Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 4, June/July

2017 Palestine Advocacy Day a Resounding Success
At least 65 people attended the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)'s third annual Palestine Advocacy Day and Training at George Washington University in Washington, DC April 29-May 1. This year the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) partnered with AMP,...
50 Years Later: Will the Crew of the USS Liberty Ever Receive Justice?
FOR HALF A CENTURY, the USS Liberty Veterans Association (LVA) has tried to expose the true story of Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty through books, news media, movies, and letters to the president of the United States and members of Congress....
“All in!” Jewish Voice for Peace Calls for Palestinian Liberation, Participation in BDS
The 2017 National Member Meeting of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), held at Chicago's McCormick Place convention center, galvanized the energies of the 1,000 advocates-Jews and non-Jews alike-who participated in the March 31-April 2 event. JVP members...
Ambassador Zomlot Hopeful That Trump Will Disrupt U.S. “Peace Industry”
THE ARAB CENTER Washington (ACW) invited Ambassador Husam S. Zomlot, the new chief representative of the Palestinian General Delegation to the U.S., to brief reporters on May 15 at the National Press Club. He gave an upbeat update on Palestinian President...
A Politically Sophisticated Electorate
THE IRANIAN POPULATION'S political sophistication continues to impress. Despite a highly flawed political system where the elections are neither fair nor free, the overwhelming majority chose a nonviolent path to bring about progress. They massively...
Arab America Reception Celebrates Community’s Heritage
Arab America kicked offNational Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) with a special reception on April 3 at New America in Washington, DC. Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, public servants and Arab Americans engaged in special...
ATFL Honors Women Who Have Made a Difference in Lebanon
On March 22, the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC was filled with hundreds of guests gathered to honor the accomplishments of Sheikha Rima al-Sabah and Carmen Chahine Debbané. What all in attendance had in common-guests and honorees alike-was Lebanon.For...
Being a Sweetheart to Refugee Children on Valentine’s Day
Overwhelmed by the sight of so many refugee children barely surviving in horrendous conditions, an Iraqi Muslim woman and an American Jewish woman decided to do something positive to try and help. They organized an event on Feb. 11-"Be a Sweetheart to...
China’s Growing Reach in Central Asia, Indian Ocean Littoral
DURING HIS VISITS to Kazakhstan and Indonesia in September and October 2013 respectively, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke of his government's vision of a cooperative economic development strategy of "One Belt, One Road."The Silk Road Economic Belt...
Civil Rights Group Examines Hijab Rule
Je'Nan Hayes and her mother spoke at the monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition on April 4 at Richard Montgomery High School in Maryland. Hayes is the Watkins Mill High School student who was not allowed to play in her team's...
DMCW and VFP Establish “24/7 War Zone Picket Line” in Des Moines
At noon on May 11, members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker (DMCW) and Veterans For Peace (VFP) Chapter 163 established what a joint press release described as a "Stop the Killing 24/7 War Zone Picket Line & Direct Nonviolent Action Campaign" at...
Dr. James Zogby Slams Religious Freedom Commission for Ignoring Israeli Violations
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) was established in 1998 with the mandate of monitoring global violations of religious freedom and making policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state and Congress....
Dropping by Shatila, a Wounded Place
IN MARCH my family and I visited Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. I felt I was walking into scenes of a Dostoevsky novel. Forty years ago I had made a similar visit, and here I was again-at one of the world's most painful, agonized crossroads,...
Emulating the Settlers He Supports, Israeli Ambassador Danon Seizes U.N. Territory
FOR A LONG TIME, Israeli right wingers have scorned and reviled the United Nations and all its works-apart, of course, from General Assembly Resolution 181 partitioning Mandatory Palestine.As an Israeli right-wing settler supporter himself, Ambassador...
Field of Voices: Planting Seeds of Resilience
Award-winning poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye told attendees at KinderUSA's annual fund-raiser on May 13 at the Audubon Center in Los Angeles, "I'm rooting for the children of Gaza and all the children of the world who somehow have to survive in terrible...
Finkelstein on Anti-Zionism vs. Anti-Semitism
Dr. Norman Finkelstein addressed the question of whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism in a Feb. 16 talk sponsored by the Princeton Committee on Palestine. Finkelstein has been studying this issue since his time as a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton, where...
