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SEEKING ANSWERS AT THE CORRIE TRIAL IN ISRAEL
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On Middle East Affairs Volume XXIX, No. 9
Telling the Truth for 28 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 Palestinians Reject a “Compromise” That Means Surrender—Rachelle Marshall
24 Holding AIPAC Accountable—Two Cases —Grant F. Smith, Janet McMahon
11 The Corrie Trial in Israel: Seeking Answers and Accountability—Katherine Gallagher
27 Saudi Arabia and the Arab World Choose
14 Peace Talks, Palestinian Refugees and Their Right of Return—Two Views
—John Redwine, Salman Abu Sitta 18 Operation Cast Lead Is Over, But the Nightmare Continues—Mohammed Omer
Peace—Now It’s Up to the U.S. and Israel
—Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud 30 Canada Loses Bid for Security Council Seat Due to Recent Unqualified Support of Israel—Ian Williams 32 America’s Lost Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Call for a Change in Policy—Rachelle Marshall
20 Israeli Settlers Poison Olive Trees and Torch Mosques in the Wild West Bank
—Delinda C. Hanley 22 Senate Letter Sought to Prepare Ground to Blame Abbas for Peace Talks Failure—Shirl McArthur
34 Report Shows Drone Strikes Based on Scant Evidence—Gareth Porter 36 The Case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: A Profile in Persecution and Faith—Mauri’ Saalakhan
SPECIAL REPORTS 38 Mixed News From Britain: Growing Solidarity With Palestinians—and Islamophobia—John Gee 40 Family Members, Others Call for Independent Investigation Into Megrahi Conviction
—Dr. Jim Swire STAFF PHOTO DELINDA HANLEY
74 In Memoriam: Dr. Peter Anton Gubser (1941-2010)—Andrew I. Killgore
A presentation on “Muppet Diplomacy” preceded the speech by Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations annual conference, Oct. 22, 2010. See p. 27 for Prince Turki’s remarks.
ON THE COVER: A Palestinian woman harvests olive trees with her family in the occupied West Bank village of Qabatiya, near Jenin, Oct. 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO/SAIF DAHLAH
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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 1-800-368-5788, and press 1. For other options, see page OV-3 in this issue.)
Compiled by Janet McMahon
Settlement Freeze? It Was Barely a Slowdown, Dror Etkes, Haaretz OV-1 Islamophobia’s Scholarly Godfather, Nabil Al-Khowaiter, www.consortiumnews.com
No Wonder Americans Are Ignorant..., James North, http://mondoweiss.net
Pollard—”Common Sense and Impudence,” Richard Sale, http://turcopolier.typepad.com
Israel’s Omniscient Ears, Nicky Hager, Le Monde diplomatique
Mission Creep in AfPak, Eric S. Margolis, www.ericmargolis.com
Let Her Go Home, Editorial, Arab News
Tony Blair’s Colonial Blinders, Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star
Israel Jails Arab Activists for Vague “Contact With a Foreign Agent,” Jonathan Cook, www.antiwar.com
Al-Qaeda’s Suspect Humanitarianism, Maidhc Ó Cathail, Khaleej Times
J Street Flap Shines Spotlight on George Soros And His Money, Nathan Guttman, The Forward
Israel/Palestine and the U.S./Mexico Border: Echoes Across Time and Space, Nadine Saliba, La Voz de Esperanza
In One City, an Islamic Center Unifies, Tammy Audi, The Wall Street Journal
The Ramadan Roadtrip, Maria Kari, www.thenation.com
Getting to Know You: Iraqi Refugee Kids And U.S. School Kids, Sarah Birke, Le Monde diplomatique
DEPARTMENTS 5 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 7 PUBLISHERS’ PAGE 42 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE: Campaign Aims to Divest State Funds From Corporations Enabling Israeli Occupation—Pat and Samir Twair
52 ISRAEL AND JUDAISM:
58 WAGING PEACE:
The Prophetic Vision of
Rashid Khalidi Notes Changes in
Zionism’s Jewish Critics
—Allan C. Brownfeld 65 DIPLOMATIC DOINGS: 54 ARAB-AMERICAN ACTIVISM: San Francisco’s Arab Commu-
Prime Minister of Tunisia Mohamed Ghannouchi
nity Celebrates in Union Square 67 BOOK REVIEW:
44 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE: California Lawmakers Celebrate Ramadan With CAIR at Seventh Annual Capitol Iftar—Elaine Pasquini 46 NEW YORK CITY AND TRISTATE NEWS: Gaza Freedom Flotilla: “Fact, Fiction and the Law”—Jane Adas
54 HUMAN RIGHTS: Women as
Let the Swords Encircle Me:
Barometer of Success, Stability
Iran—A Journey Behind the
From Iraq to Afghanistan
—Reviewed by Ian Williams 55 MUSIC & ARTS: Dr. Riad Abdel-Gawad Discusses
68 NEW ARRIVALS FROM THE AET BOOK CLUB
Egyptian Sufi Musical Traditions 70 BULLETIN BOARD 56 MUSLIM-AMERICAN
49 OTHER PEOPLE’S MAIL 51 THE WORLD LOOKS AT THE MIDDLE EAST — CARTOONS
ACTIVISM: CAIR Launches New
72 2010 AET CHOIR OF ANGELS
Department to Address Islamophobia
43 INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
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Publisher: Executive Editor: Managing Editor: News Editor: Book Club Director: Circulation Director: Art Director:
ANDREW I. KILLGORE RICHARD H. CURTISS JANET McMAHON DELINDA C. HANLEY ANDREW STIMSON ANNE O’ROURKE RALPH U. SCHERER
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (ISSN 8755-4917) is published 9 times a year, monthly except Jan./Feb., May/June and Sept./Oct. 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 53062, Washington, DC 20009-9062. 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 seven 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: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Web sites: http://www.wrmea.com http://www.middleeastbooks.com Subscriptions, sample copies and donations: P.O. Box 53062, Washington, DC 20009-9062 Printed in the USA
LetterstotheEditor The Truth About 9/11 In the November 2010 issue, you printed three essays under the headline, “Three Views: Ground Zero and Islamophobia in America.” What surprised and shocked me was that each writer supports the official government story regarding who did 9/11. For the last nine years, intrepid scholars, architects, engineers, scientists, pilots, and eyewitness accounts of World Trade Center (WTC) employees and first responders, etc. have all punched so many holes in the official story, it’s hard to believe anyone believes it. Nano-thermite has been found in the WTC dust, which proves that explosives were used to bring down WTC buildings 1, 2 and 7. On 9/11, the only people taken into custody were Israelis, many of them Mossad agents who, at the minimum, had foreknowledge of the event. The list of anomalies and unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 that were never addressed by the 9/11 commission—and were never meant to be—can readily be found in books and on the Internet under 9/11 Truth. 9/11 was an Israeli-U.S. false flag event whose purpose was to wage war against all Muslim nations who refuse to be controlled by the Israeli-U.S. criminal cabal, under the pretext of a “war on terror.” The overwhelming circumstantial evidence and the presence of nano-thermite would prove this if a court of law dedicated to truth and justice could be found. So far no court has been willing to hear a 9/11 case or even allow a referendum to appear on a state ballot asking the citizenry if they want a new investigation. Islamophobia in America is a direct result of 9/11 lies about 19 Muslim hijackers. I’m surprised your highly regarded magazine chose three views on the topic that repeated the lies. I’m especially surprised that Rep. Paul Findley would write of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the “chief planner of 9/11.” The man was waterboarded 183 times and no doubt endured torture methods currently unknown to us. Under the same circumstances we’d all confess to being the mastermind of 9/11. Patty Goldstein, The Bronx, NY We are printing your letter in its entirety because many readers have written us to urge that we “take on” the 9/11 theories. Just as we have declined to debate the HoloTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
caust, however, we prefer to focus on Israel’s theft and occupation of Palestine, and the enabling role of the U.S., including the Israel lobby. As Paul Findley has argued in these pages, that is the root cause of 9/11 and other anti-Western acts and expressions. Islamophobia is an incited response to that, the goal being to fan suspicion and hatred between Muslims and the West. That said, we have covered such stories as the Israelis dancing on a Brooklyn rooftop on 9/11, the mysterious Israeli “art students” (who visited our offices and appear to have resurfaced recently in Utah, near a new NSA data center) and the post-9/11 anthrax at-
tacks, among other 9/11-related topics. Among the hundreds of books available from the AET Book Club are David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor and The New Pearl Harbor Revisited. Finally, we commend the Aug. 14, 2006 post on <http://dissident voice.org> by the late author and retired CIA analyst Bill Christison entitled “Stop Belittling the Theories about September 11.” He wrote, “After spending the better part of the last five years treating these theories with utmost skepticism…I have come to believe that…significant parts of the official story put out by the U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission are false. I now think there is persuasive evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe.” We support continued investigation into the inconsistencies of the official version— but leave it to others to actually conduct that investigation.
A New Connection I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much my colleagues and I have enjoyed reading your site. We appreciate your insight and your balanced views of topics relating to the Middle East. To share your 5
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thoughts with others, we’ve added you to our blogroll on the Arabia Inform Web site: <www.arabiainform.com/blog>. Thanks and we look forward to your upcoming content! Jan Diggs, Arabia Inform, Inc., Cairo, Egypt We’re most pleased to be included on your “Blogroll,” and have linked your impressive site to ours so that our readers can benefit from it as well.
Campaigning in Germany Coming back from a holiday I find your reminder for the extension of my subscription. I am quite sure to remember having sent the form already about 3-4 weeks ago! If it did not reach you please let me know. Thank you for your most important work. I am involved in Palestine campaigning in Germany and support several organizations here, so please excuse me for not contributing more than just the subscription to your work. But I can assure you that I and my “combatants” appreciate and value very much the information and articles we get through your magazine. Damaris Koehler, M.D., Heidelberg, Germany Your subscription is indeed in good standing. Thank you for taking the time to follow up, and for your work abroad on behalf of justice for the Palestinians. We are always happy to be reminded that we’re all in this together! An Avid Reader I am an avid reader of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. But I am also a prisoner in the Federal Gulag system with little resources. I wish I could pay for my subscription, but I don’t work a prison job since I am in the BOP’s new “Super-Max” SMU (Special Management Unit) in USP Lewisburg PA. I have been blessed to receive the magazine as a gift, and to make
sure to get every issue’s message out I pass it on for others to see the “Other Side,” i.e. what the mainstream media do not report on Israel, Palestine, Zionism, Muslim affairs, etc. With every issue’s subscription form I’ll even bum a stamp and mail to friends on the outside telling them to subscribe and support the magazine. As well as the cards to the president, Senate, State Department, etc. to press for true “change” and possible “peace in the Middle East,” to bring our troops home, etc. It is my hope the magazine continues to be printed and carry on into the future, and I want you to know that, though a prisoner, I’m doing my part in trying to help. Thank you. Jake Laskey, Lewisburg, PA We are happy to say that your gift subscription has been renewed, and thank you for your efforts on behalf of this magazine and its—our—ultimate goal. We’d be interested to know, by the way, how SMUs compare to Communications Management Units (CMUs) housing primarily Muslim prisoners (see, for example, our May/June 2007 issue, p. 12).
Spreading the Word Thank you for shipping the Washington Report magazine so promptly. Your publication is the best and we hope to hand out all of the copies this weekend! Cheryl Ellis, Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights, Austin, TX Along with our thanks for your kind (and accurate!) words, we’ll take this opportunity to remind our readers that we order extra copies of every issue just so they can be distributed free at community events such as yours. Just let us know a couple of weeks in advance, and copies will be on their way.
Money Talks I have been a subscriber to your magazine for many years and am always interested in your reports about the money U.S. taxpayers have to send to Israel via our government. When you Other Voices is an optional 16report on the amount of page supplement available only money going to Israel, you to subscribers of the Washington usually just list the $2.5 bilReport on Middle East Affairs. For lion per year. However, it is an additional $15 per year (see much more than that. For postcard insert for Washington example, in your August Re port subscription rates), 2010 issue, p. 39, you mensubscribers will receive Other tion the $205 million in Voices bound into each issue of funding for the Iron Dome their Washington Report on missile defense system. In Middle East Affairs. another issue you listed the Back issues of both publicaamount in loan guarantees tions are available. To subscribe telephone 1 (800) 368-5788 to Israel (that have never (press 1), fax (202) 265-4574, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>, been paid back) for their ilor write to P.O. Box 53062, Washington, DC 20009. legal housing. There is also a
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
military budget of funds that go to Israel each year from the U.S. What I would like to see, occasionally, is a total tally of all the funds we send to Israel per year, not just the $2.5 billion that we have to pay Israel so that it won’t go to war with Egypt. (Paying a country off to do what we want them to do seems to be the only negotiation skills our presidents/government have. It certainly isn't done by sitting down at a table and discussing what is right.) Barbara Gravesen, Lady Lake, FL You’re right that our tables of (now only military) U.S. aid to Israel are based on the annual appropriations bill. In the text of his “Congress Watch” columns, however, our congressional correspondent Shirl McArthur does describe other sources of U.S., especially those buried in the Department of Defense appropriations. For example, in the March 2010 issue, McArthur calculated total aid to Israel, including Defense appropriations but not all minor amounts buried in other appropriations bills, as being $3,002.434 billion. Your comments are helpful to us in our never-ending quest to find ways to make these figures as clear and accessible as possible, however, and we shall try to improve our tables and explanations accordingly. As for the loan guarantees, they were just that: guarantees, not loans. So far they have cost the U.S. nothing (so there’s nothing to pay back). But, of course—as was the intention—they have been of great benefit to Israel.
Not Quite Spreading the Wealth I notice your site is called the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and you have lots of information on U.S. aid to Israel. I did a site search for information on U.S. aid to Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon but got no results, despite the fact that the U.S. gives billions of dollars of aid to these countries. Many people seem misinformed about our aid to the Middle East and your site reinforces that misinformation. R. Chatt, via e-mail We do indeed report these figures annually, in our “Congress Watch” column as noted above. The March 2010 column showed that Israel received the most U.S. aid, followed by Afghanistan ($2.457 billion), Egypt ($1.552 billion), Pakistan ($1.408 billion), Jordan ($692.95 million), West Bank and Gaza ($505.9 million), Iraq (up to $466.8 million), Lebanon (not less than $283.3 million), Yemen ($40 million), Tunisia ($20 million), Turkey ($5 million) and Morocco ($3 million). You’ll note that of the countries you mention, only Egypt is getting “billions of dollars” in U.S. aid—and that because it signed a peace treaty with Israel. ❑ DECEMBER 2010
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American Educational Trust As We Go To Press… A divided nation goes to the polls. In its campaign to “take back” America the political right has used “wedge issues” to attack the civil, human, and religious liberties of minorities—or any other American who disagrees with their ideologies. Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of Citizens United, anonymous—and some not-soanonymous—conservatives have been pouring last-minute money into attack ads, primarily against Democratic candidates. The press is paying much attention to this tactic—as it should. But somehow the phrase…
Anonymous Campaign Contributions… Rings a bell. Oh, yes—we must be thinking about the 30-odd pro-Israel PACs with such names as Delaware Valley PAC, Heartland PAC, Northern Californians for Good Government, etc., who magically have been giving to the identical congressional candidates every election cycle for more than three decades. Amazing how these “unaffiliated” PACs can read each others’ minds, isn’t it? Unless— could it be that—they receive their…
Marching Orders From AIPAC. As plaintiffs in a nearly 21-year-old case against the FEC, which refuses to classify AIPAC as a political committee required to reveal its funding sources and expenditures, we have argued that it is precisely such coordination that results in the lock-step donating pattern of these pro-Israel PACs. On Sept. 6, however, our case finally was dismissed by Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, however, the effort continues to get the Justice Department to classify AIPAC as a foreign agent for Israel, with the same goal: disclosure by AIPAC of its income and expenditures. (See p. 24 of this issue for a discussion of both cases.)
Ignorance, Fear and Anger… Are a dangerous combination. Americans, rightfully, are angry. Thanks to the mainstream media, however, they are not aware of the role of pro-Israel PACs or the reasons their sons and daughters are fighting needless wars in Iraq and DECEMBER 2010
Afghanistan. While their homes are foreclosed, Congress makes sure that Israel gets all its U.S. taxpayer dollars on the first day of the fiscal year. Meanwhile, the media fan the flames of fear, with breathless reports of the latest foiled terrorist plot—one often instigated by shady FBI informers themselves, sending dozens of innocent people to prison.
We’ve All Heard About… The Oct. 27 arrest of Farooque Ahmed, 34, a Pakistani-American living in Ashburn, VA, who allegedly conspired with people he thought were al-Qaeda to bomb Virginia subway stations. As Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, spokesman for Dar AlHijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA commented, “If you’re dumb enough and sick enough to think you’re working for alQaeda, then maybe your behind should be put in jail. If what the authorities accuse him of turns out to be true, I have very little sympathy for someone who plans something like that.”
But There’s Been Barely a Blip… About the arrest on Oct. 8 of 42-year-old Elliot Doxer, an employee of Akamai Technologies, Inc., in Cambridge, who offered to spy for Israel in order “to help our homeland and our war against our enemies.” From 2007 to 2009, Doxer passed information about his company’s computer security systems and clients to an undercover officer posing as an Israeli agent, and told his handler he could do other special operations abroad as needed. Only readers of the Jerusalem Post and a local Boston, MA paper were informed about this latest one-man Israeli spy ring.
Another Underreported Story… Was the Oct. 21 arrival of the multinational Viva Palestina ship, carrying $5 million of aid for Gazans, at Egypt’s port city of al-Arish from Lattakia, Syria. The convoy, organized by former British parliamentarian George Galloway, who was denied entry into Egypt, traveled overland into the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.
Just in Time. We thank you for your generous response to our bi-annual donation appeal—your contributions, large and small, allowed THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
us to pay the printer for this issue. We also searched for, and found, a new staffmember, Alexandra Begley, who will shortly begin training as the Washington Report’s administrative director. We desperately needed another writer to cover local DC events, as well as someone to run the office and pay the bills. Please continue to donate and help our magazine keep going. A final donation appeal will reach your mailboxes before tax year 2010 comes to an end.
Challenges and Opportunities The holiday season is beginning, and the Palestinian Arts & Crafts Trust (PACT) and AET Book Club are ready to meet your gift-giving needs. Blatantly biased publishers used to shy away from “controversial” books on the Israel/Arab dispute. Our offerings (see pp. 68 and 69, and visit our Web site, <www.middleeastbooks. com>), are provocative and more critical of Israel and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In addition to the latest books, music, cards and DVDs, our Adams Morgan store in Washington, DC also carries Palestinian products, including embroidery, olive oil soap, and organic fair trade olive oil. Your purchases provide a market for Palestinian products in the U.S. and helps empower and sustain these communities. Give our books, goods, and of course the Washington Report magazine as gifts and use them to educate your friends and family. Let’s work together to inform our fellow Americans and…
Make a Difference Today!
Deadline for Holiday Gift Orders Books from the AET Book Club Catalog or subscriptions to the Washington Report make ideal holiday gifts. To ensure delivery of books or magazines to addresses within the U.S. and Canada by Thursday, Dec. 23, telephone orders must be placed and mail and Web orders received no later than Thursday, Dec. 9 by 6 p.m. EST.
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Palestinians Reject a “Compromise” That Means Surrender SpecialReport
AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI
By Rachelle Marshall
With the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the background, a Palestinian man harvests his olive trees in the threatened Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, Oct. 25, 2010. “Today we return to build in all of the land of Israel.”—Danny Danon, settler leader and member of the Likud party, at a ceremony celebrating the end of Israel’s “settlement freeze,” New York Times, Sept. 27, 2010. “Palestinians want to see their president stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’”—Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, physician and peace activist, New York Times, Oct. 1, 2010. ords and catch phrases often have
Wflexible meanings when Israeli leaders use them. Nonviolent protest against land theft is “unlawful incitement”; torture, mass arrests, and collective punishment are “security measures”; and during
Rachelle Marshall is a free-lance editor living in Mill Valley, CA. A member of A Jewish Voice for Peace, she writes frequently on the Middle East. 8
the 10-month “settlement freeze,” construction of more than 2,500 homes for Jewish colonists continued, and plans were laid for thousands more. These figures do not include the numerous trailer camps set up on Palestinian land during the slowdown that are certain to be provided by a friendly government with electricity, water, and roads. As the partial freeze expired on Sept. 26, the four-week old peace talks initiated by the Obama administration threatened to expire with it. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to prolong the freeze. President Mahmoud Abbas declared he would walk away from the negotiations unless Israel stopped all new settlement construction. At that point the peace process stalled. Washington’s solution was to propose “a compromise.” If Israel resumed the settlement freeze for 60 days, during which the two sides would continue to negotiate, the THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
U.S. would substantially increase the $4 billion-plus worth of advanced military hardware it gives Israel every year, veto all “anti-Israel” resolutions at the U.N. Security Council, and help forge a regional security arrangement to protect Israel from Iran. An even more generous prize for Netanyahu would be a U.S. agreement to support Israel’s long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley, an area the Palestinians regard as part of their future state and where the Israelis have been ousting scores of Palestinians from their homes. If the Israelis accepted the deal, they would be free at the end of two months to resume fullscale settlement construction.”It’s an extraordinary package for essentially nothing,“ commented Daniel C. Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Israel. “Who thinks that a two-month extension is enough?” Palestinians were offered only Obama’s assurance that if they continued to negotiDECEMBER 2010
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ate with Israel, the U.S. would accept the 1967 borders, modified by land swaps, as the baseline for future negotiations. The president did not promise to secure Israel’s agreement to such an outcome. If Israel refused to go along, the Palestinians would be left with nothing while Israel continued to swallow up their land. Abbas was faced with two stark realities: the overwhelming disparity of power between the two sides, and an Israeli government adamantly opposed to true Palestinian independence. He could choose to either give up on negotiations or rely on the word of an American president who has backed off from every demand he has made on Israel. With a go-ahead from the Arab League, the Palestinian leader finally consented to give Obama another month to persuade Israel to stop settlement construction. Netanyahu’s answer came well before the month was up: talks or no talks, settlement construction would continue. In the first few days of October construction began on 350 new houses, 54 of them at Ariel, one of the large settlements Israel hopes to keep in exchange for land in Israel. On Oct. 15 Israel announced that 238 new units would be built in Arab East Jerusalem, an area Israel captured in 1967 and the site of what Palestinians hope will be the capital of their future state. In midOctober the Israeli military condemned 1,000 acres of land owned by the village of Al-Jalud, just south of Nablus, claiming “security needs”—but in fact to allow for the expansion of settlements that surround the city. In justifying the demand for a freeze, the Palestinians pointed out that all settlement activity is illegal under international law, and that previous compromises on settlement construction had ended by being cover- ups for unlimited expansion. The settler population has in fact tripled in the 17 years since the Oslo accords were signed. B’Tselem, citing official data and documents, recently reported that the 121 settlements and 100 outposts in the West Bank now control 42 percent of the territory. Two weeks before the freeze expired, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that once an agreement was reached on final borders, “Some areas would be inside Israel and some areas would not be inside Israel.” She was implying that the U.S. would back a future peace agreement allowing Israel to annex the large settlement blocs that contain most of the settlers. If so, Israel would continue to control a sizable
portion of the West Bank, including its acquifers, Two major settler cities, Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel, extend deep into the West Bank almost to the Jordan River, cutting the territory in two. If Israel retains them in exchange for land in the Negev, as some have suggested, the Palestinians would be left with a bifurcated territory, in which cities and towns would have to be connected by tunnels and overpasses. Israel would continue to control their borders. Netanyahu’s reluctance to accept the gift package and security guarantees offered by Obama in return for no more than a brief settlement freeze was a clear indication of his priorities. The Israeli leader is clearly less concerned with safeguarding Israel’s security than with losing the support of the right-wing parties that help make up his governing coalition. Netanyahu’s chief fear is of being replaced by his own foreign minister, the far-right nationalist Avigdor Lieberman. As the talks remained suspended, Netanyahu proposed and the cabinet approved a bill to require all non-Jewish immigrants who wish to become citizens of Israel to pledge “loyalty to the nation-state of the Jewish people.” He offered to impose a temporary settlement freeze if Abbas and other Palestinian leaders announced “unequivocally” that they recognized Israel as the homeland of the Jews. He knew full well the Palestinians would refuse. Signing the pledge meant renouncing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel and acknowledging the lesser status of Israeli Arabs, who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population. (By comparison, African Americans represent about 14 percent of all Americans.) A spokesman for Abbas pointed out that Palestinians had long ago recognized Israel, and it was up to the Israelis to define their state. The peace group Gush Shalom reported that Israeli police were already practicing to suppress protest demonstrations against the bill, and building a detention camp in the Galilee in preparation for the mass arrest of Arab Israelis. Netanyahu gave further proof of his disinterest in a peace agreement when he received government approval of a bill requiring either a two-thirds majority in the Knesset or a national referendum before any Israeli-held territory could be given away. The bill created another barrier to ending the Palestinians’ long ordeal under occupation. Despite the on-again, off-again peace talks, that burden has grown steadily heavier.
An Increasingly Heavy Burden Israeli settlers burn mosques and vandalize Palestinian property almost at will. As the annual olive harvest began this year, settlers turned to a new tactic to drive Palestinians from their land by burning olive trees or cutting the ancient trees at their roots. When the settlers are stopped during the day, they come at night. Villagers who protest peacefully against the confiscation of their land are brutally beaten by Israeli police, arrested, and sometimes shot. A military court on Oct. 11 sentenced Abdallah Abu Rahma, an internationally respected peace activist, to a year in prison for “organizing illegal demonstrations and incitement” in the village of Bil’in, where the separation wall has taken over a large portion of village land. Human rights groups and the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, charged Israel with preventing Palestinians from exercising their legitimate rights. Because only a small number of West Bank Palestinians are allowed to enter Israel, thousands of men desperate to feed their families regularly climb the separation Advertisement
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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA
marshall_8-10_Special Report 10/28/10 1:01 PM Page 10
Israeli undercover police arrest a young Arab-Israeli citizen in Umm Al-Fahm, an Arab town in northern Israeli, after clashes broke out as extreme right-wing Israeli Jews marched through the town under heavy police escort, Oct. 27, 2010. wall and lower themselves by rope on the other side in order to get into Jerusalem. There they work as laborers on construction projects, sleeping outdoors all week and going home on weekends.They risk their lives in doing so. On Oct. 2 Israeli police shot to death 35-year old Izzedin Qawasmeh, a construction worker with five children, as he tried to climb over the wall. The Israeli amy regards Gaza as a free fire zone, shooting at Palestinians who come within 700 yards of the border and using air strikes to assassinate suspected militants, so that bystanders die as well. On Sept. 11, the day Americans commemorate an act of Islamic terrorism, Israeli tanks crossed the border into Gaza and fired mortar shells that killed 91-year-old Ibrahim Abu Sayed, his grandson Hossam, and a 16-year old neighbor as they tended their land and animals. A neighbor, Majdy Abu Oda, said, “The people here are farmers who have been living here for years. The area is full of observation cameras so the Israelis knew them.” Israel’s May 31 armed attack on the humanitarian flotilla to Gaza returned briefly to the news in late September when the U.N. Human Rights Council announced the results of its investigation. According to the Council, Israel used “unnecessary and incredible” violence in its attack on the Turkish vessel, the Mavi Marmara. Two of the men aboard were shot to death while filming the Israeli commandos, and four others were killed while trying to get out of the way. The Council concluded that the Israeli accounts were “so inconsistent and contrary to the evidence... that it has to reject 10
it.” A U.S. spokesman called the report “unbalanced” but did not deny its accuracy. The Israelis treated a boatload of Jewish peace activists, most of them over 60, only somewhat more gently. As their catamaran carrying humanitarian supplies, the Irene, headed for Gaza on Sept. 28, it was surrounded by Israeli warships and towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The captain, Glyn Secker, reported that Israeli commandos ransacked the boat and fired a Tazer directly into the heart of one passenger, former Israeli air force pilot and refusenik Yonatan Shapira. At Ashdod, Secker was arrested and charged with being “illegally” in Israel. “They didn’t laugh when they said it,” he said. Gaza remains a prison, its population living on the edge of destitution. Israel claims to have eased border restrictions, but in fact it allows only 240 truckloads a month to enter Gaza, compared to 5,000 before the closure. Still barred are construction materials and the raw materials and machinery needed for manufacturing. There is a total ban on agricultural exports. The continuing blockade has also caused a severe shortage of schools. At least 100 more are needed to provide for the growing number of Gaza’s children. Because new schools can’t be built, classes hold more than 50 children at a time and are held in shifts. Thousands of students have been turned away. The continued punishment of Gaza’s two million inhabitants is certain to continue until unity is restored between Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas. Haaretz reported in late September that Hamas had again anTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
nounced it would accept a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, and asked the U.S. to open a dialogue and end its opposition to reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. The message was sent to Washington via a group of American academics and politicians who were visiting Gaza. There has been no public response from the Obama administration. Meanwhile, with help from the U.S., Abbas is cementing the divide between Hamas and Fatah. His 25,000-member security force, trained under the supervision of an American officer, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, cooperates closely with Israeli forces in rounding up, and sometimes killing, Hamas members and their suspected sympathizers. In the Oct. 14 issue of the New York Review of Books, Nathan Thrall writes that Palestinian and Israeli forces working together have “all but eliminated” Hamas’ social institutions, charities, and businesses in the West Bank. Some 1,500 Hamas members, many of them civil servants, are in West Bank prisons. Thrall writes that, shortly after Israel’s 2008-09 assault on Gaza, Dayton spoke before the pro-Israel think tank the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and boasted of his force’s cooperation with Israel in working against Hamas during the war. Fortunately for Washington policymakers, the media’s collective memory is short. News reports seldom mention that Hamas won free and fair elections in 2006 in both the West Bank and Gaza, or that in February 2007 Fatah and Hamas leaders met in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and agreed to form a unity government. Shortly afterward, the Bush administration, in cooperation with Israel and Egypt, funneled arms to Fatah forces in Gaza to allow them to take exclusive control of security in the territory. But in the subsequent fighting, Hamas fighters defeated the Fatah forces and drove them out of Gaza. Thrall quotes former U.N. Middle East envoy Alvarao de Soto as saying the violence might have been avoided had not “The U.S. clearly pushed for a confrontation.” The exclusion of Hamas from peace talks may similarly backfire. If peace negotiations come to a standstill or fail once again to lead to a fully independent Palestine, Palestinians may lose faith not only in Abbas and Fatah, but in diplomacy and nonviolence as well. As Israel’s occupation becomes steadily more oppressive, the impatient are likely to turn to groups far more radical than Hamas—a result that could prove tragic for Palestinians, Israelis, and the entire Middle East. ❑ DECEMBER 2010
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The Corrie Trial in Israel: Seeking Answers And Accountability SpecialReport
By Katherine Gallagher ransparent. Credible. Thorough. These
Minister Ariel Sharon in 2003 when setting forth the terms under which the investigation into the killing of Rachel Corrie would be conducted to George W. Bush, one day after Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer. Both the scene at the courtroom in Haifa, where the Corrie family’s civil case is proceeding against the state of Israel, and the testimony of the bulldozer driver who killed Rachel, expose the hollowness of those words. Transparent? First, the scene at the courthouse. I arrived early with the Corrie family and their legal team. When we got to the courtroom, there was already a crowd gathered outside. Entering the courtroom, I was struck first by the small size of the room assigned to a case that has received significant international attention: there were only two rows that could each comfortably fit about 14 people. Nearly half the seats were already taken by young members of the Israeli military, in uniform, and people we heard were from the Israeli Ministry of Defense. We quickly secured seats for the family and their translators, a team made up largely of dedicated volunteers as the proceedings are conducted in Hebrew and no translation is provided by the court. I was lucky to be in the courtroom, squeezed in between a journalist and shared translator. Many of the journalists, human rights observers and members of the public who had come to attend the proceedings were denied entry into the courtroom. The one break in the four-and-a-half hour testimony of the bulldozer driver led to a chaotic scene with people trying to get into the courtroom and Israeli security officers pushing the lines of people back, as Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), was in Haifa to observe proceedings in the civil case filed by the family of Rachel Corrie against the State of Israel. She also was part of the legal team in Corrie v. Caterpillar, in which CCR represented Corrie’s parents and Palestinian families. For more information on the on-going trial in Israel, visit <http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/trial>. DECEMBER 2010
AFP PHOTO ABBAS MOMANI
Twere the words used by Israeli Prime
Palestinians gather for the Oct. 23, 2010 opening in the West Bank city of Ramallah of “Rachel Restaurant,” named in honor of the U.S. peace activist who was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 while trying to save a home in Rafah, Gaza, from demolition by an IDFdriven Caterpillar bulldozer. they decided who could come into the courtroom and who would be left in the hall. Sarah Corrie Simpson, Rachel’s sister, had to intervene to secure entry for the family’s translators. Everyone asked the same question: why hasn’t a bigger courtroom been provided for this case—or at least for the testimony that the court knew many people would come to hear? When members of the press, human rights observers and the general public cannot watch the proceedings, it is hard to describe the process as transparent. Next, the makeshift screen. Two mismatched screens that looked like they had been borrowed from the dressing room of a clothes store and a hospital room were secured together on the right side of the courtroom. Following a court order granting the request of the State of Israel for protective measures, the bulldozer driver would testify from behind to hide his identity from the court’s visitors—including the Corrie family. An Israeli journalist who regularly covers court proceedings involving the military remarked that she had never seen anyone testify under such measures. Because of the screen, the lawyers’ and the judge’s gaze and attention was focused on a part of the courtroom that only they THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
could see. We, in the audience, felt very much “outside” of the proceedings, privy to only half of the story. These extraordinary protective measures granted to the witness known only as “Y.F.” denied the public the opportunity to assess the credibility of the witness as he testified to what happened on March 16, 2003, the day Rachel was killed. It also denied the Corrie family the opportunity to see the bulldozer driver’s facial expressions and body language as he testified, allowing them only to hear a muffled voice speaking words that they heard through a translator. Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, said that one of the saddest aspects of the day was the words that she heard expressed no sign of remorse. Credible? Y.F.’s testimony was often confused and at points lacked credibility. A 38year-old who immigrated to Israel from Russia in 1995 and said he learned Hebrew on his own after he arrived, Y.F. appeared to have difficulty with Hebrew and struggled to read the affidavit he signed less than six months ago. He also said he could not remember basic facts, such as the date of Rachel’s killing or time of day it happened. At times during the lengthy cross-examination by the Corries’ lawyer, Hussein 11
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Abu Hussein, Y.F. contradicted his own testimony, contradicted statements he had made to the military police in 2003, contradicted his signed affidavit and contradicted testimony given by other witnesses called by Israel. Notably, however, Y.F. confirmed on multiple occasions that Rachelâ€™s body was between his bulldozer and a mound of dirtâ€”and not hidden behind the mound of dirt. This testimony corroborates testimony about the location of Rachelâ€™s body after she was killed given by four international witnesses in March, and it is also consistent with photographic evidence. Thorough? What struck me was how often Y.F. said â€œI wasnâ€™t asked thatâ€? when asked by Abu Hussein why an important piece of the information he testified to was not in any of the former statements he gave or the affidavit he signed. Many questionsâ€”key questions, it seemedâ€”were not asked of Y.F. by the military police investigators charged with conducting a â€œthoroughâ€? investigation. I appreciate having had the opportunity to witness the often chaotic rhythm of the proceedings and the way in which they unfolded: the detail pressed for in the cross-examinations and the answers given, the demeanor of the judge and manner in which he conducted the proceedings, the lawyering styles of the attorneys representing Israel. But my experience at the Haifa District Court was ultimately a very frustrating one. I left the courtroom convinced that the military investigation that led to the swift conclusion that Rachelâ€™s death was an accident for which no one should be held accountable was anything but â€œthorough, credible and transparent.â€? I also left the courthouse deeply skeptical about the prospects for meaningful accountability anytime soon. And this is of great concern in light of the many civilian deaths in the occupied Palestinian territories and other violations of international law that have so far been met with impunity, rather than accountability. The Corrie case is scheduled to continue on Nov. 4. In the stop-start of a case that has lasted five and a half years, and has had testimony heard over the course of seven months (though only 11 actual court dates), the Corries will remain in Israel through at least the next court date currently scheduled after thatâ€”Nov. 15. The court will decide on Nov. 4 whether it will hear the final days of testimony in close succession, thereby minimizing the emotional and financial costs incurred by the Corrie family by the drawn-out schedule. â?‘ 12
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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
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AFP PHOTO /ANWAR AMRO
Peace Talks, Palestinian Refugees and Their Right of Return
A Palestinian refugee in Lebanon holding an olive tree sapling and the Palestinian (r) and Lebanese flags flashes the victory sign during a memorial ceremonial commemorating the 28th anniversary of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, Sept. 16, 2010.
