buildings in the militant settlement of Yitzhar, which is suspected of being the center of the price-tag operations. Shortly after the pope left the region, the Israeli police announced that they had arrested three youths from Yitzhar over an attack in April that damaged 44 cars in the Galilee town of Jish. The culprits had also sprayed on a home: “Only non-Jews are evacuated from our land.” Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has said he is considering—for the first time—using administrative detention orders against right-wing extremists. That would allow them to be locked up on secret evidence, as is currently the case with the Palestinians. However, the government has so far refused to categorize settler violence as “acts of terror,” which would give the security forces stronger powers. During a cabinet debate on the subject last summer, Netanyahu reportedly said such a move would be a diplomatic mistake, encouraging observers to draw a comparison between the settlers and the Palestinian movement Hamas. Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, denied that the police were not doing enough to stop the attacks. A special task force was established last year to investigate price-tag attacks. Its activities, however, are limited to the West Bank. Police say they face serious difficulties in tracking down suspects. “There is no network planning these incidents,” according to Rosenfeld. “They are sporadic and committed by individuals who often decide on the spur of the moment to carry out an attack.” Calling the attacks “unsettling,” Netanyahu promised that the government THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

would invest more resources, including bringing in the Shin Bet, which is more commonly used against Palestinians. In unfortunate timing for Israel, the U.S. State Department published its annual Country Report on Terrorism in late April, noting that “price-tag” attacks in Israel and the occupied territories had gone “largely unprosecuted.” Abdel Fattah said Palestinians in Israel were increasingly concerned that official inaction over these attacks could encourage “another Eden Nathan Zada”—a reference to a settler who opened fire on a bus in the Palestinian town of Shefaram in 2005, killing four passengers and wounding 12 more, apparently as a protest against the disengagement from Gaza. The Follow-Up Committee had no trust in thepolice,AbdelFattahsaid.Instead,ithaddecided to establish local popular committees in Israeltoorganizenighttimepatrolsthatwould guard communities. They would be modeled onsimilarcommitteesoperatinginpartsofoccupiedJerusalemandtheWestBank. Zahi Njeidat, spokesman for the Islamic Movement in Israel, sharply criticized Israeli police for failing to make progress in the arson attack on Araq al-Shabab mosque. “These are terrorist attacks,” Njeidat said. “The goal is to make us feel like we have no security in our homes and in our communities, so that we will leave. This is about carrying out our transfer, but we are staying put.” Last year, according to OCHA’s figures, there were 93 attacks by settlers that resulted in injuries to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. “Our fear is that, if these extremists see that nothing is being done to stop them [in Israel], they will move from attacks on property to attacks on people,” Abdel Fattah said. Among Christian Palestinians, there had been hope that the pope might use his visit to criticize inaction by the Israeli security services. However, Vatican officials had warned beforehand that his visit would avoid being “political.” Palestinian Christian leaders were particularly critical of the pope’s decision not to visit the Galilee, where most of Israel’s 130,000 Palestinian Christians live. Hana Swaid, the only member of the Israeli parliament from the Roman Catholic community, said: “I think it is truly astonishing that no time has been allotted to us. If the pope does not meet us, how can he understand our concerns and intercede on our behalf?” Riah Abu el-Assal, the former Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, said he was “disappointed” that the pope had not followed the tradition set by his predecessors of visiting Nazareth and the Galilee. ❑ 21


sprusansky_22-23_Special Report 6/12/14 5:51 PM Page 22

For Pope Francis, Actions Speak Louder Than Words SpecialReport

TAUFIQ KHALIL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Dale Sprusansky

Pope Francis prays at Israel’s apartheid wall surrounding Bethlehem after making an unscheduled stop there during his visit to the Holy Land, May 25, 2014. hroughout his short papacy, Pope

TFrancis has continuously exhorted

Catholics not just to profess their faith, but to manifest it by performing daily acts of charity and mercy. Thus, it is not surprising that the most enduring memory of Pope Francis’ May visit to the Holy Land is not a speech or offhand remark, but rather a photograph that captured a silent, prayerful moment. The image of Pope Francis praying in front of the Israeli-constructed separation wall encircling Bethlehem quickly circulated around the Internet and spurred global intrigue. On the wall where he stopped were messages spray-painted by Palestinians: “Free Palestine,” “Bethlehem looks like Warsaw Ghetto” and “Pope we need some 1 to speak about justice.” In a trip that was carefully planned down to the minute, Pope Francis’ spontaneous decision to pray at the wall undoubtedly gave immense comfort to Palestinian Christians and sent a strong message to the Israeli government that its policies of division and violence defy not only international law, but the law of the same God to whom both Pope Francis and most Israelis pray. Dale Sprusansky is assistant editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. 22

Not to let the pope’s silent protest of occupation go uncontested, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apparently attempted to persuade Francis of the wall’s necessity. “I explained to the pope that building the security fence prevented many more victims that Palestinian terror planned to harm,” the prime minister tweeted after speaking with the pope. Netanyahu also apparently urged Pope Francis to make yet another unscheduled stop—this time at a Jerusalem memorial dedicated to Israeli civilians killed by acts of terror. Francis obliged and offered a prayer at the site. While Netanyahu’s apparent attempt to one-up Palestinians and counter the pope’s prayers troubled many in the pro-Palestine community, it’s doubtful that Pope Francis shirked the opportunity to publicly denounce violence and terrorism. After all, just days earlier, in Jordan, Pope Francis decried the weaponization of the Syrian civil war. “May everyone get over this idea that problems can be solved with weapons,” he said during his homily in Amman. “Let’s pray for these criminals who are selling weapons, fueling hatred.” What better way to reinforce this message than visiting a separation wall constructed by a powerful Israeli military occupier? Why not reiterate this message THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

once more at a monument dedicated to Israeli terror victims? In offering his two public prayers—even if one was genuinely spontaneous and the other a result of political maneuvering— Pope Francis was making a simple but important point too many in the region and on both sides of the wall have yet to realize: violence does not facilitate understanding and peace. In no way does this suggest that Israeli and Palestinian suffering is proportional, or that Arab terrorists pose the same risks to Israel’s well-being that Israel’s military occupation poses to Palestinian welfare. Rather, it simply means that all acts of violence unnecessarily take human lives and further perpetuate the cycle of war, violence and occupation. Pressing the ideas of peace, restraint and positive action, Pope Francis must have been filled with some joy when he learned the story behind how the spray-painted messages on the wall in Bethlehem appeared. Days before his arrival in Bethlehem, Israeli authorities whitewashed the wall— which separates Palestinians from their religious sites, natural resources and family members—in the hope that the pontiff would not see its messages of desperation and suffering. The night before Francis arrived, however, Palestinian teens were able to subvert Israeli authorities and spraypaint fresh slogans on the wall. Their small victory was not won through force or divisive rhetoric, but rather through diligence and perseverance. Their nonviolent action helped facilitate a moment in which Time magazine’s person of the year made international headlines by acknowledging ever so humbly the struggles of the occupied. What better way to support the Palestinian cause? What better way to shame and publically delegitimize the occupier’s narrative? The actions of the Palestinians also reinforce another concept stressed by Francis during his Amman homily: “Peace is not something which can be bought,” he emphasized. “It is a gift to be sought patiently and to be crafted through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives.” Spray-painting the separation wall with messages to the pope was not a large action. Pope Francis praying at the wall was no earth-shattering moment. Rather, they were AUGUST 2014


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both small moments of peace. Such moments, Francis contends, build up to big moments that do bring about justice and lasting peace. “Peace is something we must create piece by piece, with every little gesture in our d a i ly l i ve s,” h e stressed. Po p e F r a n c i s ’ comments and actions should give hope to Palestinians engaged in the many ongoing forms of nonviolent opposition taking place in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Similarly, those few Palestinians still engaged in violent resistance must realize it is not the antidote that will tear down Israel’s separation wall or end its blockade of Gaza. Israel and its supporters—most notably the U.S.—must also take to heart the pope’s warning that peace cannot be bought. Since 1949, a conservative estimate shows, the U.S. has provided more than $130 billion of direct aid to Israel. (See Oct./Nov. 2013 Washington Report, p. 22.) Instead of advancing peace, American tax-payer money has helped Israel become the dominant military power in the conflict, unbalanced the playing field and made peace talks between equals impossible. As a result, the U.S.-led peace process remains stalled and the prospects of an agreement being reached soon are at an all-time low. Israel, too, must learn that allocating more military equipment and resources to furthering its occupation not only will undermine peace, but will ultimately backfire. “Great” actions, such as bombing Gaza or building more settlements, do nothing to advance peace. Similarly, “small” actions such as burning Palestinian olive trees and executing demolition orders on Palestinian homes harden hearts and prolong the conflict. In Jordan, Pope Francis said, “May God protect us from the fear of change.” Those actors in the conflict who have been pushing the same failed approach to solving the conflict must reflect on these words. After he left the Holy Land, some criticized Pope Francis for not being more vocal in his objections to the occupation. Many (fairly) wished he had noted the profound suffering taking place in Gaza, more acutely decried Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Christians and offered more than passing references to the occupation. AUGUST 2014

While Pope Francis may have been better served by raising such points (which he may have done in private meetings), one can appreciate the alternative approach he adopted. Countless politicians and leaders have voiced lofty ideas and claims in the Holy Land. Israeli, Palestinian, American

and religious leaders have all spoken of their desire for peace. Few, however, have actually taken small or large steps to advance peace. Instead of uttering the same words that would be quickly forgotten and never actualized, Pope Francis used his trip to do more than talk—he acted. His decision to pray at the separation wall, visit Palestinian refugee camps and use Jordanian helicopters to overfly Israeli checkpoints offered more than hollow words. They offered simple but profound evidence that actions do indeed speak louder than words. ❑

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Flying Out of Our Cages SpecialReport

By Samah Jabr

tic violence. But policing Palestine more intensively and expanding security forces are not the answer to a phenomenon brought about mainly by a crisis of the spirit.

THOMAS COEX/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Structural Violence

Israeli soldiers prevent Muslim Palestinians from entering Jerusalem’s Old City to pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Feb. 28, 2014. used to fly, but you broke my wings

“Iand locked me back in my cage.” This

was the reproach of a patient who had just recovered from a manic episode during which he had jumped from the top of the 13-foot-high Israeli separation wall and broken both legs. His mania had been a temporary release from the social inhibitions, economic frustrations and political obstructions symbolized by the wall itself. The pills I had given him ended his colorful euphoric experience and thrust him back into a gloomy reality. No wonder he was dissatisfied with my interventions! In a two-week period in May, seven murders were committed in Palestine. The victims were women, children and a mentally retarded youth. In my capacity as a psychiatrist, I have interviewed some of the accused perpetrators. To my surprise, they do not resemble the antisocial psychopaths who typically commit such ugly crimes. Most of those I have interviewed suffer from enduring humiliation and an Samah Jabr is a Jerusalemite psychiatrist and psychotherapist who cares about the wellbeing of her community—beyond issues of mental health. 24

injured sense of manhood. They live in conditions of mounting stress, experiencing the pressure of poverty in a society increasingly obsessed with material possessions and wealth. Such men lose their sense of honor and respect when they are unable to provide for their families; they struggle to regain the illusion of control through misogyny and acts of domestic violence as expressions of their manhood. Humiliation, poverty and low social status have made some people in Palestine feel like losers and failures at life. They often attempt to medicate their frustration and anger with alcohol and drugs. And, just as many seek an altered state of mind through these routes, some try to soothe their injured dignity by projecting and externalizing their sense of powerlessness onto members of their families. Such people become abusive and some commit violent crimes. The structural violence, economic inequalities, and pervasive injustice that characterize Palestinian society under occupation have created a fertile psychological environment for sociopathy to grow. We don’t yet have organized crime and gangs, but there has been a dramatic upsurge in violations of the law and in domesTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

The establishment of a ruling class, binding social structures, and oppressive institutions exclude many people from sharing the fruits of nationhood. These exclusions establish criteria—at once widely recognized and covertly concealed—that determine who is heard and who is silenced, who is favored and who deprived. One example is membership in the right political party. If you belong to the proper political party and begin work in the proper type of job, your years of party loyalty will be counted as years of “professional experience.” This illegitimate arithmetic automatically conveys an advantage in employment and in promotions compared to those who actually have better credentials and work harder. The same system that greases loyal wheels will put sticks in the wheels of anyone who expresses opposition to or protests such a system. Strange voices are liable to be heard in support of direct violence and structural violence, attempting to legitimize it and render it socially acceptable. We are informed, for example, that a murdered woman was disloyal to her husband; lawyers might say, “Of course, you are right—but you don’t want to get in trouble with the political elite.” Our context is everything, of course: we experience strong emotions to our occupation by Israel. The national humiliation and the personal grievances suffered by the Palestinian people through our political and economic misery filter down into the conflicts in our daily lives. Our political parties have provided some people with a sense of belonging, and thus achieved an unprecedented psychological significance. Intense loyalty and highly emotionally charged participation in a polarized society seems to result in an atmosphere of destructive competition, unfair comparisons, hunger for power, and hatred. These strong emotions eventually have undercut AUGUST 2014


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our capacity for logical reasoning and ethical judgment. The murder of the Palestinian soul is taking place, an annihilation of our spirit, expressed in a hunger to dominate the weak and to inflict our aggression on those who are smaller. We pass down our humiliation to a dumping ground of those who are unable to defend themselves, inducing in them our own sense of shame. Our inner life is becoming empty. Our dreams are destroyed by structural violence or melted into a collective trance. Everywhere apathy and distrust is growing. Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate the triumph of Mohammed Assaf as the celebrated Arab Idol, but when we saw the reconciliation agreement sealed with embraces once again we were not impressed. There were no celebrations in the street.

We Are Born Free New research in psychology and neuroimaging has revealed that human beings demonstrate an innate aversive reaction to inequality and unfairness. In the “ultimatum game,” where responders are given a choice to approve or to block a particular division of a quantity of money, it was discovered that people—regardless of age, gender or race—found unequal divisions to be aversive. It was also found that Blacks are more sensitive to unfair proposals when these were proposed by other Blacks! But long before this psychological research, and the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights—“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”—Umar Ibn Al Khattab, an influential caliph who earned the title Al-Faruq for his fairness and ability to distinguish between right and wrong, rebelled against the social structure of his time by asking: “Since when have you taken people for slaves and they were born free?” French philosoper Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.” He also stated that “man’s natural sentiment of self-esteem is coupled with pity, the dislike of seeing fellow creatures in pain.” The mildest Qur’anic teaching on the duty to oppose injustice is: “And incline not toward those who do unfairness” (Hud 113). Thus, apathy toward injustice, crime and human pain is incompatible with our innate feelings. Apathy deviates from our natural humanitarian instincts, and is the result of a distorted process of education and conditioning. The outcome of proAUGUST 2014

grammed selfishness and egoism, it eliminates our capacity for spiritual growth, instead promoting compliance with injustice and submission to rigid authoritarian systems of domination.

Searching for Spaciousness Inside What can we do to escape the bars of our reality? I have no wings and will not fly out—not even with a first class ticket! I remain here on the ground, searching for a human connection with equals who aim to nurture relationships of mutual respect and to co-create new forms of living together. I seek companionship in my long journey to decondition and deconstruct the forms of oppressions and injustice around me. I will find myself sometimes at a loss and in despair, but I understand that there can be a revival of hope even while recognizing disappointment; there can be fulfillment in surviving the heat of tyranny, a fulfillment that makes a person more willing to dedicate oneself to those who are marginalized and degraded in society. The spirituality of Palestinian society has been one of the most important factors in our resilience and steadfastness. Spirituality can transform one’s sense of worth from unequal to equal, dismissing the social stratifications where “higher” beings exercise control over “lesser” beings. The current promotion of materialism and individualism within Palestine, however, is increasingly limiting the inner spaciousness that has helped us survive despite the cages imposed on us from without. We are in the midst of a process of losing our traditional serenity and enlightenment, through our participation in this ongoing spiritual decline. For so long, we found meaning and nourishment in song, poetry, stories and prayers. Today, however, there is a deeper impoverishment lying beneath the surface poverty—an impoverishment for which materialistic answers do not suffice. Our souls and our spirits are being injured and damaged. People assess their selfworth using the yardsticks of money, education and social status. We are imprisoned in our socioeconomic status, forced into repetition and boredom of the finite and the familiar, not realizing the great love, outstanding courage and lucid awareness that can endure in the minds and hearts of simple people. Love for ourselves, compassion for others, the liberation of our personal sense of agency, and the freedom to choose and develop sophisticated modalities of survival will restore our sense of independence and value in spite of the external cage. ❑ THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Children Must Work… Continued from page 15

Ibrahim admits that children are not even paid a fair wage. It is typical for a child to be paid just $100 for working an entire month of 12-hour days. Historically children have worked in Gaza, often as apprentices in the family business. Prior to 2002 and the second intifada, approximately 30,000 children worked in Gaza. Since the inception of Israel’s siege, however, according to the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Workers’ Rights, that figure has more than tripled, to 100,000 working children. Wael Mashrawi, 13, works in a mechanic’s shop in East Gaza City. His family’s impoverished situation has forced him to work 12 hours a day, for which he earns $8 a week—or about 9 cents an hour. This buys him nothing in Gaza. As the oldest son of his father’s second wife, he is responsible for feeding his 12 younger brothers. “I have no other option, I had to drop out of school in order for my brothers to survive,” he tells the Washington Report. Poverty is a driving factor behind this exponential increase in child labor, says the Center’s Nidal Ghaben, who notes that there is a “need for families to improve their economic conditions, and the educational environment is filled with physical and verbal violence.” The Ministry of Labor has established a committee to address this escalation in child labor, partnering with local and international NGOs to reduce the number of children working by 20 percent, to 80,000. According to Mohammed Al Haddad of the Ministry of Workers, inspectors are monitoring businesses throughout the Gaza Strip, directing business owners not to hire underage children, in accordance with Article 10 of Palestinian law. Meanwhile, like tens of thousands of Gaza’s children, Abdullah remains caught between two worlds: the one in which he exists and the one he, as a child, deserves. “I am forced to work because we have no money and no food,” he states simply. As long as the Israeli siege continues, a happy ending for Abdullah and his fellow child workers is elusive. If human rights groups and the government are successful in convincing employers not to hire children, Abdullah can return to school. But returning to school isn’t an option—because then there will be no food on his family’s table. ❑ 25


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American Legion Officials Betray American Veterans SpecialReport

WWW.HONORLIBERTYVETS.ORG

By Alison Weir

This billboard will inform Americans about Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty. hile the American Legion claims that

Wit’s committed to “devotion to our

fellow servicemembers and veterans,” Legion officials have treated veterans of the USS Liberty with hostility and disdain— this despite the fact that the Liberty is the most decorated crew since World War II, and that an official U.S. Navy statement concluded: “USS Liberty wrote another chapter in the great heritage of Navy gallantry…her personnel, from Commanding Officer to the most junior seaman, deserve the highest accolades and acknowledgment it is possible to bestow for their valor and acts of courage.” Legion officials’ actions against the Liberty crew have largely taken place behind closed doors, since there is a strong record of support for the crew by the Legion’s membership. The animosity by Legion honchos toward Liberty veterans most likely has very little to do with the men who served on the USS Liberty, a typically diverse assortment of Americans from all over the country. The problem is that the foreign country that attacked them, killing 34 of their shipmates and injuring more than 170, was Israel. And while many people believe that the U.S. is the most powerful nation in the Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest, executive director of If Americans Knew and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel (available from the AET Bookstore). An earlier article on this topic containing citations, “Aid and Comfort to the Enemy: American Legion Honchos Betray Liberty Veterans,” is available online at <http://ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/legion.html>. 26

world today, in reality, Israel, through its pervasively embedded and well-financed lobby, is sometimes more powerful. On June 8, 1967 Israeli forces mounted a two-hour attack on the Liberty, an electronics surveillance ship cruising in international waters off the Sinai. Israeli jets attacked the ship with shells, rockets and napalm, followed by an Israeli torpedo boat that shot up lifeboats, machine-gunned stretcher bearers, and launched five torpedoes at the ship, ripping a massive hole in the side. Miraculously, the crew kept the ship afloat. Among the awards won by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty are the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, 13 Silver Stars, 20 Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendations, 208 Purple Hearts, 294 Combat Action Ribbons, and the Presidential Unit Citation. Another crewman was also a candidate for the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award, but there were too few witnesses left alive to provide the necessary substantiation. Despite this extraordinary record of heroism, Liberty veterans are unwelcome at national Legion conventions, paid advertisements about the Liberty are rejected for convention programs, family members of Liberty fallen are treated with arrogance, and the Legion features the claims of the Liberty’s foreign attacker over the crew’s eyewitness accounts. Moreover, even though Legion members have repeatedly been in favor of resolutions about the Liberty, today the American Legion does not have a single live resolution on its books. Below is a brief synopsis of American Legion action—and inaction—on the USS Liberty. In 1967 the Legion’s membership passed a resolution calling Israel’s action an “apTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

parently deliberate attack” and called for the U.S. government to “conduct a complete and thorough investigation of this incident” and to demand full compensation from the Israeli government. Jewish War Veterans of America, pro-Israel organizations, and some Jewish members of the American Legion complained, and the resolution was allowed to die without action. In 1984 American Legion Magazine commissioned an article on the Liberty by James Ennes, a Naval officer seriously wounded on the Liberty who in his 1979 book Assault on the Liberty (available from the AET Bookstore) described the attack in detail. When Ennes submitted his article, however, it was rejected. Ennes received a kill fee and an apologetic letter from the editors, who said the editorial board had decided his article was “too controversial.” When Ennes wrote again to the magazine, he was told that the Legion “no longer had a position on the subject.” In 1986 three local American Legion posts passed resolutions calling for an investigation of the attack. Legion officials at the state level, however, rejected them, saying that “the national leadership of the Legion was opposed to resolutions on the subject.” Proponents managed to bypass the state leaderships and took a resolution to the national convention. Once there, however, Legion management scuttled the resolution. Perhaps as a consolation prize, a resolution calling for a Liberty postage stamp was allowed to be passed by the membership. There is no indication that Legion management pushed this effort, and it died two years later. In 1994 American Legion members managed to get a resolution on the Liberty passed—perhaps because, again, the resolution left out all calls for an investigation. AUGUST 2014


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The resolution “urge[d] the United States to formally and publicly recognize by time-honored tradition with customary style, honor, ceremony and publicity, the heroic actions of the officers and crew of the USS Liberty, her 34 killed in action, her 171 wounded and her decorated, including her Medal of Honor recipient, Captain William L. McGonagle.” The American Legion leadership decided to categorize this resolution as “legislative,” which meant that it applied only to the two-year Congress then in session. In 1998 five state delegations introduced resolutions at the national convention calling for an investigation into the attack on the Liberty. The Legion’s Committee on International Relations killed them. The chairman of the committee was John Brieden—whose college roommate, future Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in 2007 received Israel’s “Friend of Zion” award for his fidelity to that nation. Perry later appointed Brieden to various veterans’ posts. Five years after blocking the Liberty resolutions, Brieden became American Legion National Commander. In 2002 the Washington, DC Legion delegation introduced a resolution calling for an investigation of the USS Liberty attack to a foreign relations subcommittee at the national convention. Delegates from around the country spoke in favor of it and it passed without objection. The DC delegates were jubilant. When a resolution is passed at this level, it is virtually assured of adoption. Typically, the resolution is rubber-stamped by the next committee and passed along to the general membership, which normally passes such committee-recommended resolutions by one simple voice vote. The next day, however, Legion staff killed the resolution by telling the Convention Committee on Foreign Relations that there was no need for such a resolution because the Legion had passed resolutions on the Liberty before. They neglected to state that none of these was live, and that therefore it was both necessary and appropriate to pass this one. The main staff member for this committee had served in Israel. The committee chairman was Thomas Bock of Colorado. Three years later Bock was American Legion National Commander. That evening, back in DC, Admiral Thomas Moorer (USN retired) heard about the scuttling of the resolution. Outraged, he wrote an open letter to American Legion commander Richard J. “Ric” Santos of Maryland requesting that the resolution be put before the general membership. Admiral Moorer—the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a retired 4AUGUST 2014

star admiral—was chairman of an association of admirals and generals who want the U.S. government to conduct a hearing on the USS Liberty. He had long been outraged at the cover-up of the Liberty attack. In a 1997 memo, he called it a “wanton, sneak attack,” writing: “What is so chilling and cold-blooded, of course, is that they could kill as many Americans as they did in confidence that Washington would cooperate in quelling any public outcry.” A woman named Josie Toth Linen, whose brother was killed on the Liberty, took copies of Moorer’s letter to the Legion convention the following day and began handing them out to members. Within minutes Legion management ejected her from the convention. Linen’s brother, Stephen Toth, had posthumously received a Silver Star, the third highest medal awarded by the U.S. Navy. Toth’s father, Capt. Joseph Toth, was a career Naval officer and decorated World War II veteran who died of a heart attack a year and a half after his son was killed. Family members felt the anguish at his son’s death and the governmental cover-up contributed to his heart attack.

