The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tragedy in Wonderland, the fatalism of the rejectionist ideology

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It's one thing to be optimistic. But when you replace optimism with fatalistic hope, it is irresponsible and even selfish.

How else do you describe the bizarre, although articulately expressed, assertions by Ali Abunimeh, the presumed successor to the late great philosopher Edward Said, that Israel is "failing?" Published on Abunimeh's web site "The Electronic Intifada," where Abunimeh pines for the days when Palestinians were willing to sacrifice everything by using inadequate violence to respond to Israel's military violence, the column makes the seemingly bold claim that Israel is a "failed" state.

That kind of rebellious declaration, or rhetoric, does make the Palestinian sheep that follow him blindly cheer for optimism. But it isn't optimistic at all. In fact, attempts to rally the Palestinians with empty claims are undermining Palestinian ability to overcome the occupation.

The fact is if Israel is a "failed" state, then what is Palestine? What is the Palestinian achievement? What is the Palestinian strategy/ What is the means by which Palestinians might exploit this national failure by Israel?

The sad truth is that Palestinian extremists have been feeding false hope and useless rhetoric that instead of moving Palestinians to overcome the occupation have deluded them into believing that the continuation of the occupation is good because it will miraculously vanish because "Israel is a failed state."

Never mind that the movement Abunimeh cheers like a scene from the film "Lord of the Flies" amidst the bonfire of his vanities is an empty movement with only one goal: keep the conflict going because there might be some miracle. Because that is what Palestinian extremists need, a miracle. And they don't mind waiting through three more generations of Palestinian refugee destitution in the hopes it will arrive. Someday. Not now, of course. But someday, in the distant future.

People who are desperate and denied leadership will consume anything for hope. Alixirs. Promises of dreams that in reality are nightmares. False hope is always what false leaders offer to the hopeless. Because feeding hopelessness preserves the leaders of the "leaders."

They can't tell the people the sad and pathetic truth that after 62 years of fighting with false hope and lies and alixirs, the Palestinian people are no closer to statehood than they were in 1948. The rejectionists used to blame that failure on the late Palestinian President Yasir Arafat. Never mind that Arafat was the only Palestinian to achieve any significant objective, raising through revolution the Palestinian people out of the abyss of darkness and forcing the world to recognize that we in fact do exist. But that revolution in the hands of extremists and other false Palestinian prophets is non-existent. They wish for it, which is why Abunimeh's Electronic Intifada is an online altar to a power long lost.

There have been two Intifadas. The first was powerful and pushed Israel to the negotiating table that it falsely claimed it hoped to sit at with Palestinian peace partners. The sacrifices of the first Intifada, led by Palestinians at the grassroots level of the occupation, had a goal: to resist the oppressive Israeli military occupation and to push Israel to a solution to end the occupation and allow creation of a Palestinian State.

The second Intifada was started not by Palestinians but by Ariel Sharon, an Israeli terrorist in a three-piece suit who rose from the infamy of the Qibya massacre of Palestinian civilians in 1953 (and later was also involved in the Qafr Qassem massacre as a military supervisor in 1956) to become Israel's most vicious prime minister. It was hijacked from the hapless Palestinian people by the terrorism of Hamas, a religiously fanatic militant organization that Sharon and Israel helped midwife into being in the 1970s.

Abunimeh, who comes from the same corrupted Palestinian elite who destroyed Palestinian hopes and dreams in the pre-1948 years, pines for another Intifada, a violent and unnecessary option that would heap huge suffering upon a Palestinian people already max-ed out in suffering. The last thing the Palestinians need is another violent struggle against Israel. After two failed struggles and limited success from a revolution, Palestinians need leaders who can bring the conflict to an abrupt end and achieve at least some form of genuine statehood sovereignty. The only way to do that is to negotiate a real peace that establishes Palestine as a state in the last remaining land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

There is still hope for that two-state settlement, but that hope is exactly what pushes the rejectionists to mislead Palestinians into believing that somehow Israel, which has its military boot on the necks of Palestinian Nationalism, is in fact a "failure."

The only answer is peace. But that is why the rejectionists and their disciples continue to push for conflict. Their goal is the same goal that was sought by Hamas when Arafat and the late Yitzhak Rabin sought to negotiate a final peace agreement. Hamas and Abunimeh want the option of peace to be erased forever. If they can just get rid of the slim hope for peace through negotiations and compromise, then, maybe, Palestinians will stop trying to compromise and instead go all out in a new Intifada, one in which the leaders, sheltered in their luxurious homes in the decadence of the West that they so despise, can cheer on each and every Palestinian to martyrdom. Every Palestinian Martyr becomes another opportunity to push palestinians away from hope and in to the hands of all out conflict.