Peace Talks or No, Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugees in Limbo By John Redwine
s Israeli, Palestinian and Quartet ne-
Agotiators work to salvage the rapidly
sinking Middle East peace process in the face of stalled direct talks, they continue to consider all aspects of the file, including the five permanent status issues of Jerusalem, borders, water, settlements and refugees. Among these, it is certainly the Palestine refugee question that will prove the most difficult to resolve. The fate of the 1948 refugees is the most difficult, because the traditional convictions of the two sides are at once mutually exclusive and integral to their identities. Palestinian refugees aspire to return to John Redwine is a Beirut-based analyst and writer. He holds a master’s degree from the American University of Beirut and recently completed a consultancy to the Lebanese Prime Minister’s Office on the Palestinian refugee issue. 14
their homes, while Israel would lose its majority Jewish status should 4.7 million Sunni Muslim refugees flood into the country. While Palestine refugees hope to see their inalienable right to return implemented, Israeli nationalism sees that hope as an existential threat. The majority of Palestinian refugees reside in the three regional host countries of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. In Syria, the refugees have been well integrated into the society and have the same rights as Syrian citizens. They constitute less than 5 percent of the population, and it should be relatively straightforward to organize a permanent solution for these refugees. It is likely, however, that Damascus will use the refugees as a bargaining chip in order to regain the Golan Heights, so some painful concessions will be necessary. Jordan’s Palestinian refugees have had a troubled history in the country. Yet, ever since the 1970 clashes between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian army, their status has slowly imTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
proved. In this time the vast majority of refugees have obtained Jordanian citizenship. Furthermore, in previous peace negotiations King Abdullah II has offered to absorb all of Jordan’s Palestinian refugees, so that country’s refugee problem should be the least problematic for peace talks to solve. For many reasons, Lebanon’s 350,000 Palestinian refugees are the sticking point for a solution to the refugee issue. The reasons—historical, political and emotional— run broad and deep. The early presence of the PLO in south Lebanon was difficult for the region’s inhabitants. Palestinian crossborder attacks elicited brutal Israeli reprisals with predictable consequences for the local population. Furthermore, many Lebanese correlate the Palestinian presence with the start of the Lebanese civil war. Most importantly, perhaps, the possibility of Palestinian refugee resettlement in Lebanon sparks fears for the country’s precarious confession-based political system. There are four ways for Lebanon’s Palestine refugees to escape their status: return to their place of origin, emigrate to a third country, settle permanently in Lebanon, or repatriate to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The “right to return,” as we know it today, is a relatively new phenomenon. Prior to the mid-1990s, “return” meant going back to Palestine upon the defeat of Israel. With widespread international acceptance of Israel as a legitimate nation, it is clear there will be no wholesale return of Palestinian refugees to their places of origin. Most of these refugees hail from areas that are now within Israel proper, and a large influx of overwhelmingly Muslim refugees would threaten the Jewish character of the state, as mentioned above. Although previous Israeli administrations have offered to accept up to 40,000 refugees over a five-year period (i.e., at the 2001 Taba conference), violent outbreaks since then mean that number will probably drop radically in this new round of talks. Emigration to a third country represents another possible solution. Two major challenges exist here. First, perhaps even more so than the other three solutions, emigration represents a sell-out on the right of return for Palestine refugees. It is hard to imagine moving the entire family to Quebec DECEMBER 2010
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and then expecting to return to Palestine. Most refugees oppose this solution, at least outwardly. The second challenge is finding welcoming host countries. In 2000 and 2001, some Western governments agreed to accept 50,000 to 100,000 refugees. Clearly this doesn’t come close to the total number of refugees across the region needing accommodation. Furthermore, this number has likely dropped in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and Palestinian support for Saddam Hussain in the 1991 Gulf war. It is worth noting that Arab countries have been considerably less generous in offering to host emigrating refugees. Repatriation to a newly formed state of Palestine may also help Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees escape their plight. It is important to note, however, that repatriation does not mean “return.” In fact, it means resettlement in a land the vast majority of refugees have never seen. This solution presents other dilemmas as well. For years the PLO was forced, by political necessity, to cater to the Palestinian refugees closest to Ramallah. Hence, refugees in Lebanon and Syria were often neglected in favor of refugees in the West Bank and Gaza. In fact, when PLO President Mahmoud Abbas came to Lebanon in December of last year he didn’t even visit a refugee camp. Additionally, any newly created Palestinian state will be physically small and likely incapable of hosting the entirety of the refugee Diaspora. Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees are some of the least skilled and worst educated. It is clear where the priority will lie when the PLO decides who will be allowed to repatriate. Furthermore, Israel is not interested in seeing a few hundred thousand impoverished, angry refugees that much closer to its borders. It is easy to conclude that Lebanon’s refugees will not be easily folded into a new Palestinian state. Permanent resettlement in Lebanon represents the most contentious solution for the country’s refugees. In fact, refusal to engage in tawteen (naturalization of Palestine refugees) may be the one issue all Lebanese political parties agree on, at least outwardly. When presented with resettlement, the Lebanese response usually falls into one of two camps. First, they argue that an influx of 350,000 Sunni Muslim Palestinian refugees will unbalance the country’s delicately balanced, confessionbased political system. Yet what they don’t consider is that the country’s current political system does not reflect demographic reality. For example, there are more than twice as many voters per MP in the Muslim town of Sur than there are in the DECEMBER 2010
Christian town of Basharre. Furthermore, with the Lebanese civil war-ending Taif Accord’s requirement to deconfessionalize the political system, it should theoretically be possible to naturalize immigrants to the country regardless of religion. The second argument presented against tawteen is socio-economic: opponents point out there’s just not enough room in Lebanon’s labor market. Reliable studies have shown that the likely negative impact on the labor market would be minimal, however, and Lebanese politicians must believe this as they have recently loosened labor restrictions on refugees. Yet despite this recent thaw, Lebanon’s deep-seated concerns about naturalizing Palestinian refugees remain. It would take a unique combination of international pressure, financial assistance and good will to make this solution workable. If each of the above approaches is not feasible in itself, perhaps a compromise is in order. The solution to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee problem will probably be an amalgam of return, repatriation and resettlement. A small number of refugees will be allowed to “return” to Israel proper for family reunification purposes. While the exact number of refugees that will be able to return is not known, it inevitably will make just a tiny dent in Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee population. What, then, is to be done with the remainder of the refugees? The most logical solution entails a deal in which the refugees are given citizenship by a newly created state of Palestine, which essentially means repatriation. Those Palestinian citizens would then be allowed to reside in Lebanon as foreign nationals. Furthermore, given the small size of the region, it is possible that those same Palestinian citizens could work in Israel. It would thus be possible for them to vote in one country, live in another, and work in a third. While this solution to Lebanon’s Palestine refugee question may sound like a pipe dream, it is important to consider creative solutions to this decades-old dilemma. While most analysts were pessimistic about the chances for obtaining peace with this currently stalled round of direct peace talks, it should serve as a reminder that there’s much groundwork to be done on the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. First, the refugees themselves need to become part of the picture. Legally, they will have no obligation to go along with a peace deal on which they have not been consulted. This task will be made difficult by the lack of unified Palestinian represenTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
tation in the country. The popular committees, which ostensibly represent the individual refugee communities, are heavily politicized and ineffective. It may be useful to explore alternative forms of representation such as public opinion polls and referenda. Second, the government of Lebanon needs to organize itself. The intense fear of tawteen has so paralyzed the government that it has been unable even to discuss the issue, and has yet to come up with even rough amounts for reparation for the various naturalization scenarios. Third, the Israelis will have to figure out what number of refugees it will allow to return. It will also have to craft a meaningful apology, taking credit for at least some of the historical acts perpetrated. An apology of this nature would do much to ease the harsh reality that most Palestinian refugees won’t be returning home. Fourth, the international community must make—and keep—massive financial and political commitments to all parties involved. Clearly the host countries will have to be compensated for their support of the refugees. Additionally, the refugees will need financial compensation, although some of this could come from the winding down of UNRWA. Finally, the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, will have to back Abbas and the PA politically as they move the process forward. As most analysts predicted, this latest round of direct peace talks failed to gain traction. This is, however, no excuse for not getting some of the groundwork done in preparation for future deals. While the search for peace remains difficult, throwing in the towel before the process starts will make it impossible.
The Right of Return Is Inevitable By Salman Abu Sitta
n the Middle Ages, they burned books
Ion science and astronomy. In the 19th
century, colonial powers promoted the super-race theory. In 1948, the Zionist narrative of the destruction of Palestine and the building of Israel on its ruins was hailed as the fulfillment of Divine Will and a victory of civilization. In all these cases the truth was not allowed to emerge, with devastating results for humanity. Now with the age of the Internet, satellites and computers, there is no excuse for anyone to Salman Abu Sitta is president of the Palestine Land Society and author of The Atlas of Palestine. 15
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THE ATLAS OF PALESTINE
say: I did not know. We do not ership deed); (5) extrication of need an innocent boy to exArab Jews to Israel (done); (6) claim, “But the emperor has no launching of a propaganda clothes!” campaign that it is “impossiThe indisputable fact is that ble” for the refugees to return Palestine and Palestinians ex(successful in the West); and perienced the largest, longest (7) creating plans for the abplanned and still continuous sorption of Palestinians in ethnic cleansing operation in neighboring countries (relentmodern history. With British lessly tried, but failed.) collusion during the Mandate So here we have a stalemate: period, European Jews were the Palestinian refugees are allowed to immigrate to Palesnot allowed to return, but tine. Their number increased they do not give up and they from 9 percent of the populawill not disappear. The Israelis tion to 30 percent when the continue until today, quite British ended the Mandate on openly, the ethnic cleansing in May 15, 1948. But their land Galilee, Beer Sheba and the holdings never exceeded 5 West Bank. Their new leaders, percent to 6 percent of the like the Russian Avigdor Palestine area. Lieberman, declare plans to Six weeks before the British oust the remainder of Palesdeparture, Zionists expelled tinians, including Israeli citihalf of the total Palestinian zens, from Palestine altorefugees and declared the state gether. The Nakba is still of Israel on 11 percent of Palesgoing on. tine on May 14, 1948. On that Palestinians believe that the date, Arab regular forces came right of return is sacred, legal to defend the Palestinians, but and—as I will show—feasithey failed and the Zionists Map 1: Homes of the Palestinian ble. It is sacred because no Map 2: Palestinian Refugees in (now Israelis) conquered 78 Refugees (1948). force or miracle will convince Exile. percent of Palestine. They dethe Palestinians that the land populated 675 towns, villages and hamlets the return of refugees, has been affirmed by they and their ancestors lived on for cenby expulsion, massacres, harassment and the U.N. more than 110 times since its pas- turies is not theirs. The right to live in your fear (Map 1). Contrary to the case in all sage on Dec. 11, 1948. Neither it nor all the home in freedom is the most fundamental other war situations, the refugees were not other international covenants of human right which cannot be bartered for anyallowed to return to their homes when hos- rights have been implemented with regard thing. It is of a higher order than the sovtilities ceased. to the Palestinians. On the other hand, none ereignty over a territory which creates a Today, two-thirds of the Palestinian of the Israeli and Western plans to bring state. people do not live in their homes. If we add “peace” to the region comply with internaIt is legal because of the myriad of interthose displaced in the 1967 Israel occupa- tional law. Instead all aim to complete the national resolutions and covenants which tion of the West Bank, three-quarters of unfinished ethnic cleansing (itself a war support the right of return. It is an “inthe Palestinians—the largest percentage of crime) by coercion, siege, starvation and fi- alienable right” which cannot be bargained any people—are denied the basic human nancial promises and political pressure on away by any leader. In fact, Israel’s admisright to live in their homes. The number of Arab leaders. sion to the U.N. was “conditional” upon its refugees as of mid-2008 was 6,600,000. Of Two weeks after the declaration of the acceptance of Resolution 194. these only 4,618,000 were registered with State of Israel on May 14, 1948, Israel comWhy must we prove it is feasible? If an UNRWA. missioned Dr. Joseph Schechtman, a armed robber attacks your house and In spite of this calamity, 88 percent of Jewish expert in population movement throws out your family, why do you have Palestinians live in Palestine (under Israeli and an associate of the extremist Vladimir to prove that the robber is not using all the rule) and in exile in countries neighboring Jabotinsky, to devise a plan for getting rid house and there are two rooms in your Palestine. (Map 2). Only 12 percent now of the Palestinians. His plan essentially has house which you can use? The mentality reside in faraway Arab and foreign coun- served as the blueprint for Israeli policy in the West is such that it does not want to tries. The obvious conclusion is that Pales- since then. It was adopted by the Transfer see “Jewish refugees” return to their tinians are here to stay. Committee of 1948, repackaged by Gen. homelands in Europe, but does not mind The Israeli policy, from its date of estab- Shlomo Gazit of Israeli intelligence in 1994, Palestinian refugees remaining in exile. On lishment, has been to get rid of them. All and re-floated in President Bill Clinton’s this immoral (and impractical) premise are the plans devised in the last 62 years by 2002 plan, and all those in between. Western plans based. Once again, however, Israel and its supporters have been aimed In brief, Schechtman’s plan calls for: (1) facts do not validate this premise. at getting rid of Palestinians—by attacking the denial of refugees’ right to return The first question to ask is: what did Isand bombing their refugee camps (Jenin, (done); (2) destruction of their villages raelis do with the Palestinian land, 93 perRafah, Sabra, Shatila and others) and by (done); (3) settlement of Jews in Palestinian cent of Israel’s area (20,500 sq. km.)? As devising plans to relocate them as far as villages (largely failed); (4) dividing Pales- Map 3 clearly shows, 63 percent of Israeli possible from Palestine. tinian war spoils—land and property— Jews live in 7 percent of Israel and 84 perUnited Nations Resolution 194, calling for among Jews (done, but with no legal own- cent live in 17 percent of Israel. The 17 per16
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THE ATLAS OF PALESTINE
cent is even a bit generous: Israeli figures cite 12 percent. In fact, the urban area is only 2.5 percent of the area. Israeli Jews congregate in urban areas in and around the territory they acquired during the Mandate. Who then uses the remainder—which is essentially the land of the expelled Palestinians? Israeli figures, as computed by 250 Israeli experts who prepared the plan for Israel in 2020, show that the remainder (88 percent) is used as follows: 27 percent for the military, 24 percent open space and 37 percent vacant. The latter includes the agricultural area (around 4000 sq. km.) cultivated by the kibbutzim. The kibbutz movement is dying ideologically and economically. Israeli Jews today are not much impressed by the old Zionist slogan, “The Jew returns to cultivating the land with a rifle slung over his shoulder.” Instead they reverted back to urban life and traditional occupations in trade and finance. Not only is there little renewal of the kibbutz older generation, but its contribution to Israel’s GDP is a mere 1.5 percent. Thus the symbolic welfare of some 200,000 kibbutzniks is pitted against the lives and livelihood of 6.5 million Palestinian refugees yearning to return home. The vast Israeli military structure—including 55 airports, 3 dozen depots of WMD, military fields and Map 3: Densisty of Jewish Population. factories, which gobbles up one-quarter of the country and has the authority to expand over half to Jews in Israel who wish to live in harof it— mony with their erstwhile hosts when they would not be needed if peace prevails. In landed on Palestine shores from a smugfact, the removal of this time-bomb, which gler’s ship. can and did ignite wars in Palestine, The return is easily manageable. We have Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt, and a huge database and we know who the could conceivably extend east to Iran and refugees are, by name, by family, by village Pakistan and west to Austria and Germany, of origin, what they own, the limit of their is a great gift to world peace. land and where they are exiled today, in Thus the return of the Palestinian which camp or country Their return is refugees will not bring major displacement much less awkward and expensive than DECEMBER 2010
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
bringing Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Many can walk to their homes, literally within sight. Most can take a one-or two-hour bus ride. They can rebuild their homes at the exact spot of their destroyed village. Ninety percent of the village sites are still vacant. There are enough Palestinian engineers and skilled workers to build the needed one million dwelling units. Our studies have shown that the total return of refugees can be achieved in phases which would take at most 6 to 8 years to complete. An added advantage is that the cost of return is much cheaper than the compensation for stolen land and property, which could reach $500 billion. It is definitely cheaper than the subsidy paid by the U.S. for Israel’s economy and military which runs into $110 billion and counting. So what is the problem? Is it the Palestinian “demographic bomb”? How could any civilized person consider the natural growth of a people in their country a menace to be removed? Were this racist notion applied to other people it would rightly raise a hell of a protest and condemnation. If this racist notion is applied to Palestinians, it means that Israel has the license to expel, destroy and annihilate Palestinians whenever it sees fit. Who will stand for this? Besides, this racist notion is bound to be futile, for the Palestinians will grow to about 60 million in 50 years, and no force on earth will eliminate them (alone). The cure is not here. The permanent cure to the ills which inflicted this holy land, and which lasted for 100 years, is to remove all vestiges of racism, apartheid, occupation and oppression, just as the world community and international law constantly call for. Feeding the machine of destruction will turn it ultimately against the feeder. There is only one road to peace: The road of justice. ❑ 17
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Operation Cast Lead Is Over, But the Nightmare Continues Gazaon the Ground
PHOTO M. OMER
By Mohammed Omer
Abdullah (in red shirt) and his little brother (r) play “Arabs and Israelis” with their friends in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. he Sept. 6, 2010 issue of the leading
TGerman newspaper Der Spiegel in-
cluded the article “Studies Show Nurture at Least as Important as Nature” by Joerge Blech on the findings of a groundbreaking study on intelligence. Researchers found that prolonged poverty, stress and other environmental factors—including war and the deprivation of basic needs—directly affect a child’s intelligence and, therefore, his or her life prospects. Previously it was believed that intelligence was 80 percent genetic. These latest findings, however, show that at least 50 percent of an individual’s intelligence is actually determined by environmental factors. More specifically: the more stress, the more arrested mental development. As one of the researchers, Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, noted: “During World War II, some children in Holland started school Award-winning journalist Mohammed Omer reports on the Gaza Strip, and maintains the Web site <www.rafahtoday.org>. He can be reached at <email@example.com>. 18
late because of the Nazi occupation—with momentous consequences. The average IQ for these children was seven points lower than for children who came of school age after the siege.” The Nazi persecution and World War II in Europe, which lasted from 1933 to 1945, affected an entire generation of children. By contrast, Israel’s dispossession and occupation of Palestine has lasted some six decades—and counting. Generations of Palestinian children have been affected physically, psychologically and materially. Since Ariel Sharon instigated the al-Aqsa intifada in late 2000, Israeli repression has been most restrictive, and most steadily escalated, in Gaza. According to “Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion,” a 16-page BBC report released in March 2008: “In September 2007, an UNRWA survey in the Gaza Strip revealed that there was a nearly 80 percent failure rate in schools grades four to nine, with up to 90 percent failure rates in Mathematics. In January 2008, UNICEF reported that schools in Gaza had been cancelling classes that were high on energy consumption, such as IT, science THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
labs and extra curricular activities.” The report adds that “The number of people living in absolute poverty in Gaza has increased sharply. Today, 80 percent of families in Gaza currently rely on humanitarian aid, compared to 63 percent in 2006. This decline exposes unprecedented levels of poverty and the inability of a large majority of the population to afford basic food.” War, poverty, stress caused by financial and personal insecurity due to living under occupation, the constant scarcity of basic necessities including food, sewer treatment, water and medical care, the threat of constant attack by military forces, forced imprisonment, lack of movement, lack of rights—these are the daily realities of children in Gaza, realities they, their parents and their grandparents have known their whole lives. This is the recurring nightmare that is Gaza.
A Child’s Life At first glance, 13-year-old Khalil seems like your average teenager. His young body is just beginning to mature, and he is curious, easily distracted and slightly mischievous. A closer inspection, however, reveals a vacant look in his eyes more associated with age. In fact, if one saw only his eyes, one would guess Khalil is close to 50, not 13. What’s missing is that sense of invincibility and heightened optimism common among youth his age elsewhere in the world. Where American and European children talk about the latest rap band, their school vacation or their latest crush, Khalil simply shrugs apathetically. “Excuse me, but the war has wiped blank all my beautiful memories,” he says somewhat sarcastically. “The front half of my house was damaged, so that I am transferred to a life-situation that I never dreamed I would be experiencing. After years of living in a large house,” he explains, “I now live at Al Zahra city.” Khalil’s home was destroyed in January 2009, during Israel’s “Operation Cast DECEMBER 2010
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Lead” assault, plunging his middle-class family into homelessness in an instant. Unlike in a natural disaster, insurance funds and global assistance were not available. His situation was man-made—and Khalil is far from alone. Still traumatized, he remembers a friend of his being blown to pieces when an Israeli missile struck his neighborhood. Understandably, these are things he would rather forget—but can’t. Because of Israel’s siege, few resources are available to help him cope with his trauma and move on with his life. The children’s stories are difficult to hear, of course. But as any parent knows, the pain of their children is felt two-fold by those responsible for care giving. Love, after all, can go only so far.
A Parent’s Frustration Abu Abdullah of Rafah expresses the pain of most parents in Gaza: the inability to protect his children. His wife frets because she cannot comfort them. The younger children, aged 10, 7 and 4, wet their beds and she feels helpless to quell their fears. “It’s like a cancer you can’t control or stop,” Umm Abdullah says. Nodding, Abu Abdullah sits on the stoop of his house watching his children play “Arabs and Israelis,” the occupied territory’s version of “Cowboys and Indians” or “Cops and Robbers.” In the role of a soldier, his oldest son, Abdullah, aims a plastic Chinese toy gun at his brother’s head. “I am going to kill you right now,” the teenager says. The game is popular among children who’ve had few outlets to channel their emotions since Operation Cast Lead. Abu Abdullah would rather they play soccer, but this game reflects the reality of their lives and gives his children some sense of control. Even when he’s awake Abu Abdullah’s 12-year-old son suffers from nightmares about Israeli F-16s bombing his neighborhood. In his dreams, all the children are running away from home or school. Some of his friends are injured, others dead, and ambulance sirens scream incessantly in his head. But it’s more than a dream: it’s what he actually witnessed, and it replays in his mind ad nauseam, rarely giving him peace. Nor are Abdullah’s fears imaginary. When his mother sent him to buy lentils from the nearby grocery store less than three minutes away, the boy returned home with no lentils and his pants soaked in urine. Asked about the lentils, Abdullah began crying and told his mother in a DECEMBER 2010
voice quaking with fear that “the drones are bombing.” Teachers who work with at risk students in inner-city neighborhoods around the world can attest to the effect poverty, violence, guns and fear have on the children forced by circumstance to live in these situations. Gaza is the inner city on steroids. Its children deal not only with gangs in the form of resistance, but they also must endure the assaults—usually in the middle of the night—of the world’s fourth most powerful military. The effects on the children are predictable: Fights and violent behavior, in schools and on the streets, have escalated in frequency and intensity, according to psychologists who visit Gaza’s schools. Psychologist Zahia Al Qarra with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) says that 79.9 percent of the children she sees feel they are in a big prison. Another 79.3 percent say that they cannot afford to buy what they need or want. According to a recent GCMHP study, 20 percent of Gaza’s children suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], and another 13 percent are diagnosed with depression. In Gaza’s UNRWA-run schools, where literacy and academic standards are usually high, 9,000 primary students failed their school work and exams last academic year. Another GCMHP psychiatrist confirms that cases of disease, behavioral problems and psychological traumas have multiplied among Gaza’s children, citing increases in autistic behavior, bedwetting, thumbsucking, nail biting, anger, slow-motion flashbacks, reliving war scenes in familiar neighborhoods, fear of the dark, agoraphobia, panic at the sound of planes overhead, and disinterest in taking part in social and group activities—all symptoms of PTSD and depression. “It’s not just the children” says Abu Diaa, a father of seven. “It’s also we adults who need psychological counseling.” Like most parents in Gaza, Abu Diaa, whose only income is a disability pension from a 2003 injury, worries constantly about finding food and clothing for his children. “It is two different types of traumas,” Abu Diaa explains, “living in fear of attacks and worrying about not having a job to protect one’s family.” Psychiatrists and general practitioners in Gaza observe that parents often do not realize the extent to which their children are traumatized. Many are trying to deal with their own pain and stress and often neglect or delay their own treatment. Add to this THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
the stigma about seeking psychological treatment for themselves or their children. Palestinian and Arab society does not embrace victimhood, and seeking help is often equated with admitting one is powerless and therefore a victim. GCMHP director Dr. Ahmed Abu Tawahinah notes that when a patient visits a doctor, he “never says I am depressed or I have PTSD.” Rather he’ll say something like, “I have a headache.”
A Society Under Stress The physical and psychological effects of Gaza’s plight are pervasive. According to the GCMHP’s Al Qarra, divorces have increased, often due to poverty. When parents are unable to fully care for their children due to their own trauma, she adds, increasing numbers of children are forced to leave home or run away. They find themselves on the streets, digging through garbage containers for a few things to sell to make a bit of money or eat. Incidents of sexual abuse, previously unheard of in Gaza, also are being reported. This past September, 20 months after Israel’s war on Gaza, Dr. Jamil Al Tahrawi, a university lecturer in social psychology, decided to analyze the art work of children in Gaza to try and assess the depth of their psychological trauma. He asked 455 children to draw whatever they wanted. More than 82.3 percent drew images directly related to Israeli attacks on Gaza. Some of these drawings show Palestinian resistance fighters, Israeli soldiers, tanks, bulldozers, ambulances, helicopters, F-16s, and pilotless Israeli drones. The children mainly used light colors in their drawings, avoiding dark colors as if they were afraid of them. Dr. Al Tahrawi and other doctors in Gaza saw a clear indication in the drawings of trauma following war crimes similar to those mentioned in Judge Richard Goldstone’s report for the U.N. Human Rights Council. Indeed, Dr. Al Tawahiha confides, all 1.6 million residents of Gaza are traumatized to some extent— “including myself.” As Israel continues its attacks on Gaza, the nightmare continues for Abdullah and all residents of Gaza. Nearly two years after Operation Cast Lead, Abdullah still is afraid to sleep, afraid to play and afraid to walk to school in the daytime, even with his father by his side. One can only guess at the longterm physical, emotional and intellectual effects Israel’s continued occupation and siege will have on his life and millions of other Palestinians. One thing is certain, however: It is affecting everyone. ❑ 19
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Israeli Settlers Poison Olive Trees and Torch Mosques in the Wild West Bank SpecialReport
By Delinda C. Hanley
outpost evacuations or the temporary freeze on settlement expansion. Settlers are turning the bucolic hills and fields of galls Wilder or watching the popular TV Palestine into the Wild West Bank. series “Little House on the Prairie” (which In 1994 Baruch Goldstein, a New Yorkran from 1974-1984), based on her family’s born Jewish settler, walked into Hebron’s life and adventures as settlers in America’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, or the Wild West. In 1869 Laura, along Ibrahimi Mosque, and gunned with Pa, Ma, Mary and baby down Muslim worshippers, Carrie, moved to Indian Territory killing 29 and wounding another in Kansas, where Pa built a cabin, 150. His deadly rampage trigdug a well, planted crops, surgered a period of settler violence vived malaria and worried about in the occupied territories that their pesky neighbors. (“The continues to this day. His grave, only good Indian is a dead Inin the adjacent and illegal Jewish dian” is repeated four times in settlement of Kiryat Arba, has the first book.) become a pilgrimage site for IsAmericans have a romantic raeli extremists. view of wagon trains full of setAccording to the Israeli tlers conquering the New World human rights organization B’T(and running off Native Ameriselem, Israeli civilians killed 49 cans), so it’s little wonder that Palestinians from Sept. 29, 2000 they swallowed Israel’s tall to Aug. 31, 2010. “Settlers block tales—like Leon Uris’ Exodus, roadways, so as to impede Paleslater made into a classic tinian life and commerce, shoot film—and other propaganda. Eusolar panels on roofs of buildropeans escaped the Holocaust to ings, torch automobiles, shatter settle in Israel, “a land without a windowpanes and windshields, people for a people without a destroy crops, uproot trees, beat land.” That’s a striking narrashepherds, abuse merchants and tive—unless you consider the owners of stalls in the market. fact that European Jews perseSome of these actions are incuted by European Christians tended to force Palestinians to were illegal immigrants to a land leave their homes and farmland, already populated by Palestinian and thereby enable the settlers to farmers, fishermen, business peogain control of them.” ple, and scholars. Israel’s relentAmerican donors finance this less territorial expansion counts settler project. on Americans—and Israelis— A resident of the West Bank town of Qalqilya shows his damPalestinian families gather forgetting about those pesky aged car after Jewish settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of every year in the fall to harvest Palestinians. In actuality the setKedumim threw a large rock through its windshield. olives and picnic with their tler-colonial enterprise in Palesneighbors. Olive trees are a tine is not a pretty story, not to mention a violation of international and Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem, charring major commercial crop for Palestine, and copies of the Qur’an and prayer carpets, on many families depend on them for their human rights law. Today’s Jewish settlers more closely re- Oct. 4, a month after the launch of new, livelihood. The trees grow at a rate of 1 to semble cattle rustlers or bandits than pio- and short-lived, peace talks in Washing- 2 feet a year, reaching a height of 20 to 40 neers. Or even more accurately, they bring ton, DC. This was the fourth arson attempt feet after about 40 years. They generally to mind the violent thugs from “The on Muslim holy places in two years. In- live for about 400 years, but many are Wire,” an HBO drama that takes place on deed, from January 2009 through August known to be 700 or 1,000 years old. To the brutal streets of Baltimore. [A criminal 2010, Israeli settlers in the West Bank per- Palestinians the olive tree is a symbol of rolls through a neighborhood wearing a petrated 84 acts of arson involving olive Palestinian steadfastness to their land. During recent olive harvests, Israeli setflak jacket and carrying a shotgun casually groves, homes and farm buildings. Vigilante settlers have left behind Hebrew graf- tlers have targeted both Palestinians and Delinda C. Hanley is news editor of the fiti with the words “revenge” or “price their beloved olive groves. This past OctoWashington Report on Middle East Affairs. tag,” referring to their campaign against ber West Bank Palestinians from Turmus mericans of a certain age grew up
thrown over his shoulder. Is this Baltimore or Hebron?] Or perhaps “The Sopranos,” another HBO series, replete with savage beatings and offhand killings. Jewish settler/hooligans torched a West Bank mosque in the Palestinian village of
AFP PHOTO/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH
Areading children’s books by Laura In-
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AFP PHOTO/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH
Aya and Al-Mughayer, north of Ramallah, arrived to pick olives— only to discover their olive trees bored into and poisoned, with branches drooping and the olives shriveled and black, instead of plump and green or purple. Settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost on top of a nearby hill had used chemicals to kill other trees last year. Residents of Burin, near the Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank, say settlers throw stones to keep them from working on their land. This October border police and Israel Defense Forces troops, as Palestinian farmers from the village of Burin inspect the remains of their olive trees after Jewish settlers from well as Palestinian po- the nearby illegal settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank uprooted them on Sept. 1, 2010. lice, tried to guard villagers during the harvest. According to More than 300 settlers are reported to have dren. The authors write: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for B’Tselem, expressed an interest in the course so far. which monitored the olive harvest, the set“A right-wing settler activist, Hor Nizri, they will grow up to harm us.” On Oct. 16, in his weekly Saturday night tlers have a “new strategy,” which is to who has clashed with the police in the past steal the olives right before they’re har- over the evacuation of settlements, has sermon, Israeli Sephardic leader Rabbi vested. They take advantage of the fact been put in charge of recruiting young set- Ovadia Yosef said non-Jews or Goyim that everyone knows the times when the tlers,” Cook writes. “He told the Yediot “were born only to serve us. Without that, guards are to be posted, she told the Israeli Aharonot newspaper that the program was they have no place in the world; only to daily Haaretz. “In a number of places ‘a historic reconciliation,’ adding: ‘We serve the People of Israel.” Embarrassed where Palestinians are not allowed for the want to fill the ranks of the police as we fill American Jews quickly condemned those racist remarks, but Rabbi Yosef is the spirrest of the year, when they come on the the ranks of the army.’ days allocated to them, they find the olives “His comments have sparked concern itual leader of Israel’s pro-settler and ultrahave disappeared,” she said. among Palestinian groups inside Israel that religious Shas Party, an increasingly powHundreds of trees have been stripped of the program is the first phase of an at- erful group in Prime Minister Binyamin olives this year, according to Rabbis for tempted settler ‘takeover’ of the police, Netanyahu’s ruling coalition. Settlers listen Human Rights, an Israeli organization that replicating their growing dominance of to their radical rabbis. At the end of Laura Ingall’s Little House tries to help farmers. Members of a new sections of the army.” unit from the Palestinian Authority’s MinIsrael released its first official figures on on the Prairie, her family is told that the istry of Agriculture worked to document the number of settlers in Israeli military land on which they built their log cabin, villagers’ complaints, counting poisoned combat units in September. About a third along with their well and fields, must be trees and taking samples for testing. of all officers in such units are settlers, up vacated by the settlers because it is not legally open to settlement. Pa agrees to from only 2.5 percent in 1990s. Recruiting Settlers as Police “Is it really credible that these religious leave the land and move the family to “the Believe it or not, Israel is now recruiting extremists who have been educated to hate Banks of Plum Creek” in Minnesota before police officers from the very same settler Palestinians in the West Bank are going to the Army forcibly evicts them. communities that have been tormenting behave differently when they police our That’s something nearly 500,000 Israelis Christians and Muslims in the West Bank. communities inside Israel?” asks Jafar who live in the illegal settlements of the According to a startling report by Farah, the director of Mossawa, an advo- West Bank and East Jerusalem should be Jonathan Cook published in the Palestine cacy center for the Palestinian minority in- doing right now. Ma and Pa—or Ima and Chronicle, their new special officer training side Israel. A settler police force roaming Aba—need to be figuring out where they’d course includes seven months of religious the Wild West Bank defies the imagination. like to settle next. To paraphrase journalist Radical rabbis in extremist settlements Helen Thomas, settlers need to move back studies in Elisha, an extremist West Bank settlement. “Although all the settlements help inspire settler brutality. Two rabbis in inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders, or return are illegal under international law, Elisha is Yitzhar, near Nablus, recently published a to the streets of Moscow, Baltimore, New one of dozens of wildcat settlements also il- book, The King’s Torah, which sanctions York and New Jersey—preferably without legal under Israeli law,” Cook observes. the killing of non-Jews, including chil- their torches and rifles. ❑ DECEMBER 2010
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Senate Letter Sought to Prepare Ground To Blame Abbas for Peace Talks Failure CongressWatch
By Shirl McArthur n Sept. 27, 87 senators signed a remarkable, AIPAC-initiated letter to O President Barack Obama commending him
New Bill Would Repeal Authorization For President’s Use of Military Force
for his efforts to restart direct peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The letter, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), was remarkable in that it made no mention of Israeli “settlements” or of the need to extend the moratorium on building in the colonies, but emphasized that “it is critical that all sides stay at the table. Neither side should make threats to leave just as the talks are getting started.” As AIPAC’s press release made clear, the goal of the letter was to position the Senate to place full blame on Abbas for the collapse of the talks if the moratorium was not extended. The 13 not signing the letter were Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Carte Goodwin (D-WV), Judd Gregg (R-NH), John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Jim Webb (D-VA).
Bearing the simple title “To repeal Public Law 107-40,” H.R. 6282 was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), with nine cosponsors, on Sept. 29. Congress had unanimously passed P.L. 107-40 three days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It authorized the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international acts of terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons.” This is the law Presidents George W. Bush and Obama have used to justify military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Lee’s bill probably has no chance of passage. Meanwhile, the two previously described bills regarding withdrawal from Afghanistan have made scant progress. H.R. 6045, introduced by Lee in July, has gained 8 co-sponsors and now has 29, including Lee. It would “provide that funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.” However, H.R. 5015, introduced in April by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), which would require that the president “submit to Congress a plan for the safe, orderly, and expeditious redeployment of U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan, including military and security-related contractors, together with a timetable for the completion of that redeployment and information regarding variables that could alter that timetable,” has gained no cosponsors and still has 105, including McGovern.
Continuing Appropriations Bill Specifies Funds for Israel, Egypt, Jordan On Sept. 29, the day members of Congress recessed to campaign for re-election, both houses passed H.R. 3081, the “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to keep the government running until Dec. 3. The CR continued all appropriations at the FY ’10 level, except for specifying military aid funds of $2.775 billion for Israel, $1.3 billion for Egypt, and $300 million for Jordan. Of the money for Israel—which it expects promptly and in full every Oct. 1, the first day of the new fiscal year—$729.825 million (26.3 percent) may be spent in Israel rather than the U.S. Congress plans to come back for a “lame duck” session on Nov. 15 to deal with the regular appropriations bills, none of which have been passed. With the possible exception of the defense appropriations bill, the others could be wrapped into an “omnibus” bill. Considering that Congress could be gridlocked after the elections, however, it is likely that the lame duck session will just pass another CR and leave the new appropriations bills to the new Congress. Shirl McArthur, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, is a consultant based in the Washington, DC area. 22
Iran Continues to Receive So Far Non-Lethal Congressional Attention On Sept. 23 Georgia’s Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Isakson wrote to Obama urging him to “do everything in your power to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability.” To emphasize their point, in the next sentence they add that “all options should be on the table in THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” They also urge him to “ensure full implementation” of the recently passed U.N. Security Council sanctions and the Comprehensive Sanctions Act passed in June. New Iran bills include S. 3810, introduced Sept. 21 by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), “to restrict participation in [U.S.] offshore oil and gas leasing by a person who engages in any activity for which sanctions may be imposed under section 5 of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, [and] to require the lessee under an offshore oil and gas lease to disclose any participation by the lessee in certain energy-related joint ventures, investments, or partnerships located outside Iran.” Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), with no co-sponsors, on Sept. 29 introduced S. 18 “to prohibit aliens who engage in certain activities with respect to Iran from being admitted to the U.S.” In the House on Sept. 29, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), with nine co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 6296 to impose additional sanctions on Iran. Among the several sanctions are ones targeting subsidiaries of U.S. firms doing business in Iran, by targeting the U.S. parent; sanctioning commercial transactions with the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliates; and preventing transfers of civilian aircraft parts and services. Meanwhile, H.R. 5833, introduced in July by Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-FL) to “amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require issuers to make disclosures related to Iranian investments,” has gained eight co-sponsors and now has 13, including Deutch.
