Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 28, No. 1, January/February

Al' America: Travel through America's Arab and Islamic Roots
Al' America: Travel Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots. By Jonathan Curiel, The New Press, 2008, hardcover, 246 pp. List: $25.95; AET: $18.Reviewed by Jamal NajjabWHILE MY father was alive, no matter what the situation or the topic, he would invariably...
Alison Weir Speaks in Des Moines
ALISON WEIR, founder of If Americans Knew, spoke at Drake University's Olmstead Center on Nov. 8 about her organization's research on bias in media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. If Americans Knew is a tax-exempt, independent research and...
American Jewish Leaders Asked to Speak out against Growing Terrorism in Israel
"AMERICAN Jewish leaders have been quick and correct to call upon Muslim leaders in this country to condemn Islamic terrorism forcefully, particularly when it's against Jews, and to mobilize their followers to oppose all such violence," wrote Doug Bloomfield...
An American Jewish Woman Finds Occupation Unacceptable
POLITICAL ACTIVIST and author Anna Baltzer spoke to a full house at the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation Conference on Oct. 25 at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC-and it was obvious from the start that she struck a chord with...
Anti-Apartheid Talk a Hit at UCLA
AS PART OF a national U.S. tour entitled "Separate Is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid," sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, South African Rev. Eddie Makue and international law advocate Diana Buttu spoke Nov. 19 at the University...
Arab-American Social Entrepreneur
DESPITE THE worsening economy, Arab-American restaurateur and social activist Andy Shallal's Busboys and Poets restaurants are always full. Even in these uncertain times, Shallal continues to run his business empire as a social entrepreneur-and remains...
Arab- and Muslim-Bashing Failed in '08
In looking back at the now-completed U.S. presidential contest it is striking to note the degree to which Arabs, Muslims, and Islam itself, were factored into the race.While Arab Americans and American Muslims were, in fact, deeply involved in the election...
Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference
"TRANSITIONING the White House: Challenges and Opportunities for Arab-U.S. Relations" was the theme of the 17th Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and held at the Ronald Reagan Building...
Attempt to Arrest Karl Rove Results in Trespassing Convictions
A SIX-PERSON jury in Des Moines convicted four Iowa anti-war activists on misdemeanor trespassing charges on Nov. 21.Chester Guinn, Mona Shaw, Ed Bloomer and Kirk Brown were arrested and cited when they attempted to enter the Wakonda Club to place former...
Bekah Wolf of the Palestine Solidarity Project on Home Occupations
THE NEW YORK University campus group NYU Students For Justice In Palestine sponsored a Nov. 12 discussion following a film screening of "Private," a story of Israeli soldiers imprisoning a Palestinian family in their home on the West Bank. Their speaker...
CAIR Fund-Raiser Is Best Ever
MORE THAN 700 people attended the 14th annual fund-raising banquet of the Washington, DC-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Nov. 23 at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, VA. The sold-out event, which organizers called...
"Can Obama Untangle the Iranian Challenge?" Ask Iran Experts
THE NATIONAL Iranian American Council (NIAC) held a Nov. 18 policy conference in Washington, DC to unveil a Joint Experts' Statement proposing recommendations for U.S.-Iranian relations."The time for a new Iran policy is now-30 years of isolation and...
Chronicles of a Refugee
Chronicles of a Refugee Documentary Film by Perla Issa, Aseel Mansour and Adam Shapiro, 2008, 3 DVDs, 487 minutes. List: $60; AET: $55.Reviewed by Delinda C. Hanley"CHRONICLES of a Refugee" is a superb six-part documentary which examines the global Palestinian...
"Coexistence" and "Mixed Cities": A Microcosm of Israeli Apartheid
Acre is a national test. Acre today is Israel in 10 years' time. What happens in Acre today is what will happen in Israel... Coexistence is a slogan.-Rabbi Yossi Stern, head of the Hesder Yeshiva in AcreFOR ONCE this writer finds herself agreeing with...
Columbia University Honors Edward Said with Conference on Orientalism
ON NOV. 7 and 8, in remembrance of its late professor Edward Said, Columbia University hosted a conference on "Orientalism from the Standpoint of its Victims." In her welcoming remarks, Mariam Said recalled her husband saying toward the end of his life...
Eclectic, Inspiring New Films Highlight Arab Film Festival's Twelfth Season
THE 12TH ANNUAL Arab Film Festival (AFF) opened Oct. 16 at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre. During the next 12 days, audiences in San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley and Los Angeles enjoyed the best of independent Arab cinema-which ran the gamut...