Free Speech Not Welcome Apparently none of this mattered to American Legion honchos. After being ejected from the convention, Linen started to hand out copies of Admiral Moorer’s letter on the sidewalk outside the convention. A security officer working for the Legion attempted to have her arrested, calling Charlotte, NC police officers to take her away. Police officers refused to make the arrest, however, saying that Linen was breaking no laws. After a friendly exchange with her, the officers departed. Legion commander Santos, a retired insurance adjustor (his military service consisted of five years in the Naval Reserve), never responded to Admiral Moorer’s letter. In 2012 the American Legion Michigan department passed a Liberty resolution and submitted it to the national convention. According to Michigan delegate Ted Arens, American Legion Judge Advocate General Philip Onderdonk told him, “Your resolution is going nowhere,” called the Liberty survivors “anti-Semites,” and said, “The ship never should have been there, it was a spy ship.” Onderdonk’s claim that a U.S. ship is not allowed in international waters repeats a talking point promoted by Israel partisans that has been rejected by all segments of the U.S. government, including the U.S. Navy. (Onderdonk has been the American Legion’s top lawyer for the past 30 years. His military service consisted of serving as a contracting officer for a few years.) Arens was not allowed to speak at the THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

committee meeting, and the resolution was never placed before the convention. The same day, Legion staff turned away two Liberty survivors who had traveled to the convention to staff a booth for the Liberty Veterans Association (LVA). When the crew members, one of whom was an ordained Methodist minister who had lost most of his hearing in the attack, tried to determine why they could not have a booth, convention official Andrea Watson and three security guards suddenly came and told them they had to leave. In 2013 and 2014 American Legion officials refused to allow the LVA to have a booth at the national convention and refused to publish a paid advertisement in the convention program. They also tried— unsuccessfully—to convince the VFW to deny Liberty veterans a booth at its upcoming national convention. The American Legion’s website contains a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) column in which a segment on the Liberty repeats the pro-Israel misinformation that supposedly “10 U.S. investigations” found that the attack was an accident. In reality, there has never been a full investigation in the attack. (For a thorough deconstruction of the “10 investigations” claim see “Cristol Claim of 13 Investigations Into Israel’s Attack on USS Liberty a Travesty,” by Terence O’Keefe, December 2003 Washington Report, p. 14.) When a member of the American Legion’s professional staff was asked by this reporter about the FAQ, the staff member agreed that it was erroneous and said he would have it corrected. This never occurred, however. When the staff member was again asked about this, he responded that Philip Onderdonk was “now in charge of answering all questions about the Liberty.” When Onderdonk was contacted, however, he refused to answer questions. Venerable Florida columnist Charley Reese once wrote about Liberty veterans, “These survivors deserve the support of the American people. Will you stand by them?” American Legion honchos have given their answer. They appear to feel that Israel can kill and injure American servicemen with impunity, insult them and their families, quash all questions, and successfully sweep Israel’s lethal attack under the rug. Others, however, disagree. A new website has just been created by Liberty supporters and family members, HonorLibertyVets.org, and billboards are being erected around the country. Tax-deductible donations for this initiative can be made online or by mailing to LVA BB Fund, P.O. Box 680275, Marietta, GA 30068. ❑ 27


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In the War on Terrorism, Only al-Qaeda Thrives SpecialReport

BARAA AL-HALABI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Patrick Cockburn

People make their way along a rubble-strewn street in Aleppo following a reported barrel-bomb attack by government forces, June 3, 2014. he first week of June was a good week

Tfor those who like their hypocrisy neat

and straight from the bottle. There was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemning the Syrian presidential election in which Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for a third time against nominal opposition as “a great big zero.” But at the same time, the U.S. and Britain said they were officially looking forward to working with President-elect Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt, who is turning out to be a somewhat comical figure who cannot even fix an election properly. Despite an official holiday, free transport, massive media support, religious encouragement and the threat of $70 fines for non-voters, polling booths remained stubbornly empty or underused. Of course, the hypocrisy does not end there. For all his triumphalism over the turnout in Syria, Assad’s way of dealing with parts of Syria not under his control is to shell them and drop barrel bombs on them. Nor is the opposition much better when it comes to targeting civilians, except Patrick Cockburn is Middle East correspondent for The Independent. Copyright © 2014 The Independent. 28

that its means of destruction are much less than that of the state. In Aleppo, the government pounds rebel-held districts in the east of the city, with a population of 300,000, with barrel bombs dropped from helicopters. These attacks have become even more lethal since the helicopters started operating at night, when civilians cannot see them in time to take cover. A reporter in Aleppo, who writes under the name of Edward Dark for the online magazine Al-Monitor, mentions a case that “clearly illustrates the ludicrous nature of this inhumane conflict that happened to the Sheikh Maksud neighborhood in Aleppo.” He relates how, when this district was held by Assad’s forces, it was regularly shelled by the rebels, who said it was full of pro-government militiamen. When the rebels stormed and captured Sheikh Maksud in March 2013, it was the Syrian army that blazed away indiscriminately into the civilian houses that were still standing. Almost any development in Syria these days should be regarded with some cynicism. For instance, when a cease-fire is declared in a suburb of Damascus and the rebel fighters switch sides, it is often with the assurance that in the future they will THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

be allowed to man checkpoints in their districts and have 50 percent of the takings extorted from passing vehicles. I was in Nabq on the Damascus-Homs main road earlier this year, where government forces had arranged a public celebration of their success in driving out the rebels. Local people angrily pointed out that all that had happened was that rebel fighters, having previously sworn to fight to the last bullet against Assad, had simply joined the progovernment National Defense Force militia and were happily taking part in celebrations of their own defeat and expulsion from Nabq. The Syrian war has turned into a Syrian version of the Thirty Years War in Germany four centuries ago. Too many conflicts and too many players have become involved for any peace terms to be acceptable to all. A comparison is often made with the Lebanese civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, with the comforting moral sometimes being drawn that, bloody though it was, eventually all sides became exhausted and put away their guns. But the war did not quite end like that: it was Saddam Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and Syria’s decision to join the U.S.AUGUST 2014


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led coalition to evict him that led Washington to tolerate Syria extinguishing the last resistance to its rule in Lebanon. It is not a very comforting parallel. There is no doubt that the Syrian people inside and outside Syria are utterly exhausted and demoralized by their civil war and would do almost anything to end it. But they are no longer in a position to determine their own fate. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming and training a new “moderate military opposition” that will supposedly fight Assad and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) along with other al-Qaeda-type groups. But it is not clear that the “moderate” military opposition really exists except as tightly controlled cats’ paws of foreign powers. The next few months should tell if Assad is strong enough to break the stalemate, though this seems unlikely. The combat forces of the Syrian army have hitherto been able to fight on only one front at a time. Jordanian officials say that Syrian forces are being strengthened just north of the border in Daraa, where the uprising began in 2011, and they expect a Syrian army offensive. If this happens— and Syria is full of stories of big offensives that never materialize—this would be a

sign that the Syrian army is finally gaining the ascendancy rather than just nibbling away at rebel strongholds. It has become increasingly obvious over the past year that al-Qaeda-type movements, notably ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, have come to dominate or can operate freely in a great swathe of territory across northern Iraq and northern Syria. This gives ISIS a vast hinterland in which it can maneuver and fight on both sides of what is a largely nominal SyrianIraqi border. The prospect is always there for an even more explosive conflict: in early June, ISIS columns of vehicles penetrated deep into the city of Samarra in Iraq, coming within less than two miles of the golden-domed Shi’i al-Askari shrine, the blowing up of which by al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2006 led to a savage intensification of the sectarian civil war in which tens of thousands of Sunni and Shi’i were butchered. So long as the Syrian civil war continues, it benefits groups such as ISIS, which wants to create its own state and not just get rid of Assad, because fanatical armed groups, with fighters prepared to be killed, always benefit from conflict. By the same token, moderates lose out or are marginalized as the situation becomes more and

more militarized and Syrian public opinion counts for little. But it still counts for something. One of the few positive events to occur in Syria in recent weeks is the evacuation of the Old City of Homs by 1,200 fighters, who were allowed to bring their personal weapons to rebel-held territory, while, at the same time, two pro-regime Shi’i towns, Zahraa and Nubl, besieged for two years by the opposition, received humanitarian convoys. In addition, 70 hostages taken in Aleppo and Latakia were released. What is encouraging about this deal is that different rebel groups were coherent enough to negotiate and implement an agreement, something that had been deemed impossible. Europeans have not yet woken up to the significance of these anarchic zones opening up on the shores of the Mediterranean in Syria and Libya. This is because the threat has been largely abstract, but it is getting less so with the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels by a French jihadi who had been in Syria. U.S. and European politicians do not want to explain why, 13 years after 9/11, when the “war on terror” was supposedly launched, thousands of alQaeda militants have been able to carve out enclaves so close to Europe. ❑

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Lebanon Copes with a Growing Population Of Syrian Refugees SpecialReport

By Philip Davies

PHOTO COURTESY ISLAMIC RELIEF

tion. Some have shared kitchen and sanitary units provided by aid agencies. Families survive on food and personal hygiene packages provided by aid agencies. They also receive foam mattresses and simple carpets that partially cover the dirt floor in their shelter. Registered refugees receive subsidized healthcare at UNHCR-contracted providers. They are not covered if treated elsewhere. Due to budget constraints, UNHCR recently reduced its share of the costs to 75 percent. Subsidized care is restricted to immediate and lifethreatening emergencies. Those with non-life-threatening wounds or chronic diseases either pay for themselves, which is prohibitive in most cases, or forgo treatment. In response to this situation, Lebanese schools need double-shifts to accommodate the influx of Syrian refugees. This old school in the several aid organizations are acWestern Beqaa has been re-opened, and Islamic Relief USA has built a new school nearby. tively exploring the possibility of recently visited Lebanon and had a first- refugees’ presence. While waiting to be establishing a kidney dialysis facility in the hand look at how the Syrian crisis is af- picked up from my hotel in Hamra at 8 Tripoli area that will serve both Syrian and fecting the country. At the time of my a.m., in the space of 10 minutes I was ap- Palestinian patients. There is growing concern among April visit, the U.N. High Commissioner for proached by two young shoeshine boys Refugees (UNHCR) registered the millionth and a mother and her adolescent daughter. donors, NGOs, and UNICEF over the fact Syrian refugee in Lebanon. For a country I eventually retreated inside the hotel lest that the education of refugee children has been disrupted. The fear is that the war with a population of just four million, that I attract more attention. When I recounted that story to a friend will cause a generation of children to drop is a huge burden and source of growing concern. For Lebanon, it is undoubtedly who lives in the area, she told me she re- out of school, with catastrophic consecently bought a sandwich for a young boy quences. A limited number of displaced the humanitarian crisis of the century. Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has ob- who said he had not eaten in two days. She children attend a second shift at Lebanese served that Lebanon has suffered the most watched in amazement as he devoured the schools. Using Syrian teachers, charitable from the flow of refugees. In late May he sandwich in a few quick bites. He truly organizations are making an effort to hold classes in rented apartment buildings. Yet told the Non-Aligned Movement’s ministe- was hungry. Driving around western Beqaa, I could these are stopgap measures which only rial conference in Algeria that “Lebanon’s existence and identity are at risk as a result plainly see gatherings of refugees living in scratch the surface. In Saida, I found refugees living in a makeshift shelters constructed from a comof the influx of refugees.” Thousands more enter Lebanon every bination of tarps and plastic sheeting. converted three-story apartment building day as the violence in Syria ebbs and There are hundreds of such gatherings overlooking the Ain El Helweh Palestinian refugee camp. Built years ago by a flows. In a growing number of communi- throughout the country. Although humanitarian organizations Lebanese businessman as a primary resities it is not unusual to find that Syrians now outnumber Lebanese. The village of distributed heaters, conditions were still dence for his extended family, the building Bar Elias, for example, reportedly has a horrible during the cold, wet and snowy was purchased by a local charity that is population of 40,000 Lebanese and 80,000 winter. The cost of fuel to run the heaters converting it to accommodate 30 displaced meant that families could only afford to families. Each will have a room and access Syrians. It did not take long for me to feel the turn them on intermittently. Summer will to a shared kitchen and bathroom. Conditions are cramped—but better than living bring oppressive heat and dust. Averse to setting up formal refugee under bombs, shelling and shooting. Philip Davies has 30 years’ experience workAble-bodied men and boys seek work as ing with relief and development programs in camps, Lebanese authorities discourage Lebanon with leading NGOs. more than 20 dwellings in any one loca- day laborers in construction or agriculture.

I

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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

AUGUST 2014


PHOTO COURTESY UNITED PALESTINIA APPEAL

davies_30-31_Special Report 6/12/14 5:57 PM Page 31

Not surprisingly, they are undercutting the wages of poor Lebanese who do the same work. The same applies to refugees who work in trades like carpentry, plumbing, and electrical or auto repair. The competition for work is a source of tension and friction with the local Lebanese community, which suffered from a high rate of unemployment even before the influx of Syrians. To its credit, the government of Jordan requires that 20 percent of foreign assistance for Syrian refugees benefit host communities. Lebanon has no such requirement, although aid organizations are increasingly building this into their programs in recognition of how important it is. The United Nations has called for $1.89 billion to support Lebanon in dealing with the refugee crisis in 2014, but has only received $242 million of the total amount. Fifty thousand Palestinian refugees are among those displaced by the fighting in Syria. Most come from around Damascus, including Yarmouk Camp, which endured a long siege. They have settled in overcrowded camps run by UNRWA and are required to renew their permits every nine months at a cost of $300. The renewal cost is more than these families can afford. Meanwhile, in an effort to stem the tide of refugees, Lebanese officials recently imposed stringent new regulations on both Syrians and Palestinians seeking to enter Lebanon. Given the porous nature of the border, however, this is not likely to deter Syrians from seeking a safe haven. The burden on Lebanon will only increase. â?&#x2018; AUGUST 2014

PHOTO COURTESY ANERA

ABOVE LEFT: United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) renovated the Kidney Dialysis Center at Al Hamshary Hospital in southern Lebanon, which provides free kidney dialysis to Palestinian and Syrian refugees and impoverished Lebanese. ABOVE RIGHT: Zakat Foundation of America delivers humanitarian aid inside Syria as well as to refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. (Photo Courtesy Zakat Foundation of America).

American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) distributes hygiene kits and other necessities to refugees in Ein al-Hilweh camp. THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

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Republicans’ Benghazi “Show Trial” Politicizes Tragic Events CongressWatch

By Shirl McArthur

Tparently decided that appointing a

he House Republican leadership ap-

“select committee” to hold yet again more hearings to continue to fault the administration of President Barack Obama over the tragic September 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, will be good politics. Although H.Res. 36, introduced in January 2013 by outgoing Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) calling for a select committee, continues to gain Republican co-sponsors and now has 193, including Wolf, a similar new measure, H.Res. 567, was introduced May 6 by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and passed by the full House two days later by a roll call vote of 232-186. The decision was derided by most of the major media, except for conservative commentators and Fox News, as blatant partisan political grandstanding, since the important questions surrounding the event already have been answered in the numerous previous hearings. Wrote Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson on May 13, “It’s impossible to take seriously a House select committee investigation designed not to unearth relevant new facts but to achieve nakedly political goals: rousing the GOP base for the fall election and sullying Hillary Clinton’s record in case she runs for president.” In appointing the seven Republican members of the committee, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tried to blunt such criticism. “This investigation is about getting answers for the families of the victims and for the American people,” he said. “These members have each demonstrated a commitment to this goal, and I have confidence that they will lead a serious, factbased inquiry.” However, Boehner’s high-sounding words were belied by his choice of Tea Party Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to chair the committee. Gowdy, a combative former Shirl McArthur is a retired U.S. foreign service officer based in the Washington, DC area. 32

prosecutor, made clear in a May 7 interview on MSNBC that he intends to run the hearings as a “show trial,” when he referred to the supposedly objective hearings as a “trial” and the Obama administration as the “defense,” with himself as lead prosecutor. Later, after presumably being spoken to by party elders, Gowdy backtracked on those remarks, but his true intent was already public.

he important questions T surrounding the event already have been answered. The other Republicans named to the committee are Reps. Susan Brooks (IN), Jim Jordan (OH), Mike Pompeo (KS), Martha Roby (AL), Peter Roskam (IL) and Lynn Westmoreland (GA). Although several influential Democrats argued that to participate would only lend legitimacy to what Rep. James Clyburn (DSC) called a “kangaroo court,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on May 21 announced the naming of the five members allowed to the Democrats. She named Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD) to lead the Democrats, with the other members being Reps. Tammy Duckworth (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Adam Schiff (CA) and Adam Smith (WA). Meanwhile, two other Benghazi-related bills were introduced. On May 7 Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), with 23 co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 4599 “to authorize the use of force against those nations, organizations, or persons responsible for the attack against U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya.” Previously, on April 30 Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) introduced H.R. 4530 “to require the secretary of state to offer rewards of up to $5 million for information” regarding the attack. As this columnist pointed out in the January/February Washington Report regarding a similar bill by Sen. Ted Cruz (RTX), this is pointless, because since JanuTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

ary 2013 the State Department has been offering rewards of up to $10 million for such information.

Senate’s U.S.-Israel Partnership Bill Almost Makes Progress As reported in previous issues, on March 5 the full House passed, under “suspension of the rules,” H.R. 938, as amended, the “U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership” bill introduced in March 2013 by leading Israelfirster Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The Senate’s companion bill, S. 462, introduced in March 2013 by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was scheduled to be considered (“marked-up”) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 20. However, just prior to the committee meeting, Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) pulled the bill from the agenda, because he had learned that Ranking committee Republican Bob Corker (R-TN) planned to introduce an amendment related to the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran. Corker’s amendment would require the president to submit to Congress any final agreement reached with Iran within three days, and Congress could then vote on a non-binding “resolution of disapproval.” Menendez pulled the bill because Democrats saw the Corker amendment as a political ploy designed to force committee Democrats to choose between supporting Israel or supporting the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts with Iran. An unnamed “senior administration official” told the Cable in an e-mail that the administration officially opposes the Corker amendment. There already had been considerable resistance to Boxer’s bill because of its provision urging that Israel be included in the visa waiver program, which would water down the key requirement of granting full reciprocity to U.S. citizens by saying that Israel would only have to make “every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all U.S. citizens.” AUGUST 2014


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The State Department has refused to include Israel in the program on several grounds. Israel regularly denies entry to Arab Americans and others thought to be sympathetic to Palestinians, and too many Israelis travel to the U.S. on tourist visas and then stay beyond the permitted time. And, following April and May reports in Roll Call and Newsweek about Israeli spying in the U.S., the Cable reported on May 16 that members of the U.S. intelligence community have briefed members of Congress since February that Israel’s espionage activities in the U.S. rank third, behind only Russia and China—neither of which describes itself as a “strategic partner” of this country—and that admitting Israel into the visa waiver program “would exacerbate the ongoing problem of aggressive Israeli espionage in the U.S.” Boxer reportedly was prepared to modify the visa provision to satisfy some of the objections, but considering the Senate’s agenda between now and the November elections, it is unlikely that the bill, which has 64 co-sponsors including Boxer, will be acted on this year. One new pro-Israel bill was introduced. On April 29 Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) introduced H.R.4519 “to prohibit the U.S. from funding projects that discriminate against Israeli organizations that operate beyond the 1949 armistice line.” He then reintroduced a nearly identical version on May 6 as H.R. 4581. This bill is not about discriminating against Israel, but against Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories. As Americans for Peace Now’s Lara Friedman wrote, it adopts “the [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu approach that settlements and Israel are indistinguishable, and seeking to distinguish between them is therefore a form of discrimination against Israel.”

Predictable Congressional Reaction To Possible Palestinian Reconciliation As might have been expected, the news that Fatah and Hamas had agreed to seek some form of national reconciliation prompted semi-hysterical reactions from some members of Congress. On May 8 the House Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee held a hearing on “The Palestinian Authority, Israel, and the Peace Process,” providing committee members an opportunity for grandstanding against the AUGUST 2014

PA and the peace process in general. In the Senate on April 29, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), with 17 Republican co-sponsors, introduced S. 2265, which would “prohibit any direct U.S. assistance, loan guarantee, or debt relief to the PA or any affiliated governing entity or leadership organization” unless a list of seven conditions has been met, the first of which is “formally recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.” AIPAC (of all lobbies!) objected to the bill, saying that it’s unnecessary because “the law currently on the books is strong and ensures that aid is contingent on key conditions.” Unsaid was the fact that cutting all aid to the Palestinians would have negative ramifications for Israel. Meanwhile, the previously described H.Res. 542, introduced in April by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), has gained only one co-sponsor and now has 10, including Yoho. It would express “the sense of the House of Representatives that U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority should be suspended until Palestinian Authority government resolutions relating to providing a monthly salary to anyone imprisoned in Israel’s prisons as a result of participation in the struggle against Israeli occupation are repealed.” On May 1 Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to publicly state that there will be an immediate cut-off of relevant U.S. aid to the PA “should the unity government it is pursuing fail to comply with the detailed requirements set forth by the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.” The previously described H.R. 4411, introduced in April by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), “to prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions,” has gained strong support and now has 260 co-sponsors, including Meadows. This far-reaching bill is intended to shut down Hezbollah’s global logistics and financial network. Its companion bill in the Senate, S. 2329, was introduced on May 13 by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and now has 33 co-sponsors, including Shaheen. Meanwhile the previously described H.Res. 365, introduced in September by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), urging continued U.S. efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict through a negotiated two-state solution, has gained another co-sponsor and now has 123, including Schakowsky. THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Little Additional Congressional Action Regarding Iran Negotiations Apart from the proposed Corker amendment to the “U.S.-Israel partnership” bill described above, members of Congress were largely silent regarding the ongoing negotiations with Iran. The previously described farreaching and problematic S. 1881, introduced in December by Senators Menendez and Kirk, has finally gained another co-sponsor and now has 60, including Menendez and Kirk. It remains on the Senate calendar and, as recently as early May, Menendez said that he still wants to see action on the bill. Also, on April 7 Menendez and Kirk wrote to Obama claiming that reports indicate that Iran’s oil sales are above the one million barrels per day provided by the “Joint Plan of Action” (the interim agreement with Iran). If this continues, they said, “the U.S. should respond by reinstating the crude oil sanctions.” Several amendments have been proposed to the “National Defense Authorization” bill, H.R. 4435, making its way through Congress that would, effectively, adopt Netanyahu’s position that any final agreement with Iran should address ALL outstanding issues with Iran; otherwise, it’s a bad deal and should be rejected. It remains to be seen how many, if any, of these amendments make it into the final version.

New Bill Introduced to Repeal Post-Sept. 11 Authorization of Force On May 8 Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4608 “to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force” act passed by Congress on Sept. 14, 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC. It has 18 co-sponsors, including Lee. Also, S. 1939, the “War Powers Consultation” bill introduced in January by Sen Tim Kaine (D-VA), still has three co-sponsors, including Kaine. It would repeal the War Powers Resolution of 1973, as amended, replacing it with a consultation process between the legislative and executive branches of government. In the House, H.R. 3852, introduced in January by Lee to “repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,” has gained 6 co-sponsors and now has 29, including Lee. A similar bill, S. 2395, was introduced in the Senate on May 22 by Menendez and three co-sponsors. ❑ 33


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ELECTION WATCH

By Janet McMahon

Conspicuous by His Absence: Who’s Not Getting Money From Pro-Israel PACs from pro-Israel PACs, his words and actions attest to the object of his affections. In May of last year he and his wife visited the self-proclaimed Jewish state with South Dakota Compiled by Hugh Galford State Sen. Stan Adelstein—one of HOUSE: CURRENT RACES SENATE: CURRENT RACES 345 Jewish citizens in the state, according to the Jewish Virtual LiRoyce, Edward R. (R-CA) $43,450 Begich, Mark (D-AK) $58,298 brary, or less than .1 percent of the Engel, Eliot L. (D-NY) 29,000 Udall, Mark E. (D-CO) 53,500 would-be senator’s constituents. That August Rounds attended a Boehner, John A. (R-OH) 28,700 Hagan, Kay R. (D-NC) 51,800 pro-Israel event in New Jersey Deutch, Theodore E. (D-FL) 25,500 Graham, Lindsey O. (R-SC) 45,000 hosted by NORPAC—one of some Hoyer, Steny H. (D-MD) 21,000 Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH) 42,500 two dozen deceptively named proLowey, Nita M. (D-NY) 18,150 Landrieu, Mary L. (D-LA) 42,329 Israel PACs. “His visit reaffirmed Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) 17,500 McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) 41,500 his belief that U.S. aid to Israel and Pelosi, Nancy (D-CA) 16,350 Booker, Cory A. (D-NJ) 35,500 supporting her against hostile naCantor, Eric (R-VA) 15,875 Franken, Al (D-MN) 33,500 tions is critical to our nation’s forMurphy, Patrick (D-FL) 14,500 Coons, Christopher A. (D-DE) 31,000 eign policy,” reported The Jewish Link of Bergen County. “He further House: Career Totals Senate: Career Totals stated that Jerusalem should be officially recognized as the capital of Israel and that the administration Engel, Eliot L. (D-NY) $338,418 Levin, Carl (D-MI) $729,937 should comply with the Jerusalem Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) 291,240 Harkin, Thomas R. (D-IA) 552,950 Embassy Act of 1995 which would Hoyer, Steny H. (D-MD) 288,025 McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) 539,641 relocate the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s Cantor, Eric (R-VA) 240,605 Reid, Harry (D-NV) 394,001 capital.” Lowey, Nita M. (D-NY) 221,388 Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL) 393,921 Weiland has been focusing more Pelosi, Nancy (D-CA) 149,150 Wyden, Ronald L. (D-OR) 349,462 on domestic issues—although some Levin, Sander M. (D-MI) 134,827 Kirk, Mark S. (R-IL) 339,386 clearly have international implicaBoehner, John A. (R-OH) 129,200 Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) 279,044 tions as well. On the back of his Crowley, Joseph (D-NY) 109,457 Landrieu, Mary L. (D-LA) 250,218 business card are the words of a Pallone, Frank, Jr. (D-NJ) 101,050 Rockefeller, John D. IV (D-WV) 235,700 constitutional amendment Weiland vows to introduce on his first day s this magazine has demonstrated Israel contributions. A case in point: in the Senate: “So that the votes of all, since 1986, monitoring the contri- South Dakota, where Democrat Rick Wei- rather than the wealth of the few, shall butions of pro-Israel political action com- land, a former congressional aide and re- direct the course of this Republic, Conmittees (PACs) to House and Senate can- gional director of the Federal Emergency gress shall have the power to limit the didates is critical to identifying which Management Agency, is running a pop- raising and spending of money with remembers of Congress may be working to ulist campaign against former Gov. Mike spect to federal elections.” Could Weiland’s call for campaign fiprotect the interests of a foreign country, Rounds for the seat being vacated by Sen. rather than of their own constituents. Tim Johnson. Weiland, who is in the nance reform explain his lack of support (Perhaps this is the time to bid farewell to midst of a second visit to all of South from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the Senate’s two top career recipients, Dakota’s 311 towns, is campaigning (D-NV) and other members of the Democwho are not running for re-election this against big money, and has received no ratic establishment? year: Carl Levin of Michigan and Iowa’s pro-Israel PAC contributions—and little support from the national Democratic Rewarding Pro-Israel Incumbents Tom Harkin.) Particularly in open seat races, how- Party. Rounds, on the other hand, an- In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader ever, where there is no incumbent, it can nounced his intention to raise a $9 million Mitch McConnell clearly is the favored be equally important to identify the good campaign warchest. (Weiland informed candidate, with $41,500 so far in pro-Isguys and gals who are not receiving pro- supporters in May that the median contri- rael PAC contributions. Indeed, with the bution to his campaign was $9.) departure of Levin and Harkin at the While Rounds has received a relatively end of the year, McConnell is slated to Janet McMahon is managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. modest $7,500 in campaign contributions become the senator with the highest ca-

TOP TEN 2014 AND CAREER RECIPIENTS OF PRO-ISRAEL PAC FUNDS

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reer total in pro-Israel PAC contributions—assuming he is re-elected. There does seem to be some support for his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, half McConnell’s age (and “not an empty dress”), as evidenced by a token $4,000 contribution. McConnell has raised a total of more than $21 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, to Grimes’ $8 million. At the end of May he led her by 7 points in public opinion polls. The situation in Hawaii is a bit more complicated. There, following the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye, Gov. Neil Abercrombie ignored Inouye’s expressed wish that he appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to fill his seat. Instead the governor, a former 10-term congressman himself, appointed Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to complete Inouye’s term. Hanabusa is challenging Schatz in the Aug. 9 primary prior to the Nov. 4 special election to fill out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term. Hawaii being a heavily blue state, the winner of the primary is likely to win the special election. As of mid-June, Schatz had raised twice as much campaign money as Hanabusa: more than $4 million com-

pared to Hanabusa’s $2 million. Pro-Israel PACs have been even more generous to the incumbent, giving Hanabusa a nominal $9,500 vs. $30,700 to Schatz—almost enough to make him one of the top 10 recipients of pro-Israel PAC money for this year’s election. As of mid-May he was leading Hanabusa by 15 points in opinion polls, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat. Unlike South Dakota’s Rick Weiland, Schatz has the enthusiastic support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Civil Beat reported. “That not only opens fund-raiser doors for the senator,” Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report explained, “but it closes fund-raiser doors for Hanabusa, making it more difficult for her to raise money. That is one thing the DSCC can do is tell some of their biggest donors, ‘You need to get involved with Schatz.’” Hawaii’s senior senator, who was sworn in on Dec. 27, 2012, didn’t waste much time in making his support for Israel known. Two months later Schatz joined 16 members of Congress and Israel’s then-Ambassador Michael Oren at an Iron Dome Tribute Luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building. Congress has generously allocated almost $300 million of American

taxpayers’ money to fund Israel’s shortrange missile defense system. “This Jewish kid from the state of Hawaii vows to continue [Inouye’s] legacy of support for Israel,” Schatz said at the Feb. 27, 2013 event, held days before the government sequestration took effect. “My commitment to Israeli security is firmly grounded in public policy and the interests of Israel and the interests of the United States, but it is also a personal one. With the sequester looming and deep defense cuts coming, Congress must act. My colleagues must come together once again and protect funding for critical programs such as this. The resources needed to guarantee American and Israeli security cannot be subject to political partisanship. We as a nation must do what is right and guarantee the security of Israel and the United States of America.” Perhaps Israel’s American-born ambassador put it most succinctly. Declared Oren, “Behind the Iron Dome stands a marble dome: the Capitol of the United States of America.” Ain’t it the truth. Increasingly, however, American voters may want to elect members of Congress who put their own country’s Capitol Dome ahead of a foreign nation’s Iron Dome. ❑

PRO-ISRAEL PAC CONTRIBUTIONS TO 2014 CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES State Alabama Alaska Arizona

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2 3 5 7 11 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 20

Candidate

Byrne, Bradley R. Roby, Martha Aderholt, Robert B. Begich, Mark* Kirkpatrick, Ann Barber, Ronald Grijalva, Raúl M. Salmon, Matt Pastor, Ed L. Franks, Trent Sinema, Kyrsten Pryor, Mark L.* Huffman, Jared Garamendi, John Thompson, Mike Bera, Amerish (Ami) Miller, George Pelosi, Nancy Lee, Barbara Swalwell, Eric M. Costa, Jim Honda, Mike Eshoo, Anna Lofgren, Zoe Farr, Sam

Party R R R D D D D R D R D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D

Status I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I

2013-2014 Contributions 2,500 2,500 2,500 58,298 2,500 3,500 2,500 2,500 1,000 4,600 3,000 27,500 1,000 1,000 1,000 2,650 1,000 16,350 1,000 7,000 3,500 4,000 1,000 1,000 2,000