Ros-Lehtinen Promptly Supports New “Friends of Israel Initiative” In early September former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar announced the formation of a new group, the “Friends of Israel Initiative,” to “further the recognition of the State of Israel’s right to exist and to legitimately defend itself,” and to combat the “global effort to delegitimize the State of Israel.” Apparently these “friends” are unhappy that most of the world’s countries don’t appreciate Israel’s flagrant flaunting of international law and U.N. resolutions. The group’s board includes non-Americans, such as Azner, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, and former president of the Italian Senate Marcello Pera, but also former American U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, known for his outspoken promotion of Israel’s interDECEMBER 2010
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ests. The group also lists as key supporters such neocon perennials as William Kristol, Elliot Abrams and Dore Gold. On cue, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (RFL), with two co-sponsors, on Sept.14 introduced H.Con.Res. 315 “recognizing the formation and supporting the objectives of the Friends of Israel Initiative.” It also “reaffirms support” for “Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Jewish state.” Meanwhile, of the many previously-described measures supporting “Israel’s right to defend itself,” only H.Res. 1532, introduced in July by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), and H.Res. 1599, introduced in July by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), have gained any support. The former, which would urge “an investigation into the role of the Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri ve Insani Yardim Vakffi (IHH) in providing financial, logistical, and material support to terrorists”—those would be the unarmed civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, nine of whom were killed by Israeli soldiers on May 31—has gained three co-sponsors and now has 22, including Titus. H.Res. 1599, which would, among other things, urge that the IHH be placed on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, has gained only one co-sponsor, and now has three, including McCarthy. Even the arrogantly irresponsible H.Res. 1553, introduced in July by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), which would support Israel’s using “all means necessary” to confront Iran’s nuclear pro-
gram, “including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time,” has gained no co-sponsors and still has 47, including Gohmert.
Congress Silent on Lebanese Military Aid, Saudi Arms Sales The previous issue of the Washington Report speculated that congressional bills or resolutions condemning Lebanon for the killing of one Israeli soldier by one Lebanese soldier could be expected shortly after Congress’ return in mid-September from its August recess. That did not happen, however. According to a Sept. 16 Associated Press report, the State Department had completed its review of U.S. military aid to Lebanon and unsurprisingly concluded that resumption of the aid was in the interest of U.S. national security and Mideast stability. Yet there has been no official word that Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Howard Berman (D-CA) have released their “holds” on the $100 million in military aid. Similarly, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reported in mid-September that the Obama administration is preparing to sell to Saudi Arabia up to $60 billion worth of advanced aircraft, including up to 84 new F-15 fighters. By law, the administration must give Congress 30 days notice of such sales. Congress can then pass
legislation to block the sales. However, no such legislation was introduced before Congress recessed for the elections—probably because, as reported on AIPAC’s website, the Israeli government is “comfortable” with the sales. However, this didn’t stop faithful Israel acolytes Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Christopher Carney (D-PA) from writing to Obama on Sept. 15 strongly opposing the sale.
Measures Promote Human Rights in Egypt, Condemn Syria Although S.Res. 586, “supporting democracy, human rights, and civil liberties in Egypt,” introduced in July by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), has received some press attention, including a favorable editorial in The Washington Post, it has attracted little additional senatorial support. It has gained four co-sponsors and now has 14, including Feingold. Similarly, H.Res. 1285, introduced in April by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), which would “condemn the government of Syria for transferring Scud missiles to the Hezbollah terrorist organization,” has gained only one co-sponsor and now has 21, including Engel. None of the previously reported proIsrael bills attacking the U.N. and/or UNRWA, or urging the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, have gained new co-sponsors. ❑
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
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Two Cases Holding AIPAC Accountable
Jewish Agency payment voucher seized by Senate investigators.
Year-Long Drive to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign Agent Continues By Grant F. Smith
n the morning of Nov. 4, 2009 I
Oheaded a four-person delegation to
meet with the chief and top officials of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Foreign Agents Registration Unit. We had one hour to present a 387-page filing about why the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) should be required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as Israel’s foreign agent in the U.S. While not a difficult case to make, we stayed an extra hour as the FARA enforcement team asked penetrating questions and took notes. The matter is still unresolved—but in the year since that meeting the case for regulating AIPAC has only grown stronger. Under FARA, individuals and organizations who act in a political capacity for foreign principals are required to file regular public disclosure statements. Any American is entitled to review agent programs, receipts and disbursements in order to Grant F. Smith is director of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, Inc. (IRmep). 24
fully determine and even challenge foreign activities in the United States. They won’t find any reports from AIPAC, however— despite the fact that tracing AIPAC’s history by following the footsteps of its founder, Canadian-born Isaiah L. Kenen, leads straight to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1948, Kenen was a charter member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ New Yorkbased “Israel Office of Information (IOI),” where he worked in public relations. In that capacity he did indeed file FARA disclosures for the IOI and himself, detailing his expenditures for pamphlets, bulletins, statements and press releases. All of Kenen’s public relations output had to be stamped with an official disclosure that they represented the policies and views of the State of Israel. From the very beginning, however, the Justice Department cited IOI for deficiencies, including failure to disclose the existence of a separate branch operating out of the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles. The FBI later notified the FARA Section that the IOI was circulating literature without the required disclosures. According to his book Israel’s Defense Line, Kenen soon tired of the onerous FARA disclosure requirements. He wrote, “Israelis began looking for a lobbyist to promote the THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
necessary legislation [on U.S. foreign aid to Israel]…would I leave the Israeli delegation for six months to lobby on Capitol Hill? There were other questions. Should I continue my registration as an agent of the Israel government? Was it appropriate for an embassy to lobby? Embassies talked to the State Department, and American voters talked to their congressmen.” On Jan. 17, 1951, Kenen visited FARA Section chief Nathan Lenvin, telling him frankly that he planned to leave IOI but continue public relations for the Israeli government. Lenvin told Kenen to keep filing FARA disclosures and even passed him the appropriate forms. But Kenen never again filed as a foreign agent. Instead, the following month he set up a Washington, DC-based division within the American Zionist Council (AZC)—a New York umbrella organization whose members included Hadassah, the Zionist Organization of America, and other groups that worked in the U.S. for the creation of the state of Israel—and registered with Congress as a domestic lobbyist. On his disclosure forms to Congress Kenen declared that his lobbying for foreign aid to Israel would last for only six months. Kenen’s move from Israeli foreign agent to Washington, DC lobbyist attracted official notice. Comparing Kenen’s memoranda circulating on Capitol Hill with those emanating from the Israeli Embassy, the U.S. State Department concluded that he should still be registering as a foreign agent. In December of 1953, Kenen learned that the Eisenhower administration was looking into the AZC’s use of tax-exempt charitable relief donations to lobby for a foreign government. So he staged yet another “reconstitution,” advising the clerk of Congress that he was terminating his AZC work as of March 14, 1954 to run a “separate” and “new” organization called the “American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs” which would exist only “until adjournment of the 83rd Congress” (1953-55). Kenen continued to receive a quarterly $5,000 retainer from the AZC public relations division, however, which forwarded Kenen’s payments to him on the direct order of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, a quasi-Israeli government organization. DECEMBER 2010
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In part because contributions dedicated for lobbying were not tax-exempt, meaning donations to the new organization were hard to come by, AZCPA was perennially cash-strapped. “Many [potential donors] could not understand why the Israeli government could not subsidize this modest undertaking,” Kenen noted in Israel’s Defense Line. “They did not realize that foreign agents were limited in expression and activity.” So the AZCPA soon began taking donations from less-than-legitimate sources. Aaron Weisberg, an associate of mobster Meyer Lansky who was Lansky’s straw buyer of the Sands Casino, made several $500 contributions. Mobster John Factor, known as “Jake the Barber” for his stock frauds shaving investors in the United Kingdom, donated $1,000, as did arms smuggling associate Zimel Resnick. But it wasn’t enough. So Kenen launched a new funding and lobbying vehicle, a newsletter he privately owned called the Near East Report—which today is published under AIPAC’s roof by an associated nonprofit, Near East Research. The Jewish Agency, the Israeli consulate in New York, and the AZC all poured funding into Kenen’s Near East Report (NER). The subsidized newsletter was sent free of charge to influential publishers, opinion leaders, sympathetic allies, and all members of Congress. In his many NER articles, Kenen demanded that the U.S. back away from plans to restore some Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties in Israel. NER was only the tip of a propaganda iceberg, however. A much broader sevenyear, $5 million ($36 million in today’s dollars) campaign fundamentally altered journalism about the Middle East in this country. AZC pressure tactics killed unfavorable coverage of Israel before it could be published in such newspapers as the Christian Science Monitor. The AZC and Kenen wrote, subsidized, and planted stories in the Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Life Magazine, women’s magazines and even the Atlantic Monthly. The AZC public information division rallied support to pressure independent chains and newspapers to alter their Middle East coverage or face the consequences. A secret 1962 AZC Magazine Committee report to the Jewish Agency conspiratorially gushed, “We cannot pinpoint all that has already been accomplished by this Committee except to say that it has been responsible for the writing and placement of articles on Israel in some of America's leading magazines....” DECEMBER 2010
In order to give a more patriotic slant to his AZC lobbying, in an August 1959 letter to the congressional clerk’s office Kenen renamed his operation the “American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” According to AIPAC’s lobbying disclosure statement, it was a “non-profit organization interested in foreign policy” and declared its duration would now be “infinite.” As will be seen, however, he did not incorporate it as a separate entity until January 1963. In 1961 a confidential Senate Foreign Relations Committee report urged investigating how “grey” foreign agent activities, such as a 1954 Israeli false flag terror attack on U.S. installations overseas, might be harming U.S. policy. In 1962 the committee launched a sweeping investigation of foreign agents active in the United States, delivering subpoenas and seizing documents at the Jewish Agency’s New York offices, where it gathered up stacks of AZC lobbying and media progress reports as evidence of foreign money laundering through “conduits.” An original subpoena executed by Sen. J. William Fulbright, ordering Kenen to deliver all of his private Israel lobbying documents and testify under oath to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is among thousands of investigation documents contained in 67 boxes unsealed by the National Archives and Records Administration on July 23, 2010. Kenen had gotten wind of the impending investigation, however, and promptly absented himself from the United States, making an extended trip to the shah’s Iran and Africa. Upon his return to the U.S. he was interviewed by the FBI, but the Senate subpoena was never served. On Nov. 11, 1962 the Justice Department’s FARA section, under then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, ordered the AZC to begin registering as an Israeli foreign agent. On Nov. 29 the AZC centralized all of Kenen’s former public relations activities under the control of one Ernest Barbarash, and finally ceased paying Kenen as a public relations consultant. On Dec. 10, an AZC memo ordered the immediate cessation of all Jewish Agency-subsidized purchases and mass distribution of the Near East Report. Adrift and penniless in the lobbying division of an organization now targeted by the DOJ, Kenen quickly went into action. Two months after the Dec. 10 FARA order, he incorporated AIPAC as a separate entity for the first time in Washington, DC. In March of 1965, after nearly three years of intense resistance, the AZC filed a single compulsory FARA declaration with the THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
Justice Department—then shut down. Under the authority of new Attorney General Nicolas Katzenbach, the FARA division kept the AZC’s disclosure segregated from publicly accessible filings, only declassifying and releasing the “nonpublic” FARA filing in 2008. Today the AZC’s most powerful constituent organizations (the Zionist Organization of America and Hadassah), along with 50 others, make up AIPAC’s executive committee. During our November 2009 meeting with the DOJ we demonstrated how this history inevitably led to AIPAC’s espionage abuses against the U.S. investigated by the FBI in 1985 and 2005. It soon became clear, however, that the FARA unit will not enforce the law until more members of the public demand it. In the 1960s, the Senate revealed in detail how lax FARA enforcement was corrupting U.S. governmance at all levels. This pressure forced the reluctant DOJ to take action against not only the Israel lobby but against covert operatives for assorted Latin American dictators. When FARA was still young, the DOJ successfully shut down stealth fronts for Soviet Communists and Nazis. The Israel lobby’s reconstituted ability to influence America’s mass media and strike back covertly by pulling the strings of political campaign contributions is more insidious. AIPAC has proactively insinuated itself across many nodes of influence within America in a bid to make itself “too interconnected” to regulate. Today most Americans know stunningly little about the Israel lobby’s cost to the U.S., even after publication of such highly popular books as Paul Findley’s They Dare Speak Out and the more recent The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Professors John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt (both available from the AET Book Club). The AZC’s declassified media manipulation strategies—now available online at <www. irmep.org/ila/azc>—not only are still in active use, but are more sophisticated and widespread than ever. FARA is one of the most noble and sensible transparency laws ever passed. It codifies the right of all Americans to observe and challenge the true origins of propaganda and coordinated lobbying aimed at promoting foreign interests over those of the commonwealth. It embodies George Washington’s farewell address warning against the inevitable outcome of foreign “passionate attachments.” But FARA has repeatedly collapsed when pitted against the lobby’s demonstrated ability to reconstitute itself in order to avoid accountability. 25
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But new pressures to regulate Israel’s lobby are building. It is now clear to many Americans that they have unwittingly impoverished themselves by engaging in unnecessary war promoted by the Israel lobby’s purposeful deceptions and influence over government. The U.S. tax base has long been distorted by massive aid and tax-deductible donation outflows used illegally overseas in sordid ways that blow back on America. The U.S. economy has been slowly diverted away from trillions in productive opportunities with willing, natural, and qualified trading partners in the Arab world. The lobby demands ever more wasteful production of weapons and services of no economic or developmental utility, while Congress continues to subsidize Israel’s competing high-tech and weapons sectors. Americans have been the losers in FARA’s failed battle to regulate Israel’s American lobby. As AIPAC again pushes us toward war and waste in the name of Israel, we must all demand restoration of the rule of law in America—starting with FARA—before it is too late.
“Fiddlesticks!” Federal Judge Dismisses Case Against FEC By Janet McMahon
n a Sept. 6, 2010 decision, U.S. District
ICourt Judge Richard J. Leon brought to
an end the “case against AIPAC” filed on Jan. 12, 1989 by former ambassadors, congressmen or government officials James E. Akins, George Ball, Richard Curtiss, Paul Findley, Robert J. Hanks, Andrew Killgore and Orin Parker. In the intervening two decades three of the plaintiffs—Akins, Ball and Hanks—have died. In his opinion, Judge Leon seemed exasperated that the seven men who brought the lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) had not packed up their bags and gone home long ago, instead of pursuing their case all the way to the Supreme Court. “Unfortunately, this appellate odyssey had only just begun!” he wrote in describing a 1992 challenge to the FEC’s ruling that AIPAC was not a political committee—and hence not required to reveal its membership, funding sources and expenditures. “The FEC has sole jurisdiction to civilly enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971,” Judge Leon noted, the purpose of which is “to limit spending in federal election campaigns and to eliminate the actual or perceived pernicious influence over candidates for elective office that wealthy individuals or corporations could achieve by Janet McMahon is managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. 26
financing the ‘political warchests’ of those candidates.” The FEC maintained that AIPAC is a “membership organization” rather than a political committee. Coincidentally, the above act specifically exempts “any communications by any membership organization…to its members…if such membership organization…is not organized primarily for the purpose of influencing the nomination for election, or election, of any individual to federal office” (the “major purpose” requirement). The Supreme Court heard the case on Jan. 14, 1998, and issued its ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, on June 1, 1998. As former Rep. Paul Findley described it in the July/August 1998 issue of the Washington Report: Breyer’s decision avoided the [political committee] definition issue because FEC was “currently considering a new rule that could make the decision irrelevant to AIPAC’s status.” Speculating that a proposed rule change by the FEC would view most AIPAC expenditures as “membership communications,” Breyer’s decision concluded that, if approved, the proposal would exempt AIPAC from the campaign law and the controversy over FEC’s “major purpose” test would no longer have importance. Under normal circumstances, the court would be expected to rule that, under present law and existing FEC rules, the “major purpose” test is invalid. Therefore, following the normal logic of judicial decision-making, until such time as the law and/or rules are changed, AIPAC must make the required public disclosures. Instead, the court simply
told the FEC how to duck the issue.… The decision, of course, left AIPAC officials smiling broadly. Indeed, although not a party in the case before the court, AIPAC filed a friend of the court brief which suggested the precise course Breyer’s decision cited. Thomas G. Hungar, an attorney for AIPAC, said the high court “did exactly what we asked.” Under the proposed changes in FEC operations, AIPAC would “clearly qualify” as a membership group exempt from public disclosures of financial operations. The Supreme Court sent the case back down to the lower court, which then sent it back to the FEC, which proceeded to adopt new membership rules. As Judge Leon writes in his opinion, “The FEC found that ‘the issue of AIPAC’s political committee status during the period covered by the complaint…has, as anticipated by the U.S. Supreme Court, become effectively moot” [italics added]. Toward the end of his 25-page ruling, Judge Leon writes, “the plaintiffs argue that the combination of communications urging AIPAC members to support unidentified candidates with ‘Campaign Update’ reports that include information identifying which candidates rate best on issues relevant to AIPAC [that would be Israel] are, in effect, express advocacy. Fiddlesticks!” We’re willing to bet that, were the judge to avail himself of the opportunity to peruse the FEC reports filed by the nearly 30 pro-Israel PACs active in the 2010 election, he’d be hard put to explain how they magically seem to give to the exact same candidates. Fiddlesticks, indeed. ❑
From Pro-Israel PACs to Pro-Israel Foreign Nationals? Barely six weeks after Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed Akins vs. FEC, the Federal Election Commission was sued by Canadian Benjamin Bluman and Canadian-Israeli Dr. Asenath Steiman. Both foreigners live in New York City, where Bluman is an attorney who will be sworn into the New York Bar on Nov. 22, 2010 “and intends thereafter to join the American Bar Association,” and Steiman is a medical resident at Beth Israel Medical Center and a member of the American Medical Association. Bluman currently has non-immigrant TN status, which is good for three years but can be renewed indefinitely. Steiman is in the U.S. on non-immigrant J-I status, also good for three years but subject to extension to a maximum of seven years. The lawsuits describe both plaintiffs as “politically active,” Bluman’s causes being “protecting the environment, recognizing same-sex marriage, and ensuring that ‘net-neutrality’ is enshrined into law.” Steiman, who was a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, “is particularly passionate about preventing a government-takover of the health-care system in the United States. She also strongly supports tax reductions and policies that encourage entrepreneurship by increasing economic liberty.” No mention is made of her position on U.S. policy toward Israel, but one rather doubts that an Israeli citizen would be indifferent to that. Bluman and Steiman desire to “express [their] views…by contributing money to candidates for political office and by independently advocating for such candidates.” Both also expect that “over the coming years, while [they reside] in the United States, [they] will want to make…contributions and expenditures in support of other candidates for local, state and federal office.” However, the Alien Gag Law currently prevents any foreign national other than a permanent resident from making contributions to candidates or to political party committees, or from making any independent expenditure in connection with a local, state or federal election. Bluman and Steiman argue that the Alien Gag Law violates their rights to free speech under the First Amendment to the (U.S.) Constitution. One liberal and one conservative? From our friendly neighbor to the north? What could be the harm in that? A final question: How many Israeli citizens currently reside in the U.S.? —J.M.
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
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Saudi Arabia and the Arab World Choose Peace—Now It’s Up to the U.S. and Israel
Editor’s Note: Prince Turki gave the following speech at The National Council on U.S. Arab Relation’s annual conference in Washington, DC on Oct. 22, 2010, following a luncheon presentation by Sesame Workshop CEO H. Melvin Ming on “Muppet Diplomacy.” was very much impressed with the Mup-
Ipet Diplomacy presentation, and the fact
that these were the genuine Muppets that bring laughter and fun for everybody. Unfortunately, as one of the commentators reminded us earlier, there are live human Muppets in Washington, DC, who are run by AIPAC. Unfortunately what they bring is war and tragedy... One other word before I begin. I showed this speech to a couple of friends of mine. They wanted me to be princely and not to deliver the speech that I wrote. Alas, I don’t know how one can measure being princely, but I think being genuine is much more appropriate in what I am going to say, rather than princely. The theme of this conference is much too grand for me to presume to cover all of it. I will confine my talk to the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The two countries agree on many issues, but they disagree on others. We agree on world peace; on removing the curse of nuclear weapons; on eradicating poverty and disease; on providing justice for all; and many other things. We disagree, however, on method, style, language, and perception...sometimes. Peace and nuclear disarmament are cases in point. We agree on the two-state solution, on a viable Palestinian state, and on Israel living in peace with all of its neighbors. Saudi Arabia, ladies and gentlemen, brought all of the 22 Arab countries and all of the 57 His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, has served as director general of Saudi Arabia’s foreign intelligence service, the General Intelligence Directorate (1977-2001), ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland (2002-2005), and ambassador to the United States (2005-2007). DECEMBER 2010
PHOTO BY PATRICK RYAN COURTESY SAUDI-US RELATIONS INFORMATION SERVICE
By Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud
Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud. Muslim countries and much of the rest of the world to accept King Abdullah’s Peace Initiative as the end game of negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries whose lands it still occupies. The United States, which considers that Initiative as a cornerstone of peace, has not managed to bring Israel to accept the Abdullah Peace Initiative, in any form. While the previous Israeli government mumbled words like “important,” “constructive,” and “helpful“ in reference to the Initiative, the present government has been conspicuously silent about it. Saudi Arabia brought Hamas and Fatah together in the Makkah agreement; on terms where Hamas confirmed its delegation of the PLO as the sole Palestinian spokesman on peace in negotiations. The United States, under the previous administration, purposefully set out to sabotage that agreement with success. Saudi Arabia has continued to provide the Palestinian Authority with money and political support to buttress Abu Mazen. The United States, which is, thankfully, the largest contributor to the Palestinian Authority’s budgetary needs, has failed to curb Israel: in the brutal policy of collective THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
What HeSaid punishment; arbitrary arrests and killings, even in the “A Zone”; illegal colonization; the merciless Israeli bulldozing of Palestinian homes; and the inhuman Israeli practice of uprooting Palestinian olive trees, for God’s sake. Because of these things Abu Mazen’s credibility with his people has been degraded to its lowest level. Saudi Arabia agreed with the other Arab states to give peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine a chance, more than once, under the United States-negotiated partial colony freeze. The United States failed to stick by its assurances and, to add insult to injury, offered the Netanyahu government more money, arms, protection from U.N. sanction, and, shamefully, the stationing of Israeli troops on Palestinian territory—as if this territory were part of the United States sovereign lands. All this was to get him to extend the partial freeze for a few more days. Now that the Netanyahu government has rejected that offer, we are waiting to see what else the U.S. will offer. Saudi Arabia has worked to bring harmony and political cohesion to Lebanon. The Taif agreement among all the Lebanese political factions is the result of Saudi action. A month ago, King Abdullah brought President Assad of Syria to Beirut with him to help the Lebanese political factions overcome their differences. They met last week to review the situation, indicating their pursuit to overcome the difficulties faced by Lebanon. The Kingdom has been calling for the removal of Israeli troops from occupied Lebanese lands. That removal will also remove with it the rationalization of the “National Liberation” slogan that Hezbollah uses to maintain its armed militia and disrupt Lebanese civil and political reconciliation. We’ve just witnessed the most palpable demonstration of that slogan during the Iranian president’s visit to Lebanon. The United States overlooks the importance of this issue and won’t even consider calling on Israel to adhere to all the U.N. Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. Saudi Arabia has supported Syria’s efforts, despite continued Israeli expansion 27
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of colonies on the Golan Heights, to negotiate with Israel, whether under the aegis of the U.S. or Turkey. The U.S. has not pushed Israel to do so. Saudi Arabia has continued to give political and moral support to bring peace and harmony to Iraq. During the last administration’s disastrously bloody conduct of that occupation of Iraq, the Kingdom was the first country to send humanitarian aid, including a field hospital to tend to Iraqis in Baghdad. The Kingdom was the first in bringing together the contiguous countries of Iraq to discuss how to help the Iraqis overcome their difficulties. The Kingdom was the first to bring together all the Iraqi political factions under the roof of the Arab League to discuss political reconciliation. In August 2004, the Saudi foreign minister proposed to then-Secretary of State Powell to replace U.S. and other troops with Arab and Muslim forces. Alas, he never received an answer. Would that have solved the problems of Iraq, today? Perhaps. But we shall never know. Now, the Kingdom keeps an equal distance from all of the Iraqi factions. Saudi Arabia works for and supports the establishment of an Iraqi government that represents all of the Iraqi people. The U.S. has committed itself to withdraw from Iraq next year according to the wishes of the Iraqi people. I suggest before they leave that Ms. [Susan] Rice seek a United Nations Security Council resolution, under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Iraq. This is the only way, ladies and gentlemen, to avoid civil war, ethnic cleansing, or the disintegration of Iraq. Internal political ambitions will be checked, and external territorial ambitions will be stymied. Saudi Arabia supports the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. It has hosted meetings between his government and the Taliban. It has provided financial and humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. King Abdullah has publicly promised continued aid. Who has President Karzai turned to in seeking help to end the fighting in Afghanistan? He turned to Saudi Arabia. During and after the London conference, the president specifically asked King Abdullah to help the Afghan people to come together. I have frequently proposed that the U.S. should bring together the Russian Federation, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Egypt to put together a boots-on-the ground campaign to eradicate al-Qaeda, with each country providing its best capa28
bilities, whether financial, military, political, and intelligence. They would chase bin Laden and Zarqawi in the border lands of Pakistan and Afghanistan and, once they are captured or killed, then victory can be declared and the troops withdrawn from Afghanistan. That is the only credible way for the U.S. and NATO to justifiably withdraw their troops from there. The Afghan people don’t want to return to the rule of Mullah Omar. The foreign invader, today, draws their enmity and anger. Without that, the Taliban will have to contend with the reckoning of the Afghan people. The U.S. has declared that it will begin withdrawing next year. It continues to broadcast its military intentions, with the aim, presumably, of getting the civilians out of the combat zones. I am no military expert but I have read that surprise is the biggest element of success in any military campaign. That is precisely what the insurgency in Afghanistan achieves every time they ambush a patrol, or detonate an IED, or explode a suicide bomber. Surprise accomplishes success. Saudi Arabia has supported Pakistan financially and politically. The Kingdom shares intelligence and skills in combating al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Here, also, the Kingdom keeps an equal distance from all Pakistani politicians. But, ladies and gentlemen, as long as the U.S. continues its Predator attacks on Pakistanis, no matter how many Taliban or al-Qaeda members they eliminate, the results are inevitably counterproductive. The collateral damage in human lives and Pakistani national pride is far greater than the benefits.
Nuclear Disarmament The Kingdom is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has publicly endorsed the aim of a world free of nuclear weapons. At the recent review of the NPT Treaty the Kingdom, along with all the Arab states, called for a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. I have called for a U.N. Security Council resolution to set up that zone with an incentive regime that rewards the countries that join, economically and technically, should they wish to acquire peaceful nuclear energy; and a nuclear security umbrella to protect them from any nuclear or conventional military threats. The resolution should also include a sanctions regime that economically and politically boycotts any country that does not join, and more crucially, it would militarily sanction any country that develops or seeks to develop nuclear weapons and other weapons of THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
mass destruction. Having military teeth will ensure the success and viability of the resolution. Saudi Arabia has called on Iran to be more vocal in supporting the establishment of the zone free of weapons of mass destruction, rather than to follow its present provocative policy of nuclear enrichment. The U.S., under President Obama, has made universal nuclear disarmament its goal. It has thankfully pushed forward on all issues of nuclear disarmament. Distinguished American institutions and individuals have publicly endorsed that view, creating momentum in the public sphere that has not been seen since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed. This is all well and good. But—and there is always a “but” in U.S. policy and practice when it comes to Israel. When the review conference declared its support for the establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, the United States supported the declaration. But, and here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. declared that the declaration is premature and will require more discussion. The U.S., Russia, Egypt and the United Nations were designated as custodians of the proposal by the conferees to arrange for a conference next year to deal with this issue. Instead of using the proposal to incentivize Israel to conclude peace with her neighbors, the U.S., by word and deed, voided it of any value, leaving it up to the whims and ambitions of an already nuclear armed Israel whether the Zone will be established or not.
Conclusions Saudi Arabia has had a clear view of where it is going and how to get there. In 1981, the late King Fahd issued what came to be known as the Fahd Peace Plan in which he called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories which Israel seized in 1967. He also called for the recognition of the de facto borders of all countries prior to June 4, 1967. That meant recognition for the first time by all the Arab states for Israel in pre-1967 borders. All the Arab countries agreed to the plan. Israel, on the other hand, did not even say that it heard of it. The U.S. totally ignored it. What followed? The tragedies of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982; the continued Lebanese civil war, which was brought to an end by Saudi action, as I mentioned before; the Iraq-Iran war; the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, thanks to joint Saudi-American-Pakistani-Mujahedeen action; the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and subsequent liberaDECEMBER 2010
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tion, thanks to Saudi-American action; the Madrid talks, thanks to Saudi-American action; the Oslo agreements and the initial euphoria, which was alas deflated by the assassination of an Israeli prime minister by an Israeli terrorist who publicly stated that he was inspired at the time by the rhetoric of the present Israeli prime minister; the officially published stripping of bin Laden of his Saudi citizenship, and his departure from Sudan to Afghanistan, where he was given refuge by the Taliban; the first terrorist act by al-Qaeda at the Saudi National Guard building in Riyadh, drawing the first blood in its continuous campaign against the Kingdom and her friends; the subsequent efforts of the thennewly elected prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu; you can see him on YouTube promising to derail the Oslo accords; the Camp David talks and Taba accords, the elections of both George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon, one with the aim of turning his back to the Middle East, the other with the aim of destroying the nascent Palestinian Authority; then-Crown Prince Abdullah’s letter to President Bush, alerting him to the dire and probable bloody consequences of ignoring the Palestinian issue; the vicious and cowardly attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; America’s anger and hurt at the loss of human life and her need for succor and support from the world community; Saudi Arabia’s soul searching and introspection in dealing with the reality of that criminally inhuman act; Saudi Arabia’s continued resolve to meet the al-Qaeda challenge, head on, by police work and by educational and cultural revisions of where we were and where we wanted to go. While working to overcome the psychological and political difficulties of having fingers pointed at us from everywhere, King Abdullah boldly decided to cleanse Saudi society of any stains or stigma of extremist thought by overturning our educational system, religious discourse, and cultural practice. He publicly declared his opposition to any rationalization of extremism, and he guided religious discourse to the middle way. The National Dialogue was established and his direction led it to openly discuss terrorism, human rights, women’s rights and all of the culturally difficult issues that any conservative society, like Saudi Arabia, faces. It is a typical Saudi method of confronting controversial issues by public discussion in public audiences, or Majlis, as we call it; only now it is done in front of television cameras and involves men and women, old and young. Internally, the DECEMBER 2010
King has galvanized all Saudi citizens in this public airing on where they stand, and the Kingdom’s successes in bringing down al-Qaeda has made it the premier dismantler of that evil cult. By 2002, when he had set the agenda internally, he then moved on the international sphere with his Peace Initiative, and in 2008, he proposed the Dialogue between Cultures by first bringing Muslim religious leaders of all denominations to agree on how to address the issues that bring the other faiths and cultures together. Then he carried their message to Madrid, where representatives of all faiths and cultures endorsed his call and delegated to him the carrying of that message to the meeting of heads of state, prime ministers, and representatives from all the countries in the United Nations.
here is always a “but” T in U.S. policy and practice when it comes to Israel. The King continues in his pursuit of peace and prosperity for all, regardless of faith and color; and while admitting that Saudi Arabia still has a long way to go before achieving the full aims of his endeavors, nevertheless, he set the bar very high. The sweat and toil of all Saudis will bear him right. The King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, which is a marvel of his communal thinking, bears witness that he not only speaks but acts on what he says. The more than 30,000 Saudi students who study in American universities today bear witness to Saudi Arabia’s will and determination to continue the strong and fruitful relations with the United States. It is not only because America has shown the capability to bring Israeli craven ambition to heel, in many instances, as in forcing Ben-Gurion to withdraw from the Sinai after the Suez war in 1956, brokering the Camp David accords in 1979, lifting the Israeli siege of Beirut in 1982, forcing Yitzhak Shamir to come to the Madrid conference in 1991, but because the United States has been a beacon of goodwill and progress to the rest of humanity, and will continue to be so. However, and there is always a however as well, when dealing with the United States, there has grown, over the years, a web of very tight and strong strings that bind the U.S. to her client state, Israel. When Israel talks about economic, scientific, and even military successes, the American role is hardly mentioned. THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
Today, as the people of the United States reel under the heel of the worst recession, more money, know how, and economic advantage is ceded to Israel by the American people. Within the make-up of this administration, there are officials who rationalize, excuse, and condone Israeli intransigence while seeking to put more pressure on the Palestinians to concede even more. These same officials believe that the Palestinian problem is not the root cause of Arab and Muslim antagonism to the United States. It is these officials who proposed that the Netanyahu government should be rewarded for its intransigence, rather than sanctioned. In the public sphere, there are journalists whose view is so distorted by the neo-conservative mantle, or as I call it, a burqa that they wear, that they cannot see that the call for independence from Middle East oil is a canard. It defrauds the average consumer of energy by promising him clean energy, which is non-existent, and to pay a higher price for that energy, regardless of the abundant availability of the secure source of energy which comes from the Middle East, and at a cheaper price. To these media pundits, ladies and gentlemen, who want Saudi Arabia to do more, I say that we have done more to further the cause of peace than any other country. We have stood up to the challenge of terrorist nihilism promoted in the name of Islam and cast its cult and ethos to destruction. We will continue to push for a more just application of American policy and practice in our part of the world. Israel is a drain on the United States and not an asset, and foreign policy should follow national interest and not that of moneyed political lobbyists and journalist hacks. Yesterday, my friend Ambassador Ford Fraker remarked that in this town there are so many experts on everything. To which I replied that I am therefore puzzled at how your government gets it wrong on most issues in our part of the world. When we are asked, ladies and gentlemen, to put into practice what the Arab Peace Initiative calls for, in order to reassure Israel of our good intentions, I reply by asking, how about getting Israel to accept the Initiative? When there is a demand that the Israeli soldier, Shalit, should be released immediately, I say, how about the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated by Israel in camps without trial and without legal representation? The Arab world has chosen the path of peace. Let Israel join us in that path, and may the blessings of Allah be upon us all. ❑ 29
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Canada Loses Bid for Security Council Seat Due to Recent Unqualified Support of Israel By Ian Williams y country right or wrong” has
“Malways been a very dubiously pa-
triotic phrase. True patriots try to correct their country when it is wrong. In Canada, as in the U.S., there is a vociferous and powerful group that believes in an even more dubious proposition: “Someone else’s country right or wrong.” For those who worry about impunity, it is some small comfort that there is indeed a price to pay for defending lawlessness. In elections for the rotating two-year seats on the U.N. Security Council, Portugal defeated Canada by 113 votes to 78. This should serve as a wake-up call for the Canadian electorate, since feedback from U.N. diplomats confirms that Canada’s defeat was in large part due to Ottawa’s recent unqualified support for Israeli policies and actions. Sadly, the defeat is unlikely to alter the proIsrael course set by Stephen Harper and his Conservative government in Ottawa. Since the U.N.’s foundation Canada, along with a few other countries like Sweden, has been the very model of a modern U.N. member, and had been almost automatically elected to any position in the organization, based on its demonstrably principled international positions. In times past, Ottawa had defied its giant neighbor to the south to establish relations with China, and later maintained trade, travel and diplomatic links with Cuba. PreHarper Canada supported such important pillars of international law as the international tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the International Criminal Court, and pioneered the articulation of the Responsibility to Protect, which established principles for genuine humanitarian intervention that avoided acting as a cover for aggression. It led such important campaigns as the ban on land mines. Then Harper and the new breed of Canadian conservatives began by emulating Bush at almost every level, and in some ways went further. Canada showed hostility to Russia and China—more, it would seem, out of old habits than any deep concern for human rights, since Ottawa developed an American-style expediency on that subject. Ian Williams is a free-lance journalist based at the United Nations and has a blog at <www.deadlinepundit.blogspot.com>. 30
Its troops in Afghanistan handed prisoners over to the CIA and its officials did nothing at all about Canadian citizens kidnapped in New York and sent for torture in the Middle East or held in Guantanamo.
