Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Articles from Vol. 35, No. 7, November/December

14th Annual Turkish Festival in Washington, DC
September was Turkish Heritage Month in DC, supported by the Turkish Tourism and Culture Office, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and TD Bank. On Sept. 25 the American Turkish Association of Washington, DC held its 14th annual Turkish Festival....
ADC Conference: "Inspiring Change through Action"
The official theme of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's 36th National Convention, held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, 2016, was "Inspiring Change Through Action." Yet another theme that emerged over...
Afghanistan-Fool's War
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO Oct. 7, the U.S. launched the longest war in its history: the invasion and occupation of remote Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan was forced to facilitate the American invasion or "be bombed back to the Stone Age."America was furious...
AFSC Screens "Detaining Dreams" in Des Moines
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) screened "Detaining Dreams," its new documentary film about Israel's systematic detention and abuse of Palestinian children, at Drake University's Old Main in Des Moines, Iowa on Sept. 19.Rabbi Brant Rosen,...
ANERA Annual Dinner Highlights Tending Roots, Bearing Fruit
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) held its annual dinner Oct. 7 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Nearly 420 supporters gathered to hear about the innovative programs that are now growing from roots ANERA has cultivated since...
A Taste of Democracy Has Whetted the Appetite of Gaza's Young Would-Be Voters
"WE HAVE ENDURED so much suffering to reach this moment of going to the polls, but politics always seems to have the final say," laments Rafah resident Abu Ismail Al-Masri.Voters in Gaza appeared excited about scheduled elections, the first in a decade,...
Author of How Everything Became War Traces a Shift in America
Author Rosa Brooks, a senior fellow at New America's International Security Program, writes about the changing nature of warfare, the changing role of the U.S. military, and the need to rethink core assumptions about the laws of war. She discussed her...
Black Flags Chronicles Rise of ISIS
Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick appeared at the Library of Congress' National Book Festival in Washington, DC on Sept. 24 to discuss his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS.The book (available from Middle East Books and More)...
Bright Stars of Bethlehem: "Room for Hope" Celebration
Bright Stars of Bethlehem's 5th annual "Room for Hope" celebration of Palestinian art and culture ran from Sept. 19 to 22 in Washington, DC at a multitude of venues, before moving on to Connecticut. The festival aims to raise money for scholarships to...
Dispatch from Inside the Signing Ceremony for the $38 Billion U.S.-Israel MOU
ON SEPT. 14, U.S. Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon and Acting Israeli National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel signed a new 10-year memorandum of understanding for $38 billion in U.S. military aid to Israel. A signing ceremony-described as "low-key"...
Every Voice Matters in This Election
AS ELECTION DAY nears something is missing. It sure isn't radio, TV, mass and social media coverage. Every day voters are inundated by yet another shocking revelation or accusation. There is no bandwidth leftfor serious policy discussion. Newspapers...
Head of Syrian White Helmets Visits Washington
Since the outbreak of Syria's deadly civil war, a group of brave civilian volunteers have worked to rescue individuals injured or trapped by bombings and other acts of war. The 3,000-man group, called the White Helmets, or the Syrian Civil Defense, has...
Indonesian Ulema Takes Stand against Forest Burning
EVERY YEAR, during extended dry periods, fires are deliberately started in parts of Indonesia in order to clear forest land of trees. Many small farmers and plantation owners follow this practice, though the main culprits are probably the latter. Each...
Israeli Defense Sector Breathes Easier after New U.S. Aid Pact
Israel's defense industry breathed a sigh of relief Thursday after the new and enlarged U.S. military aid package showed that allowances for Israeli spending at home won't decline until year 6 of the 10-year agreement.On Sept. 14, Israeli and U.S. officials...
Lens on Syria Captures the Destruction of War
Daniel Demeter gave a photo presentation on his new book, Lens on Syria: A Photographic Tour of Its Ancient and Modern Culture, (available from Middle East Books and More) on Sept. 22 at George Washington University in Washington, DC.Born and raised...
Medea Benjamin Speaks at 9/11 Interfaith Memorial
Muslims for Peace sponsored an interfaith commemoration of the 15th anniversary of 9/11 at the Masjid-e-Ali mosque in central New Jersey. An imam, a rabbi and a minister offered prayers. Phillip Kramer, the mayor of Franklin Township, said he came because...
Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran
Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran By Barry Meier, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016, hardcover, 288p. List: $27; MEB: $20.The case of Robert "Bob" Levinson, the CIA contractor who went missing in Iran in 2007, has long been of interest...
Museum of African American History and Culture Opens on National Mall
After years of planning and fund-raising, the National Museum of African American History and Culture-the Smithsonian Institution's 19th museum-opened Sept. 24 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The push for a federally owned museum began in 1915,...