Career

2,500 5,000 23,000 64,798 9,500 5,500 12,500 9,000 9,800 5,600 3,000 85,500 4,500 12,500 4,500 16,350 14,193 149,150 3,000 21,500 27,000 17,500 7,750 6,250 14,150

Committees

AS AS A(HS) A(FO, HS), C, HS HS

FR A, I AS

A(D), HS B AS I, W FR

Min. Leader A(FO), B HS

A C A

KEY: The “Career Total” column represents the total amount of pro-Israel PAC money received from Jan. 1, 2009 through March 31, 2014. S=Senate, H=House of Representatives. Party affiliation: D=Democrat, R=Republican, DFL=Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Status: C=Challenger, I=Incumbent, N=Not Running, O=Open Seat (no incumbent), P=Defeated in primary election. *=Senate election year, #=House member running for Senate seat, †=Special Election. Committees: A=Appropriations (D=Defense subcommittee, FO=Foreign Operations subcommittee, HS=Homeland Security, NS=National Security subcommittee), AS=Armed Services, B=Budget, C=Commerce, FR=Foreign Relations (NE=Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs subcommittee), HS=Homeland Security, I=Intelligence, IR=International Relations, NS=National Security, W=Ways and Means. “–” indicates money returned by candidate, “0” that all money received was returned. AUGUST 2014

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

35


paccharts_34-38_Pac Charts for August 2014 6/12/14 6:00 PM Page 36

PRO-ISRAEL PAC CONTRIBUTIONS TO 2014 CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES State California

Colorado

Delaware Florida

Georgia

Hawaii Idaho Illinois

Indiana

36

Office District H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H S S H H S H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H S S H H S S H S S S H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H S S H H

23 24 27 28 29 30 31 33 34 36 38 39 41 46 47 52 53 1 2

6 6 9 10 13 13 14 17 18 19 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 4 13 2 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 13 14 17 18 2 4

Candidate

McCarthy, Kevin Capps, Lois G. Chu, Judy Schiff, Adam Cárdenas, Tony Sherman, Brad Aguilar, Pete Waxman, Henry A. Becerra, Xavier Ruiz, Raul Sanchez, Linda Royce, Edward R. Takano, Mark Sanchez, Loretta Lowenthal, Alan Peters, Scott Davis, Susan Udall, Mark E.* Gardner, Cory*# DeGette, Diana L. Polis, Jared Coons, Christopher A.* DeSantis, Ronald D. Stearns, Clifford B. Grayson, Alan M. Demings, Valdez (Val) Jolly, David W.† Sink, Adelaide A. (Alex)† Castor, Kathy Rooney, Tom Murphy, Patrick Radel, Henry J. (Trey), III Deutch, Theodore E. Frankel, Lois J. Wasserman Schultz, Debbie Wilson, Frederica S. Diaz-Balart, Mario Garcia, Jose A. (Joe) Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana Nunn, Mary Michelle* Kingston, John H. (Jack), Sr.*# Johnson, Henry C. (Hank) Scott, David A. Schatz, Brian† Hanabusa, Colleen Wakako†# Gabbard, Tulsi Risch, James E.* Durbin, Richard J.* Kirk, Mark S. Kelly, Robin L. Lipinski, Daniel W. Quigley, Mike Roskam, Peter J. Davis, Danny K. Duckworth, L. Tammy Schakowsky, Janice D. Schneider, Bradley S. Foster, G. William (Bill) Enyart, William L., Jr. Callis, Ann Davis, Rodney L. Hultgren, Randy Bustos, Cheri Schock, Aaron J. Coats, Daniel R. Donnelly, Joseph S. Walorski, Jackie Rokita, Theodore E. (Todd)

Party R D D D D D D D D D D R D D D D D D R D D D R R D D R D D R D R D D D D R D R D R D D D D D R D R D D D R D D D D D D D R R D R R D R R

Status I I I I I I O I I I I I I I I I I I C I I I I N I N I N I I I N I I I I I I I O O I I I C I I I I I I I I I I I I I I C I I I I I I I I

2013-2014 Contributions 5,000 -194 1,000 4,500 6,000 3,000 3,000 5,000 1,000 7,000 3,500 43,450 1,000 2,500 3,000 1,000 1,000 53,500 5,000 3,000 1,000 31,000 1,000 1,500 500 1,000 2,500 5,500 2,500 1,000 14,500 3,000 25,500 6,500 5,500 500 9,500 14,445 17,500 5,000 1,000 2,000 1,000 30,700 9,500 1,000 25,500 18,500 2,000 1,350 500 500 7,000 2,000 1,000 1,500 8,000 4,700 2,500 2,018 800 1,000 2,000 4,000 0 500 4,700 2,000

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Career

Committees

14,000 35,223 C 2,000 85,417 A(FO), I 8,600 B 93,430 FR 5,500 57,932 C 5,000 W 7,000 26,450 W 52,950 FR 6,000 68,950 AS, HS 13,200 FR 1,400 AS 18,163 AS 101,750 AS, I 5,000 C 7,500 C 1,000 50,000 A(FO, HS), B, FR(NE) 1,000 FR(NE) 21,500 8,000 FR(NE) 3,000 2,500 5,500 24,900 B, C 2,000 AS, I 22,000 5,500 83,350 FR(NE) 13,000 FR(NE) 79,800 A(FO) 10,000 63,250 A(FO) 33,445 291,240 FR(NE) 5,000 6,500 A(D, HS) 40,200 AS 14,000 30,700 C 14,500 AS 1,500 FR, HS 39,000 FR(NE), I 393,921 A(D, FO), FR(NE) 339,386 A(FO) 1,350 11,400 2,000 A 28,750 W 12,250 W 18,474 AS 35,645 C, I 10,600 FR(NE) 23,700 2,500 AS 2,018 1,800 3,000 7,000 24,000 W 69,060 A(D, FO, HS), C, I 25,000 AS 4,700 AS, B 6,500 B AUGUST 2014


paccharts_34-38_Pac Charts for August 2014 6/12/14 6:00 PM Page 37

PRO-ISRAEL PAC CONTRIBUTIONS TO 2014 CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES State

Office District

H S H Kansas S H Kentucky S S H H H Louisiana S S H H H H Maine S H Maryland S H H H H Massachusetts S S H H Michigan S S H H H H H Minnesota S H H H H Mississippi S Missouri H H Montana S S S Nebraska S S Nevada S H New Hampshire S S New Jersey S H H H H H H H New Mexico S S H H New York H H H H H H Indiana Iowa

AUGUST 2014

6

2

4

1 3 5 1 2 4 5

1

1 4 5 7 2 7

5 8 9 12 13 2 3 4 5

5 7

1 1 2 6 8 9 11 12 1 3 8 10 11 12 14 16

Candidate

Messer, Allen L. (Luke) Braley, Bruce L.*# Loebsack, David W. Roberts, Pat* Pompeo, Michael R. Grimes, Alison Lundergan* McConnell, Mitch* Whitfield, Edward Yarmuth, John A. Rogers, Harold D. (Hal) Landrieu, Mary L.* Cassidy, William*# Scalise, Steve Richmond, Cedric L. Fleming, John C., Jr. Riser, Hartwell N. (Neil), Jr.† Collins, Susan M.* Pingree, Chellie M. Mikulski, Barbara Harris, Andrew P. Edwards, Donna Fern Hoyer, Steny H. Cummings, Elijah E. Gomez, Gabriel† Markey, Edward J.* McGovern, Jim Capuano, Michael E. Land, Terri Lynn* Peters, Gary*# Kildee, Daniel T. Rogers, Michael J. Levin, Sander M. Dingell, John D. Conyers, John, Jr. Franken, Al* Kline, John P., Jr. Paulsen, Erik McCollum, Betty Ellison, Keith M. Cochran, Thad* Cleaver, Emanuel, II Long, Billy Baucus, Max* Daines, Steven*# Walsh, John E.*† Osborn, Shane* Sasse, Benjamin E.* Reid, Harry Titus, Alice C. (Dina) Ayotte, Kelly A. Shaheen, Jeanne* Booker, Cory A.* Andrews, Robert E. LoBiondo, Frank A. Pallone, Frank, Jr. Sires, Albio Pascrell, William J., Jr. Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. Coleman, Bonnie Watson Udall, Tom* Wilson, Heather A. Lujan Grisham, Michelle Lujan, Ben R. Jeffries, Hakeem Nadler, Jerrold L. Grimm, Michael Maloney, Carolyn B. Crowley, Joseph Engel, Eliot L.

Party

R D D R R D R R D R D R R D R R R D D R D D D R D D D R D D R D D D DFL R R DFL DFL R D R D R D R R D D R D D D R D D D R D D R D D D D R D D D

Status I O I I I C I I I I I C I I I P I I I I I I I O I I I O I I I I N I I I I I I I I I N C I P O I I I I I N I I I I I O I N I I I I I I I I

2013-2014 Contributions 1,000 11,000 2,000 21,300 500 4,000 41,500 2,500 2,000 6,700 42,329 5,000 2,500 3,500 2,000 2,000 25,500 1,000 1,000 2,500 1,000 21,000 2,000 2,500 16,500 2,000 2,000 10,000 8,000 2,000 5,000 1,000 1,000 2,000 33,500 4,500 3,500 1,000 1,000 1,000 2,000 5,000 10,000 3,500 2,500 5,000 11,500 1,000 2,500 1,000 42,500 35,500 5,000 2,000 12,500 10,000 2,000 1,000 4,000 24,500 -2,000 1,000 2,000 2,100 2,500 2,000 1,000 300 29,000

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Career

1,000 28,000 18,000 72,300 500 4,000 539,641 8,000 17,500 22,700 250,218 20,000 33,000 6,000 14,000 2,000 138,500 6,676 214,099 8,500 10,500 288,025 24,500 2,500 28,750 12,575 8,000 10,000 46,500 29,500 11,000 134,827 18,700 7,000 39,180 27,500 18,000 9,750 6,500 22,000 15,000 12,500 362,648 3,500 2,500 5,000 11,500 394,001 16,600 17,500 84,600 35,500 112,025 32,750 101,050 11,000 17,853 13,350 4,000 66,000 49,750 2,000 2,000 22,400 32,500 2,000 30,970 109,457 338,418

Committees B, FR(NE) AS

C, I

A(D, FO) C B, C A A(FO, HS), HS C C HS AS A(D), I A A(D, FO), I A

Min. Whip C

C, I W C AS W A

A(D, HS)

C

HS C A(D), Maj. Ldr. AS, B, HS A(FO), FR C

AS, I C FR B, W A(D, HS) B C B W C, FR 37


paccharts_34-38_Pac Charts for August 2014 6/12/14 6:00 PM Page 38

PRO-ISRAEL PAC CONTRIBUTIONS TO 2014 CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES State

Office District

H H H H H H H H North Carolina S H H H H H H Ohio H H H Oklahoma S S Oregon S S H H H Pennsylvania H H H H Rhode Island S H H South Carolina S S H H South Dakota S H Tennessee S H H Texas S S H H H H H H H Vermont S H Virginia S H H H H Washington H H H H Wisconsin H H Wyoming S New York

17 18 18 19 20 23 23 24

2 3 4 5 11 1 8 11 14

1 3 4 8 13 13 14 1 2

1 1

At-L. 5 9

12 13 23 25 30 33 35

At-L. 2 6 7 10 5 6 7 9 1 8

Candidate

Lowey, Nita M. Hayworth, Nan Maloney, Sean P. Eldridge, Sean Tonko, Paul D. Reed, Thomas W., II Robertson, Martha Maffei, Daniel B. Hagan, Kay R.* Ellmers, Renee Jacisin Jones, Walter B. Price, David E. Foxx, Virginia Ann Shuler, Joseph H. (Heath) Chabot, Steve Boehner, John A. Fudge, Marcia L. Joyce, David P. Inhofe, James M.* Lankford, James P.*# Merkley, Jeffrey A.* Wyden, Ronald L. Bonamici, Suzanne Blumenauer, Earl DeFazio, Peter A. Fitzpatrick, Michael G. Margolies-Mezvinsky, Marjorie Schwartz, Allyson Y. Doyle, Mike Reed, Jack F.* Cicilline, David N. Langevin, James R. Graham, Lindsey O.* Scott, Timothy E.â&#x20AC; Colbert Busch, Elizabeth Sanford, Marshall C. (Mark), Jr. Rounds, Marion M. (Mike)* Noem, Kristi Lynn Alexander, Lamar* Cooper, James H.S. Cohen, Stephen Ira Cornyn, John* Cruz, Rafael E. (Ted) Granger, Kay Thornberry, Mac Gallego, Pete Williams, Roger Johnson, Eddie Bernice Veasey, Marc A. Doggett, Lloyd MacGovern, John Welch, Peter Warner, Mark R.* Rigell, Edward S. (Scott) Goodlatte, Robert W. Cantor, Eric Wasinger, Robert K. McMorris Rodgers, Cathy Kilmer, Derek McDermott, James Smith, D. Adam Ryan, Paul D. Ribble, Reid J. Enzi, Michael B.*

Party D R D D D R D D D R R D R D R R D R R R D D D D D R D D D D D D R R D R R R R D D R R R R D R D D D R D D R R R R R D D D R R R

Status I C I C I I C I I I I I I N I I I I I C I I I I I I P N I I I I I I P I O I I I I I I I I I I I I I N I I I I P P I I I I I I I

2013-2014 Contributions 18,150 -7,000 3,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 51,800 3,000 2,500 2,000 2,000 4,000 10,000 28,700 6,700 2,500 2,000 5,000 10,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 5,000 2,000 1,500 1,000 17,000 3,000 6,000 45,000 18,100 2,000 750 7,500 2,000 13,500 1,000 2,000 9,000 2,500 12,500 2,500 1,000 500 2,000 4,100 1,000 1,000 2,000 11,500 2,000 1,000 15,875 1,000 2,500 1,000 1,000 4,600 1,850 1,000 22,000

2013-14 Total Contributions: Total Contributions (1978-2014): Total No. of Recipients (1978-2014): 38

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Career

221,388 -4,000 8,000 1,000 6,000 2,000 1,000 24,500 59,800 3,000 2,500 62,827 7,000 13,250 30,000 129,200 9,700 3,500 130,800 5,000 31,600 349,462 8,000 10,000 12,600 25,000 27,190 66,650 6,000 175,850 31,000 39,000 107,500 22,100 2,000 750 7,500 5,000 21,500 31,250 28,500 76,480 18,500 34,000 2,500 1,000 500 4,500 5,100 6,500 1,000 11,000 53,000 4,500 5,500 240,605 1,000 3,850 6,000 7,000 30,925 23,600 2,000 48,250

Committees A(FO)

C W

AS AS C AS A(HS)

FR(NE) House Spkr.

A AS B A, B B, I

B, W B, W C A(D), AS B, FR AS, I A(FO), AS, B C HS

AS A(D) AS AS, C A(D, FO) AS, I AS B

AS W

C B, C, I AS, B

Maj. Leader

C AS B, W AS B, W B B, HS

1,499,721 56,244,153 2,442 AUGUST 2014


brothers_39_Canada Calling 6/12/14 7:59 PM Page 39

Listing of IRFAN-Canada as “Terrorist” Bans Aid to Palestinians CanadaCalling

By Karin Brothers “Israel’s enemies are our enemies.”—Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada rime Minister Stephen Harper’s gov-

charities and NGOs into its conservative agenda in the past by aligning its own charitable contributions (formerly through the Canadian International Development Agency, or CIDA, which the Harper administration folded into its Department of Foreign Affairs) with Canadian business interests, and by withdrawing funding from NGOs (such as the nondenominational Christian KAIROS) that represented the broader public interest. The recent labeling of IRFAN-Canada—the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy— as “terrorist,” however, brought this to another level, as it effectively bans Canadian humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza and at the same time threatens legal representation for those accused of terrorism in Canada. IRFAN-Canada has been a respected registered charity that, from its founding in 1998, has distributed food and humanitarian aid to various sites around the world, including to Palestinians in the West Bank and—of particular interest to the Canadian government—to Gaza. IRFAN’s charitable status has been challenged since 2004 by what were seen to be politically driven accusations by Conservative party leaders supportive of Israel. In 2004, Conservative MP Stockwell Day charged that IRFAN was a front for Hamas; after an investigation, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), which oversees charities, found the accusation groundless. After Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian election, the Conservative government had the CRA again try to find any relationship between IRFAN and the Hamas government. After a sizeable expenditure of money and energy, the CRA came up with some possibilities, including IRFAN’s donation of a dialysis unit to a Gaza hospital and ongoing support to orphans through the Gaza post office. Since Hamas had taken office, both the post office and the Karin Brothers is a free-lance writer based in Toronto. AUGUST 2014

MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Pernment brought public funding of

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (l) shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper during a welcome ceremony in Jerusalem, Jan. 19, 2014. Netanyahu hailed Harper, on his first official visit to Israel, as a “great friend” of the Jewish state. hospital had come under the new government, so both contributions could then be said to have gone through Hamas. The CRA also claims that IRFAN funded a group that provided food packages and aid to the Palestinian Ministry of Health under the Hamas government. This apparently refers to the Gaza charity Ard El Insan, a partner of the Save the Children Foundation, which dealt with a food importer accused by Israel “of providing funding to terrorist groups.” Significantly, Fatah, which harassed Hamas charities, showed no enmity toward IRFAN-Canada, which worked through both Palestinian governments. According to post-9/11 Canadian laws, donations to groups that are subsequently listed as “terrorist” can be retroactively criminalized, so donations made in good faith to non-”terrorist” organizations could still be considered as criminal if a government chooses to pursue a donor years after what had been a legal donation. In 2011, the CRA withdrew the charitable status of IRFAN, which then filed an appeal. Days before IRFAN’s appeal was to be heard this May, “Public Safety Canada” THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

declared IRFAN a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code, alleging that between 2005 and 2009, IRFAN funneled $14.6 million to the Hamas government. The CRA made its underlying political agenda clear by characterizing material found at an IRFAN office raided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as “demonizing Israel.” Gazans are victims of what all observers describe as a humanitarian catastrophe and what legal experts are calling genocide: Israel is intentionally and illegally depriving the almost 2 million inhabitants of access to adequate food, water and medical care. Stopping vital humanitarian aid to Gazans makes Canada complicit in the genocide, morally if not legally. The legal implications to the CRA charge are also significant. IRFAN-Canada’s lawyer is personally threatened because in that capacity he is now providing support to a named terrorist entity, and could presumably be charged under “anti-terrorism” laws. The situation threatens the rights of Canadians to access legal counsel under such circumstances, thereby subverting judicial due process in Canada. Continued on page 41 39


gee_40-41_Islam and the Near East in the Far East 6/12/14 8:01 PM Page 40

Attacks Draw Attention to Xinjiang Unrest

Islam and the Near East in theFar East

GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By John Gee

Paramilitary police stand guard with their armored personnel carrier as residents of Urumqi, in China’s Xinjiang region, go about their daily routines, May 24, 2014. he Xinjiang region is far removed from economic powerhouses of Shanghai, Guangdong and the capital, Beijing, so it does not attract much attention from the outside world. Briefly, in 2009, it did. On July 5 of that year, riots broke out in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, days after two Uighurs were killed in a fight in a southeast China town. Some 200 people were killed in the communal strife (see Sept./Oct. 2009 Washington Report, p. 28). Now two violent incidents far from Xinjiang have again thrust the issue before the eyes of the world, and it seems likely to remain there. Last Oct. 28, a car crashed into a crowd in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and exploded. Two tourists, the Uighur driver and two passengers were killed. It was not so much the number of casualties as where the attack took place that most disturbed the Chinese leadership: in the historic heart of the city, near the center of government, and hence one of the most wellguarded places in the whole of China. Perhaps three attackers came in the car be-

TChina’s

John Gee is a free-lance journalist based in Singapore, and the author of Unequal Conflict: The Palestinians and Israel. 40

cause a vehicle with only one person in it might have raised suspicions among security personnel earlier. On March 1, a Saturday, eight Uighurs, reported to have been led by a woman, drew knives and started to attack people in a crowd at the railway station in Kunming, in Yunnan province in southern China. They killed 29 of them and wounded 143. This terrorist attack struck at ordinary citizens, with no influence over national policy, in a city far removed from the main centers of state power. Four of the assailants were captured, including one who was wounded, and four were shot dead by a SWAT team member 10 minutes into the attack. Both attacks were clearly planned, but did not show a high level of technical sophistication or suggest easy access to weaponry: the explosion at Tiananmen was small, and the Kunming attack, though alarming in its brutality, would have been far more devastating if the terrorists had come with firearms or bombs. This is significant in the light of official Chinese determination to pin the blame for the unrest in Xinjiang on separatists based abroad and linked to foreign terrorist networks. THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

There have been a series of bloody incidents in Xinjiang itself in recent years. The most devastating so far occurred on May 22 in Urumqi itself, where 31 people were killed and 94 injured when two cars loaded with explosives plowed into a busy vegetable market. In November 2013, the Chinese media reported that there had been 190 terrorist attacks “in the name of jihad” in Xinjiang in 2012. China generally blames the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), founded in 1997, though it is unclear just how far the separatist movement exerts centralized control over militants within Xinjiang, or even whether it has a strong presence at all. Eventually, the Chinese government ascribed all the recent major attacks, including the Tiananmen and Kunming ones, to ETIM. (At press time, the government had made no statement concerning the alleged perpetrators of the May 22 attack.) After attacks in 2011 with guns and explosives that cost 20 lives in the city of Kashgar, at the western extremity of the Chinese portion of the ancient Silk Road, Beijing said that those involved were linked to ETIM and had been trained in overseas camps. The camps were said to be in Pakistan, a country with which China has had friendly relations since the beginning of the 1950s: Pakistan was one of the first states to recognize the People’s Republic of China and has received considerable economic and military aid over the decades. This claim against a friendly state was taken at the time as a sign of how seriously China took the separatist threat and its foreign connections. In April 2012, when details of six alleged militants were posted as “wanted” on the Ministry of Public Security website, they were said to have spent time in “a certain South Asian country,” which was assumed to be Pakistan. Last July the Chinese media carried stories about around 100 Uighur activists who were in Turkey crossing into Syria and fighting within the Islamist opposition forces against the Assad regime. The Global Times said that some had returned to Xinjiang to fight there. A young ETIM member called Maimati Aili, who had taken part in the Syrian conflict, was reported to have been arrested in China. AUGUST 2014


gee_40-41_Islam and the Near East in the Far East 6/12/14 8:01 PM Page 41

What the Chinese leadership refuses to acknowledge is that Uighur discontent in Xinjiang might be based on real grievances about conditions there, as asserted by the World Uighur Congress. Xinjiang is an Autonomous Region of China, originally established in recognition that the majority of its population were a â&#x20AC;&#x153;national minorityâ&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;in this case, Uighurs. However, the proportion of Uighurs in the population has now dropped to 45 percent as a result of migration into the region by Han Chinese, who now make up 40 percent of Xinjiangâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residents. While the feeling that their national and religious identity is under threat is probably the main basis for Uighur discontent, matters are not helped by the sense that the Han Chinese take the best jobs in Xinjiang, and that, like most of the rest of the interior of China, they have lagged behind the industrial east coast regions in benefiting from the expansion of the Chinese economy in the past 30 years. Now China reportedly is attempting to quash the unrest in Xinjiang with steppedup military and police activity, investment and a â&#x20AC;&#x153;hearts and mindsâ&#x20AC;? campaign. However, in a speech on Xinjiang delivered by (Advertisement)

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President Xi Jinping on May 30 that asserted the correctness of the Communist Partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strategy for Xinjiang, there was an implication that some approaches might be changed: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Meanwhile, we should update our policies according to Xinjiangâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current situations.â&#x20AC;? The violence of recent years has had a certain impact on Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perception of its place in the world. Unlike at the time of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., China now feels itself to be a target of terrorism and talks a similar language to Washington when it comes to those it sees as posing a terrorist threat and to those who give them support and training facilities.

Bruneiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Introduction of Syariah Law Under Fire Bruneiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an unusual place, to be sure. Facing the South China Sea to its north, and surrounded in other directions by the Malaysian state of Sarawak, it is a small state of 417,000 people ruled by a sultan and is very wealthy indeed. Its wealth comes from its oil, which has provided citizens with a comfortable living and its rulers with the means to establish a sovereign fund. The Brunei Investment Agency has bought into properties and companies abroad, the latter including the Dorchester Collection, a chain that manages luxury hotels such as the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. These hotels have been targeted in a boycott campaign following the adoption of syariah (as shariah is spelt in Malayspeaking countries) law by the Muslimmajority state. Under Syariah Penal Code Order 2013, extreme penalties are to be imposed for a series of offences, including stoning for adultery, rape and sodomy, and the amputation of hands for theft. NonMuslims not only are forbidden to encourage Muslims to convert to their own religion, but are banned from seeking to convert anyone of a different religion to any other faith except Islam, and they are also prohibited from using the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;Allahâ&#x20AC;? to refer to God. After some citizens went on social media to criticize the decision, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah used his national day address on Feb. 23 to warn them that their objections were themselves a violation of syariah law. The new law was introduced by royal decree: the state is an absolute monarchy. The move was condemned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose spokesman, Rupert Colville, said that introducing the death penalty for THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

a wide range of offenses contravenes international law. Brunei has not executed anyone since 1957. Since the U.S. reinstituted the death penalty in 1977, it has executed 1,379 people. â?&#x2018;

Canada Callingâ&#x20AC;Ś Continued from page 39

Ironically, while effectively banning the provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians struggling to survive, the Canadian government explicitly allows contributions to Canadian charities supporting Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illegal settlements, despite the fact that they are funding what might be called statesponsored terrorism and violations not only of international humanitarian law but of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s official foreign policy and its contractual legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. At the heart of this problem is the definition of â&#x20AC;&#x153;terrorism,â&#x20AC;? which warrants public discussion: should any democratically elected government have the right to apply that term to other democratically elected political parties and their members, by virtue of that affiliation? â?&#x2018; (Advertisement)

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 41


twair_42-43_Southern California Chronicle 6/12/14 8:40 AM Page 42

KinderUSA Focuses on Fine Food of Gaza at Annual Pre-Ramadan Fund-Raiser By Pat and Samir Twair

STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR

and olive oil and announced it would be on sale to benefit KinderUSA’s Ramadan fund. Abunimah read a section from his new book that emphasized Israel’s deliberate intention of making Gaza dependent on the Jewish nation for all its food sources as a result of its three-week bombing missions in 2008 to 2009. “By declaring war on Gaza’s chickens, Israel defeated the people,” he said, noting that when he visited the coastal enclave after Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead,” there were no chicken farms left. When he viewed Gaza markets, Abunimah recalled, he saw only eggs and chickens imported from Israel. The same KinderUSA foodies (l-r) Laila Al Marayati, Laila el-Had- held true for dairy products, dad, Noor and Youssef. flour and even canned tomatoes. Israel bombed Gaza’s last ood for Thought” was the double- standing mill—a deed, he emphasized, edged theme of KinderUSA’s annual guided by U.S. satellite intelligence. By pre-Ramadan fund-raising dinner, which banning cans in its embargo of goods alco-starred Laila el-Haddad, author of The lowed into Gaza, Israel prevents the resiGaza Kitchen, and Ali Abunimah, editor- dents from canning fruits and vegetables. Life is tough for the Gazans, the writer founder of the online newsletter Electronic Intifada, whose newest book is The Battle observed, but the feeling of being isolated for Justice in Palestine. The two authors from the outside world eats at them. Yet it’s signed their books (both available from the their resilience, their creativity in overAET Bookstore) following the April 19 coming obstacles—such as the once- thrivprogram—which, appropriately, took ing tunnel trade in goods from Egypt— place in the trendy Eden Garden Grill in that makes Abunimah wonder what they could invent if they were free of restricPasadena’s Old Town restaurant row. After a buffet dinner of Palestinian cui- tions imposed by Israel. “Holding 1.8 million people in an outsine, the 250-plus guests observed Haddad, assisted by her daughter, Noor, and son, door prison is the new normal,” he continYoussef, prepare Dagga, a Gazan salsa, ued, “so let’s de-normalize that mindset. which she says is the spicy centerpiece for Gaza refuses to be deleted.” Raising chickall Gaza feasts. While her children pounded ens, for example, is an act of resistance to and ground garlic cloves, chili peppers, Israel’s war on Gaza’s chickens. Israel also has declared war on Gaza’s chopped tomatoes and dill, Haddad went through the preparation of the dish as she olive trees and wheat fields, Abunimah had on Anthony Bourdain’s Gaza segment pointed out. In northern Gaza near the Isof his CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” She raeli border, the olive trees were destroyed capped off her Dagga recipe by adding salt because the Israelis claimed shooters hid in them. Likewise, Israeli tanks bulldoze Pat and Samir Twair are free-lance journal- wheat fields or set them on fire during harvest time, Abunimah charged. His own ists based in Los Angeles.