he Canadian governT ment has continued to act as if Israel can do no wrong. Even now, with Bush gone—and at a time when, if one were to believe the conservative squawks here and in Israel, the Obama administration is being pro-Muslim, antiSemitic and vicious toward Israel—the Canadian government has continued to act as if Israel can do no wrong. Nor are we talking about the spineless abstentions and hemming and hawing from Britain and other European states, which dislike Israeli behavior but always find an invertebrate excuse to abstain on any votes criticizing it. No, Canada recently has opposed unabashedly any scrutiny whatsoever for Israeli actions, as when it voted against whether the U.N. Human Rights Council should even consider Operation Cast Lead. While Canada’s official Middle East policy as expressed on its Foreign Ministry Web site has not changed, executive decisions have profoundly changed its application. The government has withdrawn contributions to UNRWA, which feeds and educates Palestinian refugees, and de-funded grants to NGOs that investigate Israeli human rights abuses. And whatever one thinks of the principle, what government with any sense of diplomatic realities signs a trade agreement with Israel days before asking for nonaligned, Arab and Muslim votes to win a Security Council seat? In the spirit of blaming the weather forecaster for rain, Harper’s government blamed the defeat on opposition leader Michael Ignatieff, who already had suggested that overall government foreign policy would cost the seat. He later discounted the Middle East issue’s significance in the loss. However, faced with a reactionary, vicious, neocon-inclined Canadian Israel lobby, there is little opposition even from the Canadian opposition to the proposition that Israel is always right. It is true that there were more issues THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
United Nations Report than the Middle East involved. The Harper government, in power since February 2006, had reversed 60 years of Canadian practice. The country that almost invented peacekeeping stopped contributing blue helmets. The inherent isolationism of many conservatives was also reflected in the retrenchment of foreign missions and foreign aid, particularly in Africa. Indeed, some Canadian diplomats suggest quietly that Harper and Co. scarcely noticed until the last moment that the long-standing Security Council candidacy was coming up, and did little or nothing to prepare for it—and even then seemed insouciant of how conservative policies have tarnished the country’s once golden reputation. Portuguese diplomats, incidentally, cultivate the developing countries quite assiduously, but on the quiet they also pull strings in Washington based on an incident they wisely do not advertise elsewhere. At a time when most NATO countries refused overflights for American resupply planes to Israel in 1973, Lisbon made the Azores available as a staging post. However, while Lisbon maintains cordial relations with Israel, it has not abandoned the core principles of international law on the issue. The election is interesting on a general level, since many of the countries proposed for additional permanent seats on the Council will now all be there as elected members. India and South Africa were elected unopposed this year, to join already sitting Brazil and Nigeria among putative permanent members. Germany, another would-be permanent, won a contested election. Ironically, Ottawa’s defeat vindicates a long-standing Canadian proposition: that no additional permanent Security Council seats should be created, but that more elected ones be added, with the option for renewable terms. It certainly makes more sense than doubling the injustice of the existing five permanent seats and, in fact, has been adopted and propounded as an interim solution by the British and French—although their support is tainted by a hint of expedient procrastination to postpone any questioning of their own permanent status. Canada’s proposal was genuinely intended for the good of the organization. Maybe Ottawa’s defeat this time will send DECEMBER 2010
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a message to other aspirant powers about the need to listen to others. Indeed, it might well send a message to the cause of Canada’s downfall, the country that Harper loves so well if not so wisely. Israel announced in 2005 that it intended to seek a Security Council seat under the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in 2018. It is true that other states (e.g., India with Kashmir, Morocco with Western Sahara, and Indonesia with East Timor) have won temporary seats on the Council unaffected by defiance of its resolutions. But Israel is even less likely to have success than Canada. WEOG is one of the few groups that has contested elections, in which the entire U.N. membership votes. If one considers the votes in the General Assembly as a running opinion poll, prospects do not look good for the self-proclaimed Jewish State. And they look even worse since Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s speech at the General Assembly expressing his hopes for an Arab-free Israel. Long-time Israeli envoy Abba Eban could once count on applause and votes in the General Assembly, although even he by the end was complaining that, “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
Dependencies and Abstentions
sador Dan Gillerman also became the first Israeli vice president of the General Assembly. Israel began to take part in the work of the organization in a regular way, instead of merely using it as an arena on the Middle East issue. Increasingly, Israelis are getting jobs at the United Nations. So what does the U.N. offer Israel? In the end, Israel has no accepted title to territories whether occupied or disputed until the United Nation says so. Indonesia, even though it had cross-cutting implicit support from the non-aligned, Islamic and Western states for its occupation of East Timor, never secured legal title, and that led to independence. Nor does Morocco, with similar support, have international recognition for its occupation of Western Sahara, even if that does not necessarily entail recognition for the Polisario. The recent tourism meeting in Jerusalem of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which admitted Israel as a member in May, raised the issues. None of the OECD delegations would go to East Jerusalem, despite Israeli annexation and bluster about the indivisible capital. In fact, under international law Israel does not even own West Jerusalem, since the whole city was designated an internationally administered zone under the original 1947 partition resolution. It is difficult to resist the conclusion that Israel somehow
pulled a fast one on the OECD membership by getting the conference scheduled there anyway. After all, not one country has an embassy in the city precisely because of the unrescinded U.N. decision. It is interesting that the deal President Barack Obama allegedly offered Binyamin Netanyahu for a settlement pause included a U.S. veto on behalf of Israel. In reality, it should be noted, that implies a threat. Israel has had an automatic veto for three U.S. administrations. The Obama offer implies that the automatic support could stop—which could cause ripples. The president does not need to go to Congress for permission, and it could send a serious signal to Israeli voters about how far their government can take American support for granted. For years Israeli governments have dismissed General Assembly resolutions as non-binding (despite the fact that the partition resolution was passed by the General Assembly). They might have disputed the interpretation of Security Council resolutions, but not their power. It will be interesting to watch. This reporter, however, would rather invest in pre-used derivatives on sub-prime mortgages than bet on Israel making the Security Council in 2018—unless it first agrees to a peace as outlined by the Quartet, the Arab League, the U.N. and the rest of the world! ❑
Since then, on crucial issues those 13 votes have evaporated, leaving the U.S., Israel and a couple of pocket handkerchief U.S. semi-dependencies in the Pacific as the only supportive votes, although the number of abstentions has grown as the European Union sits on the fence. Those EU abstentions are more a concession to U.S. pressure than a ringing endorsement of Israeli stances. Caught for some years between Blair and the Eastern “New Europe,” the EU did what it does naturally— it abstained. But if so many of them preferred, as they obviously did, insider Portugal to outsider Canada, that does not bode well for Israel’s chances. Several American Jewish organizations regularly bombard their mailing lists with fund-raising letters alleging United Nations discrimination against Israel, and bemoaning in particular that it cannot be elected to the Security Council—but the underlying message is always, “send donations to keep our organization going.” There is a process of convergence as well. Five years ago, in announcing Israel’s pending bid for a Security Council Seat, AmbasDECEMBER 2010
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
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America’s Lost Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Call for a Change in Policy SpecialReport
AFP PHOTO/MASSOUD HOSSAINI
By Rachelle Marshall
U.S. soldiers from 2nd Platoon Chaos Company I-75 Cavalry 2nd Brigade 101st Airborne Division rest following a patrol in the Siah Choi area of Kandarhar province’s Zari district, Oct. 23, 2010. hen President Barack Obama re-
Wassesses the progress of the U.S. war
in Afghanistan in December, as he has promised to do, he will be reviewing a lost war. Although there will be no formal surrender ceremony in Kabul, none of the goals policymakers claimed to have in mind have been achieved, and the likelihood of achieving them is diminishing. As the war entered its 10th year, the Taliban had returned to Afghanistan in force and resumed control of large areas of the country. Al-Qaeda and its offshoots had largely left the country, but were operating freely elsewhere, especially in Somalia and Yemen. Even the “war on terrorism” had failed to achieve its objective. The danger of an attack by militant extremists in October prompted Europe to go on high alert and the State Department to issue travel warnings to American tourists. Police in Rachelle Marshall is a free-lance editor living in Mill Valley, CA. A member of A Jewish Voice for Peace, she writes frequently on the Middle East. 32
France and Germany rounded up dozens of suspected militants. As experts predicted, the war has spread to Pakistan, intensifying internal religious and ethnic violence in that country and creating additional problems for the U.S. war effort. After NATO helicopter attacks in late September killed or wounded six Pakistani soldiers inside Pakistan’s border—the fourth such attack in a week—Pakistan shut down a vital supply route into Afghanistan for 10 days. As some 200 trucks lined up at the entrance to the Khyber Pass, they were easy targets for the Taliban, which set fire to dozens of oil tankers. Gen. David H. Petraeus attempted to change the course of the war by ramping up the U.S. offensive close to Pakistan’s border, launching as many as a dozen commando raids a night and greatly increasing the number of drone missile attacks inside Pakistani territory, attacks that Pakistan’s Foreign Office called “intolerable.” Many of the air strikes are aimed at tribal networks the U.S. regards as terrorists but THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
which the Pakistan army is reluctant to alienate, since as past allies they may be needed again. Another complication is the army’s distrust of Pakistan’s civilian leaders, whom officers consider both incompetent and corrupt. Many in the 60-member cabinet, along with President Asif Ali Zardari, face corruption charges. Despite receiving billions of dollars a year from the U.S., the government is providing almost no aid to the 20 million people who are still homeless because of the floods. Alliance with a corrupt and unpopular government has become a familiar aspect of U.S. wars. Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan in late September were marked by even more fraud than last year’s election for president. Video clips showed ballot stuffing, interference with election workers and, most of all, bribes. Votes reportedly sell for as much as $18, a large sum for Afghan workers, but a bargain for the candidates. The 249 members of the largely inactive legislature make $2,200 a month, and have rich opportunities for graft. DECEMBER 2010
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That the perks of officialdom extend down the line was demonstrated in late September, when a well-intentioned event organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development went awry. The idea was to hold a kite festival at which girls would fly kites bearing slogans praising gender equality and the rule of law. A comic book with justice as its theme would be distributed. According to an AID promotional release, “The mere portrait of 500 kites soaring in the winds is enough to instill hope in even the most disheartened oberver...” The “portrait” that emerged, however, was of Afghan policemen grabbing the kites, and beating children off with sticks when they reached for one. The district police chief said, “We are not taking them, we are flying them ourselves. It is so people can understand the rule of law.” The New York Times reporter at the event saw hardly any girls with a kite. A recent report sponsored by the New America Foundation suggests that the war in Afghanistan “may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group.” That assertion was made even more relevant by reports in early October of a group of American soldiers based in Kandahar who repeatedly killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected their body parts as trophies. Local elders said 42 civilians had been killed by Americans in their district, and that many of the victims did not support the Taliban. Crimes against civilians, like increasing incidences of suicide and domestic violence, are an inevitable byproduct of requiring young men to serve three and four grueling tours of duty fighting long drawn-out wars in which they are almost constantly in danger. War under these conditions becomes a self-defeating enterprise, corrupting the society that wages it. There is no sign yet of what Obama’s decision will be after the December assessment, but there is a slight hope that existing policies will change. When National Security adviser Gen. James Jones resigned in early October, Obama lost no time appointing a civilian, Thomas E. Donilon, to replace him. Donilon was Jones’ deputy, but he has angered the military, as well as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by questioning their policy of keeping a large army in Afghanistan for 10 years or more. Officials say Donilon has warned Obama that “an endless war” was neither wise nor politically acceptable. A recent report by the New America DECEMBER 2010
Foundation suggests a possible exit strategy. Its authors, regional experts and former government officials, call for ending U.S. support for the Karzai government, and propose instead an effort to achieve a better distribution of power between the central government and the provinces, and among ethnic and tribal factions. According to the report, the Taliban is composed of a variety of factions that are united mainly in their opposition to the Karzai government and their determination to oust the foreign troops that support it. There were reports in September that Taliban leaders had reached out to the Karzai government with the hope of starting the process of negotiation, reconciliation and power sharing. Petraeus has expressed approval of this effort, but he does not support the troop withdrawal demanded by the Taliban. When Obama reviews the situation in December he should ignore advice from his generals, recognize that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, and announce a timetable for withdrawing our troops.
A Deeply Fragmented Iraq The U.S. has come no closer to achieving its goals in Iraq than in Afghanistan. Recent events have underscored once again that ousting Saddam Hussain did not lead to the free-market democracy envisioned by America’s neocons, but to the replacement of a modern state ruled by a secular tyrant with a deeply fragmented society ruled by a corrupt autocrat. As war damage remains unrepaired and millions of Iraqis live in poverty, members of the donothing government are busy enriching themselves with oil profits, foreign aid and kickbacks.The International Monetary Fund found that Iraq had a government surplus of $52 billion in 2009—and that $40 billion of this had disappeared. Iraq’s finance minister said only that the money had gone to “cash advances and loans.” Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has used every means at his disposal to stay in power. Following an election in March that was narrowly won by the secular opposition party headed by Ayad Allawi, the government remained in limbo for eight months while the prime minister tried to forge a coalition that would give him a majority in parliament. He finally managed to do so in early October, when the party of Shi’i cleric Muktada al Sadr agreed to an alliance. A government dominated by Sadrists and other Shi’i parties, however, is certain to inflame the anger of Sunnis, whose candidates were frequently purged THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
from election rolls and their spokesmen jailed by officials allied with al-Maliki. The rise of al-Sadr and his party has also caused concern in Washington. The Sadrists have frequently fought against American and Iraqi troops, and are suspected of carrying out a recent wave of rocket attacks aimed at the Green Zone. Al Sadr is certain to stand fast against a longterm U.S. presence in Iraq. Al-Maliki may salvage the situation, at least temporarily, by appointing the secular Allawi to a major post, but the Sunnis are not likely to be appeased unless the government comes through with more jobs and a greater allocation of benefits. The costs, and failures, of U.S.military intervention in two Muslim countries did not deter Secretary of State Clinton from saying in a September speech to the Council on Foreign Relations that this was “a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.” The final phrase offered hope that the administration may use other than military means to deal with problems abroad. But shortly after Clinton’s speech Obama announced a multibillion-dollar sale of American combat systems and other military support to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. According to U.S. officials, the purpose of the sale is to extend the U.S. “defense umbrella” over much of the Persian Gulf. Because large numbers of Americans will have to be stationed in the Gulf states to maintain the advanced equipment and serve as trainers, the sale will “allow the U.S. armed forces to operate seamlessly in that part of the world,” according to the Pentagon. Unfortunately that message is certain to reach many in the area who deeply resent the presence of U.S. troops and their support of often autocratic governments. In 2001 that resentment was channeled by Osama Bin Laden into an act of wanton violence that killed nearly 3,000 Americans and provided an excuse for two wars that have so far killed more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers, countless numbers of civilians, and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. The lesson still to be learned is that we cannot protect national security by extending our military power all over the world and propping up governments that lack popular support. Americans will be safe only when we have a government that respects international law and the sovereignty of other nations, and aims at peaceful coexistence, not military dominance. ❑ 33
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Report Shows Drone Strikes Based on Scant Evidence SpecialReport
By Gareth Porter
AFP PHOTO/ARIF ALI
popular opposition to the drone strikes and majority support for suicide attacks on U.S. forces under some circumstances. Meanwhile, data on targeting of the drone strikes in Pakistan indicate that they have now become primarily an adjunct of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, targeting almost entirely militant groups involved in the Afghan insurgency rather than al-Qaeda officials involved in plotting global terrorism. The new report published by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) in October offers the first glimpse of the drone strikes based on actual interviews with civilian victims of the strikes. In an interview with a researcher for CIVIC, a civilian victim of a drone strike in North Waziristan carried out during the Obama administration recounted how his home had been visited by Pakistani NGO workers protest U.S. drone attacks Taliban troops asking for lunch. and religious fundamentalism during an Oct. 21, 2010 He said he had agreed out of fear of demonstration in Lahore. refusing them. The very next day, he recalled, ew information on the Central Intel- the house was destroyed by a missile from a ligence Agency’s campaign of drone drone, killing his only son. The CIVIC researcher, Christopher strikes in northwest Pakistan directly contradicts the image the Barack Obama ad- Rogers, investigated nine of the 139 drone ministration and the CIA have sought to strikes carried out since the beginning of establish in the news media of a program 2009 and found that a total of 30 civilians based on highly accurate targeting that is had been killed in those strikes, including effective in disrupting al-Qaeda’s terrorist 14 women and children. If that average rate of 3.33 civilian casualplots against the United States. A new report on civilian casualties in the ties for each drone bombing is typical of all war in Pakistan has revealed direct evi- the strikes since the rules for the strikes were dence that a house was targeted for a drone loosened in early 2008, it would suggest that attack merely because it had been visited roughly 460 civilians have been killed in the drone campaign during that period. by a group of Taliban soldiers. The total number of deaths from the The report came shortly after publication of the results of a survey of opinion within drone war in Pakistan since early 2008 is the Federally Administered Tribal Areas unknown, but has been estimated by Peter (FATA) of Pakistan showing overwhelming Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation at between 1,109 Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and 1,734. Only 66 leading officials in al-Qaeda or and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his other anti-U.S. groups have been killed in latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance the bombings. Reports on the bombings of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, have listed the vast majority of the victims was published in 2006. Copyright © 2010 as “militants,” without further explanation. IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. The victim’s account of a drone attack
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
based on the flimsiest rationale is consistent with the revelation in New York Times reporter David Sanger’s book The Inheritance that the CIA was given much greater freedom in early 2008 to hit targets that might well involve killing innocent civilians. The original rationale of the drone campaign was to “decapitate” al-Qaeda by targeting a list of high-ranking al-Qaeda officials. The rules of engagement required firm evidence that there were no civilians at the location who would be killed by the strike. But in January 2008 the CIA persuaded President George W. Bush to approve a set of “permissions” proposed by the CIA that same month which allowed the agency to target locations rather than identified alQaeda leaders if those locations were linked to a “signature”—a pattern of behavior on the part of al-Qaeda officials that had been observed over time. That meant the CIA could now bomb a motorcade or a house if it was believed to be linked to al-Qaeda, without identifying any particular individual target. A high-ranking Bush administration national security official told Sanger that Bush later authorized even further widening of the power of the CIA’s operations directorate to make life or death decisions based on inferences rather than hard evidence. The official acknowledged that giving the CIA so much latitude was “risky,” because “you can make more mistakes—you can hit the wrong house, or misidentify the motorcade.” The extraordinary power ceded to the CIA operations directorate under the program provoked serious concerns in the intelligence community, according to one former intelligence official. It allowed that directorate to collect the intelligence on potential targets in the FATA, interpret its own intelligence and then make lethal decisions based on that interpretation—all without any outside check on the judgments it was making, even from CIA’s own directorate of intelligence. Officials from other intelligence agencies have sought repeatedly to learn more about how the operations directorate was making targeting decisions but were rebuffed, according to the source. Some national security officials, including mid-level officials involved in the drone program itself, have warned in the past that the DECEMBER 2010
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But in 2010, 90 percent of the 86 drone strikes have increased antidrone strikes carried out thus far have Americanism and boosted recruitNeocons and The Long War Journal been in North Waziristan, according ment for the Pakistani Taliban and alAccording to its Web site, <www.longwar to data collected by Bill Roggio and Qaeda. New support for that conclujournal.org>, The Long War Journal referred to by Alexander Mayer and published on sion has now come from the results of Gareth Porter is “a project of the Foundation for the Web site of the Long War Journal, a survey of opinion on the strikes in the Defense of Democracies,” which describes itself thusly on its Web site, <www.defenddemocwhich supports the drone campaign FATA published by the New Ameriracy.org>: “FDD was founded shortly after 9/11 by [Editor’s note: see box]. can Foundation and Terror Free Toa group of visionary philanthropists and policymakThe dramatic shift in targeting morrow. ers to support the defense of democratic societies came after al-Qaeda officials were reThe survey shows that 76 percent under assault by terrorism and militant Islamism. ported to have fled from South of the 1,000 FATA residents surveyed Our Leadership Council of Distinguished Advisers includes former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, former Waziristan to Karachi and other oppose drone strikes and that nearly House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former National major cities. half of those surveyed believe they Security Adviser Robert ‘Bud’ McFarlane, former Meanwhile, the Obama adminiskill mostly civilians. Ambassador Max Kampelman, Sen. Joe Lieberman tration was privately acknowledging Sixty percent of those surveyed be(ID -CT), and former CIA Director R. James that the war would be a failure unless lieved that suicide bombings against Woolsey.” the Pakistani military changed its the U.S. military are “often or somepolicy of giving the Haqqani nettimes justified.” work a safe haven in North Waziristan. Meanwhile, data on the targeting of South Waziristan. When asked whether the drone camNorth Waziristan is where the Haqqani drone strikes make it clear that the program, which the Obama administration and the network provides safe havens to Pashtun in- paign was now primarily about the war in CIA have justified as effective in disrupting surgents fighting U.S.-NATO troops in Afghanistan rather than al-Qaeda terrorism, al-Qaeda terrorism, is now focused on areas Afghanistan. It is also where Hafiz Gul Ba- Peter Bergin of the New America Foundawhere Afghan and Pakistani militants are hadur, leader of a Pakistani Taliban faction tion’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative who has called for supporting the Afghan told IPS, “I think that’s a reasonable concluengaged in the war in Afghanistan. Most al-Qaeda leaders and the Pakistani insurgency rather than jihad against the sion.” Bergin has defended the drone campaign Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who has Pakistani government, operates. In 2009, just over half the drone strikes in the past as “the only game in town” in been closely allied with al-Qaeda against the Pakistani government, have operated in were still carried out in South Waziristan. combating terrorism by al-Qaeda. ❑
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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
salakhan_36-37_Special Report 10/28/10 3:09 PM Page 36
The Case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: A Profile in Persecution and Faith SpecialReport
AFP PHOTO/SHIRLEY SHEPARD
By Mauri’ Saalakhan
This Sept. 23, 2010 courtroom drawing shows Pakistani scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (c) with Judge Richard Berman (l), Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher LaVigne (second from left) and attorney Linda Moreno (r). r. Aafia Siddiqui came to America
Dfrom Pakistan as an 18-year-old stu-
dent. She attended the University of Houston (Texas) as a freshman, before matriculating to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biology. She later earned her Ph.D. at Brandeis University, with an academic focus on “How Children Learn” (the title of her thesis). Not long after the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, Aafia and her former husband, Dr. Amjad Khan (a practicing physician), decided to return to Pakistan as a result of the corrosive post-9/11 hostility toward law-abiding Muslims throughout America. In December 2002, following an acrimoMauri’ Saalakhan is a metropolitan Washington, DC-based human rights advocate, who serves as director of The Peace Thru Justice Foundation. 36
nious separation and divorce, Aafia decided to go back to the U.S. to pursue work in her professional field. Shortly thereafter, however, she returned to Pakistan. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly identified Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as someone believed to be an “al-Qaeda facilitator.” In March of that year, after departing her family’s home in Karachi to visit an uncle in Islamabad, the taxi in which she and her three young children were traveling was stopped. Aafia and her children were forcibly removed, then they disappeared without a trace. (The two oldest, Ahmed and Maryam, are American citizens by birth. Suleman, who was only six months old at the time of their abduction, remains missing to this day.) In 2008, four Muslim men escaped from the U.S.-run prison at Bagram, Afghanistan and recounted their observations and exTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
periences in a series of interviews. They told stories about a Pakistani woman (known only as “Prisoner 650”) who was routinely tortured at the prison. Additional details about this mysterious woman led those in the know to suspect she might be Dr. Siddiqui. At a July 7 press conference in Karachi with Pakistani politician Imran Khan, British journalist Yvonne Ridley asked for assistance in finding “Prisoner 650.” Ten days later an emaciated Aafia Siddiqui appeared on the streets of Ghazni, Afghanistan in the company of a child she was told was Ahmed. Almost immediately, an anonymous caller phoned Afghan authorities to report that a strange woman believed to be a suicide bomber was hanging around the governor’s compound. Aafia was soon re-arrested by Afghan authorities and taken to a police compound to await interrogation. What happened next is the stuff of which award-winning dramas are made. The U.S. government claims that shortly after American soldiers and FBI agents arrived at the compound to take Dr. Siddiqui into their custody, she charged through a curtain, grabbed a soldier’s M-4 rifle off the floor, removed the safety and fired it at the U.S. personnel in the room while screaming expletives. Aafia’s version is dramatically different, however. She testified that when she heard the voices of Americans entering the room, she immediately thought about the “secret prison” and feared going back there. As she peered through the curtain looking for an escape route, one of the soldiers saw her and panicked, shouting, “The prisoner is free!” According to Aafia, he then took out his sidearm and shot her twice in the stomach. After receiving emergency treatment and being stabilized, Dr. Siddiqui was brought to the U.S., where she spent about a year and a half in a maximum security detention center in Brooklyn, New York, in pre-trial conditions that violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. She was charged with “attempting to murder U.S. personnel” overseas—even though her fingerprints were not on the rifle she allegedly fired. Of special note is the fact that not one terDECEMBER 2010
salakhan_36-37_Special Report 10/28/10 3:09 PM Page 37
rorism charge was included in the criminal indictment against her. This would be of little consolation to the accused, however, because federal Judge Richard Berman, who presided over her trial in New York, would grant the prosecution practically everything it wantedâ€”most significantly, a ban on any testimony that would shed light on the missing five years of secret imprisonment. Her short trial, which began in February 2010, featured blatant inconsistencies in the testimonies of the governmentâ€™s star witnesses, and material evidence that clearly favored the defendant. Despite this, however, Aafia was found guilty on all seven counts of the indictment. On Sept. 23, 2010, following three postponements, Aafia would finally be back in court for sentencing. The governmentâ€™s argument at sentencing revolved around Aafiaâ€™s alleged hatred toward and desire to kill Americans. According to the lead prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher LaVigne, â€œThis was not some random act. On that day the bottom line is, she saw her chance and she took it.â€? Defense attorney Dawn M. Cardi drew attention to the governmentâ€™s obstructions (i.e. Cardiâ€™s unsuccessful attempts to access â€œclassified evidenceâ€? relevant to the case), and the â€œmental illnessâ€? and â€œdiminished capacityâ€? that Aafia suffers as a result of her now seven-year-long ordeal. As Judge Berman clumsily outlined his reasoning behind the barbaric sentence he was about to impose, he applied a number of federal â€œenhancementsâ€? that didnâ€™t really make sense. When he announced the sentence of â€œ86 years of imprisonment for Dr. Siddiqui,â€? Sara Flounders of the International Action Center shouted out in the courtroom: â€œShame, Shame, Shame on this court!â€? She was promptly threatened with removal. Aafia Siddiqui was the embodiment of faith and grace when she addressed the court following her sentence. She turned toward the witnesses seated behind her in the courtroom, and counseled her supporters not to become â€œemotional.â€? She insisted that she was content with the qadr (or will) of God. She urged those present, and those who would get the news later, not to be angry â€œat anyone involved in this case.â€? â€œI am one person, and the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, forgave all of his personal enemies. Forgive everybody in my case, pleaseâ€Śthe world is full of injustices, I am just one personâ€Śand also forDECEMBER 2010
give Judge Berman. â€œI donâ€™t want any bloodshedâ€Ś,â€? Aafia continued. â€œI want peace and to end all wars.â€? When Judge Berman informed the defendant of her right to appeal his verdict, Aafiaâ€™s response was: â€œI appeal to Godâ€Ś and he hears me.â€? Within 48 hours of Aafiaâ€™s sentencing there were demonstrations in a number of
Pakistanâ€™s cities demanding the return of the woman now dubbed the â€œdaughter of Pakistan.â€? In Karachi alone an estimated one million people took to the streets. Even more remarkable, however, is the fact that there were no deaths, and few injuries or arrests. Aafiaâ€™s call for no violence in her name was heard and honored in a profoundly powerful wayâ€Śand the struggle continues. â?‘
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THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
gee_38-39_Special Report 10/28/10 2:56 PM Page 38
Mixed News From Britain: Growing Solidarity With Palestinians—and Islamophobia Letter FromLondon
By John Gee
AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BUREAU
British film director Mike Leigh, shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, May 15, 2010. In October Leigh, who is Jewish, cancelled a working visit to Israel, where he was scheduled to spend a week at the Sam Spiegel Film & TV School in Jerusalem. “I have always had serious misgivings about coming,” he wrote to the school’s director. “I have become ever-increasingly uncomfortable about what would unquestionably appear as my implicit support for Israel, were I to fulfill my promise and come.” Citing “the resumption of illegal building on the West Bank,” Leigh continued, “And now we have the Loyalty Oath. This is the last straw—quite apart from the ongoing criminal blockade of Gaza, not to mention the endless shooting of innocent people there, including juveniles.” He concluded, “If you and I should live long enough to see peace, a just solution for Palestinians, and Gaza restored to humanity, I would be first in line to visit the school. But for now, this is my position. It is, of course, non-negotiable, and I’m truly sorry.”
spent the month of September on holi-
Iday in Britain, so didn’t give much
thought to things Southeast Asian, my normal focal point. The visit wasn’t all relaxation, however. For one thing, I wanted to catch up with news from organizations working in support of Palestinian rights. One of the things that intrigues me whenever I go back to Britain is the contrast between the conditions for talking about the Arab world there and the situation in the U.S., where I’ve spent a little time but been told much. The media in Britain is a lot more open and balanced, for one thing, and the fear of criticizing Israel among political leaders that once existed has largely vanished. Since it was founded in 1967, the Council for Arab British Understanding (still John Gee is a free-lance journalist based in Southeast Asia, and the author of Unequal Conflict: The Palestinians and Israel. 38
called CAABU, from when it was known as the Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding) has always been able to find parliamentarians willing to serve as joint chairpersons of the organization. In 2003, more than 130 MPs signed an Early Day Motion (an expression of opinion by MPs to which they add their names individually) drafted by CAABU opposing the wall being built by Israel inside the West Bank. One of CAABU’s activities over the years has been to arrange parliamentary delegations to the Middle East—30 have been organized since 1995. In March of this year, a CAABU delegation went to the Gaza Strip to see conditions for itself and show support for its people, and when I dropped by its London office in September, another Gaza delegation was in the last stages of preparation. I worked at CAABU for 12 years, and from 1982 onward also volunteered with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. During THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
that time we worked hard to rally support, but our maximum membership, even during the first intifada, was 400 people. Now, PSCs weekly e-mails go to 10,000 members and supporters, and its level of activity has risen correspondingly. The organization has put a lot of effort into a campaign to boycott Israeli goods. In September, the Trades Union Congress, representing 6.5 million workers, voted to work with PSC to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the occupation and construction of Israel’s apartheid wall. When I first started working in solidarity with the Palestinians in 1968, it was seen by many I knew as a very radical thing to do, and I was strongly aware of being part of a tiny minority; now, sympathy, at least, with the Palestinians is part of mainstream politics. This seems like a great contrast with the DECEMBER 2010
gee_38-39_Special Report 10/28/10 2:56 PM Page 39
situation of solidarity activists in the U.S., who, from all I hear, have a tougher time obtaining a fair hearing on the Palestine issue from their elected representatives, never mind persuading them to stick their necks out to condemn the wall or support the people of Gaza; nor does the level of trades union support come close to that achieved in Britain or some other European countries. I have great respect for the way these activists battle on in the face of a strong Zionist lobby and the prevailing pro-Israel sentiment in the American political and media establishment.
A Check to Islamophobia While in Britain, I also caught up on news concerning one of the more regressive tendencies of recent years: the rise in Islamophobia—fed, of course, by the 9/11 attacks and subsequent bomb attacks in London. Among those who tried to make political capital out of this situation was the farright British National Party (BNP). In the past decade, the focus of its racist campaigning has alternated between asylum seekers and Muslims. The latter were presented as being a menace to others and possessed of a relentless determination to impose their wishes and authority on the rest of society. Party leader Nick Griffin has called them “the enemy within.” Until the last decade, the electoral success of the BNP was negligible, but it began to make an impact as it distanced itself somewhat from its earlier thuggish image and took advantage of an increasing disenchantment with the mainstream parties, particularly Tony Blair’s New Labor, which a growing number of working-class people in economically depressed areas considered to have abandoned them. Some of BNP’s breakthroughs occurred in largely white areas close to districts with large Muslim populations of South Asian origin, including old industrial towns in east Lancashire and west Yorkshire, in the north of England. Since the BNP had won some 60 council seats and had two members elected to the European parliament, it went into the national and local elections of May 2010 confidently expecting further gains. Instead it lost nearly half of its council seats and failed by a long way to win any seats in the national parliament. Its losses would have been even greater if all council seats had been up for election. Another focal point for anti-Muslim activism is the English Defense League (EDL), which is a relatively loose network rather than a party. Many of its particiDECEMBER 2010
pants are soccer hooligans, and they include a sprinkling of current and former BNP members. EDL started after a group of Muslim extremists under the name of Islam4UK held a protest demonstration at the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment from Afghanistan in March 2009. EDL claims to be against Muslim extremists rather than Muslims as such, but the entire tenor of its protests says otherwise. At the time of writing, it has held over two dozen demonstrations, with a maximum attendance of 2,000 people. It seems to have lost impetus recently, but could be a rallying point for those in
the BNP who despair of electoral politics. How much appeal such Islamophobes have is partially dependent on events in the wider world: there is no point in pretending that a violent attack by a Qur’anquoting terrorist does not give them a bigger audience. Campaigns of public education and mobilizations by those who oppose the politics of such groups have clearly had an impact in countering their influence, including in the very recent past, and can go on doing so, despite the kind of grim economic climate that often has historically provided rich pickings for racist groups. ❑
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swire_40-41_Special Report 10/28/10 2:59 PM Page 40
Family Members, Others Call for Independent Investigation Into Megrahi Conviction SpecialReport
AFP PHOTO/DANNY LAWSON/POOL
By Dr. Jim Swire
An ailing Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi boards an aircraft at Scotland’s Glasgow airport for his flight home to Libya, Aug. 20, 2009. ntil I began to listen to the evidence
Uunfolding in the court at Zeist, The
Netherlands, relating to the alleged guilt of Libyans Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fahima, I had anticipated watching the conviction of two executives in the plot which led to the murder of my daughter Flora and 269 others in the Lockerbie tragedy of December 1988. Although much of the evidence seemed circumstantial, the real moment of truth for me came when a German forensic expert Rainer Gobel took the stand. In October 1988, he testified, Germany’s BKA federal police had arrested in Neuss a sub-group of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) terror group from Syria, confiscating a number, but not all, of their bombs, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Gobel went on to explain that in the trunk of the car in which they were arrested was found an IED which matched the others. These devices were all inert at Dr. Jim Swire is a founding member of Justice for Megrahi (<www.justiceformegrahi. com>). 40
ground level, using no battery power, and required no intervention by a user. It and others like it were contained within domestic devices such as tape recorders. Gobel explained to the court that the IEDs contained an air pressure-sensitive switch. If the IED was put in an aircraft, after around seven minutes’ flight time, the pressure within the fuselage would drop sufficiently for it to switch on what was known as an “ice cube timer.” These timers, Gobel said, were set in clear plastic, thus resembling domestic ice cubes. All those he had examined ran for about 30 minutes, and had no adjustment controls. They had been made, he told the court, in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria in a facility belonging to the PFLP-GC. He noted that this meant that, at ground level, the pressure switch would keep the device from ever exploding; once placed aboard an aircraft, however, and without any human intervention, after seven minutes of flight, the pressure switch would switch on the timer, which would run for about 30 minutes. Thus the IEDs would always explode around 35 to 40 minutes (7+30) following take-off, no matter how THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
long they had remained on the ground beforehand. This timing could not be adjusted. Pan Am Flight 103 exploded 38 minutes after leaving the Heathrow tarmac. If such a device had been used, as I now believe it was, it could not have flown in from Frankfurt, let alone Malta, or it would have exploded on those flights. In order to counter this extraordinary insight, the prosecution produced an item of “evidence” which purported to be a fragment of a much more sophisticated digital timer which, they claimed, had been found near Lockerbie within a shirt collar originating in Malta. The provenance of this piece of evidence was deeply and uniquely suspect, however: It was never tested for explosive residues, and the FBI agent claiming to have identified it was later removed from his post for being involved in evidence in other murder trials that was incorrect. Moreover, his British counterpart, who claimed to have found the fragment in the shirt collar, already had been castigated prior to Lockerbie by a previous Lord Chief Justice of England for providing DECEMBER 2010
swire_40-41_Special Report 10/28/10 2:59 PM Page 41
slanted evidence in previous miscarriage of justice murder cases. There were other deficiencies as well in how the fragment was supposed to have been handled after it was “found in the shirt collar.” There were only two “links to Malta.” One was the shaky identification of Megrahi as the buyer of clothing on the island by shopkeeper Toni Gauchi. A simple soul, Gauchi is now known to have been well aware that if he gave evidence leading to Megrahi’s conviction he would receive a large sum in U.S. dollars. He gave that evidence and received the money from the U.S. State Department’s “Rewards for ‘Justice’”program. The second alleged “link to Malta” was Megrahi’s passage through the island’s Luqa airport on Dec. 21, 1988. While he did indeed pass through, even the Zeist judges were reduced to saying that “it was a major problem for the prosecution case that there was no evidence that he had breached security there.” Besides, what sensible terrorist would choose a route involving two changes of aircraft for his bomb, with all the risk of delay or loss of his “unaccompanied bag”—especially in the pre-Christmas rush—and also set his timer so that it only cleared Heathrow by 38 minutes, when with the alleged time he could have had it explode over the mid-Atlantic? Emerging from the Zeist court with the realization that the evidence did not support a Maltese origin for the bomb which brought down Pan Am 103—let alone for Megrahi’s involvement—was like being the young man addressed in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.” The verbal assaults by those desperately clinging to the court’s threadbare verdict against those who rejected it were brutal. And few cared to watch the sequel. After the verdict, on the very day of 9/11 itself, news broke that Heathrow had been broken into the night before Lockerbie close to the Iran Air facility and to the baggage shed where the Pan Am containers were loaded the following night, and that the intruder had never been identified. The astonishing implications of this revelation were drowned beneath the weight of the horror of 9/11. Had that break-in been known to the Zeist court before the verdict, I do not believe the trial could have continued, for it provided the perfect route for the introduction of a PFLP-GC bomb to Heathrow to bide its time for loading aboard a Pan Am plane. Even without that new information, however, the evidence failed by a DECEMBER 2010
wide margin to remove “reasonable doubt” over the prosecution’s convoluted case. In addition to the fact that many Scots have come to doubt the verdict, the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission studied the case for three years and decided that it might indeed have been a miscarriage of justice. The case was referred back to the High Court in Megrahi’s second appeal. Unlike a cohort of U.S. senators who seem not remotely interested in whether Megrahi really was guilty or not, only over whether BP did or did not play some part in his release, I strongly believe that for the sake of the reputation of Scotland’s judicial system and for the sake of truth, justice, and indeed Megrahi and his family themselves, we must create a means whereby the verdict can be objectively reviewed. Via a group called Justice For Megrahi (JFM), we have lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament “Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to open an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdel Basset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.” It might yet be possible for those relatives still interested in learning the truth to get Mr. Megrahi’s appeal reinstated in view of the SCCRC’s findings. When I met with Mr.