Egyptian Officials, Farmers Debate Effect of Climate Change on Fertile Nile Delta
ALONG THE Nile Delta's many tributaries, life is good for Makram, a young farmer who is working the land that has been in his family for generations. But this could all change for him and the thousands of farmers who call Egypt's fertile Delta home.Climate...
European Press on What Obama's Victory Will Mean for Muslims
The Arab world has high hopes for America following the election of Barack Obama as president, said Gerhard Sporl and Bernhard Zand in the Nov. 19 issue of Germany's Der Spiegel."Now a man is about to move into the White House whose father was a Muslim...
Gaza: Silence Is Not an Option
IN RECENT days the desperate plight of the civilian population of Gaza has been acknowledged by such respected international figures as the secretary-general of the United Nations, the president of the General Assembly, and the U.N. High Commissioner...
General Assembly President Vilified for Stating Official U.N. Position on Palestine
GIVEN THE distressing tendency of the U.S. and EU to cover for Israeli violations of international law and U.N. decisions, it is not surprising to see that the president of the U.N. General Assembly (GA) is regularly on the target list, usually described...
Geopolitical Dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
AT THE NATIONAL Council on U.S.-Arab Relations' Oct. 30 panel on the geopolitical dynamics of Israel and Palestine, Nadia Hijab, senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies, noted that the Palestinian liberation movement has been moving to the...
HCEF's 10th International Conference
TWO LEADING theologians spoke about one of the greatest threats to peace in the Middle East, Christian Zionism, at the 10th International Conference of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), held Oct. 24 and 25 at the National Presbyterian...
Inglorious Steps on the Path to Victory
A Muslim friend of longstanding is distressed at President-elect Barack Obama's decision to make U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) his chief of staff. He wants to know when I will "deplore and condemn" this decision. In this public response, I explain why...
Iqraa's Inaugural Year a Big Success: Group Raises $33,000 for Education
THIS YEAR A new phenomenon was born in the Washington, DC area, as a group of people concerned about the future of Palestine joined to form Team Iqraa. I founded Iqraa ("read," in Arabic) early in 2008 with help from Washington, DC activists Mai Abdul...
Iranian Documentaries Offer Insight
THE SMITHSONIAN Institution's Freer and Sackler Gallery, in conjunction with Link TV and Search for Common Ground (SFCG), screened three Iranian documentaries in November. The films were part of Link TV's "Bridge to Iran" series, which aims to foster...
Leaving Iraq-But Better Than We Found It
AFTER THE fall of the statue of Saddam Hussain in Baghdad's Ferdoos Square on April 9, 2003, Iraqis were full of hope. Unfortunately, their hopes quickly faded as they began living a nightmare of violence, death squads and abductions. This pre-emptive...
Lebanon and Syria: Geopolitical Dynamics
THE NATIONAL Council on U.S.-Arab Relations conference included an Oct. 30 session on the geopolitical dynamics of Lebanon and Syria. Panelist Daoud Khairallah, adjunct professor of international law at Georgetown University Law Center, stated, "In Lebanon...
Letters to the Editor
Standing in the GapThank you for your good work...I have gone through your magazine and am so very pleased that you folks are standing in the gap for those of our friends in the Middle East who are victims of American and Israeli hegemony...I was especially...
MEI Conference Renews Paths to U.S. Middle East Policy
SPEAKERS AT THE Middle East Institute's 62nd annual conference focused on "U.S. Middle East Policy: Pathways to Renewal" Nov. 20 and 21, 2008 at the National Press Club. Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin, president of MEI since March 2007, had to take a back...
Middle East Leaders Hold Open the Door to Peace-Will U.S. and Israel Respond?
"Afghanistan can't continue to suffer a war without end."-Afghan President Hamid Karzai, news conference, Nov. 26, 2008.SHORLY AFTER Hamas' election victory in January 2006, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh sent a message to President George W. Bush requesting...
New Congress to Have One Fewer Arab American, Three New Jewish Americans
THE 111TH Congress will include one fewer Arab American, since Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) is retiring. Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Nick Rahall (D-WV) all were re-elected. The only Arab American in the Senate, Sen. John Sununu (R-NH),...
Obama Election Prompts Question: Can It Happen Here?
BARACK OBAMA'S election was greeted with excitement in much of Southeast and East Asia. In every country, there has been speculation about what an Obama presidency will mean. Above all, there are hopes that the new president will come up with policies...
Other People's Mail
Pirates' WarningTo the San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 28, 2008If we think the pirates of Somalia are merely some bunch of "crazies," we had better think again. They represent the first shots fired in the coming world war between the "haves" and the "have-nots."Unless...