“F

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Southern California Chronicle

parents belong to the Nakba generation that is fast disappearing, he said, and it’s time they see justice. KinderUSA chairperson Dr. Laila AlMarayati announced a $165,000 goal to provide Ramadan food baskets with live chickens for needy families in Gaza, the West Bank and Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. It was pointed out 85 percent of Gaza’s population is food insecure and that by 2020, the region will be deemed unlivable because Israel has destroyed the sewage disposal system.

“Arab Labor” Reviewed A screening and panel discussion of the hit Israeli sitcom “Arab Labor” (Avoda Aravit) was presented May 4 by the Levantine Cultural Center and KCETLink TV in Harmony Gold Theater. Created by Sayed Kashua, an Israeli-born Palestinian, “Arab Labor” has been a runaway favorite of Israeli TV audiences since it first aired in 2008. Only a satirist with the unique sensitivities of Kashua (who writes in Hebrew and has authored three critically acclaimed books on being “the other” in Israel) could show the fallibilities of Arabs and Jews and succeed in making both sides see the humor of it all. The show centers on Amjad, a Palestinian-Israeli journalist in Jerusalem who doesn’t want to “pass” as a Jew but to fit into the majority society. Just as did the actual sitcom, controversy preceded the May 4 event, with Arab supporters objecting that it reinforces stereotypes of Palestinians as greedy, backward and hostile. But more reasonable voices prevailed that the series enables Jewish viewers to see Palestinians as humans coping with everyday problems. Although Palestinians make up 20 percent of the Israeli population, before “Arab Labor” they were allotted only 2 percent of national TV screen time. The show sets a precedent in having a nearly all-Arab cast. Another milestone was for Palestinian actors to speak in Arabic on a primetime Israeli show. The star, Amjad (Norman Issa), is married to Bushra (Clara Khoury), while his Jewish co-worker Meir (Mariano Idelman) is attracted to Palestinian-Israeli attorney AUGUST 2014


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it in 15 film festivals. The only Amal (Mira Awad). The show’s way to effect change is to spread first episode was screened May 4 truth,” stated the veteran cinalong with episode eight, which emaphotographer. “It’s Better to deals with Israel’s Remembrance Jump” is available from the AET Day, observed by Palestinians as Bookstore or on Facebook at the date of their Nakba (cata<www. strophe). facebook.com/ItsBettertoJump>. Panelists for the discussion One of Anthony Bourdain’s were “Arab Labor” actress most popular CNN “Parts UnKhoury, Dr. Yigal Arens, deputy known” episodes is “Jerusalem,” director of USC’s Information Inwhich focuses on Israel, the stitute, and Arab comedian Aron West Bank and Gaza. In the oneKader. Levantine Cultural Center hour presentation Bourdain atfounder and director Jordan Eltempted to pinpoint the comgrably was the moderator. monalities Jews and Palestinians Elgrably began the discussion share—especially their food. by asking Khoury how she feels Although he was not on hand about the sitcom, which has to accept MPAC’s “Voices of completed its fourth season with Courage and Conscience” Media 28 well-received episodes under Award because he was filming its belt. “I think it’s helped to abroad on location, Bourdain exmake the Israeli audience feel pressed his appreciation in a precloser,” she replied. “Israeli Jews recorded video message in tend to view Palestinians as which he praised his Palestinian workers—plumbers, carpenters, hosts as a warm, hospitable peobuilders, drivers—they don’t ple who “have been robbed of know our story, now they’re their humanity.” hearing it.” Growing up in Haifa, Legendary actor Mike Farrell, she went on to say, she had to who narrated the documentary excel as a student to prove she “Valentino’s Ghost,” presented was as competent as a Jew. “I felt MPAC’s award to director-writer the same as Native Americans or blacks must in the U.S.” TOP (l-r): “Arab Labor” panel moderator Jordan Elgrably, Michael Singh and producer Kader agreed that Israeli Jews and panelists Clara Khoury, Dr. Yigal Arens and Aron Kader. Catherine Jordan. Unconscious see Amjad as a regular guy try- ABOVE (l-r) Recipients of the MPAC Media Award for “It’s racism is driving our culture and ing to cope with the absurdities Better to Jump” Patrick and Mouna Stewart and Gena An- our policies, stated Farrell, who said Singh’s narrative illustrates of life as he goes about driving to gelone, with MPAC’s Salam Al Maryati. how Muslims (as depicted by work and being stopped by soldiers questioning his presence on look at movie-making were what the Mus- Rudolf Valentino’s sheikh in 1920s movies) Jerusalem streets. “It’s the first step in the lim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) deemed once were viewed as heroes, but today deright direction. It’s pushing the envelope exemplary positive portrayals in 2013 of serve to be shot as terrorists. In accepting the award, Singh noted his to try to stage a comedy in Jerusalem,” he what it is to be Muslim. More than 500 declared. guests gathered May 18 at the Long Beach gratitude, inasmuch as his film’s message It is a challenge as well to write about Hilton Hotel for MPAC’s 23rd Entertainment had disqualified it from being shown at so stereotypes dealing with a minority that Media Awards gala honoring the creators of much as a single film festival. The most unique recipient was Kamala are accepted by the majority, Professor significant images of the Islamic way of life. Arens observed. ”The majority of Jewish The Trailblazer Award went to the inde- Khan—“Ms. Marvel”—the first AmericanIsraelis have never seen Arabs like this. pendent documentary film “It’s Better to Muslim teenage comic book heroine, creEven Amjad’s Jewish bosses who see them- Jump” for giving a voice to Palestinian ated by Sana Amanat for Marvel Comics in selves as liberals, prove not to be as liberal families living under the fear of expulsion 2013. Commented Stephen Wacker, Marvel as they think.” from their millennial homeland in Akka, Comics vice president of current animaBeginning in May the series will be Israel. Accepting the award were executive tion: “Comic books aren’t honored that shown in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. Tuesdays co-producers Patrick and Mouna Stewart often, but thanks to MPAC, I had to buy a on KCET and at 8 p.m. Sundays on and Gina M. Angelone. Visibly moved, suit for this occasion.” Not to worry, he KCETLink. For more information visit Patrick stated that after being in the MPAC quipped, he’d return the suit the next day <www.kcet.org/shows/arablabor>. audience for 22 years, it was thrilling to be to Banana Republic. The final recipient was two-time Oscar an honoree and that their film project has MPAC Entertainment Awards nominee and Golden Globe winner Hany been their passion for years. “We had no production company behind Abu-Assad for his feature film, “Omar,” A comic book superheroine, a documentary on an ancient city trying to preserve its her- us, we used our savings to make the film, the first movie production financed solely itage, an international food show, a film which entailed five trips to Akka from Los by Palestinians. Accepting with him was about star-crossed lovers, and an historical Angeles, and in this past year, we’ve shown producer and actor Waleed Zuaiter. ❑ AUGUST 2014

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Spring Festival of Cultures at Berkeley’s International House Draws Large Crowd

Northern California Chronicle

STAFF PHOTOS PHIL PASQUINI

By Elaine Pasquini

Indonesian dancers (l) perform and young Indonesian musicians (above) play angklungs, bamboo musical instruments, at the Spring Festival of Cultures. pring Fest: the annual Edith Coliver

at Berkeley’s International House. Rooted in furthering intercultural respect, tolerance and understanding, the daylong event featured displays and culinary delights from countries around the globe. Among the entertainment highlights was the performance by Indonesian teens on the angklung, a musical instrument constructed of two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved to have a resonant pitch when struck. There are various sizes of angklungs and each produces a different pitch. Playing alone, a musician can produce only one pitch, but an ensemble can make melodies and harmonies, as did the young group seated on the I-House auditorium stage. Dressed in colorful costumes, Indonesian dancers also entertained the crowd, gracefully executing traditional works reflecting the country’s diversity of ethnicities and cultures. The Yore Folk Ensemble performed zeybek dances from the western, central and southern Anatolia regions of Turkey. The San Francisco-based group was formed in 2005 to teach the basics of Turkish ethnic dances from different regions of Turkey. Having formed a strong base of dancers and an audience of all ethnic backgrounds, Yore has evolved into an institution that supports a variety of cultural activities from Turkey. Many Bay Area consulates participated in the Spring Fest, including those representElaine Pasquini is a free-lance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. 44

STAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

SFestival of Cultures was held April 12

Dancers of the Yore Folk Ensemble perform zeybek dances from the western, central and southern Anatolia regions of Turkey. ing Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the Philippines and Ukraine. From their booth in the main hall, Grandmothers Against the War distributed flyers urging attendees to contact President Obama and congresspersons demanding that all U.S. troops in Afghanistan be brought home now and that the U.S. not create a new Cold War with Russia, but instead practice diplomacy rather than saber-rattling.

Yemeni Film and Arts Festival The Yemen Peace Project presented the first international Yemeni Film and Arts THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Festival at the University of California at Berkeley on April 19. “Our project uses films, photographs and other arts to forward our mission of fostering understanding between Yemenis and Americans,” Yemen Peace Project executive director William Picard told the audience. “We find that the arts are a very special and unique way to do this because they transcend the barriers between cultures and geography. In Yemen there are very few outlets for artists, filmmakers and photographers, and through this festival we not only expose international audiences to Yemeni film and art, but we also legitimize the work of Yemeni artists inside their own country.” The festival screened 11 short films, ranging in length from 3 to 37 minutes and covering a diverse array of topics. “Days in the Heart of the Revolution: Hudaydah,” one installment in a series of short documentaries by Yemeni activist and filmmaker Ammar Basha, focused on the tragic struggles facing fishing communities on the country’s Red Sea coast. “Socotra: H’er wa Imshin (Once and Today)” by Felisa Jimenez explored the island of Socotra. Often called the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean due to its unique flora and fauna, the island is politically part of Yemen, but culturally and linguistically distinct. The film examined the lives and cultures of local herders and fishermen and the social and cultural forces that are reshaping life on the island today. The five-minute short “The Big House” by Musa Syeed told the tale of a young AUGUST 2014


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Photographs on display at the Yemeni Film and Arts Festival included Alex K. Potter’s portrait (l) of the father of Samir Naji Hassan Muqbil, who has been held in Guantanamo since 2002 without a trial. He is still held in conditional detention, meaning he is cleared for release as long as the situation in Yemen is considered stable, but President Obama has not signed his order for release. Also on display was Yusra Ahmad’s photograph “Natural Correlation” (r). boy who, upon finding a key to an empty mansion, explores the house and lets his imagination run wild. Sara Ishaq’s Academy Award nominee “Karama Has No Walls” related the events of March 18, 2011, the day 53 people were killed and hundreds injured while protesting against Yemen’s government led by then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Through the lenses of two cameramen and the accounts of witnesses, Ishaq starkly documented the horrifying events as they unfolded on the day known as the Friday of Karama (dignity), considered the turning point of the country’s revolution. The free event was sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Anthropology.

and lotus flowers—for holding towels, clothing or perfume were located behind the baths’ seats. Armrests were also designed in a dolphin shape. Furnaces and boilers used for heating water were situated beneath the baths. A unique “treasure” they discovered, he enthused, was a large jar containing 360 bronze coins— some displaying two eagles, others with the head of Zeus dating to the reign of Ptolemy III (246-222 BCE). In a large passageway leading from the baths, they also found terra cotta figurines, glass bracelets and amulets. Rooms dating to 350 BCE used as private baths for the wealthy were also unearthed.

Dr. Salah El Masekh Ahmed, a Luxorbased Egyptologist with the Supreme Council of Antiquities, spoke April 13 to the Northern California Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt. The afternoon lecture and visual presentation was held on the University of California at Berkeley campus. In extensive excavations between the Nile River and the first pylon at Luxor’s Karnak Temple, an archeological team led by El Masekh uncovered a port, a Late Ptolemaic Period and Early Roman Period settlement, and Ptolemaic and Roman baths. His team also unearthed a large embankment wall in front of the temple that was built to protect it from flooding of the Nile, the archaeologist told his audience. The wall was part of a 3,000meter structure extending from Karnak AUGUST 2014

ABOVE: Dr. Salah El Masekh Ahmed; RIGHT: Jars from the Late Ptolemaic Period discovered in excavations in front of Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt.

STAFF PHOTOS E. PASQUINI

Karnak Excavations

Temple to Luxor Temple. A staircase leading from the embankment to the temple was also discovered, along with boats and waterwheels dating back to the Roman occupation beginning in 30 BCE. The discovery of two large circular granite baths was an exciting find for his team, El Masekh recalled. The rooms were built for 16 people and were an ancient version of a modern bar or café in which men would meet and conduct business. Niches—adorned with mosaic dolphins THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

At one point the archaeologists visited Rome to view ancient baths very similar to the ones uncovered in their excavations at the Karnak Temple. El Masekh and his team conducted the excavations between 2006 and 2013, but the project is not completed. “Unfortunately,” he lamented, “due to the current political situation in Egypt we presently have no funding to continue.” ❑ 45


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Journalist Amira Hass Describes “Palestinian Strengths” at Columbia University By Jane Adas

STAFF PHOTO J. ADAS

confidence: “In spite of all difficulties,” she explained, “people know how to live and are here to stay.” The difficulties to which she referred are the sophisticated, ruthless Israeli occupation, under which Palestinians live in constant fear of some new law, military order, or humiliation. Israel, Hass continued, excels at bureaucratic cruelty whereby, for example, permits require master plans, but Israel issues master plans only to settlers, not to Palestinians. She gave examples of everyday, subtle dispossession: • Acca (Acre, Akko), most of whose residents fled in 1948 and were replaced by Palestinian refugees. The new Israeli government claimed ownership of the buildings in the Old City and prevented any repairs. In the late 1970s, Israel began a process of gentrification that included turning two of the oldest khans (inns) into a fancy hotel complex. They removed 60 families from one khan, but then UNESCO adopted the second khan as a world heritage site. The families united, went to court, and won. However, the plan still exists and even with a legal victory, the families still live in fear. • Burin, a village south of Nablus, where a Palestinian named Bruce Lee (after the martial arts actor) and his wife built a home on their own property and under daily threat from settlers in a nearby outpost. Two years ago settlers attacked in daylight and shot Bruce Lee in the foot, arm and hip. This time the attack was filmed. Nevertheless, as in hundreds of such cases, the file was closed two months ago because “the perpetrators were not found.” Some 150,000 Palestinians, Hass added, live under constant fear of settler violence. • Gaza. Beyond the siege and the lack of electricity and water, Hass pointed out that Gazans who work in Amman are not allowed to visit the West Bank. Imagine, she suggested, that you are from Philadelphia, work in New York, and cannot go to New Jersey.

Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass. efore Haaretz correspondent Amira

BHass spoke at Columbia University on April 9, she requested that the introduction not be one of flowery exaggeration. Agreeing to restrain himself, Prof. Rashid Khalidi introduced her simply as “the best journalist writing in Palestine.” Hass’ talk on “Palestinian Strengths,” the first collaboration of Columbia’s School of Journalism with the Center for Palestine Studies, took place in a room filled beyond capacity. She began by saying that such friendly circumstances gave her the opportunity to present in a different, non-journalistic way. Hass has lived among Palestinians for more than 20 years, first in Gaza and now in Ramallah. When she is asked why, which is often, she responds that she is a typical Jew who prefers to live in the diaspora. She knows the terrain well. She described the old stone houses in every Palestinian village built “by people who did not envision war or expulsion,” as “memorials to Palestinian life.” Hass compared the stone houses to new construction, confined to cities like Ramallah because of Israeli restrictions on movement—the glass and metal highrises built quickly, with little concern for aesthetics and after so much Israeli bombing. Hass views both styles as testimonies of Jane Adas is a free-lance writer based in the New York City metropolitan area. 46

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

New York City and Tri-StateNews “How can they bear it?” Hass asked. She is not uncritical of Palestinian society—for instance, gender disparities, prejudices, and weak leadership. But she views sumud as a Palestinian strength: resilience not only to endure, but even to love life. Hass described sumud as a tangible reality characteristic of the entire people. She recalled being in Gaza a few days after Israel’s Cast Lead assault, where there were already weddings and music. Hass tried to account for Palestinians’ resilience and will to live. They are self-critical and sober about their leaders, she said, even if they can’t read about them in the press because official democratic channels are paralyzed. Palestinians have an “oral democracy” where internal criticism goes up the ladder, which Hass considers crucial for social change. Palestinians are much more advanced in this than Israeli society, she added. Palestinians have a sense of collectivity that transcends class and political beliefs. This, she said, explains their sense of caution about the use of arms after the failed militarization of the second intifada. They have a “surprising sense of restraint,” given the enormity and duration of Israeli oppression. Revenge has been quite limited, not because of fear, but because of a collective confidence that injustice cannot last forever. Palestinians have a sense of rootedness and belonging that Israel cannot eradicate. And they have been willing to live together with Israelis. In Hass’ opinion, one of Israel’s biggest mistakes has been to interpret this generosity as a weakness. Palestinians often ask Hass the same question: “Tell me, Amira, don’t Israelis think about their grandchildren?” She described this as a compassionate question that tells so much about Palestinians—and one to which she has no answer.

Rashid Khalidi on the U.S. Invasion of Iraq and Its Aftermath Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and the author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (available from the AET Bookstore). He was the final speaker April 10 in a yearlong Princeton University series entitled “Reckoning with Iraq: Ten AUGUST 2014


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The evening featured two young dance Years Later.” He discussed the impact of troops: the Shabab Al Aqsa Debke Group America’s invasion of Iraq on U.S. foreign and the Fitzpatrick School of Irish Dance. policy, within Iraq, and on the region. Guests were amazed at how similar the The war’s bitter outcome replaced the moves of Palestinian Debke are to Irish step Vietnam syndrome with the Iraq syndancing. The Irish dancers dedicated their drome, which Khalidi described as Ameriperformance as a gift to the children of can reluctance to resort to military interPalestine. vention based on dubious grounds, and inAdam Shapiro, co-founder of the Intertense fatigue with the trillions of dollars alnational Solidarity Movement and docuready spent in Afghanistan and Iraq. mentary filmmaker, gave the keynote Within Iraq, the de-Ba’athification prospeech. He noted personal points of congram dismantled the entire modern state tact with the benefit evening. His son, structure in a way, according to Khalidi, Diyaar, was born a year ago in Makassed that de-Nazification never aimed to do in Hospital. However, Shapiro, who is Jewish, post-war Germany. American meddling dewas not able to be there because Israel has volved power in Iraq to regional sectarbanned him from entering the ian/ethnic groups. This has led to a country. (See “Diyaar: Ensuring smoldering civil war in which the Right to Return,” by Shapiro never fewer than 500 and someand his wife, Huwaida Arraf, times up to 2,000 Iraqis have died June/July 2013 Washington Reevery month since August 2003. As port, p. 17.) When he was not able for the Bush/Cheney rationale of to get a human rights job in the bringing democracy to Iraq, KhaU.S. because of his work on Paleslidi contends that the U.S. has tartine, Shapiro got one in Ireland nished the very concept. There is with Front Line Defenders. The now increased autocracy, while auIrish government is supportive of thentic democrats shudder at any Palestinian rights and is at the association with the U.S. The curforefront in Europe of the boycott rent government in Baghdad rates of settlement products. Shapiro last out of 177 nations in transquipped that you can talk to Irish parency. politicians about the boycott and Khalidi sees an important “parathey don’t call security. Unlike U.S. doxical result” in an Iran strengthened by America’s destruction of its TOP: Prof. Rashid Khalidi. ABOVE: Adam Shapiro and his organizations, Irish charities can promote humanitarian projects two nemeses: the Taliban in son, Diyaar. while remaining active in solidarAfghanistan, and Iraq. This is ironic, he noted, considering that Bush/Cheney as- ian concessions to appease Israel, or could ity with Palestinian civil society through sumed that after a quick success in Iraq, the force Israel to make concessions once the championing the BDS (boycott, divestdecision would be whether to turn left to- “existential threat” from Iran has disap- ment, sanctions) movement. Shapiro has lately been working with ward Damascus or right toward Tehran. For peared. In the long term, Khalidi foresees 35 years, since the revolution and hostage cri- no regional stability without improved re- Palestinian refugees, who are today “at their most precarious situation since 1948.” sis, Iranian internal politics have been shaped lations between Iran and the U.S. Refugees in Syria used to be relatively well by U.S. encirclement and efforts to effect off, but these days, when food is used as a regime change. Therefore, according to Kha- Adam Shapiro Discusses Ireland, lidi, what may be the most important, albeit Palestinian Refugees at PCRF Benefit weapon against a civilian population, many indirect, result of the “Iraq syndrome” is a The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) of them have gone to Lebanon, where they warming of U.S.-Iranian relations. held a benefit dinner in New Jersey on historically have not been well treated. In While viewing the nuclear negotiations April 26 to raise funds for a Pediatric Car- Egypt, where UNRWA has no presence, he as a major breakthrough, Khalidi cautioned diology Unit at the European Hospital in has tried unsuccessfully to get Palestinians that there are spoilers who oppose any deal Khan Younis, Gaza, and to celebrate the from Syria registered as refugees with the with Iran: ideological hard-liners within completion of a similar unit in Beit Jala, UNHCR. Moreover, the current regime uses Iran who benefit from the status quo, Israel West Bank. Dr. Ra’id Abdulla, president of Palestinians to taint anyone opposed to miland its congressional supporters, Saudi and the International Palestinian Cardiac Relief itary rule. There is important work to do inGulf allies with economic interests in oil, Organization, the consulting arm of PCRF, side Palestine, but also on the outside. PCRF, defense and aerospace. But if the negotia- explained that doctors who volunteer their he observed, is one of the few organizations tions succeed, Khalidi maintains there is a time and skill on missions to Palestine not that help all Palestinians, wherever they are, possibility of reshaping power in the Mid- only treat patients—as many as 40 a day— and show that even some Americans care. Shapiro described the Palestine cause as dle East in ways difficult to predict. An but also train local medical staff. An earlier agreement could improve chances of a com- project, the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive remarkable, even though devastating to promise solution in Syria, provided Israel Care Unit in East Jerusalem’s Makassed experience, because all support is based on and jihadis refrain from sabotage. It could Hospital, no longer needs PCRF’s help be- hope. “We have patience, dignity, commulead to the U.S. demanding more Palestin- cause they now have Palestinian surgeons. Continued on page 49 AUGUST 2014

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Presidents Council Rejection of J Street Generates Strong Backlash Among U.S. Jews Israel andJudaism

THOMAS COEX/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Allan C. Brownfeld

Right-wing American-born Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer (second from left), former speechwriter and chief aide to Prime Minister Binyamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu, receives the Champion of His People Award at the World Jewish Values Network second annual gala dinner in New York, May 28, 2014. In 2007 Dermer said Jerusalem Post reporter Larry Derfner was “mistaken in calling Bibi a bigot. He is only a Zionist.” he Conference of Presidents of Major

TAmerican Jewish Organizations voted

by a wide margin at the end of April to deny membership to J Street, an increasingly influential group which often challenges Israeli government policy, particularly with regard to its occupation of the West Bank. Based in Washington, DC, J Street was formed six years ago as a counterpoint to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has steadfastly supported Israel’s right-wing government and its reluctance to move toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, said the vote sent a “terrible message” to those who have concerns over aspects of Israeli policy. “This is what has been wrong with the conversation in the Jewish community,” he said. “People whose views don’t fit with those running longtime organizations are not welcome, Allan C. Brownfeld is a syndicated columnist and associate editor of the Lincoln Review, a journal published by the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism. 48

and this is sad proof of that. It sends the worst possible signal to young Jews who want to be connected to the Jewish community, but also want to have freedom of thought and expression.” There is every indication that J Street, not the Presidents Conference or AIPAC, is more representative of American Jewish opinion. A poll conducted last year by the Pew Research Center found that a plurality of American Jews did not believe the Israeli government was making a sincere effort to reach a peace settlement. The backlash over the rejection of J Street provides additional evidence of how unrepresentative the Presidents Conference is of American Jewish opinion. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, declared that the rejection of J Street “made clear what many have known, but not said publicly. That the Conference of Presidents is captive of a large number of small organizations that do not represent the diversity of views in our community....the Conference...as currently constituted and governed no longer serves its vital purpose of providing a collective voice for the entire American Jewish pro-Israel community.” Prof. Theodore Sasson of Middlebury THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

College, who is also senior research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, notes that the vote on J Street’s membership came “in the context of broader efforts by right-wing activists and donors to limit who can speak about Israel in Jewish communal settings. Their targets have included federations, Jewish community centers, Hillel organizations and synagogues...A vote against J Street would be widely viewed as evidence that the Jewish establishment has joined in the crackdown on dissent.” In its own statement, J Street stated: “We are especially disappointed that a minority of the farthest right-wing organizations within the Conference has chosen to close the Conference’s doors to this emerging generation of inspiring and passionate young leaders. In the long run, it does a grave disservice to the American Jewish community to drive some of our brightest young people away and to tell them that there is no place for them in an evershrinking communal tent where the conversation on Israel’s future is limited.” In Washington, where AIPAC and the Presidents Conference have long wielded political clout because they presented themselves as representing the views of the American Jewish community, the realization seems to be growing that these groups really speak only for themselves. A March survey of Washington political insiders reveals that AIPAC is losing steam, opening the doors for more moderate Middle East voices to get a chance at influencing U.S. policy. The poll was conducted by Zogby Analytics for Avaaz, an online activist organization that is critical of AIPAC and supports Jewish peace groups. According to Avaaz official Ian Bassin, the poll “shows a growing number of the Washington establishment see a damaging, partisan lobby on the decline.” The poll quizzed Capitol Hill staff members, NGO and think tank leaders, journalists and government officials. Zogby found that 31 percent said AIPAC has more influence than it should, 27 percent said it was “just the right amount,” and only 8 percent said it has less influence than it should have. Some 33 percent had no opinion. More insiders thought AIPAC’s influence is falling rather than rising. AUGUST 2014


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The survey found that of those expressing an opinion, three times as many believe that AIPAC has more influence than it should—a possible indicator, writes Paul Bedard in the March 6 Washington Examiner, “that Washington may be tiring of decades of hard-line U.S. negotiating tactics on behalf of Israel...The group’s influence has been questioned...especially after it got in a tussle with Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic Party.” According to the Examiner, “About 45 percent said they have at least once seen a member of Congress take a position on an issue that was not in the public interest because of AIPAC’s influence. More than 50 percent of those expressing an opinion agreed with the statement, ‘AIPAC is the NRA of U.S. Middle East policy.’ The poll also found evidence of a perception of AIPAC’s political bias, with respondents seeing it aligned with the GOP more than Democrats by a 2-1 margin.” The realization that there is great diversity in American Jewish opinion is growing. In its Feb. 14 religion column by Mark Oppenheimer, The New York Times highlights a group of men and women it describes as “devoted to Jewish observance, but at odds with Israel.” One person Oppenheimer profiles is Stefan Krieger, who teaches law at Hofstra University. He refrains from work on the Sabbath, keeps kosher, and studies pages of the Talmud every day. When it comes to Israel, he recalls that, “My parents were very sensitive to the issue of Palestinians. My mom had a book called They Are Human Too, and my memory is she would take it off the bookshelf, as if this was some sort of scandalous tract she was showing me, and show me pictures of Palestinians in refugee camps.”