That reality is that while many in the world are outraged at Israel's military and violent excesses in the West Bank and the alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip, Israel is far from failure. It is the Palestinian people who are moving closer and closer to failure, thanks to the rejectionists and their lack of leadership and their inspirationally misleading words to fight on. "Until every last Palestinian has sacrificed his or her life for the rejectionist cause."

But Abunimeh is just one person. A good person when he is not leading the Palestinian people, but one who is leading Palestinians to another decade of slaughter. The real problem is the extremism that his zealotry represents. The idea that destroying peace and igniting a new Intifada because "Israel is a failed state" is so appealing to the traumatized, hapless Palestinian masses (who have been embraced by conflict for so long they know no other means of life) they are willing to go that route and lose everything rather than salvage what they can.

Many often point to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and observe that Palestinians mimic the Israelis in their actions. Yet Palestinians have not mimicked israel at all. Instead, they chose the fatalistic and the failed option almost every time. Israelis have always taken what they could, when they could, and how they could. In contrast, Palestinians, led by rejectionist leaders, have insisted that they must take "all or nothing."

It was the three famous "No's" in the 1960s. And those "No's" have turned into the foundation of Palestinian rejectionist policies. No normalization. No compromise. No peace. "All or nothing."

I will admit though that Abunimeh has a better chance of achieving the goal that is the destiny of his leadership: Palestinians, having demanded "all," will find themselves with "nothing."

You never know, though. There could be a miracle. Someday. Maybe. Possibly. Just say no to peace. Turn anger into hatred and hatred into violence.

Or, Palestinians can break the bonds of the extremist hallucinogens, open their eyes, see that their people are in such a state of despair that compromise is their only hope to begin to rebuild their devastated nation.

But few Palestinians have the courage to admit that they made a mistake, they were wrong and that the policies of violence and empty rhetoric are as much to blame for their plight as are the brutal policies of the Israeli occupier.

Israelis could not have wished for a better opponent, one that allows emotion to trump reason and good decisions to be erased by empty words of extremist and rejectionist rhetoric.

Tragedy in Wonderland.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, December 21, 2009

The US Census and American Arabs, a Satirical approach

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The CENSUS: A satirical approach

Have you all filled out your census form yet?

I’m not filling it out. No. I won’t fill out the Census form because I want our name ARAB spelled out in black ink on the Census form … with all the other names … I pay my taxes … I am NOT writing the word ARAB on the form … the US Government should write it on the form for me …

They do that for everyone else.

The Census form has a long list of “recognized” ethnic and racial groups:

WHITE

They list Hispanics five different ways on the Census form:

HISPANIC, LATINO OR SPANISH ORIGIN … Mexican American … Chicano … What country does Chicano come from?

They list Black people three times on the Census form :

BLACK … AFRICAN AMERICAN … NEGRO


American Indian or Alaskan Native … they even give you a space to write in your “TRIBE”


There are all kinds of ASIANS …


Asian Indian … Japanese … Native Hawaiian … Chinese … Korean … Guamanian or Chamorro … Filipino … Vietnamese … Samoan


OR … “Other Asian” such as Laotian … Thai … Pakistani … and Cambodian.


And they even have


Pacific Islander … Fijian … Tongan.


I know why they don’t have ARAB written on the Census form … They have already printed 28 other ethnic and racial groups … and THERE’S NO MORE ROOM for us anywhere on the form …

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, October 30, 2009

In the offices of the New York Times of the American Arab community

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I'm in the offices of the Arab American News newspaper in Dearborn Michigan, the capitol of America's Arab American community.

There are about 100 Arab newspapers in this country but the Arab American news is one of the few and maybe the only one that has its own building and a fulltime staff that churns out a newspaper not once a month, not once every two weeks but every week.

Tonight is the deadline and Osama Siblani is working with a full staff of reporters to finish the layout for the latest edition which goes to the press tonight and will be distributed throughout Michigan, the Midwest and other cities across the United States.

The big news today is the killing of an African American Imam at a mosque in nearby Detroit by the FBI. Six of the imam's followers were arrested. The incident involved a shootout between the members of the mosque and the FBI agents who charged the Imam was planning to organize violent attacks against American targets.