Panel Likens Obama Win to "Moment of Grace," but Warns Promises Must Be Kept
EVERYONE in the lecture hall of Pasadena's All Saints Church was smiling Nov. 6 in anticipation of a post-election program by the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative. The Rev. Edward Bacon introduced speakers Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Dr. Maher Hathout,...
Passengers Report on Breaking Israeli Blockade of Gaza
"WE DID IT! We did it!" Paul Larudee exclaimed to some 100 supporters gathered Nov. 9 at San Anselmo's First Presbyterian Church. This exuberant statement by the co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement referred to the safe arrival Aug. 23 in the Port of...
Publisher's Page
Make Peace a High Priority.We couldn't agree more with Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtisaari, who-as he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Dec. 10-urged U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to start his term by giving high priority to the world's most...
Red Cross Honorees Talk about Gaza
WHEN THIS reporter received an invitation to a Nov. 20 dinner to hear Younis al-Khatib, president of the Palestine Red Crescent based in Gaza, and Dr. Noam Yifrach, his Jewish counterpart of the Maghen David Adom, it seemed logical to assume the discussion...
Reflections in a Mirror: Hamas and the Israeli Politik
UNTIL 2006, the Israeli-Palestinian political landscape was dominated almost exclusively by three major players: the Labor and Likud parties in Israel, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) largest faction, Fatah. That year brought a dramatic...
Searching for Comedy in the Muslim World: Reflections of a Harvard Joke Collector
Az kujasti? Cherte ze? Da kudan daftar kar mekoni?I EVADE THEIR questions. A group of Pashtun men ask me where I'm from, who I work with. They've surrounded me in a bazaar on Jalalabad Road, outside Kabul. Would they believe that I'm working with the...
Terror in Mumbai
Terrorist Attacks Rock Mumbai, Stun the WorldBOMB BLASTS in several parts of Mumbai, the major Indian port city and commercial and financial hub formerly known as Bombay, and the takeover of two of the city's 5-star hotels, the Taj Mahal and Oberoi,...
Testifying to Truth-And Paying the Price
FOR MY RECENT article on the neurotic obsession with anti-Semitism and on using the fear of a "future holocaust" as camouflage for colonialism (see "Searching for the Elusive Israeli Partner," December 2008 Washington Report, p. 26), I have paid a heavy...
The Economics of Tunnels
OPTIONS ARE few in Rafah. As in other societies throughout history trapped behind walls or segregated in ghettos, the smuggling in of basic necessities, as well as weapons for defense, means the difference between life and death. In Gaza, tunneling dates...
The Obama Cabinet: Back to the Future?
Obama and the Promised Land-Change to Believe InIN THE first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Israel Emanuel (D-IL), a former Israeli citizen. According to the Israeli...
The Rationale of Terror
Arguably the most successful act of revolutionary terror was the June 1914 assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo.Believing his mission to murder the heir to the Austrian throne had failed, Gavrilo Princip suddenly found himself...
Tom Hayden Speaks at PCCI Fund-Raiser in Des Moines
AUTHOR, COMMUNITY organizer, peace activist and scholar Tom Hayden spoke before a rapt audience at the Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa (PCCI)'s annual Fund-raiser for Progress at Drake University in Des Moines on Oct. 13.Hayden, who became known...
To the Detriment of Its Citizens, Bosnia's Politicians Continue to Play Nationalist Cards
IN EARLY October, rumors circulated around Bosnia that the international community's supervisor, or High Representative, in Bosnia was going to remove Milorad Dodik. This rumor surfaced amid a spike in the waves of tension that had begun during the run-up...
Two-State Solution the Answer
IN THE OPINIONS of Dr. Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), and Ori Nir, spokesperson for Americans for Peace Now (APN), the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine is the only attractive and viable option for a just...
Upcoming Events
Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture is partnering with the Kimmel Center to present Simon Shaheen in Concert Feb. 1 at 260 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. For more information, call (267) 809-3668 or visit <http://www.albustanseeds.org/>.Interfaith...
Verdict against Holy Land Charity Could Have Chilling Effect on Muslim Community
ON THE AFTERNOON of Monday, Nov. 24, a jury in Dallas, Texas found five Palestinian men guilty of more than 100 charges in the nation's largest terrorism financing trial since 9/11.But was this case about prosecuting terrorism, or the Bush administration's...
What Is the Message of Terrorism without a Message?
What is the message of a terrorist attack that fails to deliver a message? Threats and warnings are being exchanged by India and Pakistan about the terrorist attack on Mumbai, carried out by presumed Muslim extremists. But acting to what purpose, and...

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