IndextoAdvertisers Alalusi Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 American Friends of Birzeit University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover Folk Art Mavens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Kinder USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Mashrabiya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Mr. FizzGiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover Zakat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 AUGUST 2014

Krieger, who supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, will not rise in synagogue for the traditional prayer for the state of Israel. “I think nationalism and religion together are toxic,” he said. “I was worried it would destroy some relationships. I don’t think it has yet.” Corey Robin, a regular at a Conservative synagogue in Brooklyn, writes a blog about his opposition to Israeli policy. “There are lots of ways to be Jewish, but worshiping a heavily militarized state seems like a bit of a comedown from our past.” Adds the professor of political science at Brooklyn College: “I love being Jewish. I just don’t love the state of Israel.” “Skepticism toward Zionism used to be common,” Oppenheimer points out. “Before World War II, Reform Jews tended to believe that they had found a home in the United States, and that Zionism could be seen as a form of dual loyalty. Orthodox Jews generally believed, theologically, that a state of Israel would have to wait for the Messiah’s arrival (a view some ultra-Orthodox Jews still hold). In the 1930s and ’40s, the persecution of European Jews turned many American Jews into Zionists...When Hillel was founded it took a clear nonZionist position, said Noam Planko, who teaches Jewish history at the University of Washington. ‘What you see is a shift in the American spectrum: from non-Zionism with a few Zionists, to a situation by the 1960s, where the assumption is that any American Jewish organization is also going to be clearly Zionist.’” As the 21st century proceeds, Oppenheimer says, that assumption is more and more open to question. The retreat from Zionism among American Jews is growing—as evidenced by the widespread opposition to censorship within Hillel, to the backlash against the Presidents Conference rejection of J Street, to polling data which indicates growing alienation from the idea of Israel as “central” to Jewish life on the part of younger people. And more and more prominent individuals who once identified themselves with Zionism are rethinking their position. David Rothkopf, the editor of Foreign Policy magazine, grew up in a Zionist family in New Jersey and has been a long-time supporter of Israel. As a student at Columbia University, his roommate was Michael Oren, who later abandoned his U.S. citizenship and became Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Late in 2013, Rothkopf visited Israel for the first time. Now, in a public exchange of letters with Oren, he expresses the view that as a religious and garrison state, Israel has “passed its sell-by date.” Writes Rothkopf: “I find the response of Zionism [to modern historical challenges] THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

to be exactly the wrong one...Reflex was my first instinct for supporting Israel. But it is not sustainable if you have a truly Jewish mind—a mind linked to a tradition of ‘struggling’ with even the Highest Power. Ideas and beliefs have to be tested against a reality. Today there are other safe places for Jews in the world, notably America. Today there are other ways for Jews to live and be true to their traditions that don’t involve the harsher realities of a garrison state.” Now, Rothkopf openly declares, “Israel’s needs should not have a greater claim on outcomes...than those of Palestinians.... History is the story of the human catastrophe that results when states promote religious ends or use religious criteria to guide their governance.…It is exclusionary. It is about finding a way to achieve cultural and ethnic ‘purity.’ It is an idea that should be more anathema to Jews, given our history, than to any other group.” AIPAC and the Presidents Conference may claim to represent American Jewish opinion. All of the available evidence, however, points to a far different conclusion. ❑

New York City… Continued from page 47

nity, and believe we can make changes.” Shapiro hopes conditions will be so improved, that when his son Diyaar is an adult he will not believe things were so bad, and that he will be proud to say, “I live in Palestine.” ❑ (Advertisement)

Buy A Better Soda Maker & Fight Occupation $34.95 Proudly Made Outside the Occupied Territories For more information visit: <www.fizzgiz.com> or e-mail: MrFizz@FizzGiz.com 49


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PHOTO COURTESY ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE

in the bazaar, giving away magazines and talking to potential subscribers. Arab Americans Give Back to their Shoppers found the latest Communities books, fashions, T-shirts, foods, and information on Arab-American organizations around the how to give responsibly country took part in the 10th annual Naduring Ramadan and tional Arab American Service Day on Satthroughout the year. urday, May 17. Organized each year by the Nearly 1,200 people atNational Network of Arab American Comtended a sold-out, first munities (NNAAC), the event brings Arab Americans together for a day of giving National Arab American Service Day volunteers at a Fort ever, all-day ICNA conference in Anaheim, CA, on back to their communities. Totten neighborhood farm project in Washington, DC. June 5. In addition to the This year there were 24 service projects From May 24 to 26, 20,000 Muslim main session, 1-877-WhyIslam organized a nationwide, including an Arab American Institute partnership with the Neighbor- Americans filled Baltimore’s huge conven- Spanish session which drew in, for the first hood Farm Initiative (NFI) in Washington, tion center, listening to a hundred schol- time, dozens of people from Mexico. It was DC. Two shifts of volunteers prepared a ars, speakers and activists from across the a valuable networking opportunity for the community garden for planting—weeding, United States talk about the fundamental region’s Spanish-speaking Muslim commumulching and digging holes in a farm in principles of Islam—including how Mus- nity. Qari Youssef Egdouch entertained the the Fort Totten neighborhood, where resi- lims can make this world a better place dents learn to grow their own fresh, local through faith, submission and service. audience with Islamic songs, and the Musproduce. NFI donates its entire harvest to Speakers addressed life’s challenges, in- lim Hip Hop singer Karim Evans and his the local Fort Totten community and orga- cluding aging, addiction, stress, legal en- group sang their popular numbers. The trapment, agent provocateurs and civil New York comedy duo True Story ASA nizations, such as Thrive DC. Arab-American volunteers enjoyed the rights. They also discussed building elec- also performed for the first time in Califor—Delinda C. Hanley beautiful spring weather as they got in- toral strength and Muslim unity, as well as nia. serving local communities and fighting volved by helping the local community. Ahmadiyya Walk for Humanity —Muna Howard hunger. The convention featured a separate More than 200 American Muslim youths Youth Conference, which attracted a mas- walked the halls of Congress on May 30, Muslim American Activism sive audience, many of whom attended a visiting nearly 50 congressional offices and Career Fair, as well as programs for chil- offering to partner the fight against hunger 39th ICNA-MAS Annual Convention dren of every age. The ICNA Sisters’ Wing back in their home districts. Before setting After nine years in Hartford, CT, the Is- organized special women-only programs off on a “Walk for Humanity” on the Nalamic Circle of North America-Muslim for their members, including a workshop tional Mall to raise awareness and funds American Society (ICNA-MAS) moved its on finding female empowerment in Islam. for organizations helping to fight hunger, annual Memorial Day weekend convention A matchmaking session provided opportu- Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association to the Baltimore Convention Center near nities for participants to meet potential (AMYA) held a press conference at the Rayburn House Office Building. the city’s scenic Inner Harbor. “We like to suitors. After a spoken word and poetry session Zeshan Hamid from Long Island told this change locations every three or four years,” explained ICNA president Naeem on Sunday, Kuwaiti-born Palestinian stand- reporter that he and other Ahmadiyya Baig. This provides the opportunity for up comedian Mohammed Amer took to the youths have helped in soup kitchens, food people from different areas to participate stage. In Kuwait, Amer’s family was rich, pantries, blood and clothing drives, and and benefit from the program, and enjoy but they lost everything during the Gulf collected more than $200,000 to help feed war, when most Palestinians were ex- the hungry, because service to others is so the experience. pelled. Moving to Hous- important in their faith. Sometimes Muston was a serious jolt— lims look at the needy in other nations and and grist for many jokes. ignore hunger in their own country, Having gone to a private Hamid added. “Working at the grassroots British school in Kuwait, in our own neighborhoods is humbling,” “where I wore a bowtie he said. Helping others also builds relaand vest,” he recalled, tionships, Hamid admitted. “I don’t blame Amer found himself in Americans who listen to the news and mis“freaking ghettoville.” understand Islam. Every faith has bad peoAnd, unfortunately, still in ple. When people actually meet Muslims a bowtie. “I got punched they get a better idea.” in the stomach on the first Ahmadiyya Muslims started arriving in day,” he said. America in 1920 and became officially esThe Washington Report tablished in the United States in 1939, HarShoppers pass by the Washington Report’s booth at the on Middle East Affairs ris Zafar, AMYA’s national spokesperson Islamic Circle of North America’s bazaar. joined nearly 300 venders told reporters, “and now there are 15,000.” STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY

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Music & Arts Leila Buck’s Play “In the Crossing”

STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY

Busboys and Poets presented a free staged reading of “In the Crossing,” written by Leila Buck and directed by Shana Gold, on

Lebanese relatives, who unlike their Israeli attackers had no bomb shelters or weapons? Should they flee the country along with other Americans? The dismayed couple watched the world, and most notably their own nation, do nothing to stop Israel’s attacks on

STAFF PHOTO D. SPRUSANSKY

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) who was facing a primary challenge by attorney Ro Khanna for his Silicon Valley seat, took time out to speak to the group. “Your support for the needy reflects well on your teachings and parents,” the congressman said. You are looking to share with others rather than thinking about what you can take, Honda added. “You’re the perfect definition of an American citizen,” he concluded. “You will never allow the hungry to go without food. You will never allow the elderly to choose between food and medicine....Continue to be present, to be seen and heard....Everyone in this country is able to practice their faith without facing judgment, fear or anxiety. Everyone is protected by our Constitution.” After “talking the talk,” the AMYA members walked on the National Mall in a public display of its Muslim Youth Against Hunger campaign. —Delinda C. Hanley

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Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) addresses Ahmadiyya youths.

“In the Crossing,” featuring (l-r) Kathryn Kates, Leila Buck, Adam Abel and Sara Buffamanti, examines tense family relations as a result of Arab-Israeli-American politics.

May 12 at the Mead Theater at Studio Theater in Washington, DC. Buck’s play focuses on a storyline that hit home for many in the audience—made up of former diplomats (her father, Steve Buck, was in the Foreign Service) and others who have spent time in Lebanon. The theater was also filled with federal workers, activists and supporters of Busboys and Poets owner and former DC mayoral candidate Andy Shallal, who is Iraqi-American. Many in the audience face their own challenges with family and friends as they balance politics, religion, race and ethnicity in Diplomatic Doings their daily lives. Lebanese-American writer/performer Buck was introducing her Jewish-American husband, Adam, to her mother’s family in Lebanon when Israel launched its 2006 bombing campaign. The couple were torn as they endured relentless sounds and shudders from bombs and explosions in Beirut, in the midst of typically Lebanese Participants in the annual Passport DC Embassy Walk line up savoir-faire family reoutside the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, DC on May 3. The unions and lunIraqi Embassy, along with 75 other embassies (including cheons. Should they Bahrain, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey), opened its doors stay and face the danfor the Around the World Embassy Tour to share food, music and other aspects of its culture with the public. ger with Buck’s AUGUST 2014

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Lebanon. How did the Lebanese feel about having Adam Abel, Leila’s husband—who plays himself—in their homes when other Jews are dropping bombs stamped MADE IN AMERICA and making their lives hell? It is clear that Leila and Adam were easily embraced and accepted by both family members and other Lebanese they met. Like so many others in the Middle East, the Lebanese clearly differentiate between their warm feelings for individuals and exasperation with governments. The play actually takes place several years later, as Adam’s well-meaning Zionist-leaning Aunt Joan, played by Kathryn Kates, asks the couple to share their experiences at an intercultural event. Noura, Buck’s Lebanese cousin, played by Sara Buffamanti, drops in, carrying her suitcase, newly arrived for a visit, and interjects her own point of view. Soon “In the Crossing” is exploring family relationships and dangerous politics back home and discovering what can happen when conscientious and loving Americans choose to cross boundaries inside the United States. Buck’s play gives Americans an opportunity to listen to rarely heard voices. It also makes audience members feel a bit better about some of the “Crossings” many of us have faced, returning from a lifechanging trip abroad and being asked, “So how was your summer?” and realizing that the answer is very complicated... Buck’s first play, “ISite,” toured internationally for more than 10 years. She has 51


San Francisco Artists Use Art, Rap to Raise Funds for Arab American Youths A packed house portended a successful art show/musical fund-raiser for Arab Youth Organizing (AYO), a branch of San Francisco’s Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) on May 30 at The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics. “Our Roots as Our Might: Palestinian Visuals” featured the art of Palestinian-American artist Chris Gazaleh. The audience enjoyed his beautifully intricate pen-and-ink drawings, featuring Palestinian and Arab themes, and the gazelles from which Gazaleh’s name derives. Visit his Web site, <http://gazalehart.com>, to see photos of his murals, taking their place among San Francisco’s justly famed public art. By mixing Arab culture and American street art, Gazaleh provides a new medium to defeat negative stereotypes and encourage paths of cultural resistance, according to his website. In addition to the wonderful visual art, the AYO fund-raiser featured the music of Palestinian American artist Excentrik (Chris’ brother Tarik) and Lebanese-American Naima Shalhoub, as well as AudioPharmacy musicians. The duo performed some moving ballads by Shalhoub, including a haunting song called “Borderlands.” Then Excentrik debuted an emotional spoken word solo, written in a United Nations tent in Palestine in 2002, just after an Israeli soldier shot him in the leg with a rubber bullet. The piece concluded, “...and thus with the sound of a rubber-coated round, my life became truthward bound.” 52

Excentrik (l) and Naima Shalhoub perform a ballad at a San Francisco fund-raiser for Arab Youth Organizing. As neither AYO nor AROC receives any institutional funding, the money raised at the show will help the groups continue their organizing and educational projects. Specifically, funds raised at the art show will support an education project in San Francisco high schools to address the lack of teaching and knowledge of the Arab world and the Palestinian plight. —Sara Powell

Arab America Hosts “Ya Hal Arab! A Call for Unity” More than 850 people attended Arab America’s sold-out event at the WaterfordSpringfield Banquet Facility in Springfield, VA on May 11. “Ya Hal Arab! A Call for Unity” featured Mohammed Assaf, Palestinian superstar winner of 2013’s “Arab Idol,” and Lebanese vocalist Ziad Khoury.

Other important entertainers, including emcee Darik Kristofer from CBS 94.7 Fresh FM, spoke at the event. Kristofer, who is originally Palestinian, described his dedication to learn more about his heritage, as well as his admiration for Arab America. Arab America president Warren David expressed his organization’s aim to dissolve negative images of Arabs portrayed in the media, and to unite all Arab Americans, no matter their religion or ethnicity, under one common identity. David articulated his determination to restore Palestine: “We hope tonight’s event, symbolized through our spirit of unity, will bring peace and justice and human dignity to our Palestinian brothers and sisters.” As the event fell on Mother’s Day, flowers, a symbol of love and respect, were given to each mother as Dr. Amal David, director of community relations at Arab America, read a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish dedicated to mothers. Khoury opened the performance with renditions of popular and folkloric music from Lebanon. Then Mohammed Assaf took the stage, premiering selections from his newly released CD, as well as favorite Arab and Palestinian musical selections. His new hit “Ya Halali Ya Mali” further shows his commitment to his culture. The music video was filmed in Bourj el-Barajneh, a refugee camp in Lebanon established in 1948 to shelter Palestinian refugees fleeing their homes in present-day northern Israel. Festive chants and dances by the Arab community who attended the event further revealed the atmosphere of joy and celebration, as well as everyone’s call for unity in the Arab-American community. —Mitra Moin

PHOTO COURTESY RAY'S PHOTOGRAPHY

also performed and conducted workshops on storytelling and drama for cross-cultural engagement around the world. Predictably, this eye-opening, important play is proving to be a hard sell in theaters. Buck also played Samya, a Palestinian in love with injured Israeli veteran Giora, in the controversial play, “The Admission,” Andy Shallal’s first Busboys and Poets production, also at the Mead Theater (see June/July 2014 Washington Report, p. 22). It’s impossible to ignore the other half of this power couple: Adam Abel, a New York artist whose nine-channel video installation, “Palestine Interrupted,” recently travelled to the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, and whose incredible documentary film “Qalqilya, Where Palestinians are Learning How to Fly” is in post-production (view the trailer at <www.qalqilyathefilm.com>). Like Leila’s play, Abel’s film will be an important must-see experience. —Delinda C. Hanley

STAFF PHOTO S. POWELL

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“Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf performs at Arab America’s “Ya Hal Arab! A Call for Unity.” THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

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Mercado BDS Posters Targeted Mercado La Paloma, near the University of Southern California campus, is a trendy multicultural phenomenon that attracts foodies, shoppers and progressive types wanting to sample exotic cuisine, unique handicrafts and textiles, or the latest in Los Angeles folk art or exhibitions, many of which explore newsmaking topics. In keeping with this tradition, the Mercado hosted an exhibition entitled “Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism.” The walls of the Mercado, which is as big as a football field, easily accommodated the 60 posters from 20 significant boycott movements, including the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, the United Farmworkers boycott and the South African apartheid protests. The exhibit opened May 5 amidst diners at tables eating Mexican, Thai, Ethiopian and Middle Eastern dishes. No one commented on nine posters dealing with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel which were not prominently displayed. That is, until May 29, when the nine BDS posters went missing. Six were damaged and found in a trash can. Three were stolen. Curator Carol Wells, director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), reframed the six retrieved posters and was instructed by Mercado management to hang them on a central wall with a plaque explaining their purpose and the attempt to destroy them. The Palestinian call for BDS, as the plaque explains, began in July 2005, when the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s apartheid wall built on Palestinian land in the West Bank is illegal. Initially endorsed by 170 Palestinian organizations, BDS follows the South African example to defeat the occupation of their land and the humiliating treatment of the Palestinian people. A May 30 program scheduled by the exhibition sponsors, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and CSPG, was attended by a record audience, with speakers Dalit Baum of the San Francisco AFSC, Pomona College art professor Sheila Pinkel and James Waterhouse of the Citizens Climate Lobby. Wells, who has assembled a collection of more than 80,000 political posters, also gave a May 31 walkthrough tour of the boycott posters exhibit, which ends June 29 at the Mercado. The Mercado, located at 3655 S. Grand Ave., should be a destination for visitors to Los Angeles. In August it will sponsor an exhibition on the culture and foods of the Yucatan. —Pat McDonnell Twair

physicians’ delegation to the West Bank and Gaza and discovered “the voices we don’t hear on National Public Radio or The New York Times.” Her mother, Sylvia Rothchild, had written a book called Voices from the Holocaust, and Alice said she was struck by the shared human commonalities she heard in Palestine. As she spoke with Arabs she began to understand “pieces of the puzzle,” and soon started actively searching for and listening to voices she had never heard for her book Broken Promises, Broken Dreams. A filmmaker followed her journey, which continued back in the United States, as Boycott exhibit curator Carol Wells with six restored she talked to Palestinian AmerBDS posters. icans. The stories, captured in “Voices Across the Divide,” are “Voices Across the Divide” dramatic. Tahir Mansouri, one of the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church spon- dozen interviewees in the film, is from Alsored a May 15 screening of the powerful Qubab, one of the 500 villages Israel comdocumentary “Voices Across the Divide,” pletely destroyed in 1948. Mansouri exfollowed by a lively discussion with direc- plains to Rothchild that “Al Nakba meant tor and producer Alice Rothchild at the a loss of our home, our country and a refBethesda Women’s Center in Maryland. erence for the future.” Many of the Palestinians who share their Rothchild’s film is an oral history which explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stories say they believed they would return in two weeks. Yamila Shannan, a young through rarely heard personal stories. Introducing the filmmaker, Kay Halpern Palestinian born in Colombia, described said she first discovered Rothchild’s com- her parents’ ongoing trauma: “My father pelling book, Broken Promises, Broken did not know how to deal with losing his Dreams, in the Holocaust Museum in country,” Shannan said. Terry Ahwal deWashington, DC. Intrigued, she discovered scribed her own Nakba in 1967, when she Rothchild is a “mother, physician, activist, was 10 in 1967: “It was a transformation op-ed writer, blogger and now filmmaker, from childhood to hell.” The adults were as well as a writer. She’s a Jewish woman panicking, she said. Nobody knew where who takes to heart the core of Judaism, their family members were and there was which is we should always remember what no communication. Everyone was listening to the radio and to bombs. it’s like to be ‘the other.’” Diana Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian Rothchild said she was born in 1948, the same year that Israel was founded. She was lawyer, told her uncle’s story. On Purim in raised in a small town as a practicing Jew, 1965, Buttu’s uncle, just a child at the time, whose family made 14 “pilgrimages to Is- was run over and killed by a drunken Israel.” Her goal was to tikkum olam, He- raeli. “He was not even charged with a brew for “heal the world.” In the ‘60s she minor traffic offense. [My father] realized protested the Vietnam War and soon be- he would never be an equal in his homecame more political, as she learned of land,” so he emigrated to Canada. Buttu, like many of the interviewees in “things you don’t hear about in Hebrew school.” In 1997, as the Boston Jewish the film, remains optimistic, believing U.S. community celebrated the 50th anniver- moral and financial support cannot go on sary of Israel’s independence, she gathered for much longer. “People’s eyes are beginthe courage, along with other “progressive ning to open to what Israel is doing,” Buttu unhappy Jews,” to organize a Jewish-Pales- remarked. Change is necessary—and inevitable. tinian peace forum, and a regular dialogue “We must respect that Jews and Palestinigroup was born. In 2003 Rothchild participated in a ans are equal human beings, and that our

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of works on paper and a film that was on view May 8 to June 22 at the Levantine Cultural Center. A May 8 reception opened the Los Angeles showing of the collection curated by Jennifer Heath and Dagmar Painter for the Jerusalem Fund Gallery (see September 2013 Washington Report, pp. 38 and 39). The exhibit will travel through 2018. —Samir Twair

Launch of NooshTube App

STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR

STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY

Jerusalem Fund curator Dagmar Alice Rothchild answers questions after the screening Painter hosted the launch of “yummy diplomacy,” a venture of “Voices Across the Divide.” to join foodies and storytellers, futures are inextricably intertwined,” restaurants and suppliers, at a Palestine Rothchild said. Jews were victimized by Center event on Saturday, May 3. Creator anti-Semitism, which culminated in the Pooya Rezai, his business partners Sherean Nazi Holocaust—which “is part of our Azarmi, Richard Johnson core identity,” Rothchild told the audience. and their team demon“Al Nakba is the same. But for the Pales- strated how their new application tinians, the problem is that this has never mobile been resolved.…There has never been an “NooshTube” will help opportunity to have closure on their “foodiepeneurs” create a culinary network reachtrauma,” Rothchild told the audience. The Washington Report highly recom- ing from Palestine mends this film. Palestinians tell their sto- throughout the diaspora, ries eloquently, accompanied by excellent connecting individuals historical film footage, without subtitles or from all cultural backdistractions. Rothchild said she made this grounds to celebrate film “to do restorative justice, and make it Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines visible...We must educate the world.” This is the ideal teaching tool for the and culture. People will classroom, house of worship, community be able to share personal or simply sharing with friends. For more stories, artwork, recipes information visit <www.voicesacrossthe and cross-cultural expedivide.com> or purchase a copy from the riences though narratives of cuisine on NooshTube. AET Bookstore. Johnson, a long-time developer, advo—Mitra Moin and Delinda Hanley cate and author of the Open Source com“The Map is Not the Territory” munity, is helping turn this mobile app Exhibit at Levantine Cultural Center into a reality. People may disagree politi“The Map is Not the Territory: Parallel cally, but we all have the obligation to imPaths—Palestinians, Native Americans, prove our world, Johnson said. “Mobile Irish” is the title of a traveling exhibition technology gives us a tool to make a difference, since mobile devices are becoming a central part of everyday life. Storytelling provides a platform for people to share their experiences, their culture with others,” Johnson explained. Food will be the common theme NooshTube stitches together. Food is something that is easy to share—you can’t politicize food, Rezai argued. People will enter their stories “Palestine Dublin 2012” by Fatin al-Tamimi. onto the App’s screen, give it a

title and summary, preview it and publish. The Jerusalem Fund audience quickly warmed up to the idea, and began sharing family recipes and personal stories, including one from a Lebanese-American girl who said she used to hate Lebanese food. “Whenever Teta (grandmother) visited from Lebanon she wanted to cook for us,” the girl recalled. “I’d wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning and Teta was already cooking. I’d fall to my knees crying—’I hate this food!’ Now I’m cooking Lebanese food for my friends, and when I visit my dad he has to cook my favorite recipes.” NooshTube will also help vendors and cooks. Rezai admitted that whenever his mother pays a visit she leaves behind a cupboard full of spices and he has no idea what to do with them. When you type in “cumin” a bunch of recipes will pop up in NooshTube, he promises.

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The NooshTube team (l-r): creator Pooya Rezai, Sherean Azarmi and Richard Johnson. There will be no fee for NooshTube users: revenue will come from advertisers, including local vendors whose shops and restaurants will pop up when consumers are searching. This is a work in progress, the NooshTube team added. They could use some help marketing and fund-raising to make <www.NooshTube.com> a delicious reality. —Delinda C. Hanley

Human Rights Pakistan’s Fight Against Polio The funding is there, the vaccines are there and the scientific expertise is there. So why is Pakistan still losing the battle against polio? The Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center held a discussion June 5 at its Washington, DC headquarters to assess this dilemma. While its neighbor, India, celebrates AUGUST 2014


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three years of being polio-free, Pakistan reDemonstrators in front of the White House mains one of only three polio-endemic on May 23 urged President Barack Obama countries left on the planet. According to to close the Guantanamo Bay detention fathe Global Polio Eradication Initiative cility in Cuba. Speakers from a broad coali(GPEI), 71 polio cases have been recorded in tion of human rights and faith organizaPakistan in 2014 alone. Furthermore, the tions, including CODEPINK, Amnesty InWorld Health Organization (WHO) has isternational and the National Coalition sued a travel ban preventing long-term resAgainst Torture, sponsored the action, idents of Pakistan from traveling abroad which also took place in six other counwithout presenting evidence of vaccination. tries and more than 40 U.S. cities, includAmbassador John E. Lange, senior fellow ing San Francisco and Chicago. for Global Health Diplomacy at the United Protest participants chanted the phrase, Nations, traced the story of polio back to “One day more is one day too many,” and the 1970s. “It’s a terrible disease… More Samia Altaf notes that Pakistan is one of demanded the transfer of Guantanamo’s than 350,000 cases of life-long paralysis three countries where polio is endemic. 149 remaining prisoners. were recorded each year. The world felt deActivists expressed frustration that Prestermined to eradicate the disease, especially about 50 percent of the respondents did ident Obama has not acted on his pledge to after succeeding in eradicating smallpox,” not know that there is a protective mecha- close Guantanamo. “We thought it was imLange explained. But the path toward erad- nism against polio. “They demand knowl- portant that we all get together one year icating polio has been much more precari- edge, information, and understanding,” later and see what has happened since the ous than was that of eradicating smallpox. Altaf said. One barrier to knowledge is the president made yet another declaration “It’s not just sad, it’s dangerous,” said Dr. fact that the eradication program has relied that he wanted to close Guantanamo, “exSamia Altaf, a physician and public health on brochures and pamphlets in high-risk plained Medea Benjamin, co-founder of specialist. Not only does the virus have the areas where literacy rates are among the CODEPINK. ability to mutate, she explained, but it is lowest in the country, she noted. Rev. Ron Stief, executive director of the Another problem is an acute deficiency National Religious Campaign Against Tornow re-surfacing in some areas where it was eradicated more than a decade ago. in human resources that could effectively ture, shared this sentiment. “The president Lange pointed out that in addition to being carry out these projects, Altaf contended. is right about the moral necessity of closthe only country in the world with a rising On paper everything is there, she said, ing Guantanamo and ending the indefinite number of polio cases, Pakistan is now ex- “but if you look at the plan, one crucial detention without trial of prisoners,” Stief porting the virus to the Middle East— part is missing: who is going to do it?” said. “But the responsibility for closing “It’s hard-hitting, but there is still hope,” Guantanamo does not only lie with Connamely, to Syria. “The vaccinations are not available because of the civil war, making Lange concluded, reminding the audience gress, as the president often says; the presthe population very vulnerable,” she noted. that the number of worldwide polio cases ident currently has the authority he needs The deteriorating state of affairs in Pak- recorded per year dropped from 350,000 in to transfer the majority of detainees out of istan is occurring even though a wealth of 1988 to a few hundred last year. “It is Guantanamo.” international efforts and funds have been really hard to finish the job,” he acknowlAndrea Prasow, senior national security allocated to eradication programs. Altaf, edged, “but it is imperative to finish the council and advocate at Human Rights —Dina Salah ElDin Watch, also spoke. “The U.S. should not who has worked on the ground consulting job.” for international aid agencies and authored hold people indefinitely without charge or So Much Aid, So Little Development: Stories Activists Push Obama to Close trial,” she stressed. As a lawyer, Prasow fofrom Pakistan, posed and answered the Guantanamo Bay Facility cused on the legal costs of Guantanamo. million-dollar question: “Why “Here is what the law has to say can’t we do something as simple about detention in Guanas getting those two drops [of tanamo: It is illegal. Prolonged vaccine] to a child’s mouth? Beindefinite detention, without cause something is missing, the charge or trial, violates internaeradication program designed is tional law.” flawed, it is out of context.” Prasow has represented Eradication programs in PakGuantanamo detainees, includistan have not endeared theming Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni selves to local populations, Altaf man whose case made it to the argued. “Polio is a disease that Supreme Court in 2006. After happens within contexts, not in serving his five-year sentence, a void,” she added. “We develHamdan was returned to his oped these programs without home country in November paying attention [to the fact] that 2008. Prasow visited Hamdan in these communities have internal Yemen earlier this year: “The dynamics, values, desires.” sight of a man free who used to Among the striking statistics Many organizations, including CODEPINK, gathered in front of be in chains is breathtaking,” Altaf shared was a 2012 UNICEF the White House May 23 to demand the closure of the Guantanamo she said. survey which showed that Bay prison. While there has been a recent AUGUST 2014