The American press is all over it but the Arab American news, which publishes in Arabic and English, better understands the issues of Islam and the differences between Sunni's, Shi'ites and the African American Islamic sects.

The Arab American News is located on Chase off Ford Avenue in the heart of Dearborn's 30,000 Arabs and Muslims. The newspaper is celebrating its 25th year and is distinguished by publishing one fresh edition every week that is never under 48 pages.

"This issue is 52 pages but the largest we have published is 72 pages," Siblani says between directing the editing of a story and its placement and my queries from a nearby desk.

Siblani is also the president of the Arab American Political Action Committee, which celebrates its 12th Anniversary tonight with a banquet where I will be performing standup comedy and satire on American politics, Arab American life and culture.

The typewriter keys on five computers are buzzing. It reminds me of my days working as the City Hall reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times back in the 1980s and 1990s. It's all done electronically these days. In the old days, we'd call our stories in and dictate the sentences over the telephone. Now, the stories are typed and typeset all in one motion using complex software.

Dearborn is unique for many reasons. It is the one place where all the different Arab sub-groups at least pretend to get along. In Chicago, they stay apart. In Los Angeles, they separate themselves by country clubs. But in Dearborn, they all come together because they recognize that the simple formula for empowerment that power starts at the grass roots level, not at the top offices of the President or the U.S. Congress.

As a result, dozens of candidates, including many of Arab heritage, Muslim and Christian, are running for election in Michigan's general election Tuesday, November 3.

I get this amazing sense of cultural Arab pride when I drive through Dearborn and see the billboards with Arab names and Arabic writing. Every corner has an Arab restaurant, shop or retail establishment.

The names of the candidates vary and represent what every other community continues to try to achieve, complete diversity.

John Bennett. Rose Mary Robinson. Mohamed Okdie. John O'Reilly. Hussein Berry. Abdul Algazali and Abdalla Awwad. One of the candidates creating a buzz is Ali Sayed, a life-long Dearborn resident and only 28 years old who is seeking a position on the Dearborn City council. The list of candidates names running for the Dearborn City Council are all Arab except one, Brian O'Donnell.

The candidates will be feted at the AAPAC dinner and their slogan this year is one that only Dearborn has been able to achieve: "Strength in Unity."

Down the street from the newspaper's offices is the country's only Arab Museum.

Every Arab living in America should make one trip to this city at least to see with their own eyes what true Arab involvement in American society could be like someday in their cities.

It's inspirational. And I'll leave with a sense of where Chicago's divided and distraught American Arab community might one day reach. I hope other cities will also do the same.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Community media Workshop focuses on ethnic media needs Oct. 28

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Community Media Workshop's ethnic news media workshop.

The Community Media Workshop is holding a workshop for journalism students in the Chicago area to learn about  the ethnic news media and the possibilities for internships, freelancing, or, hopefully, jobs.  The meeting is from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 28th at the eighth floor at 1104 S. Wabash, on the campus of Columbia College.

At the session, you'll meet college graduates who have found jobs with the ethnic news media, editors or news directors who are looking for interns or freelancers, and offer some advice about how the ethnic news media might be a stepping stone in this incredibly fast changing world of journalism.

There are over 300 ethnic news media outlets in the Chicago area and they range from giants like Univision to pioneers like the Chicago Defender to up and coming print, radio or television outlets that serve a growing number of Asian, Latino and African immigrants here.

The Community Media Workshop is a more than 20-year-old non-profit that has been helping Chicago communities and organizations make their voices heard.

For more information, contact Steve Franklin
 at 312 369 6400

Friday, October 02, 2009

Chicago's disregard for American Arabs in part cause of losing 2016 Olympic Bid

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted Tuesday to reject Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. The committee consisted of over 100 members, including 12 from Arab countries. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley may have set the city up for a "fall" when he falsely boasted to the Ruler of Dubai during a visit there that his administration has been very considerate of American Arab needs. There are more than 230,000 Arabs living in Chicago, Daley said, or 7.6 percent of the population. But, the tragedy is that American Arabs in Chicago have no real representation on the city's 50-member city council, less than 1 percent of the city's 36,000 jobs, and are marginalized at almost every level of City Government.

Mayor Daley and AON Corporation Chairman Patrick Ryan must bear the brunt of the responsibility for losing the bid. The city has been besieged by ongoing scandals that have undermined public support for the Olympic Games.