Hunger Striking for Palestinian Rights
MARWAN BARGHOUTI HAS stopped drinking water. He started his hunger strike 36 days ago as of May 23, together with 1,500 other Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons. Each day the strikers have been drinking water mixed with salt, the salt...
Identifying and Rectifying the Root Causes of Islamophobia
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) devoted its May 18 conference in Washington, DC to analyzing how Islamophobia rose to prominence in the U.S. and the steps that ought to be taken to overcome this divisive and dangerous phenomenon.Georgetown...
Iran’s Conservatives Lose a Presidential Election and More
IN THE PAST two decades, Iranian presidential elections have been accompanied with surprising results and even tumult. Newcomers have won against better-known and -financed politicians while presumed establishment candidates and assumed winners have...
Israel’s War on BDS Increasingly Alienating American Jews
ISRAEL HAS DECLARED war on the nonviolent movement calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a means to end Israel's occupation of Palestine and violation of Palestinian human rights. In the process, it is alienating more and more American...
“Jerusalem, We Are Here” Offers a Portal to the Past
Imagine gaining access to memories that you thought were lost forever, buried by the reality of the present, and being able to relive them-virtually, at least.On April 13, the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, DC hosted Dorit Naaman for a showing of her...
Jewish Nation-State Bill Looks Ahead to Rule over Palestinian Majority
NEW LEGISLATION TO cement Israel's definition as a state belonging exclusively to Jews around the world is a "declaration of war" on Israel's Palestinian citizens, the minority's leaders have warned.The bill, which defines Israel as the "national home...
Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala Inspires Attendees
The Arab American Institute Foundation (AAIF) hosted its 19th annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala on April 27 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, DC. Master of Ceremonies was Ayman Mohyeldin, formerly with Al Jazeera English, now...
L.A.-Gaza Children Enjoy Heart Beat Youth Center Program
"Beautiful Environment," an ecology program for kids ages 6 to 12, took place on April 6 and 7 in Khan Younis, Gaza, Palestine. The program was created and implemented by Kifah Kudaih, founder and director of the Khan Younis-based "Heart Beat Youth Center,"...
Letters to the Editor
DROPPING THE MASKSDuring his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly posed a fundamental, long-overdue question that had been taboo for American politicians, to the extent that it ever even crossed their minds: What benefits do the American people...
Mahjar Writers on the Subject of Palestine
Dr. Edmund Ghareeb delivered the 2017 Hisham Sharabi Memorial Lecture at the Palestine Center/Jerusalem Fund in Washington, DC on May 8. Dr. Ghareeb, who taught at American University for 28 years, as well as at Georgetown and George Washington universities...
May Local Elections Reflect Divisions among Palestinians
THIS PAST MAY marked exactly 10 years of division between the Gaza Strip and West Bank. For the entire decade, Palestinians have not experienced any true freedom of movement, democracy, liberation from oppression, or self-determination. Gaza has survived...
More Than 20,000 Attend This Year’s ICNA/MAS Convention
The theme of this year's annual convention convened by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) was "Quest for True Success: Divine Message of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad." Instead of the usual Memorial Day weekend...
NAAWA Celebrates International Women’s Day and Each Other
The National Arab American Women's Association (NAAWA) celebrated International Women's Day and Arab-American heritage by holding a gala on April 2 at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel in northern Virginia. NAAWA provides a forum for Arab-American women of every...
Obituaries
Saloua Raouda Choucair, 100, died Jan. 26 at her home in Beirut, Lebanon of undisclosed causes. She was known as one of the first Arab abstract artists. She began painting as a student at the Ahliyyah School for Girls. An extended visit to Cairo in 1943...
Omnibus Appropriations Bill Includes More Than $3.8 Billion for Israel
THE "OMNIBUS" appropriations bill (H.R. 244), incorporating the 11 appropriations bills not yet passed by the last (114th) Congress, was passed by the House May 3, by the Senate May 4, and signed by President Donald Trump May 5 as P.L. 115-31.As usual,...