Megrahi in early September in Tripoli, I sensed that he was a little ashamed of having withdrawn his appeal, because he knew that we thought it likely to succeed in overturning the verdict—which, of course, was what both of us felt was justified. So why did he withdraw his appeal? I can’t really blame him: If you were in a foreign prison cell, separated from your family and society, in pain, and knowing that you had a progressive and potentially lethal disease, would you not try to maximize your chances of getting home even if that impeded you from clearing your name? Now, however, we must find another way to have the verdict objectively reviewed. The world owes that to us, those relatives who are not convinced that they have been shown even one of the real murderers of their loved ones. The people of Scotland deserve to know whether their judicial system really has failed and, if so, whether it can recover its reputation. The causes of justice and truth on this planet, without which we risk descending into anarchy, need protection from the consequences of a verdict which may be false. For if it is false, what does that mean for those monsters who really did hatch this dreadful slaughter and who remain immune from punishment? ❑
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
twair_42-43_Southern California Chronicle 10/28/10 3:36 PM Page 42
Campaign Aims to Divest State Funds From Corporations Enabling Israeli Occupation By Pat and Samir Twair
STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR
The Israel Divestment Campaign (IDC) was launched Sept. 8 with the ceremonial signing of a giant petition in front of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. First to sign was Chris Yatooma, an Iraqi-American activist who decided that if state politicians won’t act on a gross injustice, voters should take matters into their own hands and democratically establish a ballot measure. That’s where the 434,000 signatures come in, so the IDC is fanning out into most of California’s 58 counties and college campuses to collect valid voters’ names. Divestment targets include United Technologies, the corporation that produces Blackhawk helicopters for the Israeli military to attack Palestinian cities, refugee camps and villages. STRS has $478.6 million and PERS $132 million invested in UT, which also produces engines for Israel’s F-15 and F-16 aircraft which systematically attack Palestinians. Launching a petition drive for a California ballot General Electric is another ofinitiative to divest state pension funds from corpo- fender, currently benefitting from rations that profit from Israel’s occupation of Pales- $179.7 million in STRS funds and tine are (l-r) Shakeel Syed, Rev. DarELL T. Weist $326.8 million from PERS. GE supand Dick Platkin. plies the propulsion systems for Isf 434,000 signatures of registered voters rael’s AH-64 Apache assault helicopters and can be collected by Jan. 31, California engines for other Israeli military aircraft. Caterpillar, which holds $62.4 million of will become the first state in the nation with a ballot measure to divest state pub- STRS funds and $52.7 million of PERS lic employee and teacher pension funds funds, produces bulldozers that destroy from corporations that violate the human Palestinian homes, orchards and olive groves. Its equipment is also used to clear rights of Palestinians. When the state attorney general’s office Palestinian land for the erection of Israel’s approved the measure for circulation, it illegal settlements and apartheid wall. stated the initiative “prohibits state retire- Protests at Caterpillar stockholder meetment funds from investing in companies ings, and even the killing of Rachel Corrie, engaged in certain business activities in Is- who was crushed to death by an IDF-drirael.” The targeted funds account for more ven Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza, have not than $1.5 billion of California’s public em- moved the conscience of stockholders and ployees (PERS) and teachers (STRS) pen- executives to stop shipments to Israel. Motorola, which holds $63.55 million sion funds invested in corporations that provide materials for the construction or from STRS and $45.2 million from PERS, maintenance of Israeli settlements or that provides radar systems for security at illeprovide military supplies and services to gal settlements on the West Bank and provides the Israeli military with a “Mountain Israel. Rose” cell phone communication system. ITT, in which STRS has invested $38.3 Pat and Samir Twair are free-lance journalmillion and PERS $19.2 million, provides ists based in Los Angeles.
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
Southern California Chronicle the Israeli military with parts for night vision goggles used by pilots and helicopter crews when attacking defenseless Palestinian refugee camps and towns at night. Other corporations on the IDC divestment list are Northrop Grumman, Terex, Veolia and Elbit Systems. At the Sept. 8 ceremony, Dick Platkin of L.A. Jews for Peace read a statement from Marcy Winograd, who challenged pro-Israel Rep. Jane Harman in California’s June Democratic primary. It stated in part: “Let us divest of our stock in Caterpillar, which makes bullet-proof tractors that slice Palestinian homes to ribbons in minutes; Let us divest of General Electric that builds the weapons that terrorize the next generation in Gaza. Let us give the people of our great golden state, California, an opportunity to promote peace by saying NO to companies involved in ever-expanding settlements that erase the beautiful olive trees of Palestine, only to generate more hatred.” For more information, visit <www.Israelidivestmentcampaign.org>.
Multimedia “Beyond Borders” Exhibit A unique art exhibit combining music, film screenings, book signings and a monologue by Middle Eastern artists was presented for two days at the 2nd City Council Gallery and Performance Space in Long Beach. Several hundred guests arrived Oct. 9 for two opening receptions celebrating artistic expressions of Arab Americans. “Beyond Borders” was the theme selected for the ambitious program showcasing the diverse talents of artists working to connect their cultural roots in the Middle East with their lives in the West. Artist Reem Hammad was curator of the exhibition representing paintings and sculptures of 21 artists. Carole Choucair Ouejian was the chairwoman. The House of Lebanon sponsored the event. A highlight of the opening ceremony was a solo performance by Rosanna Cacace enacting a scene from her “Three Roses of Lebanon,” a monologue presenting three women united by love and divided by old traditions. Even though the scheduled performance by acclaimed musician Naser Musa was cancelled at the last minute due to illness, DECEMBER 2010
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STAFF PHOTOS S. TWAIR
ABOVE: “Beyond Borders” curator Reem Hammad with her ceramic amphoras of glazed stoneware clay with gold luster. RIGHT: Dina Khori’s mixed media painting, “La Poire.”
Blog Retort to Israel’s Invitation to Chilean Miners
STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR
oud virtuoso Dann Torres saved the day by rendering classical Arab music in his experimental, but haunting, fusion style. Authors Hanna Hajjar, Fadi Mamar, Dr. Fayed Oweis and Linda Dalal Sawaya signed their books, and films by Natasha Atalla, Georges Chamchoum, Wissam Kabbara and Michael Rababy were screened. On Oct. 10, a special mosaic workshop was offered to children. Curator Hammad said the success of this initial endeavor is likely to make the multi-faceted exhibition an annual event.
(L-r) filmmaker Travis Wilkerson, Muna Coobtee and Tamara Khoury at the Sept. 25 ANSWER event. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010
Minutes after Robin McLaren read Israel’s Oct. 18 invitation to the 33 rescued Chilean miners to en joy an expense-paid tour of the “Holy Land” at Christmas, the outspoken blogger sent an open letter to the men on her “Under the Holly Tree” blog (<http:// thehollytree.blogspot.com/ 2010/10/dear-chilean-miners-please-do-not.html>). McLaren implored the miners to beware of Israel’s Trojan horse bearing gifts from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism that only would polish the tarnished image of the apartheid state. Within 12 hours, Mc Laren’s blogged open letter
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR
ANSWER Hosts Hot Event Even though the temperature in Los Angeles soared to 112 degrees on Sept. 25, dedicated activists still crowded into the non-airconditioned L.A. headquarters of ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and Racism) for a forum on Palestine. There the audience intently watched “The Sand Creek Equation,” a documentary by Travis Wilkerson that depicts the deliberate massacre of 200 Native Americans by the U.S. Army in mid-19th century Colorado, then shows the actual treatment of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Tamara Khoury, a student at California State University Fullerton, discussed her summer at Birzeit University as a recipient of a Rachel Corrie scholarship from the Palestine American Women’s Association. Muna Coobtee discussed the “peace” talks between the Palestine Authority and Israel. “The White House aims to create a weak, disarmed and broken-up state sideby-side with and dominated in every respect by Israel,” Coobtee commented.
Robin McLaren takes the cake for her outspoken blog message to rescued Chilean miners. to the miners had circled the globe four times. Her appeal was translated into Spanish by Palestinians, the Chilean Bishop’s Council, editor of the Catholic News, and the Bethlehem 2000 Foundation in Chile notified her they were spreading her message to the miners. Twenty-four hours later, McLaren’s message was dominating Facebook from Jerusalem to Johahannesburg. ❑
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California Lawmakers Celebrate Ramadan With CAIR at Seventh Annual Capitol Iftar
Northern California Chronicle
By Elaine Pasquini
tion and community spirit,” Yamada said. “I am proud to stand with you at any moment at any time.” Introducing his two-month-old daughter to the audience, Elkarra concluded, “This is why we do what we do—so this generation of all Americans, of all faiths, can have a beautiful and prosperous future.”
(L-r) Hamza El-Nakhal, CAIR-SV executive director Basim Elkarra, Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, CAIR-SV president Najme Minhaj, Wasim Ali and Wazhma Mojaddidi celebrate Ramadan at the annual iftar in Sacramento’s Capitol. or the seventh consecutive year during
Fthe Muslim holy month of Ramadan,
guests of various ethnicities and faiths gathered in Sacramento’s state capitol rotunda for an iftar co-hosted by California Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV). “This wonderful celebration of Ramadan lets us reflect on the joy of being together,” Steinberg told the crowd, which included members of Northern California’s Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities. “We have to stand strong together and be there for one another.” The Senate leader also weighed in on the controversy over Park51, the Islamic community center located two blocks from ground zero in New York. “What a great teaching opportunity this is to distinguish between people of any religion who promote violence and the great tradition of all of our major religions, including Islam, that believe peace is the only way,” he said. Longtime CAIR supporter Betty Yee, chairwoman of the State Board of Equalization, pointed out: “It could be any one of us who are at the receiving end of such Elaine Pasquini is a free-lance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. 44
Dr. Hesham R. Alalusi, founder and director of the Alalusi Foundation, made a heartfelt plea for children in his native Iraq at an Aug. 29 fund-raiser at Newark’s Chandni Restaurant. “There are now five million orphans in Iraq—almost 16 percent of Iraq’s population of 30 million,” he told his audience. “There are 600,000 orphans living on the streets, abused by thugs and gangsters, who we are unable to help because of the lack of security, which is our biggest problem in Iraq right now.”
negative attitudes and feelings.” She then presented CAIR-SV president Najme Minhaj and executive director Basim Elkarra with a resolution from the Board of Equalization in honor of CAIR’s “commitment to eradicating discrimination, advocating for civil rights and liberties, and promoting equal justice and access to social, economic and political opportunities for all communities…” She also praised CAIR’s dedicated interfaith outreach “to enhance and deepen the understanding of and respect for Islam and the faith, culture and experiences of Muslim Americans.” The CAIR leaders and executive committee next received an Assembly Resolution from eighth dis- Dr. Hesham R. Alalusi speaks about the Iraq Orphans Project at a fund-raising dinner in Newark, trict Assembly member Mariko YaCalifornia. mada, who engaged in the daylong Ramadan fast in solidarity with the 50,000 Muslims in the greater Last February the Alalusi Foundation, Sacramento area. “Since the first day that which has provided direct assistance to CAIR began, in some very troubled times needy Iraqis both before and after the 2003 and dark days for our country and our U.S.-led invasion, launched the Iraq Orcommunity, I have never found another or- phans Project (IOP) to address this cataganization that rose so quickly to embrace strophe of war and violence. “We could the highest ideals of patriotism, coopera- not establish an orphanage there because THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
STAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI
STAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI
Alalusi Foundation’s Iraq Orphans Project
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or for information on the Alalusi Foundation’s other projects, visit <www.alalusi foundation.org>.
Zaytuna College Creates History
STAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI
there is no security,” Alalusi explained, “so the extended families have been absorbing almost all of the orphans. We are trying to reach the orphans through their extended families, but now help is needed for these families.” One IOP program provides warm blankets, at a cost of $10 each, before the cold winter season arrives. Wheelchairs for handicapped kids also are desperately needed. With the assistance of San Francisco State University, the Alalusi Foundation is attempting to acquire 220 wheelchairs at a cost of $200 each to be shipped to Iraq. Assuring the audience that their donations go 100 percent to the orphans, and not to pay administrative costs, the well-respected philanthropist also discussed the Orphan Sponsorship Program. A one-time donation of $400, or 12 monthly payments of $33.33, will provide a minimum level of basic support for one child for one year. Established in 2001 as a California nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Alalusi Foundation supports charitable projects in the United States, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in the areas of humanitarian assistance, refugee relief, human rights awareness and education. The foundation’s projects have included direct aid to refugee families and individuals in Asia and North America, support for building schools, drilling wells and installing solar-powered pumps in Mauritania, assistance for preservation of medieval manuscript libraries in Mali, procuring livestock for impoverished rural villagers in China, providing specialized medical care for children in the Middle East, support for preserving Native American traditional culture, and securing relief of bonded and indentured individuals in West Africa. The foundation has provided funding and advisory assistance for several nonprofits, including the Interfaith Networks Group, Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Timbuktu Educational Foundation. The common focus among the Alalusi Foundation’s diverse array of projects is on opportunities for potential long-term, leveraged impact. Born and raised in Iraq, Alalusi received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970. He taught various subjects at the University of Baghdad from 1971 until he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980. In 1996, Alalusi cofounded the Zaytuna Institute, now Zaytuna College (see following article). To donate to the Iraq Orphans Project,
Farah Pandith, the State Department’s first ever special representative to Muslim communities, offers a message of support to Zaytuna College during the iftar following its first convocation ceremony. Guests at the Zaytuna College convocation witnessed history unfold as nine young women and six young men proceeded down the aisle to their seats in the front row of the auditorium in Berkeley’s International House. The 15 students constitute the inaugural class of the school, which its co-founders hope will be the United States’ first accredited, four-year Muslim liberal arts college. “What a blessed and joyous beginning for Zaytuna College to open its doors in the middle of the month of Ramadan,” Zaytuna co-founder Dr. Hatem Bazian told the highly expectant audience. “American Muslims, along with others in this country, are the new face of America in the 21st century: racially and ethnically diverse, culturally open, globally aware and multi-lingual. Zaytuna’s other two co-founders, Imam Zaid Shakir and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, also addressed the audience. “We have looked forward to this day for many years and are pleased to welcome the first class of incoming freshman,” Sheikh Yusuf said. “This is a historical group of young people and we thank them for honoring us and placing their faith in us. Some of them could have easily gone to Ivy League colleges, but they chose to come here and support this endeavor. We have THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
long desired to establish an institution that recognizes the importance of shaping Islamic scholars and teachers who fully understand American culture. Zaytuna College is the first institution of higher learning to address that need.” Advising the students to “always stand up, stand for and defend the truth,” Imam Shakir averred, “It is our fervent prayer and hope that the light of truth illuminates your path and that your quest for truth pushes forward as you move down this challenging road.” The ceremony also included remarks by Dr. James A. Donahue, president of the Graduate Theological Union, Sheikh Alauddin El-Bakri, and Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, who is completing his graduate studies at the Graduate Theological Union. Virginia Gray Henry-Blakemore, director of the interfaith publishers Fons Vitae and Quinta Essentia, read Martin Lings’ poem, “The Meeting Place.” Student Rasheeda Plenty from Kansas City, who read her original poem, “Book,” during the ceremony, told the Washington Report she was “thrilled and excited to be a part of this historic moment.” The school’s board has begun the process of obtaining accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, usually a four- to eight-year endeavor. Zaytuna is initially offering bachelor’s degrees in only two majors: Islamic law and theology, and Arabic language. General education courses include American history, anthropology, philosophy, literature and political science. Classes are currently being held in rented premises at Berkeley’s American Baptist Seminary of the West. The college, which is open to students of any religion, has its genesis in the Zaytuna Institute, an educational organization founded in 1996 by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Dr. Hesham R. Alalusi to revive classical Islamic training and build upon Islam’s intellectual history. Imam Mohamed Haj Magid, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, and Farah Pandith, the U.S. State Department’s first ever special representative to Muslim communities, offered messages of support to the students during the fastbreaking iftar which followed the formal convocation program. “I want to congratulate the founders and students on this wonderful occasion,” said Pandith, who was appointed to her position by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009. “I’m so proud of these students, and we wish them all the best in their educational pursuits.” ❑ 45
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Gaza Freedom Flotilla: “Fact, Fiction and the Law”
STAFF PHOTO J. ADAS
By Jane Adas
New York City and Tri-StateNews
(L-r) Attorney Fatima Mohammadi, Prof. Rashid Khalidi and journalist Glenn Greenwald at Brooklyn Law School. t a Sept. 22 panel discussion at Brook-
Alyn Law School entitled “Flotilla: Fact,
Fiction & The Law,” attorney and Gaza Freedom Flotilla participant Fatima Mohammadi provided an eyewitness account of Israel’s May 31 attack in international waters on unarmed humanitarian activists. Other than Furkan Dogan, the 19-year-old student killed by Israeli commandos as he was filming their assault on the flotilla, she was the only U.S. national aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara. When the Israelis closed in, Mohammadi recalled, she was on the upper deck for Fajr (pre-dawn) prayers, thinking it might be her last prayer. As she finished, she saw a Turkish cameraman shot from Israeli Zodiak boats from two separate angles. Later, Mohammadi recalled, as the Israelis forced the seized flotilla to the port of Ashdod—a 14-hour journey on a bloodsoaked ship for Mavi Marmara passengers—she was seated on the floor of the deck comforting a frightened toddler. One of the masked Israeli soldiers constantly on patrol kept looking at the child. Hoping to make human contact, Mohammadi asked if he had a son. At that, the soldier pointed his rifle directly at the boy. Mohammadi noticed the attached tear gas canister labeled “Made in the USA.” After holding the flotilla passengers for three days in a Negev Prison, Israel released Jane Adas is a free-lance writer based in the New York City metropolitan area. 46
them, and they flew to Ankara in planes provided by the Turkish government. There they were met by representatives from every nation the passengers were from—except the U.S. The American flag was on a table to the side. No U.S. official has ever contacted Mohammadi, she added. One reason government exists, pointed out Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer and columnist for the online magazine Salon, is to advocate for its own citizens. He described Mohammadi’s experience as another example of the U.S. government opting for allegiance with Israel rather than its own citizens. Israel’s actions resonated so deeply, he continued, because of the sheer nakedness of the aggression. Israel’s attempt to control the media was overt and transparent, Greenwald said, noting that the first thing Israel did was to seize all evidence, prevent media access, and detain the passengers for three days— clearly the “conduct of a guilty party.” Israel released a propaganda clip that took place well into the attack which implied the passengers had initiated the violence. The ruse was obvious, Greenwald said, yet an unskeptical U.S. media showed it over and over. In Congress there was no sense that Israel should be more restrained—proving, he added, that bipartisanship is possible, at least when it comes to Israel. The U.S. and Israel were isolated by uniform global condemnation, he concluded, underscoring the way in which Israel has become a liability to the U.S. THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University’s Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, characterized the promotion of Israel as a resounding public relations success sold by marketing professionals like Edward Gottlieb, who commissioned Leon Uris to write Exodus. However, he continued, in the past two decades its limits have become clear, especially to the younger generation and to liberal American Jews who are becoming disenchanted with the hawkish stance of establishment U.S. Jewish organizations. According to Khalidi, this has come about because the realities of events the American media covered in spite of itself are overshadowing a sense of guilt: Israel’s 1982 siege of Beirut and the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, its repression of the first unarmed intifada, its 2006 war on Lebanon, its murderous assault on Gaza, and now its attack on the flotilla. Israel’s system of domination and control based on violence no longer can be hidden, Khalidi explained, which has led to the recognition that it is Palestinians, and not Israelis, who were and are the primary victims.
Book Launch for Midnight on the Mavi Marmara Within three months of Israel’s pre-dawn attack on the six boats of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, killing one American and eight Turkish citizens, OR Books published Midnight on the Mavi Marmara (available from the AET Book Club), a collection of analyses and eyewitness reports from 48 DECEMBER 2010
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Author Moustafa Bayoumi. contributors. Seven of them participated in a Sept. 28 panel discussion at Alwan for the Arts in lower Manhattan. Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, was in South Korea when the publisher of OR Books telephoned him proposing that he edit a quick counter-narrative. Bayoumi accepted “with trepidation,” he said—but nearly everyone he approached agreed to participate. Among the few who did not were national security analyst Anthony Cordesman and professional Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Bayoumi said the book has been vindicated as more information has come to light, such as the U.N. Human Rights Council report, which found that the conduct of Israeli military personnel toward flotilla passengers “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality.” Journalist Max Blumenthal, who was in Israel on a research trip at the time of the attack, was instrumental in exposing IDF lies about al-Qaeda mercenaries allegedly being aboard the Mavi Marmara and purported anti-Semitic insults. He related how the soldier who killed Furkan Dogan was one of four who were awarded Israel’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor, but whose names could not be revealed. Israel’s biggest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, ran a photo of “our heroes” with their faces blacked out, Blumenthal said. Alia Malek, author of A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories (available from the AET Book Club), expressed the fear that world outrage over the Mavi Marmara incident would fade, as has happened so often with earlier Israeli excesses. She compared Palestinians and their DECEMBER 2010
supporters to the child in the movie “The Sixth Sense”: “You can see the dead bodies,” she explained, but nobody else seems able to. Arun Gupta, founding editor of the Indypedent, wrote his biting contribution, “The Victim that is Israel,” because he was disgusted with the notion of Israel as the eternal victim—a stance willingly adopted by American journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg, who volunteer their services as propagandists for Israel. Philip Weiss, founder of the Web site Mondoweiss, said he is excited by changes in the American discourse—but on a recent trip to the area found Palestinians feeling more desperate than ever, while Israelis right across the Green Line are thriving and totally unaware. He returned with a renewed sense of commitment, he said, and sees his Jewish “tribe” as having a special responsibility for Israel’s racism and oppression.
Finkelstein on an Irrational Israel The original purpose of Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s Oct. 6 appearance at Alwan for the Arts was to promote his latest book, This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion (available online from the AET Book Club at <www.middleeastbooks.com>). Instead, he spoke about “disastrous developments in the making” and placed those in the context of the last decade. Ever since Hezbollah forced Israel to abandon its “security zone” in southern Lebanon, Israel has been seeking to re-establish its deterrent capacity, which Finkelstein translated as making sure the Arab world fears Israel. In its 2006 summer invasion of Lebanon, Israel failed to inflict a military defeat on Hezbollah. Soon after,
Israel began planning an assault on Gaza. On Nov. 4, 2008, it broke a cease-fire with Hamas, knowing rocket attacks would resume and could be used as a pretext to launch Operation Cast Lead on Dec. 27, which Amnesty International described as “22 days of death and destruction.” Israel carefully targeted Gaza’s only operative flour mill, Finkelstein added, so its inhabitants would be dependent on Israel for their most basic needs, and 22 of the besieged strip’s 28 cement factories so they would not be able to rebuild. Then, this past January came the Mossad’s bungled assassination in Dubai of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, followed by the bungled takeover of the Mavi Marmara on May 31. Israel was furious, Finkelstein maintained, not because of the dead and wounded, but because of the amateur execution by commandos from Israel’s elite fighting unit, comparable to U.S. Navy Seals. Images circulated of captured commandos being nursed on the boat, and a U.S. Marine passenger described them as looking “like frightened children in the face of an abusive father.” Thus, he said, Israel’s deterrent capacity is yet again significantly compromised at a troubling moment for Israel. Finkelstein cited recent reports by Daniel Kurtzer of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Crisis Group, and the Washington Institute on Near East Policy (AIPAC’s think tank) that all predict an Israeli attack on Lebanon in the next 12 to 18 months. Finkelstein fears that because “the natives are getting out of hand and forgetting who is in charge,” Israel may want to deal a spectacularly shattering blow to the Arab and Muslim world to reduce them to size. Israel would not accept another defeat in Lebanon, he asserted, and will either drag the U.S. in or bring down the regime with them. Nor does he think Iran would accept the defeat of Hezbollah, because Iranians know they will be next. Another massive Israeli assault on Lebanon would trigger unpredictable chain reactions. It is open to question, Finkelstein concluded, whether Israel is acting in a rational manner.
Theatrical Premiere of “Rachel”
Dr. Norman Finkelstein. THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
“Rachel,” a documentary film distributed by Women Make Movies about Rachel Corrie, an American volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who was killed by an Israeli D-9 Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza on March 16, 2003, had its theatrical premiere in New York on Oct. 8. Moroccan-born Israeli filmmaker Simone Bitton spent three years researching 47
COURTESY OF WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, WWW.WMM.COM
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A childâ€™s drawing of Rachel Corrie facing the tank. and filming. As an Israeli citizen, she was not allowed to enter Gaza, but her camera crew was. Bitton directed filming there by telephone. Despite these and other difficulties, Bitton managed to do what the Israeli armyâ€™s internal investigation, which then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised would be â€?thorough, credible and transparent,â€? failed to do. Just how un-thorough was the IDF investigation is coming to light in the ongoing trial for the civil lawsuit that Rachelâ€™s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, have filed against the State of Israel for Rachelâ€™s unlawful killing. Two of the three-
man Israeli investigative team testified that they never visited the site of the killing or interviewed any Palestinian witnesses, including medical personnel. Bitton did both, albeit by long distance. She interviewed onscreen the third member and commander of the investigative team, Shami Cohen, who looks ill at ease as he describes the inaccessibility of the scene and admits they did not question all witnesses. Dr. Samir Nasrallah owned the house Rachel was guarding, which the IDF has since demolished. In the film he walks through the rubble, re-enacting the time of her killing. Dr. Abu Nakira of Najar Hospital in Rafah, where the ambulance brought Rachelâ€™s body, describes her wounds and shows her X-rays. Bitton includes graphic footage shot by Palestinian reporters on the scene. In Tel Aviv, Bitton interviewed Dr. Yehuda Hiss, chief forensic pathologist at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine, who performed Rachelâ€™s autopsy. Hiss was recently the subject of a lawsuit where he admitted to 125 cases of â€œorgan harvesting,â€? removing body parts and selling them to medical institutions and universities. Rachelâ€™s parents had requested an American diplomatic presence at the autopsy. Hiss tells Bitton that he contacted the embassy, but they were â€œnot interested.â€? The civil trial has revealed that Hiss kept samples from Rachelâ€™s body for â€œhistological testingâ€? without informing her family. (Advertisement)
The IDF denies any responsibility for Rachelâ€™s death, unlike her teachers and mentors at Evergreen State College and the Palestinian founders of ISM, Ghassan Andoni and George Rishmawi, who accept a share of responsibility. Other interviews include IDF spokesperson Maj. Avital Leibovich, who claims there was â€œno direct contact between the bulldozer and the deceasedâ€?; a young, anonymous, religious IDF tank gunner stationed in Rafah at the time of Rachelâ€™s killing describing shooting water tanks for fun; and ISM teammates who were eyewitnesses. Although Bitton was unable to interview IDF personnel involved in the killing, she managed to obtain written testimony from the IDFâ€™s internal investigation, which is read by her friends; a clip from Israel Channel 2 archives of the D9 bulldozer operator; and, most amazingly, footage from an IDF surveillance camera, although the army has excised the moment of contact. The film includes scenes of Rachelâ€™s neighborhood in Olympia, Washington; Jerusalem, where she underwent her ISM training; and the Rafah neighborhood where she lived in Gaza. Interspersed with all this are Rachelâ€™s own words from Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie (available from the AET Book Club). They are read by her ISM teammates, her Evergreen State College teachers and, most poignantly, by her parents. The film concludes with Rachelâ€™s words, â€œThis has to stop.â€? â?‘
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Other People’s Mail Compiled by Kate Hilmy and Delinda C. Hanley How to Aid Afghan Women To The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2010 I appreciate Laura Bush’s Oct. 10 op-ed, “A country for everyone,” on the terrible status of women in Afghanistan. But this is not a valid reason for continuing the war or propping up Hamid Karzai’s government. We invaded Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden and wipe out al-Qaeda. If we cannot do that with the resources we have, we should withdraw. If we could redirect even 10 percent of the resources devoted to this war to organizations working to bring education, health care, infrastructure and economic growth to Afghanistan, its women would see much improvement in their condition. Sixty years ago, 10 percent of our population was oppressed. Lynchings were common, schooling for African Americans was inferior, and many blacks were denied the right to vote. But if a country had invaded the United States to liberate this sector of our population, it would not have had the desired effect. So there are other, more effective ways to help the women of Afghanistan. Elizabeth Hedges, Lovettsville, VA
The Killing of Afghan Civilians To The New York Times, Oct. 17, 2010
Re: “5 U.S. Soldiers Accused of Killing Afghan Civilians”: You report that senior United States Army leaders fear trying the soldiers in question, as facts brought up in the trial could anger Afghan civilians at a time when the Obama administration needs local support. But the killing of civilians in Afghanistan is already well known, and what infuriates many Afghans is that American soldiers are rarely held accountable for their actions. Abiding by the rule of law and trying these soldiers will not lose hearts and minds in Afghanistan. On the contrary, it will show that the United States is taking responsibility for the conduct of its troops and recognizes the value of Afghan lives. Jonathan Horowitz, human rights investigator for the Open Society Foundations, New York, NY
A Basis for Drone Strikes To The Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2010 The Sept. 6 editorial “Target: Americans,” concerning the CIA drone strike authorized against Anwar al-Aulaqi, an DECEMBER 2010
American-born cleric living in Yemen, said that the president should “consider making public the general criteria—excluding ultra-sensitive methods and sources—that it uses to designate an individual for the target list.” That’s an excellent idea. The U.S. government has been sued for targeting a U.S. citizen without explaining how he meets the criteria of who may lawfully be killed as an enemy belligerent as part of the “war on terror.” Yet the problem is not only the targeting of U.S. citizens. It is that the United States is engaged in a widely publicized program of targeting suspected combatants using unmanned aerial drones, often far from any proclaimed battlefield. Whether this is legal depends not just on the citizenship of the target but on whether the individual is actually an enemy belligerent or a citizen directly participating in hostilities against the United States. International law does not permit the targeting of anyone who merely supports or promotes an enemy organization. Using the CIA to secretly target suspected belligerents around the world, without a U.S. explanation of why this is legally justified, could backfire by helping al-Qaeda win many more new recruits than the United States can eliminate. Clarifying the criteria used to determine who qualifies as a lawfully targetable enemy belligerent would not undermine the U.S. war effort; on the contrary, it would make it more effective. Daphne Eviatar, New York, NY
Wars Aren’t a Campaign Issue To The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2010 The larger point is not that we have forgotten about the two wars; it is that the American public has never been asked to make the “shared sacrifice” necessary to successfully confront the threat that we face. Tom Brokaw well knows, as author of The Greatest Generation, that shared sacrifice was critical to America’s success in fighting and winning World War II. But as he points out, the sacrifice today is mostly endured by our military personnel and their families. Military families have dedicated their “blood” to the cause, but the rest of us, because of concern about taxes, have not been asked to commit our “treasure.” The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has simply been added to the debt of future THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
generations. If we had been asked to actually pay for the wars with our current tax dollars, our troops would have been home a long time ago—or perhaps not sent at all. Mark Hallberg, Stillwater, MN
Real Obstacle in West Bank To The Washington Post, Oct. 3, 2010 Richard Cohen admitted that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. And yet he chided the Obama administration for promoting “an absolute moratorium on [settlement] construction as the prerequisite for peace talks.” He’s wrong. Settlement construction in the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem) is precisely what is making a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible. Mr. Cohen stated that “some [settlements], regardless of legality, are going to stay.” And why is that? Because no U.S. administration has exerted enough pressure to persuade Israel to stop building them. (Terminating U.S. military aid to Israel might do the trick.) And so Israel continues—month after month, year after year – to build and expand settlements, creating what it calls “facts on the ground” that it thinks the world will allow it to keep despite their illegality. A complete and immediate cessation of settlement construction should be the absolute minimum expected of Israel. Anything less is a farce. Joanne Heisel, Columbia, MD
Obama’s Offer to Israel To The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010 After more than 60 years of unwavering support militarily, diplomatically and financially, the United States finds itself in the humiliating situation of having to beg the state of Israel for a mere 60-day extension of the settlement freeze to facilitate an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is so important in promoting peace and security for the region and the world. As an American citizen of Israeli origin, I am angry and offended. It is time for the White House to explain to the nation how American interests are still being protected within such an uneven relationship and what it plans to do about it. Michael Harel, New York, NY 49
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Israel as a Jewish State To The New York Times, Oct. 14, 2010 The Palestinians are averse to recognizing Israel as the “Jewish state” for many reasons. First, to do so would essentially concede that what happened in 1948 was a justified historical fact, that the establishment of Israel and the coinciding dispossession of the Palestinians was somehow “right.” What group of people would ever stipulate that their greatest tragedy was justified on historical grounds? Also, to recognize Israel as the Jewish state would imply Palestinian acceptance of the privileged status of Jews as opposed to non-Jews under Israeli law. Would blacks in apartheid South Africa have agreed to anything that would have implied a justification for their status under the law? The fact is that Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized Israel’s right to exist long ago; this is sufficient for a peace agreement, and Michael B. Oren understands this. The further recognition sought by the Netanyahu government only insults the Palestinians and makes a peace agreement less likely. Scott H. Roth, New York, NY
Advancing Mideast Peace To The Washington Post, Oct. 5, 2010 Glenn Kessler’s Oct. 1 news story, “White House offers Israel a carrot for peace talks,” reported that “The United States would also promise military hardware and pledge to veto U.N. resolutions relating to Arab-Israeli peace for a year.” Well, what else is new? The United States has been doing that all along. But the carrot did not work, so now is the time to use the stick. However, because of its “special relationship” with Israel, the United States will not do that, so it should relinquish its position as “honest broker” and turn it over to the United Nations and pledge not to veto U.N. resolutions relating to Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. Jawaharlal Ramnarace, Accokeek, MD
How America Treats Muslims To The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2010 Re: “American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?”: I have been appalled by some of the angry rhetoric directed at Muslims in recent weeks. American Muslims might take comfort in the knowledge that, fair or not, they’re the flavor of the month. Soon enough, the right will find a new target for its vitriol. It may be homosexuals, illegal immigrants or pro-choice 50
advocates. This is all part of the American experience. I’m a Christian, but I can’t reasonably be held accountable every time someone like the Internet evangelist Bill Keller claims to speak on behalf of Christianity (rest assured, he doesn’t). Similarly, I don’t hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a few radical terrorists. It isn’t always a smooth ride navigating the terrain of this wonderful but flawed nation of ours, but it is eminently doable. And worth the effort. Will American Muslims ever belong? I believe that they already do. Scott Gibbs, Raleigh, NC
NPR Analyst’s Words Hurt To The Boston Globe, Oct. 25, 2010 I think National Public Radio runs one of the few media institutions where the standards of journalism are being maintained in this era of polemics. But I think NPR may have reacted too quickly in firing news analyst Juan Williams. It seems to me that his remarks on a Fox News show arose out of a set of stereotypes he holds about Muslims. He told Bill O’Reilly that “when I get on [a] plane...if I
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see people who...are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.’’ It is tragic—and hurtful to me—that an educated, rational media figure would maintain such unexamined prejudice, even if at an irrepressible emotional level. Still, it did not seem that his comments tried to proclaim Muslims to be in league with terrorists or that they are responsible for terrorism. I wish I could say the same for media figures such as O’Reilly or Glenn Beck or for political leaders such as Newt Gingrich and other public figures. Their nefarious goal often seems to be to stoke fear of all Muslims. They tie all Muslims to extremists in a seeming effort to marginalize them from having any influence or credibility in the public sphere. Meanwhile, it seemed Williams was trying to express a gut reaction. It is a sad commentary on our times that public figures such as Williams feel free to share their unreasonable prejudices about Muslims in a manner that they would not do about other minorities. But it does not merit his being fired. M. Bilal Kaleem, Roxbury, MA. The writer is president of the Muslim American Society of Boston.