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The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a May 28 talk on federalism in Yemen at its headquarters in Washington, DC. Speaking at the event were Rafat Al-Akhali, a fellow at the Hariri Center, and Dr. Paul Williams, president and co-founder of the Public International Law and Policy Group, which is advising the Yemeni government on its constitutionwriting process. Danya Greenfield, acting director of the Hariri Center, moderated the discussion. The speakers focused on the challenges facing Yemen in its current stage of transition. Since the 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow of long-standing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen has completed its National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The dialogue, which lasted nearly a year, brought in representatives from across the country to determine Yemen’s political future. After months of negotiations, the NDC settled on a federal system, with the hope that it would appease marginalized groups demanding independence, particularly those in the previously independent south. Yet, as Al-Akhali pointed out, the NDC did not address many details of its plan for federalism. The group now responsible for writing those details is the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC). Because of the ambiguity of the federal system agreed to by the NDC, Al-Akhali predicted that federalism could emerge either as the only solution for maintaining the unity of the nation, or instead “could be the first step towards further chaos.” The main reason for this potential chaos, Al-Akhali and Williams agreed, was Yemen’s precarious economic position. The critical question, said Al-Akhali, is “can the economy sustain until we get to the referendum?” In addition to large-scale unemployment, both speakers cited ongoing fuel shortages and power cuts. Another theme of the discussion was political consensus. While both Williams and Al-Akhali agree that federalism is Yemen’s only solution, they noted that there is very weak public support for it within the country. This lack of support is a result of competing political movements in the north, east and south, as well as a general lack of confidence in the current central government. While the populace is generally concerned over the emerWilliams gence of a strong central government similar to the Saleh PHOTO COURTESY THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL

cate U.S. allies. Saudi Arabia, another traditional ally of the United States, also would be affected by a nuclear deal with Iran. According to Martini, the Saudi government does not “compartmentalize” the issue the way policymakers tend to do in the U.S. Iran’s nuclear capabilities are seen not as an ultimate threat, he said, but as one element of Iran’s “bad behavior.” Waging Peace Nevertheless, Martini observed, “there is agreement on overall issues” between Predicting Israeli, Saudi and Iranian the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, and “at the end Reactions to a Nuclear Deal of the day we could see Riyadh…choke down a deal despite some problems with it.” In fact, he suggested policymakers focus more on whether or not a deal advances U.S. interests and less on “ally maintenance.” Finally, Nader, an expert on Iran and Iranian foreign (L-r) Alireza Nader, Jeffrey Martini and Dalia Dassa Kaye policy, discussed the interdebate the regional implications of an Iranian nuclear deal. nal and external impacts a In light of recent improvements in U.S.- deal would have on Iran. He noted that Iranian relations and the increasing possi- there has been some speculation that such bility of a nuclear deal between the two a deal could lead to much broader reforms countries, the RAND Corporation held a within the country, but discounted that June 4 congressional briefing entitled “Is- possibility. “We shouldn’t consider [Presiraeli, Saudi, and Iranian Responses in the dent Hassan] Rouhani a reformer,” he said, Days After a Deal With Iran: What Are the calling the Iranian president “very cenU.S. Options?” RAND Corporation analysts trist, in some ways a status-quo politician.” Nader added, however, that “in terms of Alireza Nader, Jeffrey Martini and Dalia foreign policy he has more wiggle room,” Dassa Kaye offered their thoughts. “I think we can assume that any final which has helped advance nuclear talks. deal will not be welcome” to Israelis, Kaye Nader warned that it would be a “foolish predicted, because Iran likely will retain decision” to trust Tehran to uphold a deal, some nuclear structure. Despite Israel’s and for that reason any agreement must incontinued staunch opposition to a nuclear clude a provision for thorough inspections deal, as evidenced by its rejection of the and the reintroduction of sanctions in case interim deal struck in November 2013, of noncompliance. Nevertheless, he reKaye thought it was unlikely to take uni- mained optimistic about the eventual success of the talks. “I think there’s a middle lateral action. Citing a shift in unofficial Israeli opin- ground we can reach,” he concluded. —Clara McGlynn ions, she believes that Israel’s most likely response would be “reluctant adaptation,” followed by a shift to monitoring compli- The Challenge of Federalism in ance and verification of Iran’s remaining Yemen nuclear facilities. This is because Israel values its close relationship with the U.S., she said, and is unlikely to jeopardize that partnership even in the case of a deal with Iran. Kaye urged policymakers to avoid legislation that does not permit members of Congress to be both pro-deal and pro-Israel, emphasizing her belief that a deal could indeed ad- (L-r) Rafat Al-Akhali, Danya Greenfield and Dr. Paul vance U.S. interests and pla- discuss Yemen’s decision to pursue federalism. uptick in the number of prisoners released, Benjamin lamented that progress is not being made fast enough. At the current rate, she noted, it will take decades to release the men who remain imprisoned, including the 77 who have been cleared for release since the George W. Bush administration. —Mitra Moin and Gabriella Patti

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government recognize the regime, they are also wary benefits of cooperation, but of the unpopular NDC and neither trusts the other thus question its pivot toenough to actually cooperward federalism. Furtherate. None of the panelists more, many Yemenis are felt that the U.S. was reskeptical of the current sponsible for engineering regime’s ability to manage this peace process, and the country, let alone usher Neumann went so far as to in a new federal system. say he did not feel WashAccording to Williams, ington even had the leverone of the solutions to this dilemma is better public re- (L-r) Ambassador Ronald Neumann, Clare Lockhart, Col. Chris Kolenda age to instigate such a lations. Additionally, he and moderator Ambassador Omar Samad discuss President Obama's plans process. “The Afghan government has to play a major said, the collapse of the for post-2014 Afghanistan. role in its own salvation,” peace process brings into he stated. question the existing paradigm and invites today. Lockhart discussed the role of the Amerus to think in new ways about the conflict All three panelists were somewhat amand the way forward toward a just and bivalent about the president’s proposed ican media in relation to the conflict and ongoing events in Afghanistan. She and lasting peace. Williams believes an effort plan. must be made to “socialize” the Yemeni Kolenda, a retired U.S. Army colonel and her fellow panelists were disappointed in population, meaning citizens should be ed- former senior adviser on Afghanistan and the way the media has handled the issue, ucated about the practicalities of a federal Pakistan for the Department of Defense, feeling that the general negative bias has system and the results it can produce. was the most enthusiastic, telling the audi- not done the perception of Afghanistan However, neither Williams or Al-Akhali ence, “I give the troop decision two cheers. any favors. “The media does need to find a way to present a more balanced picture,” seemed sure about what those programs Time will tell if it deserves three cheers.” could be, nor was there any clear idea of Neumann, president of the American she argued. “Reputation and fact trail way how to ease tensions in the south. Academy of Diplomacy and a former U.S. behind changes,” added Neumann. “Good Lastly, Williams described his experi- ambassador to Afghanistan, was more crit- news isn’t interesting.” Finally, the panelists touched on the ence as a consultant to the CDC and the is- ical. “I’d give it [the decision] one cheer sues with the drafting process. A central and one groan,” he said, explaining that topic of the recent controversial prisoner problem, he said, is the tendency to draw “the policy is contradictory and it sends a exchange between the U.S. and the Taliban. Again, they expressed dismay over upon multiple models of federalism from contradictory message.” around the world and cherry-pick differNeumann’s main concern with the plan the media’s handling of the event, and ent aspects of those for Yemen’s constitu- is the intention to leave only a small mili- Neumann clarified that the five released tion. The problem with this approach, he tary presence at the embassy after 2016. Taliban members were not, as was widely argued, is that those pieces don’t usually fit Noting that such a tactic did not work in reported, all-powerful members of that ortogether. He illustrated this point with a Iraq, he cautioned, “If that model is going ganization. He also regretted that the Rubik’s cube, demonstrating the complex- to work this time there needs to be a seri- media was so focused on the exchange at a ities of federal systems. ous study of what didn’t work in Iraq and time when Afghanistan is holding historic In Williams’ opinion, the solution is to what we’re going to do differently this presidential elections that are very important for the future of the country. As “Yemenize” all aspects of the constitution. time, and I know of no such plan.” Rather than just borrowing from outside Lockhart, president of the Institute for Kolenda put it, “Afghanistan has a real —Clara McGlynn experiences, foreign models need to be State Effectiveness, emphasized the impor- chance to succeed.” translated into the specific context of tance of the economy for Afghanistan’s staYemen, he said, taking into account the bility. Despite it being a landlocked state, Disorder in Libya complexities of the country’s political land- Afghanistan has significant mineral, oil Since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in scape. —Kevin Davis and gas resources that could provide a sig- 2011, Libyans have struggled to coalesce nificant source of income for the country behind a common national vision. The Assessing U.S. Policy in Afghanistan in the next 10 to 15 years, she noted. central government is weak, and countless The country’s potential for growth is not militias are battling for control over Libya’s On May 27, President Barack Obama announced that combat operations in limited to its natural resources, however. resources and institutions. This pressing issue was discussed at two Afghanistan will end in December, with a “It’s an increasingly industrialized society,” residual force of 9,800 U.S. troops to remain Lockhart pointed out, “and there are many Washington, DC events in May. One was a until 2016. In response to this announce- opportunities in light industry to create May 5 panel discussion at the Atlantic ment, the New America Foundation hosted jobs.” Kolenda agreed, adding that security Council titled “Libya’s Faustian Bargains: an event entitled “Limited Horizons: The efforts will hit a “glass ceiling” if they are Breaking the Appeasement Cycle.” The United States, Afghanistan, and the 2016 not accompanied by diplomatic and eco- other, a discussion with the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, was held Zero Option” at its Washington, DC head- nomic efforts. The panelists also discussed the ongoing May 21 at the Stimson Center. quarters on June 6. Panelists Col. Chris Cambridge University researcher Jason Kolenda, Clare Lockhart and Ambassador negotiations with the Taliban. Kolenda deRonald Neumann discussed the president’s scribed the situation as a classic prisoner’s Pack began the Atlantic Council event by plan and the challenges facing Afghanistan dilemma: both the Taliban and the Afghan noting that Libya’s periphery groups have AUGUST 2014

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citizens. “Libyans crave for the rule of law.” Commenting on Pack’s remarks, professor emeritus of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies William Zartman asked what person or group would rise up to reorient the way the Libyan government functions: “It poses the question: who’s going to do it?” “No one wants to govern William Zartman (l) and Jason Pack discuss the various Libya,” Pack responded, acknowledging the validity of groups vying for power in Libya. Zartman’s question. Most actors care little about large national issues such as infrastructure development, he explained, and instead focus on gaining influence over specific institutions critical to their interests. At the Stimson Center discussion, Ambassador Jones was questioned extensively about Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who some believe is attempting a coup. In recent weeks the rogue general’s forces have stormed parliament and launched an offensive against terrorist groups in eastern Libya. While not declaring her support for Gen. Haftar, Ambassador Jones refused to U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones condemn his actions. “Haftar’s focus is on discusses Washington’s views on the unstable very specific terrorist groups, not necessarily militias,” she commented. Haftar has political climate in Libya. claimed war on militant Islamists, she arconsistently challenged the authority of gued, not all Islamic groups. “Not all milithe country’s weak central government. tias are terrorist groups and not all militias The central government, unable to con- are Islamists,” she said. Many Libyans, Jones asserted, believe front these groups head-on, often agrees to bargains, he noted, saying, “Appeasement Haftar is stepping in to fill a void left by has become hardwired into the DNA of the the government. Going forward, Jones said the U.S. plans post-Qaddafi center.” As a result, Pack noted, rebel groups to reach out to numerous actors in Libya in have usurped key institutions within the an effort to facilitate dialogue and understate. This “colonization” of parts of the standing. “Our approach now is to say that state by rebel groups is dangerous for all we’re going to try to reach out to all “influencers” in society, and that can include Libyans, he warned. In order to deflate this struggle for in- spoilers as well as positive [actors],” she —Dale Sprusansky fluence, Pack believes a “grand bargain” said. must be reached among Libya’s main competing factions. In his view, this is “the Politics, Society and the Economy in only way out of the appeasement trap.” Algeria The alternative option, he warned, is the Observers of North Africa gathered at the “Pakistan scenario,” in which state institu- Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the tions are managed by competing extra- Middle East in Washington, DC on May 29 governmental factions. to consider the political, economic and social The Libyan government can gain lever- challenges facing Algeria. The event was tiage in this process if it acknowledges its tled “Prospects for an Algerian Spring?” failures to the Libyan people, Pack believes, Mohsin Khan, a senior fellow at the as this would get a populace tired of insta- Hariri Center, began by noting that Algeria bility to rally around the center. “They was the only country in North Africa that don’t want anarchy, they want to live in a did not experience large-scale demonstrastable country,” Pack said of the country’s tions during the 2010-2011 Arab Spring. 58

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While Algeria was the region’s exception, it faced many of the same economic and political realities that sparked protests in places such as Libya and Tunisia, Khan pointed out. “All of the ingredients seemed to be there,” he said, “and yet nothing happened. Algeria seems to be the proverbial dog that did not bark.” In Khan’s opinion, Algerians did not follow the lead of their neighbors for two reasons. First, he noted, Algeria’s bloody civil war of the 1990s has many in the country wary of any movement that could result in prolonged violence and instability. This fear was exploited by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s government, he said, and used to dissuade people from taking to the streets. Second, Khan said, the Algerian government moved quickly to satisfy the economic concerns of its citizens by “throwing money at the problem.” Increasing subsidies and raising public sector wages, among other measures, helped the hydrocarbon-rich country quell dissent, he said. In the long-term, Khan stressed that Algeria cannot rely on oil and gas as its predominant source of revenue and economic activity. Based on current rates of production, he said, Algeria has 20 years of oil reserves remaining, so it must encourage private sector economic development. Currently, according to Khan, the private sector plays a small role in the Algerian economy, with state-run banks and oil companies dominating the country’s financial system. Indeed, he noted, 7 of the country’s 10 largest companies are stateowned, as are 80 percent of Algeria’s banks. Private businesses face many hurdles in Algeria, Khan said, including a 72 percent tax on their profits—a rate twice the regional average. This tax rate not only stifles businesses, he lamented, but is unnecessary, given the fact that the Algerian government does not heavily rely on business tax revenue. Algerian businesses also face cumbersome regulations, Khan added. It costs twice as much to set up a business in Algeria as it does in Europe, he said, and business owners must complete more than 30 separate procedures to legally open. These barriers to private sector employment can and must be reversed, Khan emphasized: “Those regulations can be changed very quickly and very easily.” Anouar Boukhars, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, discussed Algeria’s north-south divide. While Algeria’s major cultural and AUGUST 2014


In particular, Atalay said, the AKP has deftly managed the country’s economy. Since the party assumed power, per capita income has grown and living standards have increased, he stated. Dismissing the idea that Erdogan has become increasingly au(L-r) Anouar Boukhars, Karim Mezran and Mohsin Khan discuss thoritarian in the past challenges to Algeria’s stability. year, Atalay said the political cities are located in the country’s AKP “attaches a great deal of importance predominantly Arab north, the country’s to people’s thoughts and beliefs.” Furtheroil resources are located in the south, more, he argued, “There is huge [domestic] which has large Berber and Tuareg popu- popular support for what we are doing.” As evidence of this, Atalay cited the fact lations. This has led to regional tensions, that the AKP emerged victorious in the Boukhars said. Individuals living in the south, which March 30 local elections. His party won 43 has high unemployment rates, feel under- percent of the vote, he noted, more than it represented by Algiers, Boukhars ex- has in previous local elections. The AKP “ran a brilliant campaign…our plained. “The south has been neglected and misunderstood, and nearly forgotten strategy was flawless,” Atalay boasted, and except for its resources,” he commented. charged the opposition with running “a Southerners, he added, desire economic in- campaign of libel” that ultimately failed to undermine the AKP’s track record. tegration and social inclusion. The deputy prime minister also attacked Unrest in neighboring Libya and Mali also has contributed to the destabilization the AKP’s chief opponent—the Fethullah of the south, Boukhars continued. Armed Gulen movement. Members of this movejihadi groups pose a growing threat, he ment have “infiltrated” law enforcement said, as they are not afraid to target Alge- and the judiciary and have illegally targeted members of the AKP, he insisted. As ria’s hydrocarbon facilities. Terrorist groups and regional instability a result, he argued, the Gulen movement have brought a heightened sense of tension must be strongly countered. “This organito the south, Boukhars concluded, de- zation in the judiciary needs to be rooted scribing southern Algeria as “a place of in- out,” he said. While Atalay steadfastly defended the security as never before.” —Dale Sprusansky AKP, he did acknowledge that Turkish democracy is still developing and has enTurkey’s Deputy Prime Minister dured some bleak moments in recent hisBesir Atalay Defends the AKP tory. “Our democracy is a work in Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was the keynote speaker at Insight Turkey’s fourth annual conference at the Loews Madison hotel in Washington, DC on April 29. During his remarks, Atalay addressed a number of topics: Turkey’s recent local elections, the standing of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), domestic political tensions, and his country’s foreign policy. Turkey has experienced a “great deal of stability” since the country emerged from a long period of military rule, Atalay argued. He attributed this in large part to Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Besir policies carried out by the AKP and, most Atalay disputes allegations that his ruling notably, its leader, Prime Minister Recep Justice and Development Party (AKP) is becoming increasingly authoritarian. Tayyip Erdogan. PHOTO COURTESY MUSTAFA FUAT ER

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progress,” he said. “We accept this, there are still steps for us to take.” At the same time, Atalay assured his audience that the AKP is not afraid to act boldly and pursue major reforms. “We do not beat around the bush when it comes to big issues,” he stated. “We like to take risks and be bold in our steps.” Turning to foreign policy, Atalay noted that Ankara remains deeply concerned about the ramifications of the Syrian civil war. “Our complaint about Syria is that the international community was too late…and now there’s an element of terrorism in Syria,” he said. The world must make a serious effort to banish terrorist groups from Syria, he stressed, warning that these groups pose a serious security risk to Turkey and the entire Muslim world. Regarding Egypt, Atalay voiced his opposition to the country’s military government. “We have been against the coup in Egypt since the very beginning,” he said. “But the Western world has not been consistent when it comes to Egypt.” Pressed on Turkey-Israel relations by several audience members, Atalay responded in vague terms. “We want to overcome these problems and normalize relations,” he said. On the subject of Turkey’s prospective membership in the European Union, Atalay said his country is working diligently to achieve this goal. Turkey, he added, hopes this process will be accelerated. “Turkey is exceptional in my opinion,” Atalay concluded, noting the instability that surrounds his country. Turkey values democracy and constitutionalism, he said, making it a model for the region. —Dale Sprusansky

Egypt After the Presidential Election The Middle East Institute (MEI) hosted a June 6 discussion entitled “Egypt After the Elections” at the SEIU Conference Center in Washington, DC. The main issues discussed were the level (or lack) of public participation in the May 26-28 presidential election and the future of newly elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, began by describing Sisi’s election as “a moment of unenthusiasm for Egyptians.” He noted the official turnout rate was 46.7 percent, a figure most independent analysts believe is inflated. Because it was having difficulties getting people to show up at the polls, the Egyptian government extended voting to a third 59


Reverend Hagler, Pappe, Barghouti Headline Sabeel Conference

A two-day conference, “Voices for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land,” held in Pleasant Hill, CA, this spring, (L-r) Mohamed Elmenshawy, Amy Hawthorne, Paul Salem, featured activists and Gamal Helal and Emad Shahin discuss the outcome of Egypt’s academics representing presidential election. a wide spectrum of ethnic and community day in an effort to increase turnout, noted groups. The event, sponsored by Friends American University in Cairo professor of Sabeel-North America, took place at Emad Shahin. “Everyone knew that el-Sisi Christ the King Catholic Church on March was going to win,” he explained, “but 21 and 22 and drew some 400 participants. Many speakers observed that although what was surprising was the lack of presence at the polling stations.” It is evident conditions on the ground in Palestine conthat the Egyptian people are tired of the tinue to deteriorate, the struggle for justice continuous political unrest and did not be- is growing in Europe and the United lieve that their vote would have made an States. Several African-American speakers linked the struggle for human rights in impact, he added. When the results of the election were Palestine to the civil rights movement in announced, no one was surprised. As ex- the United States and the anti-apartheid pected, el-Sisi won overwhelmingly with movement in South Africa. Among them 96.9 percent of the vote. Hamdeen Sabahi, was keynote speaker Rev. Graylan Scott el-Sisi’s only opponent, received just over Hagler, pastor and human rights activist, who had recently visited Palestine on an 3 percent of the vote. According to Gamal Helal, president of African-American delegation with the Helal Enterprises LLC and former senior Carter Center. Hagler said that his delegation viewed diplomatic interpreter for numerous U.S. presidents, the Egyptian people not only the Palestinian situation with special inare concerned about their country’s politi- sight. “At the end of the second day of the cal issues, but “believe there is a threat to trip, we all had the same response,” he recalled, “and the response was: ‘You don’t Egypt’s national security.” MEI scholar Mohamed Elmenshawy said need to explain this to us. We’ve seen it bethat the Egyptian military is using its mil- fore.’” The Palestinian struggle “is our itary forces for political gain, rather than struggle as well,” he added, and urged focusing on areas such as border control Americans to join that effort. “As U.S. citizens,” Hagler explained, “you have more and national defense. The panel members agreed that in order power to stand up to the occupation than for Egypt to have a successful future, el- Palestinians do.” Historian Ilan Pappe emphasized the Sisi and the new parliament must come up with a way to engage other political need to speak of the situation in Palestine groups, one of them being the Muslim Brotherhood. The corrupt political system that Egypt has been under for decades also needs to come to an end, panelists said. As Egypt continues to struggle politically, Shahin stressed that democracy does not happen overnight, but rather takes time. “Democracy is not a destination, it is a journey. It will take many many attempts to move forward,” added Helal. He also emphasized the importance of an internal solution to the political and social unrest. “Egypt will only be fixed by Egyptians,” he concluded. Imam Dr. Amer Araim addresses the Sabeel —Shannon Martensson Gemant Conference in Pleasant Hill, CA. 60

in a new vocabulary, rather than in the discourse of the peace process, which “has very little relevance to the reality on the ground.” This discourse, with its talk of a two-state solution, has helped perpetuate the occupation, he said. Pappe said that the resistance movement is developing a “counter dictionary,” especially since there has been “an obvious dramatic shift of public opinion in the West against Israel.” This shift is evident in student activity on campuses and even in academic journals, he said, and those involved say that solidarity with Palestinians is not enough; they also “need to change the dictionary.” As a start, Pappe said, we should begin using the terms “colonialism” (or “settler colonialism”), “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” in our new discourse. Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, also noted the shift toward support for the Palestinian cause, especially on college campuses. “BDS is no longer at the fringes,” he said. “It has moved on to the center.” The boycott campaign has particular relevance, he noted, because it is “an indigenous, Palestinian-rooted movement,” and it follows on the successful South African boycott. “It is a matter of turning brand Israel into a toxic brand,” Barghouti said, which was the key to success in South Africa. Two Israeli speakers, Eran Efrati, a former soldier, and Maya Wind, a refusenik, gave a dynamic and highly popular workshop on their experiences. Wind spent time in prison for refusing to serve in the military, and Efrati joined Breaking the Silence, a group of former soldiers dedicated to exposing army abuses in the occupied territories. Efrati, who served in Hebron, now speaks out on his own. —Barbara Erickson

UPA Holds Spring Walk for Palestine

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Families and supporters, including dogs, participated in the second annual 5K United Palestinian Appeal Spring Walk for Palestine at Carderock Park next to Great Falls and the historic C&O Canal in Bethesda, MD on May 3. Supporters raised funds for UPA’s critical work to improve health, education and development programs for Palestinians. UPA helps fund a kidney dialysis center in Lebanon, emergency relief in refugee camps, community gardens and other agricultural programs. UPA also distributes food parcels and provides meals at schools and community centers, and funds an important university AUGUST 2014


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inantly Israeli territory at an event hosted by the New America Foundation and moderated by Lisa Goldman, director of the foundation’s Israel-Palestine Initiative. Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, also participated. “Part of what I’m trying to show in my book is that Israel’s state and UPA executive director Saleem Zaru gathers participants for a government officials did pep talk before the walk. everything they possibly could, at the foundation of the state, in those formative years, to scholarship program. In addition to a glorious spring walk, make it so there could never be anything, participants enjoyed breakfast, face paint- any kind of citizenship along the lines of ing, games and a raffle (including valuable the gold standard that is in line with the prizes like a gift subscription to the Wash- context of the U.S.,” explained Robinson. The focus of the conversation revolved ington Report and a mirror surrounded by hand-painted Palestinian tiles). Each regis- around the genesis of Palestinian exclutrant received a complimentary Spring sion—a period which is often absent from Walk T-shirt, not to mention good feelings the discussion about the Israeli-Arab conof solidarity and friendship with others flict. “This formative period, in the immediate who believe Palestinians deserve as much support—both spiritual and financial—as aftermath of the creation of the state, was the Americans can provide until Israel’s occu- legal foundation of many of the policies that pation ends and they can take care of we are still seeing in effect today in the West themselves. For more information please Bank and throughout the rest of the territories,” said Munayyer. visit <www.helpupa.org>. Without understanding the genesis, he ar—Delinda C. Hanley gued, one cannot understand the conflict as Citizen Strangers: Israel’s System of it is today. Palestinian Exclusion In her book, Robinson discusses the During a May 8 discussion based on her term citizenship as a categorization of exbook, Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the clusion, a point which Munayyer highBirth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State, author lights as crucial. He compared the supShira Robinson stated that the years leading posed citizenship of Palestinians to the up to the 1948 war were crucial in deter- plight of African Americans in the United mining the second-class status of Palestini- States. “We had African-American congressans in their homeland today. Robinson explained the systematic marginalization of men in this country during the 1850s-’60s. Palestinians living in what became predom- We had judges,” he pointed out, “but did that mean that Jim Crow did not exist?” Munayyer went on to say that it is difficult for those coming from a Western context and understanding of citizenship to view citizenship as a category of exclusion for (L-r) Yousef Munayyer, Shira Robinson and Lisa Goldman discuss the Palestinian citizenship privileges in Israel. people. AUGUST 2014

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

“In the United States, citizenship is basically the highest civic level that you can attain within the state,” he noted, “and at that point you are on par with other citizens—that is the gold standard. But that concept of citizenship, which is common to our understanding in the U.S. and in other Western contexts, is not the case in Israel.” However much the Israeli government may claim that Palestinians are afforded fair treatment, their status as citizens is governed by their membership in a national group. For example, “internal security services continue to run the Arab education sector,” Robinson said. “These schools have unequal budgetary allotments.” Neither the book nor the talk ended on a positive note. In the official Israeli hierarchy, Jewish citizens have more rights than their Palestinian counterparts. “I think Israel already does define itself as a Jewish state,” Robinson said. “I think that [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu has reiterated the repeated demand that Palestinians recognize the [Israeli] right to continually marginalize and systematically exclude [them] is frankly a distraction because he knows that it is something that no Palestinian leader can accept no matter what the demographic ratio.” —Gabriella Patti

Israeli Discrimination and the U.S. Visa Waiver Program Several activist and religious organizations sponsored a May 21 briefing at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill to examine proposed Senate legislation that would admit Israel into the Visa Waiver Program. If passed, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 (S. 462) would permit Israelis to enter the U.S. without having to acquire a 90-day U.S. tourist visa. More controversially, the legislation also exempts Israel from the Visa Waiver Program’s reciprocity agreement, meaning that Israel would be permitted to arbitrarily deny entry to U.S. citizens. Speakers at the briefing opposed the legislation, fearing that this exemption would permit Israel to continue its discriminatory practices against some U.S. travelers, particularly those of Arab or Muslim heritage. Congress must not allow Israel into the Visa Waiver program until it agrees to treat U.S. citizens equally and with respect, speakers maintained. “Having a political perspective that is not aligned with the Israeli government should not be cause for refusing entry into the country,” said Donna Nevel, a Jewish Voice for Peace board member. “That would not be ac61