Other People's Mail
RESISTING REVENGE AFTER THE TRAGEDY IN MANCHESTERTo the Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2017The killing of 22 people in Manchester after a pop concert has stirred the spirit of the British people. As a doctor, I know it is impossible to convey the effect...
Princess Basmah Speaks on International Women’s Day
The Middle East Institute (MEI) hosted Saudi Arabian Princess Basmah Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz for a discussion on April 12, International Women's Day, about the growing role of women entrepreneurs in the Arab world and strategies for advancing female-led...
Pro-Israel Americans Much More Likely to Support Bombing of Syria, Denying Entry to Refugees
Americans who believe that U.S. foreign policy should lean toward Israel are significantly more likely to support President Donald Trump's decisions to bomb a Syrian military airfield and to deny entry to refugees and travelers from the Middle East,...
Publishers' Page
More Sectarianism and Weapons.Divisive narratives and foreign weapons have for decades fueled death and destruction throughout the Middle East. Instead of boldly calling for a paradigm shift, President Donald Trump reinforced these narratives during...
Ronald Lauder Cozies Up to Trump as His Estranged Ally Netanyahu Watches and Worries
THE LAST WEEK of April was a big week for Ronald Lauder. Not only did the World Jewish Congress, which he heads, make international headlines thanks to the U.S. President Donald Trump's video message at its plenary assembly's opening dinner, but the...
Season Ten of Iqraa: Running for a Brighter Palestine!
Team Iqraa begins our 10th season of running for a brighter Palestine on Saturday, May 6. Here are a few things you should know about us.* Our slogan reflects our desire to improve educational opportunities for Palestinian youth. Iqraa, which means "Read"...
Sen. Chris Murphy Decries Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy
Speaking at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy's May 18 conference in Washington, DC, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) called for diplomacy and development to play a much more significant role in U.S. foreign policy.American foreign policy has essentially...
Should Hamas Rewrite the Past?
NOW THAT THE Palestinian Islamic Movement, Hamas, has officially changed its Charter, one should not immediately assume that the decision is, in itself, an act of political maturity.Undoubtedly, Hamas' first Charter, which was released to the public...
Sixth Annual “Muslim Day at the Capitol” Draws Record Crowd in Sacramento
"Action Trumps Fear" was the theme of the sixth annual "Muslim Day at the Capitol" hosted by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA). The election of Donald J. Trump and his attempts to implement a discriminatory...
Ten Myths about Israel
Ten Myths About Israel By Ilan Pappé, Verso, 2017, paperback, 192 pp. List: $15.95; MEB: $14.In the first few pages of his latest book, Ilan Pappé states, "We need to examine the facts." He thus not only sets the tone for the coming chapters, but also...
The Case for People-to-People Ties between Iran and the U.S
In November 2006, President George W. Bush restored Iran's participation in the International Visitor Leadership Program, allowing hundreds of Iranians to engage in cultural, academic, scientific, athletic and other exchanges with Americans. It was the...
The Miracle Didn’t Happen: Trump Never Said “Palestinian State”
ANYONE UNFAMILIAR WITH the conflict might have thought, based on Donald Trump's visit and his warm words about Israelis' suffering, that the Palestinians were occupying and oppressing the Israelis. This wasn't due to Trump's usual inarticulateness, epitomized...
Trump on Islam: Neo-Orientalism and Anti-Shi’ism
TRUMP'S SPEECH on Islam, written by notorious Islamophobe Stephen Miller, who used to organize Orwellian Two Minutes Hate sessions against Muslims at Duke, is just as bizarre as everything else Trump does.Miller-Trump imply, as has become common in right-wing...
U.S.–Egypt Relations in the Trump Era
Five days before Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited the White House, the Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) co-hosted a March 30 panel on the topic "Egypt and the United States under the Trump...
Why Trump’s Western Wall Visit Is Actually Bad News for the Israeli Right
IN AN ATTEMPT to apply symbolism to every step that Donald Trump takes on his short visit to Israel and the territories, Israeli politicians and the local media have made a major fuss of the fact that Trump is the first U.S. president to visit the Western...
Will U.N.’S Accountability Mechanism Provide Justice in Syria?
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, a total of 188,279 civilians have been killed at the hands of the Assad regime, the Syrian Network for Human Rights claimed in November 2016. That number is only a portion of the estimated 470,000...
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