What Should Worry Us To the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Oct. 25, 2010 Juan Williams was fired for saying that when he sees Muslims in their native dress on a plane, he gets worried. Well, here’s what worries me more: FBI agents who break down doors and confiscate computers, papers and phones of peace activists with no stated reasons, then subpoena people to come before a grand jury without stating why. Police who arrest protesters or people gathering peacefully to rally for or against a group or an issue. Newspapers that print false and misleading articles. Veterans who come home angry and mentally unstable who beat their children and wives or contemplate suicide. Soldiers who torture innocent people. Children and adults who harass and bully daily. People who abuse animals or humans in any way. Discrimination of humans for any reason. Elections that are won with huge sums of money, quietly and secretly donated by unknown groups and people. Muslims in native dress? Why worry about them? Chances are slim one is a dangerous terrorist, but chances are the above categories are staring us in the face and should worry us all. Nan Corliss, Bloomington, MN ❑ DECEMBER 2010
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cws/cartoonarts international www.cartoonweb.com
THE WORLD LOOKS AT THE MIDDLE EAST
The Muslim Observer, Livonia
cws/cartoonarts international www.cartoonweb.com
cws/cartoonarts international www.cartoonweb.com
Maariv, Tel Aviv
cws/cartoonarts international www.cartoonweb.com
cws/cartoonarts international www.cartoonweb.com
New York Times Syndicate, NY
The Khaleej Times, Dubai
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The Prophetic Vision of Zionism’s Jewish Critics Israel andJudaism
COURTESY HENRY HERSKOVITZ
By Allan C. Brownfeld
Every Saturday, members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends hold a vigil outside of Beth Israel Synagogue in Ann Arbor, MI. rom the earliest days of Zionism, the
Fphilosophy which proclaimed that
Jews were a distinct nationality, not a religious community, and should return to their ancient “homeland” in Palestine represented a minority view among Jews. Religious Jews objected because they believed that the creation of a political state was heresy, an intervention that usurped God’s own redemptive plan. Even those Jews who faced prejudice and discrimination in their native countries showed no desire to emigrate to Palestine. Of the 3.5 million Jews fleeing Russia between 1880 and 1922, for example, only 85,000 went to Palestine. For Reform Jews, the idea of Zionism contradicted almost completely their belief in a universal Judaism. In 1854, the first Reform prayerbook eliminated references to Jews being in exile and to a Messiah who would miraculously restore Jews throughout the world to the historic land of Israel and who would rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. The prayerbook eliminated all prayers for a return to Zion. In November 1885, a group of Reform 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. 52
rabbis met in Pittsburgh and wrote an eight-point platform that one participant called “the most succinct expression of the theology of the Reform movement that had ever been published in the world.” The platform emphasized that Reform Judaism denied Jewish peoplehood and nationalism in any variety. “We consider ourselves no longer a nation but a religious community,” it stated, “and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.” In 1897, the Central Conference of American Rabbis adopted a resolution disapproving of any attempt to establish a Jewish state. The resolution stated: “Zion…is a holy memory, but it is not our hope of the future. America is our Zion.” In 1904, The American Israelite, edited by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the leader of American Reform Judaism in the 19th century, noted: “There is not one solitary prominent native JewishAmerican who is an advocate of Zionism.” In 1912, when Zionists pressed for the promulgation of the Balfour Declaration, it was a Jewish member of the British Cabinet who spoke out against the concept of an exclusively Jewish state. Edwin S. Montagu, secretary of state for India in Lloyd George’s World War I Cabinet, declared that he had “striven all his life to escape the ghetto,” to which he now faced possible relegation as a THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
result of the proposed policy paper. He resented the Zionist effort to convince Jews that they were an “ethnic-racial” rather than a religious group. Montagu believed, as well, that there was an injustice involved in turning over control of a land to those who constituted only 7 percent of the population. “What would a national home for the Jewish people” really mean? “I do not know what this involves,” he wrote, “but I assume that it means that Mohammedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews, and that the Jews would be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mohammedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners...I assert that there is not a Jewish nation...It is no more to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation.” In 1919, a petition was presented to President Woodrow Wilson entitled “A Statement to the Peace Conference.” Reflecting the then-dominant Reform position on Zionism and Palestine, it asserted that the opinions expressed therein represented those of the vast majority of American Jews. Among the signers were Rep. Julius Kahn of California; Henry Morganthau, Sr., ex-ambassador to Turkey; former New York Attorney General Simon W. Rosendale; Mayor L.H. Kempner of Galveston, Texas; E.M. Baker, president of the New York Stock Exchange; and New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs. President Wilson brought the petition with him to the Versailles peace conference. The petition criticized Zionist efforts to segregate Jews “as a political unit...in Palestine or elsewhere” and underlined the principle of equal rights for all citizens of any state “irrespective of creed or ethnic descent.” It rejected Jewish nationalism as a general concept and opposed the founding of any state on the basis of religion and/or race. The petition asserted that the “overwhelming bulk of the Jews of America, England, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland and other lands of freedom have no thought whatever of surrendering their citizenship in those lands in order to resort to a ‘Jewish homeland in Palestine.’” DECEMBER 2010
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With regard to the future of Palestine, the petitioners state: “It is our fervent hope that what was once a ‘promised land’ for the Jews may become ‘a land of promise’ for all races and creeds, safeguarded by the League of Nations which, it is expected, will be one of the fruits of the Peace Conference...We ask that Palestine be constituted as a free and independent state to be governed under a democratic form of government recognizing no distinction of creed or race or ethnic descent, and with adequate power to protect the country against oppression of any kind. We do not wish to see Palestine, either now or at any time in the future, organized as a Jewish state.” Nor were the only critics of the Zionist enterprise those Jews who rejected the entire notion of a Jewish state. Many who were sympathetic to the creation of some form of a Jewish “homeland” were concerned about the rights of the present inhabitants of Palestine, rights which they saw as either being ignored or violated. Unlike most of his fellow Zionists who persisted in fantasizing about “a land without people for the people without a land,” Ahad Ha’am, for example, from the very beginning refused to ignore the presence of Arabs in Palestine. This Russian Jewish writer and philosopher paid his first visit to the new Jewish settlements in Palestine in 1891. In his essay, “The Truth From The Land of Israel,” he wrote that it was an illusion to think of Palestine as an empty country: “We tend to believe abroad that Palestine is nowadays almost completely deserted, a non-cultivated wilderness, and anyone can come there and buy as much land as his heart desires. But in reality this is not the case. It is difficult to find anywhere in the country Arab land which is fallow.” Moreover, the behavior of Jewish settlers toward the Arabs disturbed him. The Arabs understood very well what Zionist intentions were for the country and, he warned, “if the time should come when the lives of our people in Palestine should develop to the extent that, to a similar or greater degree they usurp the place of the local population, the latter will not yield easily...We have to treat the local population with love and respect, justly and rightly. And what do our brethren in the land of Israel do? Exactly the opposite. Slaves they were in the country of exile, and suddenly they find themselves in a boundless and anarchic freedom, as is always the case with a slave who has become a king; and they behave toward the Arabs with hostility and cruelty.” Jewish ethics were the heart and soul of Ahad Ha’am’s brand of cultural Zionism, DECEMBER 2010
and to the end of his life he denounced any compromise with political expediency. In 1913, protesting against a Jewish boycott of Arab labor, he wrote to a friend: “I can’t put up with the idea that our brethren are morally capable of behaving in such a way to humans of another people, and unwittingly the thought comes to my mind: If this is so now, what will our relations to the others be like if at the end of time, we shall really achieve power in Eretz Israel? And if this be the Messiah, I do not wish to see him coming.”
The American Council for Judaism As Reform Judaism nevertheless embraced the Zionist idea, the American Council for Judaism (ACJ) was created in 1942 to maintain the older idea of a universal, prophetic Judaism shorn of nationalism. In his keynote address to the June 1942 meeting in Atlantic City, Rabbi David Philipson declared that Reform Judaism and Zionism were incompatible: “Reform Judaism is spiritual, Zionism is political. The outlook of Reform Judaism is the world. The outlook of Zionism is a corner of eastern Asia.” Rabbi Morris Lazaron, an early ACJ leader who served from 1915 to 1946 as rabbi of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, originally was a supporter of cultural Zionism. He later altered his views, however, as he slowly discovered that Zionist nationalism was not different from other forms of nationalism: “The Jewish nationalist philosophy of separateness as a people who would always and inevitably be rejected because they were Jews, boldly asserted itself. The idea seems to have been to break down the self-confidence and opposition to Jewish political nationalism...Behind the mask of Jewish sentiment, one can see the specter of the foul thing which moves Germany and Italy. Behind the camouflage of its unquestioned appeal to Jewish feeling, one can hear a chorus of ‘Heil.’ This is not for Jews—Reform, Conservative or Orthodox.” Speaking at the January 1937 annual convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in New Orleans, Lazaron declared: “Judaism cannot accept as the instrument of its salvation the very philosophy which is leading the world to destruction. Shall we condemn it as Italian or German, but accept it as Jewish?” In an article about the role of the American Council for Judaism in opposing Jewish nationalism and maintaining the view that Judaism is a religion of universal values—and that American Jews are Americans by nationality and Jews by religion, THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
in precisely the same manner as other Americans are Baptists, Catholics or Muslims—New York Times religion columnist Samuel Freedman declared in the paper’s June 26, 2010 edition that events in recent years have made the Council “look significant, even prophetic.” Indeed, Judaism as a religion has become increasingly corrupted and politicized. Jewish religious bodies, ranging from the Orthodox to the Conservative to the Reform, have embraced the notion that the State of Israel—not God—is, somehow, “central” to Judaism. In its 1999 Statement of Principles, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism) went so far as to declare that, “We affirm the unique qualities of living in the land of Israel and encourage aliyah [immigration to Israel].” From Israeli flags in synagogues, to “Birthright Israel” trips sending young Jews on free visits to Israel, to a host of Jewish organizations focused on influencing U.S. Middle East policy—the center of attention within the organized American Jewish community has been not the traditional Jewish religious commitment to God, but something far different. It should be no surprise that more and more American Jews, particularly young people, are increasingly alienated from this enterprise. More and more thoughtful Jewish voices—in Israel, the United States and around the world—increasingly are using the term “idolatry” to describe the elevation of the State of Israel to the “central” position in Judaism. It is time for a serious consideration of the many prophetic Jewish voices who warned against Zionism from the very beginning of the movement. In his 1929 critique of Zionism, Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamaret wrote that, “Judaism at root is not some religious concentration which can be localized or situated in a single territory...Neither is Judaism a matter of ‘nationality’ in the sense of modern nationalism, fit to be woven into the famous three-fold mesh of ‘homeland, army and heroic songs.’ No, Judaism is Torah, ethics and exaltation of spirit. If Judaism is truly Torah, then it cannot be reduced to the confines of any particular territory. For as Scripture said of Torah: ‘Its measure is greater than the earth...’” (Job ll:9). It is this vision of a universal faith of ethical values for men and women of every background which the Prophets preached and in which generations of Jews believed. Zionism, as its Jewish critics proclaimed, was a rejection of that tradition and would have serious negative consequences. History has proven them correct. ❑ 53
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among the large crowd in the open-air plaza. Dancers from the Sudanese Association of Northern California closed the program with a well-received performance of traditional Sudanese dances. —Elaine Pasquini
success or failure of stabilization and reconstruction efforts. Panelists Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign ReSan Francisco’s Arab Community lations, and Manal Omar, USIP’s director of Celebrates in Union Square Iraq Programs, discussed the issue. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, deputy director of the San Francisco’s Union Square was transCouncil on Foreign Relations’ formed into a souq el Arabi Women and Foreign Policy (Arab bazaar) for the Arab CulProgram moderated the panel, tural and Community Center’s and USIP’s Gender Adviser 16th Annual Arab Cultural FesKathleen Kuehnast introduced tival on Oct. 2. Several thouthe panelists. sand visitors—tourists as well Too often the international as local residents enjoying the community and local leaders 75-degree weather—passed have said “not now” when it through the bazaar during the comes to placing women’s daylong event held, for the first rights on the reconstruction time, in the heart of the city’s agenda. Women’s rights and shopping and tourist area. other issues of concern to A variety of booths surwomen are often tabled in rounded the edge of the palmorder to focus resources on tree-lined plaza. Some offered artwork, calligraphy, books and Salma Habib’s performance at the Arab Cultural Festival inspires im- concerns like stability, security and infrastructure. However, traditional Middle Eastern cui- promptu dancing by the crowd. “not now” often becomes “too sine. In one booth, children— late,” as policies are put in and adults—enjoyed dressing place without women’s input. up in traditional Arab outfits In her book Paradise Beand walking away with a souneath Her Feet, Coleman paints venir photo. a vivid picture of the status of At her booth, San Francisco women’s rights in the Middle School Board candidate WiniEast and highlights the transfred Dajani talked to festivalgoformative role women are players about her ideas to improve ing in the region. She got the education for the city’s youth. idea for her book, Coleman Sitting on the stage, children said, after meeting Iraqi were entertained by Golden women leaders and activists in Threads Fairytales Players perWashington, DC in 2005. forming “The Girl Who Lost When she asked the women Her Smile.” Lively music by what they thought about IsMoroccan artists Yassir Chadly, lamic law being included in Bouchaib Abdelhadi and Enthe Iraqi constitution, the semble delighted the audience. Girls show off their colorful face paintings. mostly secular women replied Vocalist Salma Habib, accompathat they believed the constitution would nied by Sami Abu Shumays and Ensemble, Human Rights not include shariah law. However, accordinspired exuberant impromptu dancing ing to Coleman, the constitutions of both Iraq and Afghanistan now state that any Women as laws passed or enforced by the government Barometer of cannot contradict shariah law. Success, Stability Feminism and women’s rights often are From Iraq to seen as Western concepts by religiously Afghanistan conservative Muslim women. Others in the Panelists at a Sept. 27 region are embracing Islam and using it as event at the United States a way to promote women’s rights, affect Institute of Peace (USIP) change and work together across the reliin Washington, DC dis- gious-secular divide. Omar’s poignant book Barefoot in Baghcussed the struggle women face as they try to dad (available from the AET Book Club) deplay an active role in civil tails her experiences as an American aid society in war-torn Iraq worker of Arab descent working in Iraq beand Afghanistan, where tween 2003 and 2005. Omar said her book’s Arab Cultural and Community Center cultural program man- their accomplishments goal was to recognize the personal side of ager Lulu Azzghayer welcomes the large crowd at the festival. are key indicators of the conflict, and use the story of her own expeSTAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI
STAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI
STAFF PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI
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STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY
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(L-r) Kathleen Kuehnast, Gayle Lemmon, Isobel Coleman and Manal Omar discuss women’s rights in Iraq and Afghanistan.
STAFF PHOTO A. O’ROURKE
riences as an entry point to highlighting Music & Arts Iraqi women’s transition from survivors of conflict to active citizens and leaders. She met remarkably strong women who are Dr. Riad Abdel-Gawad Discusses working on governmental and social re- Egyptian Sufi Musical Traditions forms in their communities, Omar said. The Middle East Institute hosted a discus“Many people do not realize that in 2003, sion of Egyptian Sufi musical traditions the women of Iraq were some of the first with violinist and composer Dr. Riad ones to come together on many humanitar- Abdel-Gawad on Sept. 22 in Washington, ian issues,” she noted. Women from all back- DC. Dr. Abel-Gawad, a graduate of the Unigrounds—urban elites and women on the versity of Southern California, the Univermargins—gathered to improve Iraq’s health- sity of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of care and security as well as address women’s rights in the Iraq constitution. By 2008, she said, many of those Iraqi women’s groups had become polarized, with religious women separating from secular women on smaller issues often dealing with the role of religion in Iraqi society. Omar said she hopes that women can return to where they were in 2003 by finding common ground. In spring 2010, USIP hosted meetings in Beirut, Lebanon for Iraqi women to discuss working together for social and political Dr. Riad Abdel-Gawad describes Sufi music. reforms. They talked about the importance of women owning businesses Music and of Harvard University, where he and the education of girls. When these earned a Ph.D. in music, studied for more women returned to Iraq they started work- than a decade with the renowned Abdo ing together in grassroots human rights or- Dagher, who has himself recorded with the ganizations. Omar predicted that as more two most famous musicians of 20th century women come together there will be more Egypt, Um Kulthum and Mohammed Abelstability, because these women are invested Wahab. in their communities. Abdel-Gawad described how Dagher’s Moderator Lemmon is author of the up- musical school is similar to the north Indian coming book The Dressmaker of Khair “gharana” tradition and emphasizes Khana, which tells the story of a young taqseem (improvisation). The tradition has Afghan entrepreneur whose business cre- medieval roots and is based on local ated jobs and hope for her community dur- Qur’anic and Sufi chants. Abdel-Gawad ing the Taliban years. Panelists agreed that drew on his own experience to compare the Iraqi and Afghan women, and others in fu- classical and Sufi approaches to music eduture conflict zones, can learn from each cation. At American universities, he studied other in the struggles and strides they are a mostly 19th century repertoire using an making to bring about change. analytic approach that distinguishes play—Delinda C. Hanley ing from learning. With Dagher, he exDECEMBER 2010
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
plained, he worked with a living composer in a holistic manner. Since Dagher does not read or write notated music, his students play an important role in writing down their lessons to preserve the tradition. Abdel-Gawad described the process as learning slowly by osmosis, with students repeating the guru’s example note by note. While there is no exact English translation for tarab, Abdel-Gawad spoke of this emotional effect of music in Egyptian culture and its link to ecstasy. When audience members wanted to hear some of his playing, he took out his violin and demonstrated a maqam, a set of notes that would most closely resemble a major or minor mode in Western classical music. In response to audience questions, he confirmed that it is a struggle to keep this rich tradition going, but said that some support has been forthcoming from select nonprofits and heritage program grants from the United Nations. His own ambitions include trying to create a salon similar to Dagher’s in the U.S. In addition to his remarks at the Middle East Institute, AbdelGawad also appeared at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, including two performances with his musical troupe from Cairo and a week-long course for music teachers. His music, which fuses Western and Eastern genres, has been recognized with numerous honors, awards and grants from organizations including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany; BMI; Harvard University; and the MacDowell Colony. His CDs—including his latest release, “Egypt: Mother of the World”—are available from music stores, Amazon and his own Web site, <www.riadabdelgawad.com>. —Anne O’Rourke
Nurse Ellen Siegel Speaks at DC Screening of “The Gaza Hospital” American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) president Sara Najjar-Wilson and vice president Nabil Mohamad welcomed a large audience to their Sept. 29 screening at ADC’s Heritage Center of a moving documentary, “The Gaza Hospital.” Director Marco Pasquini tells the tragic story of the 10-story Gaza Hospital in Beirut, adjacent to the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Once a fine health center run by the Palestinian 55
(L-r) ADC vice president Nabil Mohamad, Ellen Siegel and Dr. Laurie E. King discuss “The Gaza Hospital.”
One audience member was especially moved by the film—she grew up in the Gaza Hospital, she explained. To watch the trailer for the 84-minute film, released in 2009, in Arabic with English subtitles, go to <www. youtube.com/watch?v= gAzABCUDhj0>. —Delinda C. Hanley
Powerful Algerian Film Opens
portrayal of impoverished Algerians uniting inside France to finance the struggle going on in Algeria. “Outside the Law” opens Nov. 3 in New York, Nov. 10 in Los Angeles and Nov. 26 in Washington, DC. —Pat McDonnell Twair
CAFAM Focuses on The Birth of Coffee Actual photos from Daniel and Linda Rice Lorenzelli’s coffee table book, The Birth of Coffee, are on view through Jan. 9 at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum. Lorenzelli toned his photos with actual coffee in this exhibition of photos shot on four continents. The collection chronicles how coffee, first exported around the world from Sana’a, Yemen, today is enjoyed by 130 million Americans, and 400 billion cups are consumed worldwide each year. The photos illustrate that from Colombia’s cloud-covered farms to the rugged mountains of Indonesia or bustling markets of Yemen, the life of coffee workers has remained unchanged over centuries. —Pat McDonnell Twair
COURTESY FESTIVAL DE CANNES
Rachid Bouchareb’s Red Crescent Society, it now serves as a “Outside the Law” (Hors-la-Lui) runs a close shelter for refugees. Pasquini’s film features second to Gillo Pontecorro’s 1965 classic archival footage, testimonies from former “The Battle of Algiers.” The 2010 film—Almedical staff who survived the Sabra and geria’s entry for best foreign-language film Shatila massacre, as well as interviews with in the upcoming Oscars—tells the story of refugees, including Abu Maher, currently Algerians’ struggle for independence inside France. living in the decrepit building. Bouchareb researched archives extenDr. Aziza Khalidi and Dr. Swee Chai Ang, a London-based orthopedic surgeon sively and interviewed eyewitnesses and and author of From Beirut to Jerusalem— participants in the 1945-62 struggle for inEyewitness to Sabra-Shatila Massacre, dis- dependence. The plot deals cuss the 1982 massacre which followed Is- with facts and actual incidents rael’s invasion of Lebanon, and the 1985 in the revolution. “Revolution chews people “war of the camps” that turned their hospital into a “vertical refugee camp” over- up and spits them out,” oblooking Sabra and Shatila. They describe serves the director, who tells the wounded and suffering Palestinian and his story through three brothLebanese civilians who sought shelter ers, Abdelkader, Messaoud and Said, who eventually end there during the conflicts. Also featured in the film is Ellen Siegel, up in post-World War II an American nurse who was a volunteer at France. Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila) Gaza Hospital during the massacre and is a respected Washington, DC activist. She is becomes a fanatical leader of seen walking through rubble that used to the FLN independence movebe medical wards, operating rooms, and ment, Messaoud (Roschdy Birth of Coffee co-authors Linda Rice Lorenzetti and dormitories, and remembering the Israeli Zem) joins the French army in Daniel Lorenzetti. invasion. Siegel also is shown praying in Indochina, and Said moves to Hebrew at the mass grave for the victims Paris to make his fortune in the strip joints of the Sabra and Shatila massacre—re- and boxing halls of Pigalle. Muslim-American Activism Violence prevails in this brutally honest minding the audience that, while Israel is responsible for much suffering in CAIR Launches New DepartLebanon, many Jewish Americans ment To Address Islamophobia find Israeli actions repugnant. After the screening Siegel spoke The Council on American-Islamic Rewith the audience, recalling her exlations (CAIR) held its 16th annual perience at Gaza Hospital as the banquet and leadership skills trainmost fulfilling of her career. Also ing conference on Oct. 9 at the Marjoining the discussion and providing riott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, additional context and insight was VA. Some 900 Muslim community Dr. Laurie E. King, the North Amermembers attending the banquet with ican coordinator of the International their families, activists, interfaith Campaign for Justice for the Victims leaders and diplomats were met by of Sabra & Shatila, and an adjunct angry demonstrators outside the professor at Georgetown University’s hotel, led by Islamophobes Robert Center for Contemporary Arab Stud- Messaoud (Roschdy Zem) shoots it out with French under- Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, cover agents in “Outside the Law.” ies. and James Lafferty of the Virginia 56
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characterize the American MusAnti-Shariah Task Force. The lim community, as well as some protesters railed against plans to of the tensions that divide it. build Park51, an Islamic CommuModerator Mahmoud Hamid, nity Center, two blocks from the Drake assistant professor of poWorld Trade Center site in litical science and international Lower Manhattan—nearly 240 relations, introduced panelists miles away. The protest outside Luai Amro, president of the Isand the excellent speakers inside lamic Cultural Center of Des provided an effective message to Moines; Bill Aossey, a promiMuslims who are deeply connent Cedar Rapids business excerned about their rights in postecutive whose family came to 9/11 America. CAIR, America’s the U.S. from Lebanon in the largest Muslim civil liberties and 1880s; M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., a advocacy organization, exceeded former U.S. Navy medical offiits fund-raising goals. 90-year-old Helen Thomas (c) receives a lifetime achievement award cer, founder of American Islamic CAIR introduced Muslim first from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Forum for Democracy (AIFD), responders who modestly related and a favorite of Zionist and neotheir efforts to help the wounded conservative groups and their on 9/11. Park51 developer Sharif propaganda organs; and Saima El-Gamal described plans for the Zafar, M.D., a Des Moines cardicommunity center and the ensuologist recently named 2011 ing controversy—which, he president of the Association of said, took him by surprise. CAIR Physicians of Pakistani Descent presented noted journalist Helen in North America. Thomas with its 2010 lifetime Jasser, the only non-Iowan on achievement award. University the panel, claims that he and of Chicago Prof. Robert Pape, the AIFD are “leading the fight to author of Cutting the Fuse: The shake the hold that the Muslim Explosion of Global Suicide TerBrotherhood and their Network rorism and How to Stop It, (now of American Islamist organizaavailable from the AET Book Club) explained that foreign oc- Robert Spencer (c), director of Jihad Watch, and James Lafferty (be- tions and mosques have on orgacupation—not religion—moti- hind) of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force protest outside the nized Islam in America.” The panel discussion, sponsored by vates suicide terror attacks. In- CAIR banquet. the Stanley Richards Revocable ternationally renowned Oxford Islamic studies scholar Dr. Tariq Ramadan said Awad. “We have witnessed this un- Trust, was publicized on a blog adminisgave the keynote speech, and Mo Amer of American phenomenon before in the target- tered by Mark Finkelstein, director of comthe Allah Made Me Funny comedy group ing of Jews, Catholics, African-Americans, munity relations for the Jewish Community provided biting, and uproariously funny, Japanese-Americans, Native Americans, and Relations Commission of Des Moines. The others. American Muslims are but the latest Des Moines Register published an opinion political humor. CAIR national executive director Nihad minority to feel the sting of prejudice and piece by Jasser on Oct. 6 in which he wrote, Awad announced the launch of a new Is- hate...It will take joint efforts by people of “In our conversation at Drake University lamophobia Department devoted to ad- goodwill of all faiths to challenge this epi- this week, I hope we focus on the fact that at the center of the growing threat to our dressing the alarming rise of Islamophobic demic of hate,” Awad concluded. I joined my friend and former colleague national security is this battle within the sentiment in American society. Awad said the department will produce an annual Is- Asma Yousuf’s table for dinner and heard House of Islam.” About 200 people attended the event in lamophobia report that will track trends in about stony stares and serious problems rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims and Muslim women wearing hijab and their Drake’s Sheslow Auditorium. Responses from many in the audience will offer accurate and balanced information schoolchildren are now facing—for the first to be used in the struggle for tolerance and time ever—in her Virginia neighborhood. and on the panel suggested that, while they She said it was inspiring and comforting to unequivocally condemn terrorism, they mutual understanding. Along with an annual Islamophobia re- get together at CAIR’s banquet to discuss found Jasser’s perspective to be narrow and port, CAIR’s new department will organize her concerns and the issues that affect her lacking in political sophistication. —Delinda C. Hanley Aossey, who founded a leading U.S.conferences, seminars, cultural exchanges, family everyday. based Halal food brand and global supply and other activities and events designed to provide opportunities for education and di- Drake University Hosts Muslim Panel chain company after working for two years Discussion with the Peace Corps in Senegal in the alogue. “We have seen a small but vocal group of A widely publicized Drake University panel 1960s, addressed some of the root causes of bigots and hate-mongers manufacture an at- discussion on Oct. 7 addressed the topic terrorism. “It is a fact that our United States governmosphere of anti-Islam hysteria through “What it means to be an American Mussmear campaigns that rely on distortions, lim.” The panelists reflected the diversity of ment has, unfortunately, supported many misinformation and outright falsehoods,” experience and variety of perspectives that repressive leaders and still is supporting DECEMBER 2010
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A panel discussion at Drake University in Des Moines featured (l-r) Saima Zafar, Luai Amro, moderator Mahmoud Hamid, M. Zhudi Jasser and Bill Aossey, the first Muslim American to serve in the U.S. Peace Corps.
Islamic Center Hosts Open House, Conference On Sept. 17, the Islamic Center of Southern California staged its fifth open house and 58
second annual conference on contemporary thought under the theme “Islam and NonMuslims: Relations Beyond Confrontation.” Intellectual discourse was exchanged by Dr. Maher Hathout, Dr. Ghada Othman, Dr. Gasser Hathout, Professer Khaled Abou El Fadl, and Prof. Najeeba Sayed-Miller. Jihad Turk moderated a panel which included Rev. Dr. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena. In addressing the title of the panel, “Human Relations and the Role of Religion,” Reverend Bacon said that since 9/11, his mantra has been: “to be religious in the 21st century is to be inter-religious.” Acknowledging Maher Hathout’s statement that there are two Islams, Reverend Bacon said there are also two Christianities: “There is the Christianity of Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham and Glenn Beck, with a message of hate that is a perversion of the teaching of Jesus, and there’s the alternative Christianity of Martin Luther King, Jr. as expressed in the last Sunday sermon he preached.”
Rashid Khalidi Notes Changes in Public Sphere
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them,” he pointed out. “This is a grievance within society.…The most challenging factor we have in the world today is that 50 percent of the world’s population is under the age of 25, and 50 percent of the world’s population live on less than $2 per day, while 25 percent live on $1 a day. If you want to know where the global challenge is, it is not in Islamic extremism. It is from Brazil to Jakarta to Bangladesh and globally, where we have 50 percent of the population living in poverty,” said Aossey, who called for increased education, enlightenment, opportunity, and productivity. Espousing more positive and less confrontational attitudes, Aossey declared that the current climate of fear and tension will pass. “We’ll get over all of this,” he said. “I was born and raised in Iowa, and I’m an optimist.” During the question-and-answer period, Drake professor of economics Ismael Hossein-Zadah, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), challenged Jasser’s critique on political grounds. “Terrorism is a symptom,” he argued. “I was hoping that you would look at the geopolitical aspects of terrorism, but you have chosen to blame Islam, to focus on ideology. This is a view…propagated by neoconservatives and scholars or so-called scholars such as Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and many others who argue that Islam is incompatible with modernization…This is the same ideology that Dr. Jasser is unfortunately parroting here. Let me point out that…there is terrorism because there is occupation, war, humiliation. Look at Palestine, look at Afghanistan, look at Iraq,” said Hossein-Zadeh, who articulated an historical perspective largely absent from Jasser’s analysis. —Michael Gillespie
Rev. Ed Bacon at the Islamic Center of Southern California conference.
Among the pearls of wisdom uttered at the conference was a statement by Prof. Abou El Fadl: “Extremism isn’t an Islamic phenomenon, it’s a human phenomenon.” Maher Hathout noted, “There are two groups that can be vilified in the U.S. today, Muslims and Mormons, yet any reporter who criticizes Israel is fired that day.” “What is a fundamentalist?” Reverend Bacon asked the audience—and answered, ”It’s a tone of voice.” —Pat McDonnell Twair
Before a standing-room-only crowd at the Palestine Center’s annual Edward Said Memorial lecture on Oct. 7, Columbia University Prof. Dr. Rashid Khalidi examined the “Palestine Question and the Public Sphere.” While some media commentators were talking about a peace process, he began, he would prefer to discuss why there is not a process that is leading toward peace. Khalidi noted the crucial role played by scholarly and non-academic writings, and later by the cinema and other media, in cementing American and British support for Zionism and later for the state of Israel. “In other words,” he explained, “in addition to being successful as an idea, as a national movement, and as a colonial settler phenomenon, political Zionism has always been a resounding public relations triumph.” After describing in detail how this Zionist-Israeli narrative attained its pre-eminent status in this country, Khalidi concluded with an assessment of whether the power of this narrative may be waning. There has been an increased willingness lately on the part of publishers, many of whom hold “blatant biases in favor of Israel” or at least shied away from this controversy, to consider publishing works that would have previously been considered too provocative to sell well, he said. Recently former U.S. President “Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt’s book on the Israeli lobby [The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy] have been major publishing successes. They showed, as have a few other books, that it is possible to publish profitably works critical of the received pro-Israeli version of events.” The situation also is changing on U.S. campuses, Khalidi said. When he and his brother attended university it was difficult to discuss the Palestinian issue on campus. DECEMBER 2010
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Prof. Rashid Khalidi says the handwriting is on the wall for Israel. There is now a “growing disenchantment among liberal young American Jews, especially college students,” which was the focus of a remarkable article by Peter Beinart in the June 10, 2010 issue of the New York Review of Books, the professor noted. “Israel will continue to be protected in pretty much anything it chooses to do by our Congress and by our government,” Khalidi said, “But I think the handwriting may be on the wall.” Israel’s “system of domination and control through the calculated dosed use of violence and overwhelming power...cannot be hidden forever.” While it’s up to Palestinians and Israelis to end the occupation and make peace, Khalidi concluded, “Americans bear a very, very, very heavy responsibility in this matter.” Clearly, a new direction in the public sphere in this country has begun, Khalidi added, concluding: “I would strongly argue that true peace with justice in Palestine for both peoples who live there depends on the continuation of this process in this country.” Khalidi’s lecture was covered by C-SPAN, and both the transcript and video are available on the Jerusalem Fund’s Web site, <www.thejerusalemfund.org>. —Delinda C. Hanley
Blogging Out of Conflict A fascinating two-part panel discussion examined “New Media and the Palestine Question: Blogging Out of Conflict” at the Palestine Center on Sept. 23. The first panel, on “Changing the Public Discussion,” was moderated by the Palestine Center’s Will Youmans and featured blogger Jerome Slater, a professor of political science at SUNY/Buffalo (<www.jeromeslater.com.>), and Adam Horowitz, co-editor of the Web site Mondoweiss <http://mondoweiss.net>. The bloggers discussed how new media is DECEMBER 2010
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(L-r) Jerome Slater, Will Youmans and Adam Horowitz.