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Gaza Solidarity 5K Walk/Run Raises $132,000 Supporters joined American Friends of UNRWA (UNRWA USA) for a 5K run (or walk) along a rain-swollen Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC on a dry, brilliant Saturday morning May 17 to raise funds to benefit the children of Gaza. UNRWA USA generates support for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which works in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. This walk raised $132,000 for UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program to support thousands of refugee children in Gaza affected by PTSD and other psychological trauma. Whether participants were serious about running, or just serious about the vital cause, everyone enjoyed breakfast as well as a morning of fun, friendship, family, and solidarity with UNRWA USA staff Abby Smardon, Laila Mokhiber and John Sakakini. For more information or to register for the Gaza 5Ks in San Francisco (Oct. 18) and Orange County and Los Angeles (Oct. 25) visit <www.unrwausa.org>. —Delinda C. Hanley

Gaza’s Future: Trajectories, Trends, Challenges and Opportunities On May 19, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) held a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to examine the most pressing issues facing Gaza’s population, as well as possible solutions. As a result of Israel’s seven-year siege, Gaza is currently in a period of isolation, panelists noted. There are severe restrictions on residents’ movements in and out of the Strip, and economic opportunities are limited. As a result, education, health and sanitation are negatively impacted. Robert Turner, director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, presented sobering statistics. There are 1.8 million people living in Gaza today, he noted, with 4,660 people per square kilometer, making Gaza the fifth densest area in the world. The demographic growth rate STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR

PHOTO COURTESY MIKE COOGAN

if an Israeli citizen approached U.S. customs and was denied entry based on his political affiliation, race or religion? “At no point during this process will the Israeli citizen have the support of the Israeli Embassy or government to advocate on his or (L-r) Nour Joudah, Donna Nevel, Sandra Tamari and her behalf. The arriving IsYousef Munayyer discuss Senate legislation that would raeli will be told that there is permit Israel to discriminate against American citizens. nothing the Israeli Embassy or government at large can do ceptable anywhere else and should not be to help,” hypothesized Joudah. “Is this starting to sound outrageous or acceptable for Israel.” Many of her fellow Jews oppose Israel’s offensive yet, that it would be OK for the discriminatory policies, Nevel said. “We United States government to treat the Isdo not support the entry of Israel in the raeli citizens that way?” she asked. “That U.S. Visa Waiver Program as long as it con- is the tip of the iceberg of what American tinues its policy of discrimination,” she ex- citizens endure at the Israeli borders or at Ben-Gurion Airport.” plained. Joudah concluded by saying: “The U.S. Both blogger Nour Joudah and Sandra Tamari, a steering committee member of and Israel may hope to make Palestinians the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occu- forget where we are from and who we pation, gave firsthand accounts of Israel’s are….But it is [clear] even after generations treatment of U.S. citizens. Both women are of exile that we will never forget and we —Gabriella Patti Palestinian Americans and have been de- will return.” nied entry into Israel. Tamari said that she was interrogated no Al-Nakba Observed in L.A. fewer than five times at the Tel Aviv air- The West Los Angeles neighborhood of port and, when she called on the U.S. Em- the Israeli Consulate was made aware of bassy for help, was told that, because of what al-Nakba means to the Palestinian her Palestinian heritage, there was nothing people for four hours May 15, when more that they could do. than 150 flag-carrying, banner-holding ac“[The Department of] State claims that tivists from 10 Palestinian organizations they have no power,” lamented Tamari, demonstrated outside the Zionist head“and now Congress seeks to codify Israel’s quarters on busy Wilshire Boulevard. racism into U.S. law by granting a visa “Never again” chanted the noisy throng as waiver with loopholes to allow Israel to it recalled the Palestinian tragedy of discontinue to discriminate against U.S. citi- possession of its homeland in 1948. zens like me.” —Samir Twair Tamari said that U.S. lawmakers must reject these policies and noted that some have proposed amendments to the bill that would call on Israel to provide equal treatment to all U.S. citizens. “I don’t see how this would be possible when Israel sees all Palestinians as a demographic threat,” she pointed out. Joudah invited the audience members to ponder a fictitious scenario in which Israeli travelers were given the same treatment that some Palestinian-Americans face. What would happen, she asked, Al-Nakba demonstration in L.A. on May 15.

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goods, Rudman said she believes it is more important to have goods coming in. She shared Turner’s concern about water resources, however, saying, “We cannot build buildings and have construction needs fulfilled withUNRWA USA staff (l-r) Laila Mokhiber, Abby Smardon and John out also dealing with electricity and water Sakakini prepare to present running awards. needs. Those are unis 3.5 percent, meaning the population is derlying challenges that are not being met for current population needs...let alone for doubling every 18 years, he added. Turner explained that water in Gaza is future needs.” These water and power challenges incurrently extracted from the dying coastal aquifer, posing an existential threat, as the volve many political actors, Rudman aquifer is expected to be irreversibly dam- added. “The politics involved are not just aged by 2020. At least 90 percent of Gaza’s the politics between Israelis and Palestinians,” she explained. “They are inter-Palescurrent water supply is not potable. However, Turner’s main concern is tinian politics, they are West Bank/Gaza Gaza’s economy. With a 41 percent unem- politics, they are Egyptian politics, and ployment rate, many observers are wor- they are public sector-private sector poliried. Matters are not likely to improve, as tics.” The moderator, ATFP executive director there is no official market economy given the reality that Israel prevents most export Ghaith Al-Omari, inquired about the psyche of Gaza’s residents. “There is a noticeitems from exiting Gaza. able, significant deterioration in the psychological environment,” responded Turner. Desperation and frustration lie everywhere, and people are giving up, he added. “Their aspiration is for Rafah to open so they can physically get out if they need to.” To conclude, Al(L-r) Robert Turner and Mara Rudman discuss the pressing Omari asked each speaker to identify problems facing Gaza, as Ghaith Al-Omari listens. the most important The main reason for the increasingly policy to fix. “Access to the market,” dehigh unemployment rate is the closing of clared Turner. For Rudman, fixing water —Mitra Moin tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which scarcity is imperative. not only allowed Palestinians access to goods, particularly fuel, but also provided Maksoud Calls on Arabs to Regain construction material for the private sec- Commitment to Palestinian Liberation tor, which created jobs. “There has been a Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, who served rapid deterioration over the last 10 as the League of Arab States’ permanent months,” Turner asserted. “What people observer at the U.N. for more than 10 need is opportunity; they need the ability years, gave the Palestine Center’s prestito be employed.” gious “Hisham Sharabi Memorial Lecture” Mara Rudman, founder of Quorum on May 28 in Washington, DC. Dr. Sharabi, Strategies, stressed the international com- a professor of Arab culture at Georgetown munity’s role in reversing Gaza’s current University, was a founding member of the “grim trajectory.” Contrary to Turner’s Jerusalem Fund and chairman of its board concerns about Gazans’ ability to export from 1977 to 2005. In his lecture, “Hisham AUGUST 2014

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Ambassador Clovis Maksoud. Sharabi: Addicted to Precision,” Maksoud described the great professor’s life and work and guessed how Sharabi would view the current state of Palestine and the broader Middle East today. Sharabi always said the Arab/Israeli dispute is not a conflict between Muslims, Christians, Arabs or Jews. It’s not an interreligious struggle as some people think. It’s a struggle by the Palestinian people to liberate themselves from the yoke of occupation. Maksoud thinks it’s also important to “liberate the Jews from the constraints, irrationality and dethronement of reason that Zionism represents.” The ambassador described the global and paradoxical context of this struggle. On the one hand, globalization is bringing people together, providing instant information and communication about each other. “Yet on the other hand,” he said, “globalization is also confronting its negation, namely fragmentation” in many societies, such as Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, but especially in the Arab countries, with their divisions between religious sects and ethnic groups. “So while we are converging together we are diverging in conflicts,” Maksoud said. “This is the paradox of our time.” No sooner had the Tunisian revolt taken place than it became instantly infectious in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, etc., Maksoud continued. This is an expression of Arab unity on a popular level, but the absence of direction and coherent leadership caused fragmentation. To resolve the problems of the Arab world, Maksoud urged Arabs to regain their commitment to Palestinian liberation. Palestinian leaders and the United States have failed to achieve justice and humanitarian rights for Palestinians. It’s time for Egypt to get back into the Palestinian liberation movement, Maksoud declared. Palestine is a state under occupation and 63


it to last forever,” he stated. The youth, he added, lacked both the resources and the know-how needed to gain political influence once regimes fell. Benchemsi cited the Moroccan February 20 Movement as a group that was particularly damaged by its own disorganization. The group suffered because, among other mistakes, it refused to appoint leaders, he said. This aversion to hierarchy stemmed from the movement’s fear that the government could easily target or co-opt leaders. The movement also feared a leadership team would cause internal factions to form, he said. While these concerns were valid, Benchemsi acknowledged, the movement never developed a concrete strategy because it had no way of reaching consensus. As a result, agenda-less meetings went on for hours and bore no fruit. Capitalizing on this disorganization, Activism After the Arab Spring well-established and organized groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, were able to swoop in and win over large segments of the Arab street, Benchemsi said. Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, commented that it was natural for members of the February 20 Movement and other groups to be suspiLina Khatib (l) and Ahmed Benchemsi discuss the failures of cious of hierarchal structures given the recent hisArab youth movements. tory of authoritarianism in The Project on Middle East Democracy the region. “People shy away from leader(POMED), the Carnegie Endowment for In- ship and hierarchy because they associate it ternational Peace and Stanford University’s with autocracy,” she noted. Despite their recent failures, Benchemsi Program on Arab Reform and Democracy co-hosted a May 21 event in Washington, believes the Arab youth will slowly gain DC to discuss “The Local and Regional Dy- influence in the years to come. “They still contest the narrative on Facebook and namics of Arab Activism.” Yale University professor Ellen Lust Twitter,” he observed. Given that Internet penetration rates in began by warning observers not to conclude that Arab activism is dead simply be- non-Gulf countries are low but growing, cause large-scale street demonstrations no youth groups have untapped potential, longer are taking place. Such mistaken Benchemsi reasoned. Furthermore, he said, thinking was widespread prior to the Arab demographic realities—most notably the region’s large youth population—would Spring, she noted. According to Lust, activism is shaped by assist activist groups going forward. “I context and is constantly evolving. Thus, think that their audience is growing, he young people who took to the streets three concluded, “and will be irresistibly growyears ago may now be expressing them- ing in the years to come.” —Dale Sprusansky selves via art, the Internet or in other “hidden spaces,” she pointed out. Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi How Arabs View President Obama said young activists have experienced set- and the United States backs in recent years because of their On June 4, 2009, a newly inaugurated Presnaïveté. “Momentum and enthusiasm re- ident Barack Obama gave a much-anticimained their only asset and they expected pated speech at Egypt’s Cairo University. STAFF PHOTO D. SPRUSANSKY

Israel is an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention, but Tel Aviv won’t admit its responsibilities, Maksoud fretted. The settlements prove that Israelis claim the West Bank as part of Israel. As for Gaza, in the Israeli lexicon Gaza is a sui generis belligerent, and as such Israel can enter whenever it wants and prevent any kind of access to it. To his question “what should be done?” Maksoud answered: “It is our responsibility, everywhere, to re-mobilize public opinion in the United States and throughout the world.” He admitted that working toward a two-state system is “temporarily pragmatic,” but ultimately, like Hisham Sharabi, Fayiz al-Sayigh, Edward Said and others, Maksoud said he believes a secular, democratic state of Palestine is the realistic outcome. —Delinda C. Hanley

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Marwan Muasher (l) and Barbara Slavin comment on a recent Zogby poll on Arab attitudes toward the U.S. The “Cairo speech,” as it has come to be known, was to signal a change in relations between the U.S. and the Middle East. Five years later, what has changed? That was the topic addressed by James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), in a recent Zogby Research Services poll (conducted in May) on Arab attitudes toward the United States. The Middle East Institute and AAI co-hosted a launch of the poll’s results and a discussion of their significance at the SEIU Conference Center in Washington, DC on June 3. One of the poll’s main findings was the enduring importance of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In six of the seven countries polled—Palestine, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia—the “continuing occupation of Palestinian lands” was seen as the “greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East,” Zogby noted. Only in the UAE was the conflict not seen as the most important challenge to U.S.-Arab relations. “Palestine remains the key,” Zogby observed. “Once again,” added Marwan Muasher, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “the Arab-Israeli conflict remains at the center of the radar screen.” Arabs view U.S. interference in the region as the second greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East, Zogby noted. Muasher believes this has important ramifications for U.S. policy toward Syria. Even though most of the people polled voiced opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, it’s important to remember they don’t want the U.S. to become militarily involved, Muasher cautioned. “Non-intervention is what the region wants, not just what U.S. public opinion wants,” he observed. While the poll revealed that Iran is viewed unfavorably in every country except Palestine and Lebanon, Muasher AUGUST 2014


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The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) held a panel discussion on the media’s influence in Middle Eastern conflicts at its AUGUST 2014

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Media’s Role in Middle East Conflicts

Washington, DC headquarters on May 8. Entitled “Fanning the Flames or Fueling the Peace?”, it featured Anand Varghese, program officer of the PeaceTech Initiative, which is run by the USIP; Susanne (L-r) Moderator Manal Omar, Anand Varghese, Susanne Fischer Fischer, regional proand Ammar al-Shahbander discuss the weight of media in the gram manager at the Middle East. Institute of War and Peace Reporting; and Ammar al-Shahban- ers which generate hostile posts. However, der, chief of mission at the Institute of War an atmosphere of fear remains: many governments are afraid of the power of social and Peace Reporting. Varghese explained that social media are media, which seems uncontrollable and inbuilding bridges that did not previously extinguishable. Another major problem addressed durexist. After studying some Twitter data, he found that social media posts tend to reach ing the discussion was the importance of international audiences rather than just differentiating between activists and citithose at a regional level. The vast majority zen journalists. Fischer declared it imposof clicks came from outside the country sible. “You cannot distinguish them,” she from which social media posts originated, argued. “Neither of them are objective, as they are part of the conflict.” he observed, rather than from within. Varghese and al-Shahbander agreed. In 2012, there were more than 500,000 Anglophone tweets discussing Middle “The distinction is extremely blurred,” exEastern conflicts. That same month, there plained al-Shahbander. “Unfortunately, were more than 2 million Arabic tweets on that trend will continue.” A certain transparency is needed in the subject. This shows the burgeoning importance of media in Arab countries. In order to resolve the issue of credibility. 2005, “the majority of people did not em- Misleading news on the web is a major brace social media,” Fischer noted. “With problem, because it is nearly impossible to media comes the responsibility of con- remain objective when reporting on the resumers, as media is the extension of the gion’s conflicts. Once something is posted online, it canbattlefield.” According to her, the true role of the consumer is to determine what is not be stopped or removed. The panelists factual, and filter out what could be ru- do not worry, though. “People have learned not to trust, and Twitter is being mors, or distortions of the truth. The increased use of smartphones has used as a verification tool,” stated al-Shahfurther expedited and facilitated the bander. “Users of social media are very spread of information. Nevertheless, easy savvy and learn very quickly.” —Mitra Moin access to the Internet through smartphones is not always available, according to al-Shahbander. “There is roughly a 7 Syrian Opposition Leaders Visit percent Internet penetration rate in Iraq. Washington, DC They still haven’t managed to get 3G running, while the rest of the world is running on 4G.” Many believe the use of social media is simply another way of generating and creating violence. People create fake Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles to fuel the conflict. Additionally, “social media is a platform often used by extremists to get attention,” Fischer explained. While many governments in the Middle East do not have a strategy or tools to deal with social media, it is taken very seriously. There is a Syrian electronic army whose task is to im- President Ahmad Jarba of the Syrian pede the usage of social media by creating opposition urges President Obama to provide and developing viruses to attack comput- Syrian rebels with weapons. STAFF PHOTO M. MOIN

noted that the poll also found that the nuclear issue is not a major concern among citizens of the region (aside from some Gulf countries). Washington thus would be wise to avoid a military conflict with Iran, he advised. While the conclusion of the Iraq war has boosted the image of the U.S. in the region, the country’s favorable rating remains low, Zogby noted. The majority view of the U.S. in every country is negative, with 77 percent of Moroccans and 86 percent of Lebanese holding unfavorable opinions. Nevertheless, Zogby revealed, feelings toward the U.S. actually have improved since 2011, jumping from 2 percent to 27 percent among Palestinians and from 10 percent to 30 percent among Egyptians. “There’s an uptick, which is interesting,” he said. “I don’t know how to account for the uptick except for the lower profile” the U.S. has been keeping in the Arab world. President Obama’s personal popularity, however, has suffered since he gave his 2009 speech. He is generally viewed unfavorably, falling far behind Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite Turkey’s dropping popularity among the Arab states, another finding of the poll. Whereas a majority of those polled in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “hopeful” after the 2009 speech, today that hope seems to have faded. “The blush is off the rose, one might say,” quipped Zogby. Another interesting insight from the poll results was that a majority in Palestine, Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon felt that the U.S. had been “not supportive enough” of Egypt during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi. Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and Washington correspondent for AlMonitor, wondered if this result was “not nostalgia for Morsi necessarily, but a lack of support for [President Abdel Fattah el-] Sisi....Are Egyptians wishing now that Morsi had been left in place?” she asked, joking that perhaps Egyptians enjoy blaming the U.S. no matter what happens. Zogby concluded the discussion by remarking that the U.S. should continue its policy of maintaining a light footprint in the Middle East. Arabs prefer “the Arab world sorting out their own problems, rather than the U.S. solving the problems,” he stated. —Clara McGlynn

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After testifying before members of Congress, Qusai Zakarya, a survivor of the Aug. 21 chemical attack on the rural Ghouta suburb of Damascus, spoke at the University of Southern California April 25. “There is a dire food shortage in rural Damascus,” he stressed. Zakarya is a proud young Palestinian-Syrian who refused to become a refugee for a second time. He showed many slides of rural Damascus he took in the last three years. He went on a hunger strike last month to bring attention to the human tragedy in Syria.—Samir Twair

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intellectual and think-tank circle, but also with the American public opinion through the media,” said Allaf. “We hope that the image of the coalition, of the opposition, and of the revolution in Syria becomes clear to the people of the United States.” According to Monzer Akbik, chief of staff for (L-r) Hadi al-Bahra, Rime Allaf and Monzer Akbik discuss the Office of the President of the Syrian Coalition, the Syrian opposition. and Hadi al-Bahra, chief Members of the Syrian opposition to Pres- negotiator and secretary-general of the poident Bashar al-Assad made their first offi- litical committee, the opposition desires a cial visit to Washington, DC in May. Dur- political solution to the conflict. However, ing their meetings with government offi- they argued, the Assad regime does not cials and think-tank audiences, the repre- share this desire. “It is clear that there is no resolution exsentatives urged the U.S. to provide more moral and military support to the Syrian cept [a] political one,” said al-Bahra. “But also there is no political solution unless opposition. Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace on you press on [the] regime and change the May 7, Ahmad Jarba, president of the Na- balance of power on the ground, and also tional Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary by sending the message that using violence and Opposition Forces, asked Washington will not give it more legitimacy,” he added. “The regime strategy was stalling, and to send weapons, but not troops, to Syria. “We want weapons that would be able trying not to discuss really serious subjects to neutralize the [Syrian government’s] air in the [Geneva] negotiation sessions,” he force,” Jarba said. “We have difficulty get- charged. “We introduced, in Geneva, a ting weapons,” he added, stating that road map to achieve political transition out Assad receives ample weapons from his al- of 24 points. The regime refused to discuss it.” lies. Added Akbik: “In order to reach a soluA better-armed opposition would shift the balance of power and help bring the tion we need the other party to engage.” Akbik concluded by warning that the conflict to an end, Jarba argued. This, he maintained, would solve many of Syria’s Syrian opposition is in critical need of inproblems. “As soon as we get rid of the ternational assistance. “The [opposition Assad regime, 75 percent of Syria’s prob- forces]…are in a difficult situation,” he said. “They are under-resourced and the lems will be over,” he said. Jarba also sought to reassure Americans, fire power is with regime. [The opposisaying, “We are not terrorists, we are not tion’s] weapons are less in quantity and quality.” mercenaries, we are Syrians.” —Gabriella Patti and Dale Sprusansky Accusing the Assad regime of welcoming terrorists into Syria, Jarba charged, “Terrorism is the product of the regime of Survivor Tours U.S. Bashar al-Assad. Al-Qaeda now exists in Syria because the regime took them out of the prisons to control the people….We want all of the foreign militias to leave Syria.” Speaking at a May 12 New America Foundation event, Jarba adviser Rime Allaf expressed hope that the delegation’s visit would lead to a closer relationship with the U.S. government and the American people. “What is important for the coalition to work on during this visit is developing this relationship with the United States, both on the level of administration, with Qusai Zakarya warns about food shortages lawmakers in Congress, with the academic, in rural parts of Syria. 66

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Raising Funds for Orphan Relief

Sheikh Kraim Rajeh. Sheikh Kraim Rajeh of Damascus was the keynote speaker at a May 3 program attended by more than 300 people in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in Anaheim, CA. More than one million Syrian children have become orphans in the past three years, he said, and it costs $6,000 a month for 100 orphans to survive. The sheikh praised Syrian women for teaching the orphans how to read. He raised more than $220,000 that night for American Rescue Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Swasia Charity Foundation, and the Southern California Syrian Coordination Committee. —Samir Twair

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Antiwar Activists Continue Weekly Des Moines Vigil

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On Thursday, May 22, Central Iowa antiwar activists continued the weekly vigil they began on Nov. 11, 2004 in downtown Des Moines. “We’re still dedicated to being a visible presence to remind people that the U.S. is still bombing…still at war. We still don’t have universal health care, but we have drone attacks on countries we have not declared war on,” said Rene Espeland, who has participated in the vigil for almost a decade. Espeland expressed disappointment AUGUST 2014


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of Washington. As leaning Republican Grover Norquist, presbattles rage be- ident of Americans for Tax Reform, told tween Republicans, the audience they don’t have to sacrifice Democrats and In- principles to work in a bipartisan manner. Panelists agreed that the Left and Right dependents in Congress, and nothing could join together immediately to end inmuch gets accom- efficient Defense Department spending plished, Nader’s and make bureaucrats more frugal and acpremise is that con- countable. CODEPINK co-founder Medea servatives and pro- Benjamin questioned why Congress, ingressives can agree cluding progressives, always votes for war. to work together She also noted that Congress frequently on some things ef- threatens to cut foreign economic aid for (L-r) Carol Kochheiser, Eloise Cranke, Mike Beecher and Rene Es- fectively. Together poor countries, but never military aid for —Delinda C. Hanley they have the Israel. peland at a May 22 vigil in Des Moines. power to “dismanwith President Barack Obama’s policies in tle the corporate-government tyranny,” USS Liberty Survivors Gather at Navy Memorial the Middle East and Southwest Asia, saying there is little difference between the policies of the cool, calm, eloquent Democratic president and the jingoistic Republican “cowboy” with the mangled grammar who preceded him. “I don’t mean to demonize him,” said Espeland, “and I like his demeanor, but war crimes are war crimes.” Another long-time vigil participant, Eloise Cranke, said she is keenly aware that most Americans simply don’t think much about the wars in which U.S. drone strikes kill innocent civilians, men, women and children alike. “I think it is important for us to stand here so that people are reminded that war is still with us and that war is not the answer,” said Cranke. A relative newcomer to the vigil but not Frank Tims (at podium) speaks at the USS Liberty wreath-laying ceremony, as survivor to antiwar protests, Des Moines business- Ernie Gallo bows his head. man Mike Beecher, said he subscribes to “the John Lennon school of thought, ‘Give Nader argues, and they will be unstop- Survivors of Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS pable. Peace a Chance.’ Liberty joined friends at the U.S. Navy The hours sped by as panels discussed Memorial in Washington, DC at noon on “I don’t pretend that my presence here will have a profound impact on life in Des Wall Street crimes and misdeeds, minimum June 8 to mark the 47th anniversary of the Moines, IA, but when people drive by wage, civil liberties, corporate welfare, assault, which killed 34 men and wounded they see our signs and we are present, trimming the defense budget, free trade 174. Liberty Veterans Association president physically, existentially, in opposition to agreements, avoiding empire, and the com- Ernie Gallo called on Congress to investigate mercialization of childhood. Libertarian- the attack and to hear survivors’ testimony war and in favor of peace,” said Beecher. Beecher said he supports peace, stability, under oath. Frank and a worldwide community. Tims, past chairman “War gains us nothing!” said Carol of the American Cold Kochheiser of Des Moines. “I’d like to War Veterans Associthink that our government lives up to the ation, said, “We principles on which it was founded, but stand here in solidartoo often we don’t seem to act on those ity with members of principles,” she added. the USS Liberty; we The vigil will continue, say organizers. salute your heroism; —Michael Gillespie we salute your bravery and your deterRalph Nader: Unstoppable mination; we will stand with you and Unstoppable author Ralph Nader and the Center for Study of Responsive Law pre- (L-r) Ralph Nader, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, and demand a full acsented “A Gathering on Left-Right Conver- Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, counting.” —Delinda C. Hanley gence,” on May 27 at the Carnegie Institute discuss U.S. trade policies. AUGUST 2014

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THE WORLD LOOKS AT THE MIDDLE EAST

Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia

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Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington

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Al Balad, Beirut

The Muslim Observer, Farmington, MI

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The Economist, London

AUGUST 2014


opm_69-70_Other People's Mail 6/12/14 8:41 AM Page 69

Other People’s Mail Compiled by Dale Sprusansky Israel Levels “Tent of Nations” To the Press & Sun-Bulletin, May 30, 2014 Nineteen months ago, I visited a farm in the West Bank, about 6 miles from Bethlehem. The Nassar family, Palestinian Christians, have established the “Tent of Nations” there—a program of peace-seeking, uniting people of different ethnicities and traditions. Following the footsteps of their grandfather, a Lutheran pastor who taught his family never to hate, the founders of the “Tent of Nations” welcome adults and children in a variety of programs. International students work as interns; groups come to plant trees. On May 19, a convoy of Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers came—illegally, even under Israel’s draconian military laws—and in a couple of hours destroyed 1,500 fruit-laden trees and grape vines. The Israeli military has been trying to acquire the Nassar’s land (purchased during the Ottoman Empire) to link up two illegal Israeli settlements. One Zionist youth had chided the owners: “We have papers [to this land] from God.” This is not the prophetic religion practiced by conscientious Jews, Christians and Muslims worldwide, which respects all people and seeks their good. It does represent the actual policy of the state of Israel, to which our government seems fatally bonded. Gary E. Doupe, Bainbridge, NY

Palestine’s Christians To The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2014 Regarding Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor’s “The Middle East War on Christians” (op-ed, April 17): For brevity, I want to address one aspect, which is the supposed protection by Israel of Christians. As Palestinian Christians we deal with the Israeli repression daily. Even with my U.S. passport I was not allowed to enter Jerusalem for Easter as most Palestinians continue to be denied their religious freedom. Israel destroyed 530 Palestinian villages and towns and created the largest refugee population on earth after World War II. Churches and mosques were equally targeted for destruction. And in its expansion in the rest of Palestine, Israel started building colonial settlements after AUGUST 2014

1967 on our occupied lands (illegal per international law). Bethlehem is now a ghetto with a wall around it. Israel has over 50 laws that discriminate against non-Jewish Israelis and hundreds to discriminate against Palestinians in the occupied areas. For those interested in information from Christians, please look up the powerful statement by all Christian denominations called “Kairos Palestine” (<www.kairospales tine.ps>) instead of Mr. Prosor’s attempt to divert attention and mislead readers. Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, Bethlehem, Palestine