New MOU Gives Israel $3.8 Billion per Year, an Increase of $200 Million
U.S. and Israeli negotiators on Sept. 14 signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will give Israel $38 billion per year over 10 years, beginning in FY 2019 (see pp. 10-14). Israel will get $3.3 billion per year in military aid and $500 million...
Newspeak, Netanyahu-Style: Portraying Israeli Ethnic Cleansers as Victims
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER Binyamin Netanyahu has used one of his video postings on social media to launch an assault on the established definition in international law of "ethnic cleansing."He argued that a Palestinian demand to dismantle Jewish settlements...
"Night Raid" Photographic Exhibit at Gallery Al-Quds
"I conducted a photographic night raid in 2013," photojournalist Richard Cahan explained in a statement about his photo exhibition on view at the Jerusalem Fund's Gallery al-Quds in the Palestine Center in Washington, DC. "Armed with a camera, I walked...
Obituaries
Donald A. Kruse, 85, died Sept. 8 in La Grange Park, IL. Born in Springfield, PA, he received a BA from Wheaton College, IL; an MA from the University of Pennsylvania; and graduated from the National War College. After serving two years in the U.S. Army...
Other People's Mail
SYRIA'S FORGOTTEN CHILDRENTo the Portland Press Herald, Sept. 22, 2016A year ago this month, the world was stunned by the photograph of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lying dead on a Turkish beach.Like Aylan's father, Abdullah Kurdi, many thought that the image...
Palestine and the Democratic Party Platform
DR. JAMES ZOGBY, president of the Arab American Institute, appeared at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC on Sept. 14 to discuss the Democratic Party's evolution on the issue of Palestine.The prominent Democrat has fought for decades to shifthis...
Poll Reveals American Catholics Are Wary of Islam
Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative released on Sept. 12 the results of a groundbreaking poll on how American Catholics view Islam. The survey, which sampled English-speaking American Catholics in April 2015, found that Catholics are largely suspicious...
Postcard from Cyprus
ON THE NORTHERN side of Cyprus' divided capital of Nicosia, ruined old Ottoman kervansaray stand shoulder-to-shoulder with boarded-up colonial-era British banks. In the shabby, ramshackle streets, a line of long-abandoned Armenian merchants' villas ends...
Publishers' Page
Soon We Will Know...WHO OUR NEXT president will be. At press time-less than three weeks before the Nov. 8 election-polls seem to favor Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Does this mean we will soon be at war with Syria-and perhaps Russia? The former secretary...
SJP-Rutgers Hosts Dr. Mahmoud Alhirthani and Miko Peled
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-Rutgers (New Brunswick) hosted Dr. Mahmoud Alhirthani and Miko Peled on Sept. 19 for its first event of the academic year. Dr. Alhirthani is professor of translation and inter-cultural studies at Al Aqsa University...
Syria-What Cost "Victory"?
A DEEP CONTRADICTION lies at the heart of U.S. policy toward the present horrifying conflict in Syria. Which is better? To now reluctantly accept continuation of Bashar al-Assad in power in Damascus for the foreseeable future, thereby hastening the end...
The $38 Billion "Understanding"
EVEN IN THE flexible world of Israeli politics, it's been a while since there was such a gap between reality and how the Prime Minister's Office was spinning reality. In press statements and talking points, the military aid agreement with the United...
The Best Man Won: António Guterres Elected New U.N. Secretary-General
THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL has defied the media and the chattering classes with its unanimous nomination of António Guterres, the former Portuguese prime minister, as the ninth U.N. secretary-general. He walked to an easy finish on the first "real" straw...
The Shimon Peres Palestinians Can't Forget
WHEN MAJOR figures die, the remembrances begin to pour in. The narratives created about those who have gone are supposed to tell us a lot about them. But what we choose to remember and how we choose to remember tell us a great deal about us as well.In...
UPA Hosts A Night for Palestine: Music for Life
United Palestinian Appeal held an Oct. 2 benefit concert to raise awareness and funds at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater in Arlington, VA. "A Night for Palestine:?Music for Life" featured Palestinian musician, composer and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his...
With New Israel Aid Deal, Obama Is Patron of the Occupation
Barack Obama is a bad president for Israel. If the military aid he approved for the coming decade is the largest ever, then as a president he is the worst ever for Israel. The last thing Israel needs is more arms, which will push it toward more acts...
Zarqa Nawaz and Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
Zarqa Nawaz, who gained fame with her pioneering first sitcom about what it is like to be a Muslim living in the West, spoke at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on Sept. 14. Her TV show, "Little Mosque on the Prairie,"which aired from 2007 through...
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