(L-r) Prof. Stephen Walt, Yousef Munayyer and MJ Rosenberg. changing the public debate on Israel/Palestine and how the mainstream media responds to new media. MJ Rosenberg, senior policy fellow at Media Matters Action Network, and Harvard Professor Stephen Walt held a lively, and sometimes hilarious, discussion moderated by Palestine Center director Yousef Munayyer. They discussed new media’s effect on policymaking, and whether Congress or lobby groups pay any attention to bloggers. Does the openness created by blogging/new media, not present in the past, make elected officials think twice about their actions? Visit <www.thejerusalemfund.org> to watch both talks online. —Delinda C. Hanley
New Policy PAC Raises $12,000 for Congresswoman Donna Edwards Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-4th District, MD) took some heat from the Washington Jewish Week and pro-Israel lobbies, including J Street, for attending an Oct. 16 luncheon hosted by New Policy PAC at the Washington Sheraton North Hotel in Beltsville, Maryland. Before introducing Edwards to the enthusiastic audience, NewPolicy.org founder Sama Adnan described his new political action committee that funds campaigns of congressional candidates committed to the cause of peace. NewPolicy.org encourages citizens, lawmakers and administration officials to implement long-standing American positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and advocates for a peaceful and just resolution of the conTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
flict in the interest of enhancing American security, Adnan said. NewPolicy.org is working with members of Congress to enact legislation to end the Gaza siege, freeze Jewish settlements and establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It takes no position on whether a negotiated end to the conflict should result in a two-state or one-state solution. “As American citizens concerned for America’s interests and long-term security, we do not pretend to know what’s the right solution for the Israelis and Palestinians,” Adnan said. “However, we do proclaim our right to protest our taxpayer money going into supporting the Israeli occupation, Jewish settlements or any illegal activity by the Israeli government.” Edwards earned 2010 “Hall of Fame” status in the Washington Report by voting against H. Res. 34 “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” during Israel’s 200809 assault on Gaza. She also voted against H. Res. 867, calling on President Barack Obama to “stop any further consideration” of the U.N. Human Rights Council-commissioned Goldstone Report. (See Sept./Oct. 2010 Washington Report, pp. 25-37, for the complete congressional scorecard or visit <www.wrmea.org/pdf/111th_congress_vo ting_records.pdf>.) “As many of you know already,” Edwards told her audience, which included a representative from J Street, “my attendance here today has caused quite a stir within the Jewish community and on the blogosphere.” She proudly stated that she “has been involved in issues of Israel/Palestine 59
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about his goals for Palestine. Three days later, Israel decided not to renew its temporary “freeze” on building illegal Jewish settlements, and the peace talks fell apart. Fadi Elsalameen, managing director of the Web site Palestine Note, which cosponsored the talk, introduced Fayyad, who is a former economist at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In August 2009, Fayyad launched a twoyear statehood program called, “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State.” The program is intended to establish the infrastructure of the Palestinian state, including building civil institutions, government offices, a stock market and an airport. At the half-way mark this past August, Fayyad told the audience, he released a follow-up plan called the “Homestretch to Freedom,” which details the goals of the coming year in order to create “solid, wellfunctioning, efficient institutions of government.” The goal at the finish line is statehood, Fayyad emphasized, which means “freedom for the Palestinian people, the opportunity for us Palestinians to be able to live as free people in a country of our own with justice for all, security and stability.” Without these things, he cautioned, the “goal of lasting peace in the region will continue to be elusive.“ Fayyad said he was encouraged by the fact that President Barack Obama’s administration has chosen to deal with this issue early on. “In our quest for freedom, we need to proceed on these two paths simultaneously—the political process, through
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and leaders—they should be discouraged. I am not one of those naysayers. Despite the current challenges, I am more hopeful than ever before that two states will be realized in the context of the current negotiations.” Describing “the incredible range of dialogue that occurs in Israel on issues of peace and security—a breadth of dialogue that we need desperately in the United States,” Edwards said she was disturbed and disappointed by the “effort to chill my thoughts, perhaps to censor my Sama Adnan (l) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD). words, or perhaps to even disand peace in the Middle East for over 15 courage me from speaking to you at all.” Too often, Americans take an over-simyears. My position in support of a two-state plified approach and see this conflict as solution is clear and has always been so.” In June 2009 Edwards visited Israel, the black and white, Edwards said. “In a maWest Bank, and Gaza with her colleagues ture democracy, it is critical that we take Reps. Brian Baird (D-WA) and Peter Welch great lengths to maintain an open, honest, (D-VT). “I am more committed now than and respectful dialogue even with those ever before to the belief that we have no with whom we have disagreements in polhope of achieving peace unless every- icy or philosophy.” Edwards concluded by promising to conone—everyone—is willing to at a minimum engage in open and honest debate and dis- tinue her efforts to encourage open debate cussion of these complex issues that have and discussion, and called for voters to turn perplexed generations before us. That de- out on Election Day. For more information bate must take place internationally and do- visit <www.newpolicy.org.> —Delinda C. Hanley mestically,” Edwards emphasized. “Some have acted deliberately to interfere with the slim hopes for peace—they should Prime Minister Fayyad Speaks Out be condemned,” she continued. “Some have On Building Palestine posited that peace in the Middle East will Palestinian National Authority (PNA) never be achieved—they should be ig- Prime Minister Salam Fayyad addressed a nored. Others have speculated as to the mo- packed house at the New America Fountives and motivations of the various parties dation in Washington, DC on Sept. 23
For the past few years American synagogues of many sizes and denominations showed their support for Israel by posting banners outside their places of worship (like B’nai Shalom’s banner, above left, in Olney, MD). Banners first popped up proclaiming that a temple “stands with Israel” or “supports Israel” during Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon. After Israel’s cruel siege and 2008–2009 war on Gaza some banners came down, while others seemed to multiply, a reflection of the changing views of Jewish Americans. President Barack Obama’s recent attempts to resume peace talks have inspired some places of worship, including Temple Emanuel in Kensington, MD, to plant new, more conciliatory and optimistic banners (above right). 60
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ture agreement. Fayyad agreed School of Government, spoke about peacethat the domestic situation must making and her family’s history in occupied be resolved, or “the state of Pales- Palestine at Westminster Presbyterian tine would continue to be a fairy Church in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 2. tale and not part of the reality.” “I was born after 1967, after the West Regardless of political differ- Bank and the Gaza Strip were occupied by ences, Fayyad stated, “They are Israel,” said Rantisi, a Palestinian Christian our people. Gaza and the West whose family was forced out of its home in Bank are the same. One people.” Lydda in 1948 by Israeli military forces. The easing of the blockade is not “I was born in Jerusalem,” she explained, enough, Fayyad added: There “but because I have a green ID card, which should also be safe passage be- means I’m from the West Bank, I’m not altween Gaza and the West Bank. lowed to enter Jerusalem. I would need to “This link was part of the interim apply for a permit [to enter Jerusalem]. So, agreement of Oslo,” he pointed [the ID card] is mainly used as a tool for disout, “and should have happened crimination.” Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Salam in the ‘90s.” Rantisi, who grew up in Ramallah, deFayyad works for Palestinian statehood in 2011. When asked to comment on scribed the lives of millions of Palestinians: which we seek to bring the Israeli occupa- Binyamin Netanyahu’s new demand that “You’re reminded, living under occupation, tion to an end, and the statehood-building Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish that you are not fully human. You don’t track.” By mid-2011, Fayyad expects the state, Fayyad stated that Palestinians rec- have full human rights. It was normal for “emergence of an independent, viable state ognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and me growing up, when I went to school, to of Palestine on the territories occupied in security back in 1993. “You will think see soldiers in the street, to be shot at, to 1967, certainly in the Gaza Strip and the that, in return for this recogniWest Bank, including, as its capital, tion, we would have gotten recognition on the part of the Jerusalem. That’s what this is about.” Fayyad said he has always argued that government of Israel of our Palestinians are not going to attain their right to statehood as Palestinian freedom by being either submissive or bel- people,” he added. “That wasn’t ligerent, or by just reacting to events. the case...Israel recognized the Building a Palestinian state is a proactive PLO as a representative of the move, he explained, not just an abstract Palestinian people. That’s all...” The way a country chooses to concept—and it is something that is totally possible. In fact, according to a Sept. 21 define itself is a product of its executive summary published by the own internal political processes, World Bank, “If the Palestinian Authority Fayyad noted. It shouldn’t be maintains its current performance in insti- raised as a demand or expectatution-building and delivery of public ser- tion of any other nation. The vices, it is well-positioned for the estab- issue never came up in peace lishment of a state at any point in the near talks with Jordan or Egypt. Hilary Rantisi speaks Oct. 2 at Westminster PresbyterWhen asked by Sabeel, DC ian Church in Des Moines. future.” “I rest my case,” Fayyad concluded to member Paul Verduin about the international boycott of Israeli goods, great applause. Amjad Atallah, co-director of the New Fayyad replied, “I do support the boycott smell tear gas. This is normal under occupaAmerican Foundation’s Middle East Task of settlement products, and I lead it. As a tion.” Rantisi told her audience about other asForce, asked Fayyad, “What does it mean matter of fact, it’s my government that has next year—if everything goes according to sponsored it. By boycotting settlement pects of life under Israeli military occupaplan, what does it mean for Palestinians to products, our people are exercising their tion: imprisonment, torture, restriction of movement, limited access to resources inbe free?” Think of being able to go on with right to say no to the occupation.” Finally, Fayyad was asked, ”If the talks cluding water and farmland, the destrucyour life, Fayyad replied, “free of worry about your security at the individual and remain stalled a year from today, will you tion of homes. family level.” Imagine being able to focus declare independence unilaterally?” The occupation is deadly, she noted, and “Declaration of statehood is above my during the past 10 years the conflict has on issues that matter to development, not only in economic terms but in social and pay grade,” the prime minister quipped, taken the lives of 6,371 Palestinians, many cultural terms. Palestinians, like other but added, “do not underestimate the of them children, and 1,083 Israelis. Israel has established hundreds of checkcountries free of conflict, will be able to power of the concept, the power of ideas ”really get on with it and develop our so- put into action and facts on the ground.” points that prevent the movement of people —Ellen Baugh and Delinda Hanley and goods, said Rantisi. “People who need ciety and provide opportunities” and a future for their young men and women. medical care, the elderly who have difficulty with movement…for the economy, it Taghreed Khodary asked about the need Hilary Rantisi Speaks in Des Moines for unity among Palestinians in Gaza and Hilary Rantisi, director of the Middle East is devastating.…Every town and village has the West Bank in order to implement a fu- Initiative at Harvard University’s Kennedy an impediment to movement, every town STAFF PHOTO M. GILLESPIE
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and village is divided from the next one either by a checkpoint or a roadblock or the wall, or by a settler road or a settlement.” Nablus has 14 settlements and 16 outposts surrounding it, she added, for a total of 30 Israeli colonies and outposts on Palestinian land ringing Nablus and its 180,000 citizens. If a person lives in one Palestinian town or village and works in another, or needs medical care or to transport goods, normal life and economic activity is all but impossible, said the Harvard executive training program administrator. Rantisi told her audience that her uncle had died of a heart attack after the Palestinian ambulance transporting him to the hospital for treatment was delayed at a checkpoint by Israeli occupation forces. “Everything I’ve described in the West Bank is similar but worse in Gaza, because it is a smaller area of land, much more densely populated, with 1.5 million, the majority of them refugees living in refugee camps,” said Rantisi. During the question-and-answer period that followed her prepared remarks, Rantisi observed that the questions she was asked indicated that Iowans are far more knowledgeable about the situation in Palestine today than when she last spoke in Des Moines several years ago. Rantisi also spoke at the Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines on Oct. 3 in conjunction with World Communion Sunday. —Michael Gillespie
The Israeli-Syrian Conflict Over the Golan Heights: Myths and Realities
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Dr. Yigal Kipnis, an Israeli author from Hebrew University in Jerusalem who specializes in the geography and history of the Golan Heights, spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC on Oct. 8, in an event co-sponsored with the Foundation for Middle East
Dr. Yigal Kipnis discusses the Golan Heights. 62
Peace, Churches for Middle East Peace, and the Middle East Institute. Dr. Kipnis, who served as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force and Reserves for 31 years, resides in Ma’aleh Gamla, an illegal settlement in the west of the Golan Heights. His book on the Golan conflict, The Mountain That Was As a Monster, published in Hebrew in July 2009, explores the gaps between myth and reality that stand in the way of a peace agreement. Dr. Kipnis startled his audience by saying that the Israeli government initially was prepared to withdraw to the June 4, 1967 border in return for a peace agreement, and informed Washington of its decision on June 19, 1967. Kipnis pored through archives in the United States and found that then-President Lyndon Johnson neglected to report Israel’s decision to U.S. allies or to the Soviet Union, which at the time represented Egypt and Syria in the diplomatic arena. According to Kipnis, Johnson met on June 23, 1967 in New York with Russian Premier Alexei Kosygin, but the records of the meeting contain no mention of the Israeli offer. Israel’s political leaders, who received a report about the content of the meetings, interpreted this as a rejection of the proposal. Security Council Resolution 242, passed in November of that year, enabled Israel to put its offer into the “deep freeze.” Kipnis predicts a peace agreement between Syria and Israel in the near future because the countries disagree on only a few meters of land. Today, he pointed out, because of changes in the water level of Lake Kinneret (also known as the Sea of Galilee and Lake Tiberias), the lake’s present coastline is not the same as it was in 1967. (The lake, only 13 miles by 7 miles, provides about a third of Israel’s water requirements and is the only natural freshwater lake in the area. Israel is loath to give up complete control.) Even if Israel accedes to Syria’s demand to withdraw to the 1967 lines, the northeast strip of coastline would remain under Israeli control, Kipnis said. The border passes 10 meters from the shoreline, so that the lake’s lower level leaves more territory under Syrian sovereignty, Kipnis argued. Download a podcast of this fascinating talk at MEI’s Web site, <http://mei.edu>. —Delinda C. Hanley
Armenians of Jerusalem At an Oct. 14 program in the Glendale Central Library entitled “The Armenians of Jerusalem: A Photographic Journey,” Los Angeles attorney Matthew Karanian preTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
STAFF PHOTO S. TWAIR
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Matthew Karanian. sented slides he took in May of the Armenian monuments in the Holy Land . Armenians have had a strong presence in Jerusalem since the 4th century C.E., Karanian explained. He took great pride in seeing Armenians equally share control of Christian monuments with the Catholics, Greeks and Russians. Armenians emigrated to the Holy Land after the genocide of the early 1900s. Now, however, they account for only 2,000 in Palestine/Israel, and only 500 live in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter. Because today it is difficult for non-Jews to immigrate to Israel, the Armenian leaders of Jerusalem told Karanian they welcome Western pilgrims to their holy sites. Armenians from Armenia frequently visit Jerusalem, Karanian added, because of a newly opened Yerevan-to-Tel Aviv flight. His visit to the Armenian Quarter was facilitated by contacts between Southern California religious leaders and their counterparts in Jerusalem. Karanian is co-author with Robert Kurkjian of The Stone Garden Guide: Armenia and Karabagh. His photos of Armenian Jerusalem will be featured in a forthcoming book. —Pat McDonnell Twair
ANERA Tells an Important Story to Americans and Palestinians Alike Guests at American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)’s 42nd annual dinner at the Capital Hilton Hotel on Oct. 1 enjoyed an evening of inspirational Hakawati, the Arabic world for storytelling, to focus attention on ANERA’s agricultural projects benefitting Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon. ANERA used the traditional method of storytelling to share oral histories that highlight the importance of farming and land to Palestinian people. ANERA was launched in 1968 to help DECEMBER 2010
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PHOTO COURTESY EL-HIBRI CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
PHOTO MICHAEL KEATING
PHOTO MICHAEL KEATING
tion’s headquarters in Washingease the suffering of Palestinian ton, DC. refugees following the 1967 The annual prize, a joint effort Arab-Israeli War. In fiscal year with Nonviolence International, 2009, it delivered $48.5 million recognized McCarthy’s 30 years for programs in the Middle East. as a teacher and promoter of ANERA honored Qatar and peace studies. The prize, which Kuwait for their generous contricarries a monetary award of butions and support for its Milk $15,000, is awarded annually by for Preschoolers program that the El-Hibri Charitable Foundaprovides fortified milk and bistion to an individual or organizacuits to some 20,000 preschoolers tion that has made a significant every day of the school term. For contribution to the field of peace two years in a row Qatar has coneducation. tributed $1 million, and Kuwait Widely known for his Washadded $1 million this year to help sustain the program. Kuwait’s (L-r) U.S. Ambassador and ANERA board vice chair Skip Gnehm, ington Post columns from 1969 Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah and Ambassador Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri of Qatar, Curtis Brand, until 1997, McCarthy was honored for teaching nonviolent conAmbassador Ali Bin Fahad Al- ANERA board chair, and Bill Corcoran, ANERA president. flict resolution and developing Hajri of Qatar accepted handpeace studies curricula at a varipainted gifts of calligraphy by ety of Washington-area high artist Nawaf Soliman which read schools, universities, law schools “Generosity. Giving. On behalf of and student leadership programs. the children of Gaza, ANERA exIn addition, he has written nutends our gratitude for your genmerous books on peace educaerous support...” tion. In 1985 McCarthy and his In presenting the awards to the wife, Mavourneen, founded the two ambassadors, ANERA Board Center for Teaching Peace, a nonVice Chair Ambassador Skip profit organization that assists Gnehm pointed to their counschools at all levels to begin or tries’ concern for Gaza’s most expand programs in peace studvulnerable children. “It is a testaies and nonviolent conflict resoment to their trust in ANERA and their commitment to invest- ANERA president Bill Corcoran thanks Sabah Al-Moghrabi, who lution. At McCarthy’s request, ing in Gaza’s children, who de- has managed the organization’s Gaza office since it opened in 1985. the $15,000 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize was donated to the serve a better future,” said Amextend the growing seasons and produce Center for Teaching Peace. bassador Gnehm. Among those who paid tribute to McANERA staff remembered Dr. Peter Gub- more food. In the West Bank, ANERA is ser, who as president of ANERA committed helping farming families connect to irriga- Carthy at the award ceremony was U.S. Rep. 29 years of his career to improving the lives tion systems and creating agriculture coop- James P. Moran (D-VA), who praised him as of Palestinians. Peter Gubser died Sept. 2, eratives to provide employment opportuni- a courageous and inspirational voice for after battling cancer (see “In Memoriam” on ties and markets for farmers to sell produce. peace and compassion, singling out his efThis year’s event broke all previous forts to call attention to the victims of viop. 74). ANERA, which has been working in Gaza for 25 years, also lauded the American records for table sponsorships, attendance lence ranging from war refugees to misfirm Firedoll for supporting agricultural pro- and dollars raised. Some 460 guests enjoyed treated animals. “For over nearly 30 years, I jects aimed at making Gazan families more the evening and raised $300,000 to help read his columns in The Washington Post,” fund this year’s agricultural and water pro- Moran said, “constantly pushing for the self-sufficient. Naser Qadous, ANERA’s chief agronomist jects. —Delinda C. Hanley in the West Bank, was interviewed on stage by National Public Radio journalist Deborah Amos, who asked him about the chal- Colman McCarthy lenges facing West Bank and Gaza farmers. Receives 2010 He spoke of the challenges farmers face be- El-Hibri Peace cause of water scarcity, limitations on ex- Education Award port of produce, and other issues. Surrounded by more ANERA’s current president, Bill Corcoran, than 100 friends and adreminded donors that ANERA touches the mirers, journalist and edlives of many in need in the region. Israel’s ucator Colman McCarthy 2006 war on Lebanon destroyed much of was awarded the 2010 Elthe agricultural land there, he noted. This Hibri Peace Education year ANERA planted more than 6,000 trees Prize at an event held in Upper Baalbeck and Hasbaya. ANERA Sept. 25, 2010 at the El- (L-r) Fuad El-Hibri, Dr. Mubarak Awad, honoree Colman also has built greenhouses in Gaza that will Hibri Charitable Founda- McCarthy and Nancy El-Hibri. DECEMBER 2010
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
nonviolent resolution of conflicts, focusing on human security rather than national security.” In a congratulatory letter read at the ceremony, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern (DMA) said of McCarthy’s peace education work, “Your expertise and devotion to this area of study inspired me, as a student at American University years ago, to further explore the field of peace.” McCarthy’s son John introduced his father as a high-energy and competitive man who instilled in his children a sense of social justice at an early age. In his acceptance speech, McCarthy spoke about the importance of including peace studies in the academic curriculum and challenging young minds to pursue peace in their lives. “You can never tell when you are going to have a positive impact,” McCarthy said, relating a story of a young women in one of his university peace studies classes who was habitually late and seemed not interested in the subject matter. A few years later she wrote to McCarthy telling him that her appreciation of his class came about gradually and that she was at the point of extending her Peace Corps tour in Morocco for an additional year. Dr. Mubarak Awad, president of Nonviolence International and chair of the ElHibri Peace Education Prize Selection Committee, noted that “Many worthy nominations were received but in the end Colman McCarthy was the overwhelming choice of the peace education experts who served on the committee.” The El-Hibri Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation that seeks to build a better world by encouraging peace education, interfaith dialogue, humanitarian and social justice. The El-Hibri Peace Prize was initiated in 2007 by Fuad El-Hibri, chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, and his wife, Nancy. —Zen Hunter-Ishikawa
Iowa Human Rights Activists Protest FBI Excesses Dozens of Iowa activists rallied at Nollen Plaza in Des Moines on Sept. 30 in response to recent news reports about Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance and raids targeting human rights and anti-war activists across the nation. “We are here today to strongly condemn the FBI’s Sept. 24 raids at the homes and offices of peace organizers and international solidarity activists in Minneapolis and Chicago,” Des Moines Catholic Worker David Goodner told a crowd of about 50 activists, their supporters, and journalists rep64
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Sherry Hutchison, editor of The Friendly Line, the newsletter of the Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, defends constitutionally protected speech at a rally protesting FBI excesses. resenting local and national print and broadcast news organizations. “During raids last week the FBI delivered subpoenas to 11 activists in three different states accusing them of providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations….The FBI raids came in the wake of new revelations released last week by the Des Moines Register that the FBI spent hundreds of hours in 2008 spying on student and community organizations in Iowa City, Iowa,” said Goodner. The newspaper report was based on heavily redacted government records Goodner had obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and turned over to the Des Moines Register. “It comes on the heels of a report released by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice that found between 2001 and 2006 the FBI opened criminal investigations against peace and justice organizations without cause, extended those investigations with weak factual evidence…violated their own policies, and routinely mischaracterized civil disobedience as a domestic terrorist threat to national security,” Goodner told the crowd gathered in the city center square on a beautiful fall day. “We denounce the government repression and harassment of grassroots community organizations that work to create a more just and democratic society.…We will not be silenced, and we will not be intimidated,” he declared. Ben Stone, executive director of the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, expressed the ACLU’s concern about government surveillance that has a chilling effect on constitutionally protected dissent. “What we are seeing is that there is a pattern here, around the country, that is very, very troubling,” Stone told the crowd. Stone called for the FBI’s expenditures to be scrutinized to assure that criminal investigations are limited to those people and organizations known to be genuine threats, so that taxpayer dollars are not wasted and legitimate dissent is not suppressed Also addressing the rally were Catholic Worker Brian Terrell and Des Moines activist Elton Davis, two of four Iowa anti-war activists who were served with grand jury subpoenas in 2004 by a Polk County deputy sheriff working with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Those subpoenas, which targeted Drake University and demanded information about a November 2004 National Lawyers Guild conference held there, were met with stiff opposition and public outrage. They were withdrawn after Sen. Tom Harkin (DIA) publically commented, “I don’t like the smell of it…It reminds me too much of Vietnam when war protestors were rounded up, when grand juries were convened to investigate people who were protesting the war.” American Friends Service Committee Iowa program coordinator Kathleen McQuillen, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom member Judy Lonning, and Catholic Peace Ministry director Jeffrey Weiss also addressed the crowd. Following the rally, a smaller group of activists visited the FBI’s offices in West Des Moines to deliver a letter addressed to FBI Director Robert Mueller. Uniformed and plainclothes law enforcement officers denied the group entry to the FBI’s offices and refused to accept the letter, saying, “The resident agent-in-charge has requested ‘no contact.’” “The instruction from the FBI is, if you want to send them correspondence, send it through the U.S. Mail,” a uniformed federal officer told the group. Activists then read the letter aloud to the officers in the foyer of the building. This reporter asked Goodner if he supports the FBI’s efforts to investigate, and the Department of Justice’s often-thwarted efforts to prosecute, foreign intelligence agency operations on U.S. soil. “Absolutely,” replied Goodner, “and I also support them investigating the war criminals who led us into Iraq and Afghanistan and the corporate crooks who crashed our economy and the big banksters who ripped the DECEMBER 2010
American people off. Those are the real criminals, and if law enforcement meant anything in this country they’d be investigating those guys and not coming after the pacifists,” he concluded. —Michael Gillespie
9/11 Unity Walk This year I participated in my first 9/11 Unity Walk in Washington, DC, taking pictures at the Sikh Temple, the Vatican Embassy, the Islamic Center of Washington, DC, the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial and a few places in between. During the walk it was evident that each worship community took pride in opening its doors to the public. I shared a sense of excitement and curiosity with my fellow walkers who made their way up Massachusetts Avenue from the National GurdwaraSikh Temple, where the event started, and around the corner on 21st St. to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, exploring new places and meeting new people. Local religious and interfaith leaders gave presentations promoting their social service projects along the walk, beginning with a
clothing drive for Miriam’s Kitchen which was being held at the Sikh Temple. There was something very special about the sounding of the Shofar by Rabbi David Shneyer, cofounder of Am Kolel, on the steps of the Islamic Center. Am Kolel is a welcoming and diverse Jewish Renewal community located in Montgomery County, Maryland and serving the Greater Washington, DC metro area. —Fatima Thompson
PHOTO COURTESY WORLD BANK
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World Bank President Robert Zoellick (l) greets Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi.
Diplomatic Doings Prime Minister of Tunisia Mohamed Ghannouchi
STAFF PHOTOS WILLIAM HUGHES
PHOTO F. THOMPSON
Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi discussed “Tunisia’s KnowledgeBased Approach to Long-Term Growth and Job Creation” at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC on Oct. 6. After thanking World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick for his “constructive and innovative” approach to meeting the needs and aspirations of member countries, Ghannouchi described the wide range of reforms and investments Tunisia is making to optimize resource allocation, Rabbi David Shneyer sounds the Shofar outside the Islamic expand social progress, and Center in Washington, DC. secure economic and finan-
cial balances. Tunisia was hit hard by the international economic crisis, Ghannouchi said, resulting in a nearly 20 percent drop in external demand for Tunisian goods and services. Fortunately, under the leadership of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, even before the downturn Tunisia’s government had launched efforts to restructure its economy and reform economic policies. After quick actions, including taking short-term measures to extend credit to companies facing cash-flow problems, Tunisia is in a healthy financial position to face the downturn and maintain its pace for reforms. Economic growth reached 3.1 percent and unemployment rose by only 0.7 in 2009, the prime minister said. Unemployment is still a serious challenge in Tunisia, Ghannouchi acknowledged. “The unemployment rate nation-wide was 13.3 percent in 2009, but it is 22 percent for university graduates,” he said. “While over 60 percent of new entrants into the labor
Organizers advocate for jobs, peace, quality education, a single payer healthcare system and other important social justice issues at the “One Nation” Rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, Oct. 2, 2010.
Protesters, including Rev. Graylon Hagler, above, rally in front of the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC on Sept. 28 in response to recent FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas targeting activists associated with the antiwar movement. Hagler reminded listeners that President Ronald Reagan had called Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress a “terrorist organization.” The government has often tried to disrupt grassroots efforts working in solidarity with anti-colonial efforts in South Africa, Israel and elsewhere. Law enforcement should not decide what is morally and ethically correct, Rev. Hagler concluded. (A You-Tube video of the protest can be viewed at <http://vimeo.com/15384478>.) DECEMBER 2010
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
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While Ghannouchi cautioned that achieving his country’s objectives will be a challenging task in the current international environment, he expressed his confidence that Tunisia will meet its goals for modernity and progress. —Delinda C. Hanley
Saudi Arabia Celebrates 80th Anniversary The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrated its 80th national day with a Sept. 23 reception at its Washington, DC embassy hosted by Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. “Saudi Arabia is proud of its accomplishments,” the ambassador said. “The Kingdom will continue to be a source of global energy, promote regional security and diplomacy, and foster social development around the world.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her congratulations on the occasion, saying, “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s leadership on key challenges, from developing the Kingdom’s institutions and economy to establishing an enduring dialogue promoting moderation and tolerance, has put Saudi Arabia and the region on a path toward a stronger, more prosper-
STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY
market are university graduates, only 40 percent of jobs created are destined to this category.” Because Tunisian graduates need to join the workforce, he said, “it is crucial to spare no efforts to improve competitiveness, access new markets, and attract more foreign investment.” Ghannouchi described the “XII Development Plan (2010-2014)” which Tunisia recently adopted. “To meet these challenges, we must absolutely accelerate the restructuring pace of our economy. We must move from a growth model driven by competitiveness based on widespread use of low-skilled workforce to a growth model driven by innovation and intensive use of a skilled workforce.” Tunisia will invest in jobs for its growing number of engineers, scientists and technology experts. Tunisia is building technology and science parks which target information and communications technologies, multimedia, renewable energy, biotechnology, microelectronics, food processing, and textiles. The government will also encourage the growing number of innovative firms in telecommunications, software and data processing, pharmaceuticals, electronics and research and development.
Standing before a portrait of King Abdullah, Saudi Ambassador Adel bin Ahmed AlJubeir welcomes guests to the national day celebration. ous, and more secure future.” A year ago King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the only international graduate-level research university of its kind in the region, opened its doors. —Delinda C. Hanley
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book_review_67_Book Review 10/27/10 10:06 PM Page 67
Books Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran—A Journey Behind the Headlines By Scott Peterson, Simon & Schuster, 2010, hardback, 752 pp. List: $32; AET: $22. Reviewed by Ian Williams The latest book by Scott Peterson, currently The Christian Science Monitor’s Istanbul bureau chief, should be required reading for policymakers in Washington—but how many have time to read a 752-page book? To describe Let the Swords Encircle Me as journalistic is not at all pejorative, for it is indeed the best kind of journalism— thoughtful, the fruit of intensive reporting, laden with well-sourced evidence and conclusions drawn from it. On his numerous visits to Iran for The Christian Science Monitor, Peterson was able to monitor Islamic politics scientifically. Over a decade of seesawing power between reformers and conservatives, he has tracked Iranians of all factions, and none. Above all, he sets President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a context where democracy is now an expedient way to rubber stamp theocracy, rather than in any way a check on the supreme leader’s power. Reflecting with one of his longtime interlocutors on “the troubled, brutal reality of a regime that had simply failed to live up to the blood sacrifices made by its most devoted True Believers,” Peterson concludes, “This was a government of God, but with few divine attributes.” He shows how Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and volunteer Basiji militia draw their mandate not from mere voting but from divine decrees, sanctified by bloody sacrifice, above all in the Iraq-Iran war— where, lest we forget, the West supported Saddam Hussain in a war of aggression using chemical weapons, targeted with the help of U.S. intelligence. The mullahs’ regime invokes the veterans and the cemeteries of the martyrs to justify its existence. Ian Williams is the Washington Report’s United Nations correspondent. DECEMBER 2010
President Mohammad Khatami’s reformist government lost popularity when it was unable to deliver, not least because, domestically, it was thwarted by the fundamentalists. But there is, of course, blame to go around. Peterson suggests that Khatami also was thwarted by the fundamentalists in Washington who scorned his overtures, and that his failure to achieve significant diplomatic breakthroughs alienated many Iranians from the whole political process, leading to Ahmadinejad’s victory. And, of course, Khatami’s failure played into the hard-liner’s version of the Great Satan’s intractability. Reading Peterson’s depiction of Ahmadinejad at work evokes thoughts of Tea Parties and Sarah Palin, with the invocation of religiosity, the folksiness and ignorance combined with the ability to utter palpable untruths without blinking. Indeed, the resemblances are quite spooky. Just as Palin believes in the imminent Second Coming, so Ahmadinejad anticipates the impending return of the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam. Peterson convincingly answers any doubts about the illegitimacy of Iran’s last election: it was indeed stolen. He bases his account not just on his longtime contacts whose changing views he records over the years, but from his own reporting. It was one of those serendipitous events that make a reporter glad to be alive when he returned to the city of Birjand, which had genuinely and overwhelmingly turned out for Ahmadinejad in the previous election. Peterson arrived during an unscheduled visit by the reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who the locals greeted with unfeigned enthusiasm even as he dismissed Ahmadinejad’s gang as “delusional fanatics.” Peterson knew some of those cheering Iranians who had supported Ahmadinejad the previous time around. “They were angry over the tanking economy and the president’s failure to fulfill extravagant promises,” he comments, “and even repelled by the head-to-head debate just days earlier in which Ahmadinejad’s knifetwisting criticism did little more than officially expose the regime’s previous misdeeds and the corruption of top leaders.” Despite harassing the opposition, packing the registers and stuffing ballot boxes when they realized they were losing, Ahmadinejad’s supporters, who had taken control of the whole process, stopped counting the votes and simply invented the numbers, leading to statistically impossible landslides across the country, with near identical votes in both governTHE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
ment and opposition strongholds. Americans often see politics through their own prism. They view Iran’s “reformists,” for example, as pro-Western and pro-Israel. But Peterson shows that Iranians have their own political framework, one in which it is indeed possible to support a nuclear program, resent American and Western treatment of their country, and indeed support the Palestinians, while still opposing those who have seized control of the regime for their totalitarian and theocratic frame, its deployment of thugs and secret police and denial of democracy and intrusion into the public and private lives of its citizens. In considering the “color revolutions” across the world, Peterson implies that perhaps the worst thing Washington could do would be to lend overt support to one in Iran. While he realistically does not foretell how power will revert to the people, he implies that a U.S. and/or Israeli attack is as likely to rekindle the fires of theocratic fervor as it is to extinguish them. Domestically, Peterson credits “a persistent and courageous opposition not afraid to create martyrs for democracy, and…opponents willing to bleed on the streets for their rights. The great promises of the 1979 Islamic Revolution had been broken, finally, by those hard-liners who spent so much time crowing about their adherence to its values.” ❑
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AET Book Club Catalog Literature
New Winter 2010 Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity—My Own and What it Means to Be a Woman in Chaos by Manal M. Omar, Sourcebooks, 2010, paperback, 244 pp. List: $15; AET: $12.50. From 2003 to 2005, the author directed Women for Women International’s mission in Iraq. Barefoot in Baghdad chronicles her experience within the intimate personal and familial spaces in Iraqi society, as she worked with women facing the chaos of war. She also outlines the ever-escalating risk facing aid workers, and tensions between American forces and nongovernmental organizations.
Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam by Qumar-ul Huda, USIP Books, 2010, paperback, 319 pp. List: $19.95; AET: $17. This groundbreaking book examines the relationship between contemporary Islam and peacemaking by tackling the diverse interpretations, concepts and problems in the field of Islamic peacemaking. Exploring Islamic law, history and theory, Huda offers possibilities for nonviolent interventions, peacemaking, the implementation of human rights, the reinterpretation of texts, peace education instruction, and employing successful mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills in an Islamic context.
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East by Deborah Amos, Public Affairs Press, 2010, hardcover, 256 pp. List: $25.95; AET: $19.50. In this well-researched and highly readable account, NPR reporter Deborah Amos clarifies the complexities of ethnic conflict in Iraq, including the challenges created by mass resettlement and exile. In Damascus, Amman and Beirut, Amos speaks to former members of the Ba’ath party, ordinary Sunnis, Christian Iraqis and others forced to flee from Shi’i militias or the general chaos of their country. Their narratives illuminate the destruction of a vibrant culture and the ongoing trauma faced by the dispossessed and displaced.
Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Sara Roy, Pluto Press, 2007, paperback, 379 pp. List: $31; AET: $25. The culmination of 20 years of research, fieldwork and analysis, Failing Peace chronicles the impact of Israeli occupation in Palestine over nearly a generation. This is a unique and powerful account of the reality of life in the West Bank and Gaza written by one of the world’s foremost scholars of the region, offering an unrivaled breadth of scholarship and insight.
Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World by Nir Rosen, Nation Books, 2010, hardcover, 587 pp. List: $35; AET: $23. Scholar and journalist Nir Rosen skillfully pokes holes in the common narratives about U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Venturing where most Western journalists could not, Rosen shows that American action, not latent sectarian grievances, sparked the civil war that engulfed Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Moreover, Rosen argues, the cleansing did not stop with the advent of the surge, but had more to do with Sunni recognition that the Shi’i had largely won the conflict.
Arab Voices: What They are Saying to Us and Why it Matters by James Zogby, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, hardcover, 248 pp. List: $25; AET: $20. After decades of personally trying to better explain the Arab world to his fellow Americans, James Zogby has written Arab Voices as an answer to the myths and misperceptions that persist. Starting with more than a decade’s worth of polling data collected by Zogby International (run by the author’s brother John), thousands of interviews and personal anecdotes, Zogby draws a much clearer picture of why U.S. attempts to win Arab hearts and minds often fail. His book concludes with steps that govenments could and should take to mitigate misunderstandings. Zogby’s book should be required reading for every American—let alone the 65 percent who believe that Iran is an Arab country.
Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East by Reza Aslan (ed.), W.W. Norton & Co., 2010, hardcover, 657 pp. List: $35; AET: $21. The scholar and bestselling author of No God but God has assembled a collection of extraordinary short stories, memoirs, essays and poems, from places as diverse as Morocco and Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. The collection spans more than a century of literature by the Middle East’s best writers, from Khalil Gibran to Orhan Pamuk. Tablet & Pen pulls together seemingly disparate literary traditions to reveal the common experience of colonial rule and Western dominance and correct the absence of important literary works from the world canon.
America’s Misadventures in the Middle East by Chas W. Freeman Jr., Just World Books, 2010, paperback, 230 pp. AET: $22.95. A collection of new and unpublished essays from one of America’s preeminent diplomats. With wisdom and wit, Ambassador Freeman covers such topics as the Gulf war, President George W. Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq, U.S.-Saudi relations, and the consequences of Washington’s failure to hold Israel accountable. AET Exclusive: The first five copies sold will be signed by the author!
AET exclusive: The first 10 copies sold will be signed by the author!
Inside The Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia by Robert Lacey, Viking Press, hardcover, 2009, 404 pp. List: $27.95, AET: $18.50. Three decades after writing The Kingdom, the famed historian and bestselling author returns to Saudi Arabia. Based on hundreds of personal interviews with princes and paupers while living there, Inside the Kingdom explores the last turbulent three decades of Saudi experience. While Lacey believes the Kingdom is becoming more tolerant, he documents the paradoxical nature of a state in which the House of Saud attempts to supress violent fundamentalists while its legitimacy relies on a religious structure that tends toward extremism. AET exclusive: the first three copies sold will be signed by the author!