Support Arab Peace Plan To The New York Times, June 2, 2014 David Ignatius [“Concord in the Mideast,” op-ed, May 28] deserves praise for facilitating the public encounter between former top intelligence officials from Israel and Saudi Arabia, where they discussed the potential of the Arab Peace Initiative. Technically, retired Israeli Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and Saudi Prince Turki alFaisal were speaking in their personal capacities, but they reflect and influence elite opinion in their respective countries. The fact that “the two agreed that [Saudi King] Abdullah’s peace initiative should be seen as a framework for discussions, rather than a diktat to the Israelis,” is critically important and deserves attention. Any peacemaking effort in the region will require the engagement of Arab states such as Saudi Arabia to support Palestinians in negotiations and to demonstrate to Israelis the benefits of a regional peace. Israel—and Israel’s advocates in the United States—should take notice of the exchange between Gen. Yadlin and Prince Turki, recognize the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative and advance efforts to negotiate its terms in pursuit of a lasting peace. Peter A. Joseph, New York, NY

Israel Is Apartheid State To the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 3, 2014 “Apartheid” is a word that accurately describes what Israel already is. However, Secretary of State John Kerry is attacked for using that word to describe what Israel THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

“risks becoming” (“Kerry backs off ‘apartheid’ comment,” April 30). Author Max Blumenthal compares this to saying “This table could become a table— as he thumps the table.” From its beginning, Israel has denied equal rights to Palestinians who remained after 1948, as historians readily acknowledge. And, in the Palestinian territories Israel has occupied since 1967, the apartheid wall and illegal settlements and military occupation yield clear violations of human rights that are enshrined in international law. Top Israeli leaders themselves, such as former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, have warned about the “apartheid state.” It is only in the United States, the sole country protecting and financing Israeli hegemony, that one is not permitted to speak the truth without vilification. Consider attacks on President Jimmy Carter when he published Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. Israel is reaping what it sowed. There is no two-state solution any longer, and Israel cannot accept a unitary state with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. That would be a democracy, incompatible with a “Jewish state” in which 20 percent are non-Jewish second-class citizens, and with military occupation over Palestinians that will outnumber Jews in all of historic Palestine. Massive power imbalance between Israel and subjugated Palestinians at present blocks a just solution, but how long can this last? Robert B. Ashmore, Mequon, WI

Corrupting Judaism To The Washington Post, June 2, 2014 With Israeli flags in many synagogues and Jewish groups calling upon American Jews to “make aliyah”—emigrate to Israel—it seems that a form of idolatry has been embraced, making Israel an object of worship, replacing God, much like the golden calf in the Bible. Such views do not represent the outlook of the vast majority of American Jews. Judaism is a religion of universal values, not a nationality, and American Jews are Americans by nationality and Jews by religion, just as other Americans are Protestant, Catholic or Muslim. 69


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Judaism has been corrupted by its politicization. Fortunately, Zionism seems to be in retreat among American Jews, as evidenced by the increasing number of Jews that the DC Jewish Community Center and like-minded groups feel the need to censor. The Jewish tradition believes that all men and women, of every race and nation, are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated humanely. What happens to Palestinians, as a result, is no less important than what happens to Israelis. Allan C. Brownfeld, Alexandria, VA

Defending Egypt’s Election To The Guardian, June 3, 2014 Your editorial about Egypt’s election (“Full circle,” May 30) does your readers a disservice in its wilful disregard of critical facts. Contrary to the assertion that the election was “flawed,” election monitors, including a mission from the European Union, concluded otherwise. The EU, summing up the consensus view, declared that “the election took place in a democratic, free and honest atmosphere.” The claim that the Egyptian people failed to show up to vote is simply not true. Twenty-five million Egyptians stood in line to pick their next president, undeterred by soaring temperatures or the threat of terrorism and despite the fact that balloting coincided with a religious fast. This level of voter turnout was robust by any global standard. Contradicting any suggestion of voter apathy, this election capped an unprecedented level of political engagement for the Egyptian people, who have now taken part in seven nationwide polls since the 25 January revolution—a record of participation that shows just how far Egypt has travelled since 2011. Far from coming full circle, Egyptians are resolutely following a roadmap to their future. They are on a path that they have chosen, that reflects their political reawakening and where their vote counts. They have crossed the democratic Rubicon and there is no turning back. Ehab Badawy, Spokesman for the presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Don’t Forget Syria To The New York Times, April 9, 2014 The struggle among Ukraine, Russia and the West has inundated the American news media. But as a Harvard researcher who recently assessed the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan and the Middle East, I’d 70

like to stress the importance of not losing focus on the Syrian civil war’s disastrous humanitarian effect. The war has displaced an estimated nine million people from their homes, making it one of the largest occurrences of human displacement since World War II. This consequential and continuing conflict has no end in sight. Millions of women, children and families rely on Syria’s neighboring states as well as on donors in the international community for aid. Let us not avert our eyes from this crisis. These refugees deserve our help. Grayson Armstrong, Boston, MA

Something for Nothing To The Times-Tribune, June 9, 2014 Lily Tomlin once said, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” We should all feel that way about the news coverage and Republican commentary on the Taliban prisoner swap. Have we already forgotten that the Bush administration released more than 500 Guantanamo detainees? That’s merely a statement of fact, not a criticism. All the rhetoric about “negotiating with terrorists” is extremely confusing. Negotiations were through Qatar with the Taliban, not al-Qaeda. The Taliban is now a guerilla army. Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization. All of the released prisoners were Taliban, not al-Qaeda. The Taliban was a legitimate government to which the U.S. recognized and gave diplomatic recognition. Therefore the reWRITE, TELEPHONE OR E-MAIL THOSE WORKING FOR YOU

President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20500 Comment Line: (202) 456-1111 Visit: <www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submitquestions-and-comments> Vice President Joe Biden (same as above) Secretary of State John Kerry U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520 (202) 647-6575 #8 or (202) 647-5291#1 Visit <www.state.gov> to e-mail comments Any Senator U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 (202) 224-3121 Any Representative U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-3121 E-mail Congress: visit <www.congress.org> THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

leased prisoners are legitimate combatants under all laws and tradition and must be treated as POWs. President Obama has announced that our major combat operations will cease at the end of this year. The Geneva Conventions state that repatriation will take place “without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.” One exception is provided in the case of prisoners convicted or prosecuted for criminal offenses. But none of the five were ever charged with anything, much less terrorism, and so were never convicted of anything. The conclusion? The U.S. would have had to release them by the end of this year by custom and international law. We got something for nothing. All of this contrived, factdeprived hysteria has gotten tiresome. Wayne Warner, Clarks Green, PA

Get Out of Afghanistan To The New York Times, May 28, 2014 Again and again, the can keeps getting kicked down the road. Now it’s two more years, which brings the grand total to 15. Yet another promise—to bring the troops home in 2014—broken. Afghanistan is a quagmire, and President Obama is obviously content to leave the mess in his successor’s lap. Meanwhile, the carnage continues, and the backups at the V.A. hospitals and psychiatric centers get ever longer. Gene Krzyzynski, Tonawanda, NY

Obama and Drones To The Kansas City Star, May 15, 2014 President Barack Obama recently sent drones, which killed nine “suspected terrorists” and three civilians. Mr. President, who helped you make this determination? Do you really have the authorization, under our Constitution or some other decree, to kill people in a foreign country? Please Mr. President, stop it. Arlin Buyert, Leawood, KS

Close Guantanamo To the Stevens Point Journal, May 21, 2014

Last year, President Obama told us that he was going to close Guantanamo Bay prison after many prisoners went on hunger strikes in protest of indefinite detention with no charges and no trials. Amnesty International urges us to support the closing of the prison. It is one of the reasons the Islamic world thinks of us as terrorists. Richard Kovac, Stevens Point, WI ❑ AUGUST 2014


bulletin_board_71_August 2014 Bulletin Board 6/12/14 8:42 AM Page 71

Upcoming Events, Announcements & Obituaries

BulletinBoard

—Compiled by Andrew Stimson and Kevin Davis Upcoming Events The Middle East Children’s Alliance will host a Benefit for Syrian Refugees July 11 in San Francisco, CA. The concert will feature Ali Amr, a qanunist and singer from Palestine. All proceeds will go toward helping Syrian refugees affected by the ongoing war. More information is available at <www.mecaforpeace.org>. The Jerusalem Fund in Washington, DC will host “Le Temps des Cerises,” an exhibit by Tunisian artist Samia Zoghlami, whose modernist art focuses on depictions of musicians. The exhibit will be on view through July 15 at The Jerusalem Fund’s Art Gallery, 2425 Virginia Ave., NW. For more information, visit <www.thejerusalemfund.org>. The St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church will hold its 7th annual Middle Eastern Festival July 18-20 in St. Paul, MN. The festival will feature live music, great food, a Middle Eastern marketplace, and activities for all ages. Visit <www. mideastfest.com> for more information.

Announcements The Law School at the University of Southampton, UK is calling for papers/ panels for its upcoming conference, “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism.” The conference will feature leading scholars from law, politics, philosophy, theology, anthropology, cultural studies, history and other connected disciplines who will address the role of international law in Israel/Palestine. Paper and panel proposals are due by Oct. 17, 2014. Obituaries Muhammad Qutb, 95, an author and scholar, died April 4 in a hospital in Mecca. The brother of Sayyid Qutb, one of the most influential modern Islamist scholars, he was born in a small village in Egypt. After his brother was executed in 1966, Muhammad moved to Saudi Arabia, where he lived the rest of his life. Influenced by his brother’s legacy, Qutb was the author of many books on Islamic thought and taught at Umm alQura University in Mecca. AUGUST 2014

Andrew Intamba, 67, Namibia’s first ambassador to Egypt, died in Windhoek April 8 after a brief illness. Born in 1947, he was a well-respected diplomat, serving as the director of Namibia’s Central Intelligence Service. His appointment in 2008 as his country’s first ambassador to Egypt signified a new relationship between the two countries. Intamba served as ambassador until his death. Ron Pundak, 58, a prominent Israeli journalist and historian, died April 11 in Tel Aviv, where he was born. He is best known for his role in the Oslo I Peace Accords, signed in 1993 by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. He graduated from the University of London in 1991 with a Ph.D. degree in history, before founding the Economic Cooperation Foundation and later becoming director of the Peres Center for Peace. Mohammad Naseem, 90, leader of the Birmingham Central Mosque in England, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on April 22. Born in India, educated in Pakistan, and a resident of Birmingham, Naseem was well known both for his mosque activities as well as his political involvement with the Islamic Party of Britain and his anti-war activism. Mohammad-Reza Lotfi, 67, a famous Iranian tar and setar musician, died May 2 in Tehran of cancer. Born in 1947 in Gorgan, Iran, he spent most of his life in Tehran, attending the Persian National Music Conservatory and then the College of Fine Arts at Tehran University. He became known for his work with the Shayda Ensemble and for helping to revive Persian classical music. In 1986 Lotfi immigrated to the United States, where he lived for two decades. Ghassan K. Sabbagh, 82, managing editor of the Arabic version of Voice of America (VOA), died May 3 at his home in Reston, VA of complications from a stroke. Sabbagh worked with VOA for more than 47 years, and was a critical part of the success of its Arabic-language broadcast service. He spent much time overseas, including at the VOA offices in Beirut, and was a survivor of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy there. He spent the last years of his career THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

at VOA headquarters in Washington, DC, before retiring in 2003. Sheikh Muhammad Nazim Adil alQubrusi al-Haqqani, 92, a leader of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, died May 7 in Cyprus of multiple organ failure. Born in Cyprus in 1922 of Turkish descent, he moved to Istanbul after high school to study chemical engineering at the University of Istanbul. There he became drawn to the teachings of Sheikh Sulayman Arzarumi, a member of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order. Influenced by the Sufi path, al-Haqqani moved to Syria after graduating from university. When the French regime in Damascus refused to allow him to reside in the city, he traveled throughout Syria and to Tripoli, Lebanon, seeking the guidance of prominent religious figures. After many years he returned to Cyprus, where he rebeled against Turkish secular policies and developed a strong following in his native community. Throughout his lifetime, al-Haqqani travelled to many countries, including England, India, Uzbekistan, and Singapore. He also visited the United States numerous times, establishing 15 Naqshbandi Order centers across the country. In 1998, he was a keynote speaker at the 2nd International Islamic Unity Conference, held in Los Angeles. Nick Eoloff, 84, who worked tirelessly for a free Palestine, died May 24 in St. Paul of pancreatic cancer. A Minnesota native and U.S. Navy veteran, he and his wife, Mary, adopted Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistleblower. They were instrumental in raising awareness for his cause, and flew to Israel for his April 21, 2004 release from prison after serving an 18-year term. The Eoloffs and their advocacy were featured in a 2003 BBC documentary titled “Israel’s Secret Weapon.” Nick Eoloff also was a founding and long-time member of Deir Yassin Remembered, an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the 1948 Israeli massacre of the villagers of Deir Yassin, outside Jerusalem. He commissioned and dedicated a monument to the village in South Minneapolis, adjacent to the Midtown Greenway Bike Trail. Eoloff also was active in numerous organizations serving Palestinian rights, including Friends of Sabeel and the Al-Aqsa Institute of Minnesota. ❑ 71


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Books

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt By Karim Alrawi, illustrated by Bee Willey, Crocodile Books, 2011, hardcover, 32 pp. List: $16.95; AET: $14.

the ancient architecture, crafts, dress and traditions. Young readers aged 3-7 will want to revisit this book many times after their first reading.

Gertrude

Reviewed by Andrew Stimson

By Hassan Najmi, trans. by Roger Allen, Interlink Books, 2014, paperback, 282 pp. List: $15; AET: $12.

Acclaimed Egyptian playwright and free speech activist Karim Alrawi retells an ancient Egyptian folktale of simple kindness repaid a thousand-fold. Born in Alexandria, Alrawi studied creative writing at the University of Manchester, England, as well as the University of British Columbia, Canada and the University of Iowa. Several of his plays were censored in Egypt, and he was arrested in 1993 for his work with the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. In the UK and Canada his plays have received popular acclaim and several awards. He recently returned to his country in 2011 to help document corruption and threats to free speech. Alrawi’s expertly crafted narrative voice in The Mouse Who Saved Egypt conjures a timeless atmosphere as he tells the story of a young prince who rescues a mouse caught in a thorn bush. That evening the prince dreams of the sun god Amon-Ra, whose rhyming pronouncements lead the prince to discover a giant stone sphinx buried in the sand. The prince soon becomes a pharaoh and Egypt flourishes under his reign. Even the mice eat well! When an army appears on the kingdom’s doorstep the pharaoh prays to Amon-Ra and discovers that his act of kindness so many years ago has the power to save his people. Bee Willey’s colorful digital media illustrations depict grand full-page palace columns covered in intricate hieroglyphics and multiple-panel images of daily life in ancient Egypt. Young and old readers alike will be captivated by

The provocative Moroccan poet, journalist and translator Hassan Najmi has written an absorbing, speculative tale of Gertrude Stein’s real-life visit to Tangier. The book’s narrator, a poet and journalist from modern-day Morocco named Abu Hasan, relates the deathbed confessions of Muhammad, who claims to have had an affair with Gertrude Stein in his youth. Using a narrative style that veers between emotive poetry and understated minimalism, Abu Hasan describes Muhammad’s burgeoning affair with Stein in Tangier. The young Muhammad follows the famous author to her Paris salon, where he mingles with the likes of Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Erik Satie, Ernest Hemingway, Man Ray and other luminaries of the age. However, his passionate relationship with Stein creates turmoil with Stein’s longtime partner, Alice B. Toklas. Moreover, Stein’s formidable artistic talent stifles Muhammad, and he becomes an invisible figure, artistically unproductive and reluctant to comment on the art he admires. Meanwhile, in contemporary Rabat, Hasan develops an obsession with Stein while writing Muhammad’s posthumous memoir and recruits an American diplomat, Lydia Altman, to help his research. The two soon become lovers, and the arc of their affair mirrors Muhammad’s doomed relationship with Stein. The dissolution of Muhammad and Abu Hasan’s relationships uncovers the anger and pain seething just beneath the surface—the pain of unrealized artistic talent and ambition. An implicit conflict in the novel is the troubling inequalities as Western artists work at the core of high society and culture, while their colonial (and post-colonial) peers struggle at the periphery. Gertrude is a fascinating exploration of the pitfalls of

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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

artistic pursuit as well as the tempestuous lives of expatriate artists living in Morocco and Paris during the 1920s and ’30s. Punctuated by wit, humor and longing, Najmi’s work is an ideal read for students of contemporary literature and those interested in Gertrude Stein’s “Lost Generation.”

New Middle Eastern Street Food: Snacks, Comfort Food, and Mezze from Snackistan By Sally Butcher, Interlink Books, 2014, hardcover, 208 pp. List: $30; AET: $26. Having visited the imaginary land of Veggie stan in her first cookbook (AET Bookstore bestseller The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian), Sally Butcher’s latest book explores Snackistan, a land of Middle Eastern comfort food called mezze. Butcher is co-owner of the London-based Persian food store Persepolis, which she manages with her Iranian husband. In Street Food, she enthusiastically explores the mezze traditions of Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Morocco, Armenia and Egypt, as well as some of her own unique creations. Butcher’s big personality punctuates the introductory notes of every recipe, and her chapter titles are no less flamboyant: Meat on a Stick, Meat Not on a Stick, Fishy Things, and Something to Wash it Down, among others. While Butcher’s tone is unfailingly irreverent, her love and respect for Middle Eastern cooking is deep. Each chapter includes historical notes and often a good Imam Nasreddine tale or two. Mezze’s ancient origins were recorded as far back as the Roman Empire and Hellenic Greece, and by the medieval period, Butcher notes, takeout kebabs were all the rage in Ottoman Turkey. Nearly each page of New Middle Eastern Street Food brims with vivid color photographs. The Nuts and Nibbles chapter surveys healthy alternatives to junk food, featuring recipes like lemonroasted almonds with saffron and za’atar-fried chickpeas. Butcher’s distinctive wit and culinary creativity will inspire amateur and expert cooks alike. ❑ Andrew Stimson is former director of the AET Bookstore. AUGUST 2014


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AET Bookstore Catalog Literature

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Summer 2014 Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State, by Shira Robinson, Stanford University Press, 2013, paperback, 352 pp. List: $24.95; AET: $20. In her first book, historian Shira Robinson carefully examines the contradictory status of Palestinian Arabs in the state of Israel. On the one hand, they are citizens with rights and privileges, yet at the same time, they are marginalized in the Israeli national narrative. Citizen Strangers explores both the politics of citizenship as well as how Palestinian groups address their own position in the state of Israel.

Faces of Egypt: Images and Observations, by Deborah Shea Doyle, Interlink Books, 2014, paperback, 114 pp. List: $20; AET: $17. Faces of Egypt is the product of photographer Deborah Shea Doyle’s 10 years of travel throughout Egypt. From bustling Cairo to remote desert settlements, Doyle documents the diversity of Egypt’s people and daily lives, with a special focus on the Bedouin communities. Through her photographs and supplemented by her long experience in the country, readers can come to appreciate the beauty of Egypt’s people.

Palestinian Women: Narrative Histories and Gendered Memory, by Fatma Kassem, Zed Books, 2011, paperback, 264 pp. List: $34.95; AET: $25. Palestinian Women is the first book to examine and document the experiences and historical narrative of ordinary Palestinian women who witnessed the events of 1948 and became involuntary citizens of the state of Israel. Told in their own words, the women’s experiences serve as a window for examining the complex intersections of gender, nationalism and citizenship in a situation of ongoing violent political conflict.

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story, by Hena Kahn, illustrated by Julie Paschkis, Chronicle Books, 2008, hardcover, 32 pp. List: $16.99; AET: $14. Night of the Moon is a wonderfully written and illustrated children’s book that teaches about the holy month of Ramadan. Following the character of Yasmeen as she celebrates each major event, Kahn explores the origins and traditions of Ramadan and narrates Yasmeen’s interactions with her family and community, who explain to her the significance of Islam’s holiest month. This book is a great way for children to learn about Ramadan.

Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revolt, by Hazem Kandil, Verso, 2014, paperback, 323 pp. List: $19.95; AET: $16. While the 2011 Egyptian uprising shocked the world, it was not necessarily a sudden event. Rather, as Kandil shows in his new book, the events of 2011 were a continuation of a long-existing power struggle between Mubarak and the Egyptian military complex, a troubled relationship which Kandil traces back to the 1950s. This reprint edition now incorporates the rise and fall of Mohamed Morsi, Mubarak’s successor.

The Palestinian Refugee Problem: the Search for a Resolution, edited by Rex Brynen & Roula El-Rifai, Pluto Press, 2014, paperback, 299 pp. List: $40; AET: $28. This volume of essays explores one of the most important and contentious policy issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the question of refugees. Diverse authors of various backgrounds explore such topics as return and the role of international aid organizations. With each contributor providing differing policy recommendations, this volume is a great platform to think about the complex refugee situation.

Do Muslim Women Need Saving? by Lila Abu-Lughod, Harvard University Press, 2013, hardcover, 336 pp. List: $35; AET: $31. In her latest book, respected anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod addresses the long-standing question of Western intervention in the Muslim world under the pretext of women’s rights. She challenges the notions of Western media outlets and politicians of structural inequality by drawing upon her decades of research experience with women in the Middle East. This books is perhaps one of the most important interventions in discussions of women in Middle Eastern societies.

The Politics of Islamophobia, by David Tyrer, Pluto Press, 2013, paperback, 197 pp. List: $35; AET: $30. While the concept of Islamophobia is beginning to attract public attention, it has yet to be critically examined by scholars. Tyrer aims to bridge the public debate with a theoretical exploration of Islamophobia and its roots as a modern form of racism. Through a number of different cases, the author focuses heavily on the relationships between states and citizens and the racist frameworks which dictate those structures of power.

Mapping Exile and Return: Palestinian Dispossession and a Political Theology for a Shared Future, by Alain Epp Weaver, Fortress Press, 2014, paperback, 174 pp. List: $39; AET: $30. In his latest book, Alain Epp Weaver examines the Christian Palestinian community. While marginalized within the occupation dynamic, Palestinian Christians are also confronting an increasing Christian political alignment with Zionism. He draws upon extensive research to show how cartographic processes have reinforced Christian marginalization and exclusion, while suggesting alternate narratives and political arrangements.

Shipping Rates Most items are discounted and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Orders accepted by mail, phone (800-368-5788 ext. 2), or Web (www.middleeast books.com). All payments in U.S. funds. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted. Please send mail orders to the AET Bookstore, 1902 18th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009, with checks and money orders made out to “AET.” Contact the AET Bookstore for complete shipping guidelines and options. U . S . S h i p p i n g R a t e s : Please add $5 for the first item and $2.50 for each additional item. Canada & Mexico shipping charges: Please add $15 for the first item and $3.50 for each additional item. International shipping charges: Please add $15 for the first item and $6 for each additional item. We ship by USPS Priority unless otherwise requested. AUGUST 2014

L i b r a r y p a c k a g e s (list value over $240) are available for $29 if donated to a library, or free if requested with a library’s paid subscription or renewal. Call the Bookstore at 800-3685788 ext. 2 to order. AET policy is to identify donors unless anonymity is specifically requested.

THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

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AET’s 2014 Choir of Angels Following are individuals, organizations, companies and foundations whose help between Jan. 1, 2014 and May 28, 2014 is making possible activities of the tax-exempt AET Library Endowment (federal ID #52-1460362) and the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Some Angels helped us co-sponsor the March 7 National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship.” We are deeply honored by their confidence and profoundly grateful for their generosity.

HUMMERS ($100 or more) Jeffrey M. Abood, Silver Lake, OH Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, Atlanta, GA Mike & Pat Ameen, Kingwood, TX Edwin Amidon, Charlotte, VT Sylvia Anderson de Freitas, Phoenix, AZ Dr. Robert Ashmore, Jr., Mequon, WI Mr. & Mrs. Sultan Aslam, Plainsboro, NJ Nabil Bahu, Athens, Greece Jamil Barhoum, San Diego, CA Allen & Jerrie Bartlett, Philadelphia, PA Peter Bentley, Sebastian, FL John Carley, Pointe-Claire, Quebec Richard Curtiss, Boynton Beach, FL* Tareck Elass, Washington, DC M.R. Eucalyptus, Kansas City, MO Catherine Fararjeh, Santa Clara, CA Renee Farmer, New York, NY Mr. & Mrs. Majed Faruki, Albuquerque, NM Douglas A. Field, Kihei, HI Eileen Fleming, Clermont, FL Joseph & Angela Gauci, Whittier, CA Shirley Hannah, Argyle, NY Mrs. Frances Hasenyager, Carmel, CA Joan & Edward Hazbun, Media, PA Alan & Dot Heil, Alexandria, VA† Dr. Colbert & Mildred Held, Waco, TX Mohamad Kamal, North York, Ont. Edwin Kennedy, Bethesda, MD Alfred & Dina Khoury, McLean, VA Gail Kirkpatrick, Philadelphia, PA Joseph Korey, Reading, PA Mary Lou Levin, Mill Valley, CA Robert L. Mabarak, Grosse Pointe Park, MI Allen J. MacDonald, Washington, DC Stanley McGinley, The Woodlands, TX 74

Colleen Mitchell, Fresno, CA Bassam Rammaha, Corona, CA Neil Richardson, Randolph, VT Ms. Brynhild Rowberg, Northfield, MN Betty Sams, Washington, DC Russell Scardaci, Cairo, NY * George Shalabi, Sauk City, WI Shahida Siddiqui, Trenton, NJ David J. Snider, Airmont, NY Mae Stephen, Palo Alto, CA Mubadda Suidan, Atlanta, GA Darrell & Sue Yeaney, Scotts Valley, CA Munir Zacharia, La Mirada, CA Nadim & Alicia Zacharia, San Diego, CA Fred Zuercher, Spring Grove, PA ACCOMPANISTS ($250 or more) Dr. Majid Azzedine, Lakewood, WA Mr. & Mrs. John Crawford, Boulder, CO Delinda C. Hanley, Kensington, MD*** Martha Katz, Youngstown, OH Paul N. Kirk, Baton Rouge, LA Kendall Landis, Media, PA David & Renee Lent, Hanover, NH† Joe and Lilli Lill, Arlington, VA Rachelle Marshall, Mill Valley, CA Sam Rahman, Lincoln, CA Yasir Shallal, McLean, VA John V. Whitbeck, Paris, France TENORS & CONTRALTOS ($500 or more) Dr. Abdullah Arar, Amman, Jordan Graf Herman Bender, North Palm Beach, FL Rev. Ronald C. Chochol, St. Louis, MO Rafeek Farah, New Boston, MI Ronald & Mary Forthofer, Longmont, CO THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

Hind Hamdan, Hagerstown, MD Brigitte Jaensch, Carmichael, CA Gerald & Judith Merrill, Oakland, CA Mary Norton, Austin, TX Mary Regier, Albany, CA**** Gabrielle Saad, Oakland, CA Dr. Robert Younes, Potomac, MD* BARITONES & MEZZO SOPRANOS ($1,000 or more) Asha A. Anand, Bethesda, MD G. Edward & Ruth Brooking, Wilmington, DE Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius & Aston Bloom, Tucson, AZ Thomas D’Albani & Dr. Jane Killgore, Bemidji, MN Gregory DeSylva, Rhinebeck, NY Linda Emmet, Paris, France Dr. & Mrs. Clyde Farris, West Linn, OR Evan & Leman Fotos, Istanbul, Turkey* Judith Howard, Norwood, MA** Shafiq Kombargi, Houston, TX Jack Love, San Diego, CA John Mahoney, AMEU, New York, NY Bob Norberg, Lake City, MN John Van Wagoner, McLean, VA CHOIRMASTERS ($5,000 or more) Henry Clifford, Essex, CT Donna B. Curtiss, Kensington, MD****, † John & Henrietta Goelet, New York, NY Andrew I. Killgore, Washington, DC Vincent & Louise Larsen, Billings, MT*, ** Mahmud Shaikhaly, Hollywood, CA *In Memory of Richard H. Curtiss **In Honor of Andrew I. Killgore ***For Helen Thomas Internship ****In Memory of Frank Regier †In Memory of Ghassan Sabbagh ❑ AUGUST 2014


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2014

Annual Dinner Friday, October 17, 2014 | Washington, DC

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cover4_cover4 6/12/14 9:26 PM Page c4

American Educational Trust The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs P.O. Box 53062 Washington, DC 20009

August 2014 Vol. XXXIII, No. 5

An Iraqi man inspects a destroyed taxi the day after a May 28 car bomb exploded in Baghdad’s northern Shi’i-majority Sadr City neighborhood. A spate of car bombings that day in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul killed more than 60 people. ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs - Vol. XXXIII, No. 5  

Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.

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