Deadline for Holiday Gift Orders Books from the AET Book Club Catalog or subscriptions to the Washington Report make ideal holiday gifts. To ensure delivery of books or magazines to addresses within the U.S. and Canada by Thursday, Dec. 23, telephone orders must be placed and mail and Web orders received no later than Thursday, Dec. 9 by 6 p.m. EST. 68
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Special Holiday Gift Edition Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran: A Journey Behind the Headlines by Scott Peterson, Simon & Schuster, 2010, hardcover, 732 pp. List: $32; AET: $24. Based on more than 30 visits to Iran over the last 15 years, Christian Science Monitor Middle East correspondent Scott Peterson has penned this authoritative account. Mixing original reportage with history, he recounts the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, President Khatami’s rise and fall, the rise of President Ahmadinejad, and 2009’s Green Movement. Perhaps most important is Peterson’s portrayal of the often internally divided Iranians as being united in opposition to foreign control or attacks. Let the Swords Encircle Me should be on every U.S. policymaker’s shortlist.
Eyes in Gaza by Mads Gilbert & Erik Fosse, Quartet Books, 2010, hardcover, 332 pp. List: $25; AET: $18. During Israel’s 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead, Dr. Mads Gilbert and Dr. Erik Fosse were the only two foreign doctors allowed into Gaza, where they spent 16 days at the over-crowded Al-Shifaa Hospital. Eyes in Gaza is their account of the horrors they witnessed there, with each chapter devoted to a single day. The Norwegian edition was hailed by the influential Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen as the “best book of 2009.” Gilbert and Fosse’s shocking yet sober account sheds much-needed light on the terror inflicted on the innocent civilians of Gaza.
Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism & How to Stop it by Robert Pape & James K. Feldman, University of Chicago Press, 2010, hardcover, 356 pp. List: $30; AET: $22. Cutting the Fuse offers a wealth of new knowledge about the origins of suicide terrorism and strategies to stop it. Pape and Feldman have examined every suicide terrorist attack worldwide from 1980 to 2009. Their work fundamentally changes how we understand the root causes of the most important terrorist campaigns today and reveals why the “War on Terror” ultimately has been counterproductive.
Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism by M. Shahid Alam, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, paperback, 272 pp. List: $30; AET: $23. Economist Alam expertly details Zionism’s origins through its effectiveness in current politics. He shows that the 19th-century founders of Zionism not only were aware of the Palestinians, they desired to intentionally establish an exclusionary colonialism in which no non-Jew could cohabit. Alam charts the movement’s creation of homeless nationalism that promoted the cause of a future state, through to the “Jewish-Gentile partnership” intentionally formed to exacerbate the negative perception the West has of Islam. This powerful work builds on Shlomo Sand’s The Invention of the Jewish People (also available from the AET Book Club).
Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam by Akbar Ahmed, Brookings Institution Press, 2010, hardcover, 528 pp. List: $29.95; AET: $22. Over the course of a year, Ahmed and a team of Muslims and Christians traveled to more than 75 U.S. cities, visiting more than 100 mosques, residences and educational institutions and conducting roughly 2,000 interviews in which they asked provocative questions of Muslims and Christians alike. Journey into America is the fruit of this effort, replete with insights on the common American misperception of Islam, as well as the challenges facing Muslims from within their own community. While Ahmed’s research reveals some disheartening truths, there is much hope in this book.
Born Palestinian Born Black: & the Gaza Suite by Suheir Hammad, UpSet Press, 2010, paperback, 96 pp. List: $15.95 AET: $12. UpSet Press has restored to print this critically acclaimed Palestinian-American poet’s first book of poems, originally published by Harlem River Press in 1996 and out of print for more than a decade. Included in this volume is a previously unreleased poem, “The Gaza Suite,” as well as a new publisher's note by Zohra Saed, an introduction by Marco Villalobos, and an afterword by Kazim Ali.
Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians by Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappé, Haymarket Press, 2010, paperback, 240 pp. List: $16; AET: $11.50. From the targeting of schools and hospitals, to the indiscriminate use of white phosphorus, Israel’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead has rattled even some of its most strident supporters. In Gaza in Crisis, Chomsky and Pappé, two of the conflict’s most insightful critical commentators, survey the fallout and place it into the context of Israel’s longstanding occupation of Palestine. The authors provide a rigorous, historically informed and much-needed analysis of the situation.
Little Town of Bethlehem directed by Jim Hanon, EthnoGraphic Media, 2010, DVD, AET: $19.95. This documentary film follows the story of three men of three different faiths and their lives in Israel and Palestine: Sami Awad, a Palestinian Christian and executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means; Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli Jew and an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement; and Ahmad Al’Azzeh, a Palestinian Muslim and head of the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism. Their stories provide the hope that so often seems lacking in this conflict.
Sharing Mary: Bible and Quran Side by Side by Marlies Ter Borg, CreateSpace, 2010, 360 pp. List: $30; AET: $22. An astonishing anthology of Bible and Qur'an stories, Sharing Mary seeks common ground in a time of conflict. Placing verses from the Bible and Qur’an side by side, it shows the Holy Books' commonalities in the stories of Adam in the Garden of Eden; Noah and the Great Flood; David and Goliath, and many more. Even God and Allah are shown to have many attributes in common. This is a peer-reviewed book, useful at all levels of education as well as for the general reader.
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.middleeastbooks.com). All payments in U.S. funds. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted. Please make checks and money orders out to “AET.”Contact the AET Book Club for complete shipping guidelines and options. U . S . S h i p p i n g R a t e s : add $5 for the first item and $2.50 for each additional item. Canada & Mexico shipping charges: Please add $11 for the first item and $3 for each additional item. International shipping charges: Please add $13 for the first item and $3.50 for each additional item. We ship by USPS Priority unless otherwise requested. DECEMBER 2010
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 Book Club at 800-368-5788 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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Upcoming Events & Obituaries —Compiled by Andrew Stimson Upcoming Events The Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference will take place Nov. 18-21 at The Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, San Diego, CA. For details visit <www.mesa.arizona.edu> or call (520) 626-4753. The Middle East Children’s Alliance Holiday Bazaar, featuring Palestinian crafts, will be held Sunday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Live Oak Park Recreation Center, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA. For more information contact <events@ mecaforpeace.org>. Alwan for the Arts will present Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians with author Ilan Pappé, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., at 16 Beaver St., 4th floor, New York, NY 10004. For more information call (646) 732-3261.
Obituaries Vance Bourjaily, 87, the Lebanese-American novelist and educator, died Aug. 30 at Marin General Hospital after suffering a bad fall at his home in San Rafael, CA. A contemporary of such post-World War IIera authors as Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut, Bourjaily’s autobiographical novels, Confessions of a Spent Youth and The End of My Life, depicted his life in America and the Middle East, as his characters grappled with questions of identity. Born in Cleveland, he was the son of Lebanese immigrants who were productive writers themselves: his father a journalist who eventually owned United Features Syndicate, and his mother a features writer and romance novelist. After serving in World War II and completing college, Bourjaily lived in San Francisco, where he was a feature writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. He then moved to New York, where he became an important literary socialite. Later, he spent more than 20 years teaching at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was director of the creative writing program at Louisiana State University in the 1980s and 1990s. He is survived by his wife, Yasmin Mogul, and their son, Omar, of San Rafael; a brother, Paul Webb, of Yellow Springs, OH; and two half-sisters, a stepdaughter, four grandchildren and a step-granddaughter. Riad al-Saray, 35, an Iraqi television host, journalist, lawyer and politician, was as70
sassinated Sept. 7 in Karbala on his way to work. Since 2005, al-Saray had been a high-profile presenter at the state-run broadcaster Iraqiya. His programs often addressed contentious religious and political topics, although he was not generally seen as a controversial figure. Instead he was known as a patriot who detested sectarianism and racism. Prior to his time at Iraqiya, al-Saray served on the local council in the Shi’i neighborhood of Al-Shu’ala in northwest Baghdad, and for a time served as its mayor. He was killed in his car by a group of unknown gunmen, becoming the 15th Iraqiya employee and 230th journalist to be killed in Iraq since the U.S. invaded in 2003. Since his murder Iraqiya has lost another five journalists. Al-Saray was buried in the holy city of Najaf, where a mourning ceremony was held at the local governor’s office. He is survived by his wife and three young children. Israel Tal, 85, a prominent Israeli military strategist known as the father of the Merkava Tank, died in Rehovot, Israel on Sept. 8 after a prolonged illness. Raised during the British Mandate in the small Zionist settlement of Be’er Tuvia, he enlisted in the Jewish Brigade British Army unit and fought in Italy during World War II. He later joined the Jewish Haganah militia, a precursor to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and rose to the rank of platoon commander during the 1948 war. As commander of the fledgling IDF Tank Force, he developed the “pure tank” doctrine that placed the use of tanks at the heart of an offensive, aggressive and mobile IDF. This doctrine saw its heyday during the 1967 Six-Day War. As commander of Israel’s southern front during the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Tal refused an order by both the IDF chief of staff and the Israeli defense minister to engage Egyptian forces after the war had ended, insisting on receiving authorization from then-Prime Minister Golda Meir and the Supreme Court. Later assigned to head a tank design committee, in 1979 he introduced the Merkava, unusual in that the turret and crew compartment were placed in the rear and the engine in front—thereby improving the crew’s chances of survival if the tank took a hit from the front. Later nominated deputy minister of defense under Shimon Peres, General Tal also advised David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. In 1999 he suffered a stroke following an argument THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
BulletinBoard over the Yom Kippur War. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter, and several grandchildren. Mohamed Fathi Osman, 82, the Egyptian scholar, author and advocate for cooperation between Islam and other religions, died Sept. 11 of congestive heart failure at his home in Montrose, CA. Dr. Osman spent a lifetime explaining Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslim Westerners, publishing 40 books in Arabic and English which challenged the distorted versions of Islam promoted by ill-informed Westerners and radical Islamists alike. Born in Minya, Egypt, he earned a degree in history from Cairo University in 1948, a law degree from Alexandria University in 1960, and a master’s degree in Islamic-Byzantine relations from Cairo University in 1962. In 1940 he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and became a friend and colleague of Sayyid Qutb, one of the founding fathers of radical Islam. Osman later broke with Mr. Qutb and the Brotherhood and published Islamic Thought and Change, setting forth his more moderate version of Islam. During the 1960s, he held several positions at Al-Azhar University, and subsequently taught at universities in Algeria and Saudi Arabia before enrolling at Princeton, where he earned a doctorate in Near Eastern studies in 1976. In 1987, he became a scholar in residence at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, where in 1997 he published his most influential work in English, the monumental Concepts of the Quran: A Topical Reading. He was also the founder of the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, part of the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, and a senior scholar at the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement at the University of Southern California. He is survived by his wife, Aida Abdel-Rahman Osman, and daughter, Ghada Osman. Imran Farooq, 50, a leading member of Pakistan’s Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party in Pakistan, was murdered Sept. 17 outside his home in London, where he had been living in self-imposed exile since 1999. Born in Karachi to parents who migrated to Pakistan during the 1947 partition of India, Dr. Farooq was completing his medical degree when, in 1978, he began his political career as a founding member of the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization (APMSO), the first political movement representing Urdu speakDECEMBER 2010
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ers whose families had migrated in 1947, later becoming the organization’s secretarygeneral. APMSO evolved into MQM, with Dr. Farooq serving as the party’s parliamentary leader in the national assembly. In 1989, he announced that the MQM was leaving the government coalition led by Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party. The 1990 elections saw MQM emerge as the country’s third strongest party, but a violent military crackdown on the party in 1992 forced Dr. Farooq into hiding. He continued assisting the organizational structure while remaining a fugitive in the country for seven years before seeking political asylum in England. There he was appointed convener of the MQM coordination committee and retired from political leadership in 2007. Dr. Farooq was stabbed and beaten to death in broad daylight in Edgware, a quiet suburban area of north London. Karachi was hit by rioting in the wake of his murder, which could have implications for national political stability. In addition to his parents, Dr. Farooq is survived by his wife, two young sons, a brother and seven sisters.
Selma Al-Radi, 71, an Iraqi-born archaeologist praised for her restoration of the Amiriya Palace complex in Rada, Yemen, died Oct. 7 of ovarian cancer at her home in Manhattan. Born in Baghdad to a diplomatic family, she grew up in Iran and India DECEMBER 2010
AFP PHOTO/KHALED FAZAA
Ahmed Maher, 75, who served as Egyptian foreign minister from 2001 to 2004, died Sept. 27 after being hospitalized with unspecified health problems. Born in Cairo, Maher studied law at Cairo University and entered the Foreign Ministry, serving as a junior diplomat in Congo, France and Switzerland in the 1960s. Rising rapidly through the ranks, he was part of the 1978 Camp David talks, for which he coordinated efforts with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He also helped conduct the 1988 talks that saw the return to Egyptian control of Taba, which had been occupied by Israel since1967. During the 1990s, Maher served as Egypt’s ambassador to Russia, then to the United States. Critical of U.S. calls to replace Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussain, he maintained that the choice of head of state was an internal matter. Prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Maher warned that military confrontation was the last thing the region needed. In July of 2010, President Hosni Mubarak named Maher a member of the parliament’s upper house, or Shura Council. He spent his final years writing and lecturing in foreign policy. Mubarak led a state funeral for Maher, who is survived by his wife.
and attended schools in Egypt and Beirut. Her father, Muhammad Selim Al-Radi, was one of the first Iraqis to obtain a doctorate from UCLA. Dr. Al-Radi herself was among the first two Iraqi women to travel abroad for training in archaeology, studying at Cambridge and Columbia Universities before earning a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. In the late 1970s, shortly after receiving her Ph.D., she was commissioned by the Yemeni government to design a national museum in Sana’a. On a visit to the town Rada, she spotted the Amiriya Palace and immediately felt compelled to save it. Built between 1504 and 1512, the Amiriya was a mosque and madrassa, as well as the private residence of Sultan Amir ibn Abdal-Wahhab, one of the last Yemeni rulers from the Tahirid dynasty. The Sultan had made his fortune
The Amiriya complex in Rada, Yemen. trading with India, and his palace echoes the architecture of Mughal Delhi. Over the centuries the building’s foundation and outside had crumbled, with large parts destroyed due to a custom in which local warring tribes fired their guns into the walls to seal peace agreements. The artwork inside was flaked and faded by centuries of neglect, and the building had long been used as a garbage dump, with some floors covered by layers of detritus several yards thick. For nearly 25 years, Dr. Al-Radi oversaw the restoration of the complex to its former glory, using only traditional materials and construction methods passed down by Yemeni families for generations. The restoration of the threestory building, crowned by six large domes, was completed in 2005. For their work, Dr. Al-Radi and Yahya al-Nasiri won an Aga Khan award in 2007, with the judges noting that her methods had “reinforced the link between the historic building and the surrounding society, thus ensuring the building’s preservation in the future and providing valuable renewal of knowledge of traditional building crafts.” In 2003 Dr. Al-Radi was one of a group of specialists appointed to investigate the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
Iraq. She is survived by her second husband, Qais al-Awqati; a son from her first marriage, Rakan Zahawi; her mother, Suad Muneer Abbas; and a brother, Abbad AlRadi. ❑ United States Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (required by 39 USC 6985 (1) Publication Title: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; (2) Publication No: 015505; (3) Filing Date: 10/27/10; (4) Issue Frequency: Every six weeks in Jan/Feb, March, July, Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov and Dec and five weeks in April and May/June; (5) No. of issues published annually: 9; (6) Annual subscription price: $29; (7) Complete mailing address of known office of publication: American Educational Trust, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707; (8) Complete mailing address of headquarters or general business office: American Educational Trust, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707; (9) Full names and complete mailing addresses of publisher, editor and managing editor: Publisher: Andrew Killgore, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707, Executive Editor: Richard Curtiss, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707, News Editor: Delinda Hanley, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707, Managing Editor: Janet McMahon, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707; (10) Owner: American Educational Trust, 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-1707; (11) Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1 percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: none; (12) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during preceding 12 months; (13) Publication title: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; (14) Issue date for circulation data below: XXIX-9, December 2010; (15) Extent and nature of circulation: (a) total no. copies (net press run): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 12,144, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 12,000; (b) Paid and/or requested circulation: (1) Paid/requested Outside-County mail subscriptions stated on Form 3541 (include advertiser’s proof and exchange copies): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 5,751, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 5,262; (2) Paid InCounty subscriptions stated on Form 3541 (include advertiser’ s proof and exchange copies): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 0, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date,0; (3) Sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors, counter sales, and other non-USPS paid distribution: Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 1,370. No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date,1,300; (4) Other classes mailed through the USPS: Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 180. No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 175; (c) Total paid and/or requested circulation [sum of 15b (1), (2), (3), and (4)]: Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 7,101, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 7,590; (d) Free distribution by mail (samples, complimentary and other free): (1) Outside-County as stated on Form 3541: Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 4,780, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, ; (2) In-County as stated on Form 3541, Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 0, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 0; (3) Other classes mailed through the USPS, Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 118, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 124; (e) Free distribution outside the mail (carriers or other means): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 4,400, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 6,570 (f) Total free distribution (sum of 15d and e): 10,101. Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 6,427, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date 6,707; (g) Total distribution (sum of 15c and f): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 14,388, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 12,000; (h) Copies not distributed: Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 1,000; No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 550; (i) Total (sum of 15g and h): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 12,144 No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 12,000; (j) percent paid and/or requested circulation (15c/15gX100): Average no. copies each issue during preceding 12 months, 40.26%, No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 39.89%; (16) This statement of ownership will be printed in the Dec. 2010 issue of this publication; (17) Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner: Delinda Hanley, Executive Director, 10/27/10, I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). Failure to file or publish a statement of ownership may lead to suspension of second-class authorization. PS Form 3526 October 1999 (Facsimile).
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AET’s 2010 Choir of Angels Following are individuals, organizations, companies and foundations whose help between Jan. 1, 2010 and Oct. 21, 2010 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. We are deeply honored by their confidence and profoundly grateful for their generosity.
HUMMERS ($100 or more) Americans For a Palestinian State, Oakland, CA Rosita Abel, Wilmington, DE Jeff Abood, Silver Lake, OH James Abourezk, Sioux Falls, SD Rizek Abusharr, Claremont, CA Robert Ackerman, New Alexandria, PA Richard Adamiak, Ph.D., Chicago, IL** Michael & Jane Adas, Highland Park, NJ Hafiz Ahmad, Acworth, VA Ray & Rhonda Ajluni, Northville, MI Dr. & Mrs. Salah Al-Askari, Leonia, NJ A.M. Al-Shadhan, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Dr. Nabil Al-Sharif, Carterville, IL Mohammad Alhatou, M.D., Orangeburg, SC Dr. Mohamad Alkhayat, Geneva, Switzerland Arthur Alter, Goleta, CA Nabil & Judy Amarah, Danbury, CT Samir & Karen Amin, Lake City, MI Mostafa & Jenny Amr, Lexington, KY Hamid & Kim Alwan, Milwaukee, WI Dr. Nabih Ammari, Cleveland, OH M. Arefi, West Bloomfield, MI David & Kathryn Asfour, Vallejo, CA Dr. Robert Ashmore Jr., Mequon, WI Fuad Baali, Bowling Green, KY Khaled Bachour, Farrell, PA Donna Baer, Grand Junction, CO Rev. Robert Barber, Parrish, FL Jamil Barhoum, San Diego, CA Stanton Barrett, Ipswich, MA Alwen Bauer, Palos Verdes, CA Steven Beikirch, Iola, TX Mohammed & Wendy Bendebba, Baltimore, MD Peter Bentley, Sebastian, FL Antoine Boghossian, Belmont, MA Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Peter Bolton, Alexandria, VA Michael Boosahda, Worcester, MA Karen Ray Bossmeyer, Louisville, KY Abbey Bourghei, Van Nuys, CA Robert Adams Boyd, Binghamton, NY Carole Brown, Branford, CT Prof. & Mrs. George Wesley Buchanan, Gaithersburg, MD Mr. & Mrs. H.B. Bullard, Guilford, CA Katherine Bullock, Mississauga, Canada William Carey, Old Lyme, CT John Carley, Pointe-Claire, Canada Lynn & Aletha Carlton, Norwalk, CT Ted Chauviere, Austin, TX Dr. H. Cho, Morris, IL 72
Patricia Christensen, Poulsbo, WA Jean & Donald F. Clarke, Devon, PA Henry Clifford, Essex, CT Basil Collins, Holland, MI Dr. Frank Collins, Woodbridge, VA Joan & Charles Collins, Willard, MO Dr. Robert Collmer, Waco, TX Carole Courey, Cataumet, MA Walter Cox, Monroe, GA Charles Cutting Jr., Shelburne, VT David D’Antonio, Amityville, NY Paul Daher, Lincoln, CA Taher & Sheila Dajani, Alexandria, VA Glenn Davenport, Corvallis, OR Dr. & Mrs. Sami Daye, Massena, NY Hon. John Gunther Dean, Paris, France Sylvia Anderson de Freitas, Paradise Valley, AZ Sharlene De Hertel, San Jose, CA** Richard Devereux, Bronxville, NY Ambassador Francois M. Dickman, Laramie, WY Lee & Amelia Dinsmore, Elcho, WI Ralph & Laurel Doermann, Columbus, OH Dr. David Dunning, Lake Oswego, OR Lewis Elbinger, Tampa, FL Kassem Elkhalil, Arlington, TX Osamah Elkhatib, Dubuque, IA Gloria El-Khouri, Scottsdale, AZ Barbara Erickson, Berkeley, CA Thomas Esper, Pittsburgh, PA M.R. Eucalyptus, Kansas City, MO Albert Fairchild, Bethesda, MD Dr. Richard Falk, Santa Barbara, CA Dr. Rafeek Farah, New Boston, MI Renee Farmer, New York, NY Mr. & Mrs. Majed Faruki, Albuquerque, NM P. Michele Felton, Winton, NC Henry Fleigel, La Crescenta, CA Chris & Mary Fogarty, Chicago, IL E. Aracelis Francis, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands Dr. Ramzi Freij, Nottingham, UK John Freitas, Fresno, CA Donald Frisco, Wilmington, DE Joseph & Angela Gauci, Whittier, CA Dr. Abdollah Gilani, W. Los Angeles, CA Tom Gillespie, Granada Hills, CA Sam Gousen, Arlington, VA Carl Greeley, Barefoot Bay, FL Louise Green, Saint Louis, MO Herbert Greider, Dauphin, PA Richard Gross, Elizabethtown, PA Daniel Grunberg, Amsterdam, Netherlands Joyce Guinn, Germantown, WI Nabil Haddad, North Wales, PA THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
Dr. Wasif Hafeez, West Bloomfield, MI Samir Hamdan, Northborough, MA Allen Hamood, Dearborn Heights, MI Ray Hanania, Orland Park, IL Delinda Hanley, Kensington, MD**** Shirley Hannah, Argyle, NY Katharina Harlow, Pacific Grove, CA Prof. & Mrs. Brice Harris, Los Angeles, CA Robert & Helen Harold, West Salem, WI Maj. Gen. Patrick Harrison, Franklin, TN Dr. Steven Harvey, Manchester, NH Frances Hasenyager, Carmel, CA Mr. & Mrs. Sameer Hassan, Quaker Hill, CT Dr. & Mrs. Sammy Hassan, Lake Oswego, OR Janice Hawwa, Gates Mills, OH Samir M. Hawwa, Prangins Vaud, Switzerland Alan Heil, Alexandria, VA Nancy Hellevison, Putney, VT Rich Hoban, Cleveland Heights, OH Helen Holman, Litchfield, ME Anthony Jones, Jasper, Canada Ahmad Juma, Woodside, NY Zaghloul Kadah, Los Gatos, CA Issa & Rose Kamar, Plano, TX Timothy Kaminski, Saint Louis, MO Hafiz Kargar, Centreville, VA Carl & Deanna Karoub, Northville, MI Elias Kawas, Madisonville, KY Gloria Keller, Santa Rosa, CA Rev. Charles Kennedy, Newbury, NH Akbar Khan, Princeton, NJ Dr. M. Jamil Khan, Bloomfield Hills, MI Vicken Khatchadourian, Milwaukee, WI Dr. Mohayya Khilfeh, Chicago, IL Eugene Khorey, West Mifflin, PA Donald Kouri, Westmount, Canada Ronald Kunde, Skokie, IL Raymond Joseph Kyriakos, Hatfield, PA Michael Ladah, Las Vegas, NV Laurel Family Eyecare, Laurel, MD William Lawand, Mount Royal, Canada Edward Lesoon, Pittsburgh, PA Joseph Louis, Los Gatos, CA Jeanie Lucas, Thebarton, Australia A. Kent MacDougall, Berkeley, CA Farah Mahmood, Forsyth, IL Richard Makdisi & Lindsey Wheeler, Berkeley, CA Melinda Mason, Lubbock, TX John Mayer, Hamilton, NY Tom & Tess McAndrew, Oro Valley, AZ John McGillion, Greenwich, CT Bill McGrath, Northfield, MN Robert Michael, Sun Lakes, AZ Mr. & Mrs. Jan Moreb, Gainesville, FL DECEMBER 2010
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Thomas Muller, Arcadia, FL Charles Murphy, Roxboro, NC Charles Murphy, Upper Falls, MD Ralph Nader, Washington, DC Jacob Nammar, San Antonio, TX George Nassor, Wyckoff, NJ Mr. & Mrs. W. Eugene Notz, Charleston, SC Michio Oka, El Sobrante, CA Khaled Othman, Riverside, CA Dr. Ibrahim Oweiss, Kensington, MD Elaine Pasquini, Novato, CA Grace Perolio, Demopolis, AL Sam Rahman, Lincoln, CA Mr. & Mrs. Duane Rames, Mesa, AZ Ruth Ramsey, Blairsville, GA Marjorie Ransom, Washington, DC Marilyn Raschka, Hartford, WI Nayla Rathle, Belmont, MA Howard A. Reed, W. Palm Beach, FL Vivian & Doris Regidor, Pearl City, HI Mr. & Mrs. Edward Reilly, Rocky Point, NY Paul Richards, Salem, OR Neil Richardson, Randolph, VT William Rives, Siler City, NC Brynhild Rowberg, Northfield, MN Edward & Alice Saad, Cheshire, CT Nadia Saad, Chevy Chase, MD Denis Sabourin, Dubai, UAE Asha Samad, New York, NY Robert Schaible, Buxton, ME Irmgard Scherer, Fairfax, VA Elizabeth Schiltz, Kokomo, IN Joan Seelye, Bethesda, MD Richard Shaker, Annapolis, MD Aziz Shalaby, Vancouver, WA Adib Sharif, Northridge, CA Henry Schubert, Damascus, OR Kathy Sheridan, Mill Valley, CA David Shibley, Santa Monica, CA David Skerry Esq., Medford, MA Glenn Smith, Santa Rosa, CA Norman Smith, Exton, PA Edgar Snell, Jr., Schenectady, NY David Snider, Airmont, NY John Soderberg, Foley, AL Gregory Stefanatos, Flushing, NY Mubadda Suidan, Atlanta, GA Beverly Swartz, Sarasota, FL Kristin Szremski, Plainfield, IL Dr. Joseph Tamari, Chicago, IL Dr. Yusuf Tamimi, Hilo, HI Dr. & Mrs. Peter & Maxine Tanous, Bethesda, MD Dr. Rabi Tawil, Pittsford, NY Charles Thomas, La Conner, WA Robert Thomas, Honolulu, HI Col. Lawrence Thompson, Arlington, VA George Tlamsa, Bayside, NY Ned Toomey, Bishop, CA Mary Abusharr Trolan, Dallas, OR Tom Veblen, Washington, DC Jane Voigt, Tucson, AZ Paul Wagner, Bridgeville, PA James Wall, Elmhurst, IL Carol Wells & Theodore Hajjar, Venice, CA John V. Whitbeck, Paris, France DECEMBER 2010
Arthur & Marianne Whitman, Auburn, ME Tina Wong, Sacramento, CA Nabil Yakub, McLean, VA Mashood Yunus, Eagan, MN Dr. & Mrs. John Zacharia, McLean, VA Patrick Zeller, San Antonio, TX Hugh Ziada, Garden Grove, CA Fred Zuercher, Spring Grove, PA
ACCOMPANISTS ($250 or more) The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund on behalf of Ronald & Mary Forthofer, Longmont, CO Abdulrahman Alsadhan, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Sami Abed, South Lyon, MI A.R. Armin, Troy, MI Dr. Lois Aroian, Willow Lake, SD Kamel Ayoub, Hillsborough, CA Elizabeth Boosahda, Worcester, MA Dr. & Mrs. Issa Boullata, Montreal, Canada William Coughlin, Brookline, MA Mr. & Mrs. A.L. Cummings, Owings Mill, MD Joseph Daruty, Redlands, CA Robert & Tanis Diedrichs, Cedar Falls, IA Mervat Eid, Henrietta, NY Paul & Lucille Findley, Jacksonville, IL Elisabeth Fitzhugh, Mitchellville, MD Eugene Fitzpatrick, Wheat Ridge, CO* E. Patrick Flynn, Carmel, NY John Gareeb, Atlanta, GA Ray Gordon, Bel Air, MD H. Clark Griswold, Woodbury, CT Michael Hage, Arlington, VA Erin K. Hankir, Ottawa, Canada Omar & Nancy Kader, Vienna, VA Michael Keating, Olney, MD Lafayette Kirban, Philadelphia, PA Shafiq Kombargi, Houston, TX Barbara LeClerq, Overland Park, KS Joe & Lilli Lill, Arlington, VA Jack Love, Escondido, CA Anthony Mabarak, Grosse Pointe Park, MI Jean Mayer, Bethesda, MD Rita McGaughey, La Crosse, WI Alice Nashashibi, San Francisco, CA Howard & Mary Norton, Austin, TX Rev. John O’Neill, Olema, CA** John Parry, Chapel Hill, NC Frank & Mary Regier, Strongsville, OH Dr. Mohammad H. Said, Ephrata, WA Anthony Saidy, Los Angeles, CA Dr. Ahmed M. Sakkal, Charleston, WV Thomas Shaker, Poughkeepsie, NY Theodore Shannon, Green Valley, AZ Yusef & Jennifer Sifri, Wilmington, NC Michel & Cathy Sultan, Eau Claire, WI Mae Stephen, Palo Alto, CA Charles & Letitia Ufford, Princeton, NJ John Van Wagoner, McLean, VA David Willcox, Harrison, AR Ziyad & Cindi Zaitoun, Seattle, WA** THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
TENORS & CONTRALTOS ($500 or more) Mohamed Alwan, Chestnut Ridge, NY Michael Ameri, Calabasas, CA Dr. Joseph Bailey, Valley Center, CA Graf Herman Bender, North Palm Beach, FL Rev. Rosemarie Carnarius, Tucson, AZ Richard Curtiss, Boynton Beach, FL Shuja El-Asad, Amman, Jordan Douglas A. Field, Kihei, HI** Grace Guthrie, Falls Church, VA Michael Habermann, Hackettstown, NJ Hind Hamdan, Hagerstown, MD Ambassador Holsey G. Handyside, Bedford, OH Brigitte Jaensch, Carmichael, CA Fahd Jajeh, Lake Forest, IL Eric Margolis, Ontario, Canada Trini Marquez, Beach, ND Clifford Misener, Brookings, OR Anees Mughannam, Petaluma, CA Robert Norberg, Lake City, MN William O’Grady, St. Petersburg, FL Patricia & Herbert Pratt, Cambridge, MA Dr. Mohammed Sabbagh, Grand Blanc, MI Gay Schroeder, Boston, MA Mahmud Shaikhaly, Hollywood, CA Cheryl Tatum, Cincinnati, OH Linda Thain-Ali, Guneykoy, Turkey Donn Trautman, Evanston, IL Dr. Robert Younes, Potomac, MD Vivian Zelaya, Berkeley, CA
BARITONES & MEZZO SOPRANOS ($1,000 or more) A.J. & M.T. Amirana, Las Vegas, NV Asha Anand, Bethesda, MD G. Edward Brooking, Jr., Wilmington, DE Luella Crow, Eugene, OR Linda Emmet, Paris, France Dr. & Mrs. Clyde Farris, West Linn, OR Gary Richard Feulner, Dubai, UAE Evan & Leman Fotos, Istanbul, Turkey Hassan Fouda, Berkeley, CA George Hanna, Santa Ana, CA Salman & Kate Hilmy, Silver Spring, MD Les Janka, Arlington, VA Vincent & Louise Larsen, Billings, MT Rachelle Marshall, Mill Valley, CA Barry Musser Memorial Gift, Goshen, CA
CHOIRMASTERS ($5,000 or more) Richard & Donna Curtiss, Chevy Chase, MD*, *** John & Henrietta Goelet, Meru, France Ambassador Andrew Killgore, Washington, DC*** John McLaughlin, Gordonsville, VA *In recognition of Rachelle Marshall **In memory of Rachel Corrie ***In memory of James E. Akins ****In memory of Dr. Peter Gubser 73
killgore_74_In Memoriam 10/27/10 10:16 PM Page 74
Dr. Peter Anton Gubser (1941-2010) InMemoriam
By Andrew I. Killgore
Gubser was a genuinely great man worthy of respect and for whom they felt great affection. When Palestinian owners of olive tree nurseries were charging excessive prices for their seedlines, Peter established a West Bank nursery for seedlings that brought the prices down to more affordable levels. The writer had the honor of visiting this site with Peter. Among other successful Gubser initiatives was a program to provide thousands of the Gaza Stripâ€™s preschool children with milk. He also funded the construction of educational centers at West Bank colleges for training business managers. Dr. Gubserâ€™s life was sadly foreshortened when he died at only 69 years of age. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Annie Yenikemshian of Somerset, Maryland; two daughters, Sasha Gubser of Denver and Christi Gubser of Boulder, Colorado; his mother, Mary Gubser of Tulsa; two brothers; and two granddaughters. â?‘
eter Gubser, scholar,
Pexecutive and great-
PHOTO COURTESY ANERA
ly admired humanitarian in Washington, DC and the Middle East, died of prostate cancer Sept. 2 in Bethesda, Maryland. Begun in 1968 as a tiny nonprofit group to help the Palestinians after the 1967 Six-Day War, the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) grew into a multimilliondollar arm of American economic, educational and nutritional aid to Palestinian and Arab refugees in the West Bank, Jordan and other parts of the Middle East. Peter Gubser, who served as president of ANERA from 1977 to 1997, was the major reason for the organizationâ€™s great success. Peter was able to persuade donors to give in- Dr. Peter Gubser. creasing amounts as the years went by. Gradually the U.S. gov- can Institute of Research before going ernment started contributing as to ANERA. Dr. Gubser wrote several books Gubserâ€™s deeply honest and persuasive powers grew. In fact, practically about the Middle East. But his status everybody came to believe in Peter as as a scholar was solidly fixed by his a stalwart advocate for the cause of deeply learned book Saladin, about the 12th century Islamic leader who helping the Palestinians. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Peter fought against the Christian (Advertisement) Gubser graduated from Yale Univer- crusaders from Europe and sity in 1964. He then earned a masterâ€™s who defeated Richard the degree from the American University Lionhearted. It is important to keep in of Beirut in 1966 in Middle East studies and the Arabic language. This was mind that Dr. Gubser followed by a doctorate in social an- worked for 20 years at the thropology from Englandâ€™s Oxford very heart of the ArabIsrael dispute in the West University in 1969. After earning his doctorate at Bank and Gaza Strip. Deep 4HERES ALOT MORE YOU MIGHT Oxford, Peter was an adjunct profes- suspicions abounded. This NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR sor at the University of Manchester in put an especially high preMUSLIM NEIGHBORS England. He worked for the Ford mium on Peterâ€™s tact, diplo6JG/WUNKO.KPMVJGNCTIGUVPGYURCRGTHQTCPFCDQWV Foundation in Lebanon and Jordan macy, determination and VJG/WUNKO%QOOWPKV[KP&%/&CPF8##XCKNCDNGCV before moving to Washington in the courageâ€”qualities he disOQUV/QUSWGU#TCD+PFQ2CMCPF2GTUKCPTGUVCWTCPVUCPF 1970s. Here he worked for the Ameri- played in the Middle East ITQEGTKGUKPVJGITGCVGT9CUJKPIVQP$CNVKOQTG as well as in Washington. OGVTQRQNKVCPCTGC#XCKNCDNG(TGG Andrew I. Killgore is publisher of the His friends in both places 0HONE &AX Washington Report on Middle East came to realize that the Affairs. WWW-USLIMLINKPAPERCOM always friendly Peter
THE WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
anera_ad_c3_ANERA AD Dec. 2010 10/27/10 10:48 AM Page c3
Which came first?
This little girl is from Khan Younis, Gaza. She and her family received 10 hens and a rooster from ANERA, so they could harvest the eggs. She reminds us of a very important question: Which came first, ANERA’s programs or your contribution? The answer: One doesn’t exist without the other. You trust us, that’s why you give; but we couldn’t do what we do without you. Please make a contribution today so we can continue to deliver chickens in Gaza, expand preschool education in the West Bank and distribute millions of dollars worth of medicines to refugee camps in Lebanon.
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American Educational Trust The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs P.O. Box 53062 Washington, DC 20009
December 2010 Vol. XXIX, No. 9
Ten-year-old Sam, who had to leave school when his parents no longer could afford to pay for his education, holds up a container of sweets he is selling in Baghdadâ€™s Tahrir Square, Oct. 12, 2010. AFP PHOTO/SABAH ARARA
Published on Nov 1, 2010
Published to help provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.