Daley, who vowed that taxpayers would not be responsible for any losses incurred by the Olympics if held in Chicago, quietly planned to put taxpayers on the hook for any losses -- losses that could not be projected this far in advance of the games. Only weeks ago, after denying taxpayers would be responsible, Daley forced the rubber stamp Chicago City Council to approve a guarantee that in fact taxpayers would be on the hook for any financial losses, a requirement demanded by the IOC.


That and the bloated and wasteful spending of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee, soured most Chicagoans on the game bid. The majority of Chicagoans opposed the Olympic bid, not because they do not believe the Olympics could be beneficial, but because they just don't trust the corruption-plagued Chicago Machine that Daley heads. Daley and the 2016 Olympic Committee were dishonest in their approach in dealing with the public.

Worse, though, is the abuse American Arabs continue to take under Daley's leadership. Mayor Daley patronizes American Arabs, but does not support the American Arab community.

The fact is that if American Arabs represent 7.6 percent of the city's 3 million citizens, then American Arabs should have 7.6 percent of the city's jobs, 7.6 percent of the teaching jobs, 7.6 percent of the firemen positions and policemen positions which are all above and beyond the basic city employment. American Arabs should also have 7.6 percent of the city's multi-million dollar contract awards. And American Arabs organizations should be receiving 7.6 percent of the millions of dollars in contract grants awarded for ethnic and heritage pride programs.

The reality is that despite Daley exaggerating the truth in his meeting with the Ruler of Dubai and also Arab members of the IOC's board, the truth prevailed. Arabs hold less than 1 percent of the city's jobs, have only 2 to 4 out of thousands teaching positions, get only crumbs from the city's multi-million dollar grants programs for culture, ethnic and heritage pride, and we get no real respect.

The 2016 Olympic Committee met with American Arab leaders several times. At one meeting, I complained that we want to support the Olympics but that Daley and his administration takes our community for granted. The spokespeople on the 2016 Committee insisted they could do nothing about the shortcomings toward or community but said they would make the point loud and clear to the mayor.

They did not.


In fact, out of the more than 360 members of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee, only two are Arab.
Later, as a result of my columns, several more were added.

All American Arabs in Chicago and throughout the United States are asking is that we be treated equally, fairly and just like everyone else, every other ethnic group, every other racial group, every other religious.

But because of the politicized nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, American Arabs are not treated fairly. We are patronized, ignored, left out and even oppressed.

Nothing says that more than the apparent abandonment of Chicago's bid by the Arab World IOC delegates and the delegates from Africa. They were our chance. But the greed and politically selfishness of some of the top leadership of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee failed to put the focus where it should be.

Chicago should have been portrayed as a city of fairness, equality and diversity.

Clearly, most of the IOC's delegates, including the Arab delegates, saw through the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee's ruse!

-- Ray Hanania

http://www.radiochicagoland.com/

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Middle East Database, AskZad, Launches in North America and Europe

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Middle East Database, AskZad, Launches in North America and Europe
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., USA - September 17, 2009.  Arabia Inform and East View Information Services are pleased to announce the AskZad database has launched in North America. 

AskZad is a digital library of Arabic and English content emanating from the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and containing over 500 million pages of content.

Mohamed Elewa, founder and CEO of Arabia Inform, is seeing his vision come to life.  "I founded Arabia Inform more than a dozen years ago.  We created the Middle East's most comprehensive digitization, indexing and archiving center, aggregating and licensing content from around the region.  I have always wanted to bring the richness of Arabic thought to the West, connecting our cultures.  Now that we are launching AskZad in North America and Europe, I am seeing my ultimate wish realized.  We will continue to develop our content to be more usable by both Arabic-speaking and non-Arabic speaking populations and I hope that Arabia Inform will add a new dimension and understanding to the geopolitical dialogue."

The content found within AskZad collectively forms an unprecedented digital library of the most important publications from across the Middle East and is constantly growing.  As of September 2009, AskZad contains:

Pan-Arab News Index is a full Arabic language index - going back to 1998 - covering:
  • 130 newspaper and news magazine print editions
  • 181 newspapers and new magazines with both print and online editions
  • 215 online news sources from the Arab world
  • indexing of an additional 1,000 news sources relevant to the Middle East
  • article-level views of full content
AskZad Full-Page Newspapers is a full-image collection of Middle Eastern Newspapers which AskZad is licensed to re-distribute.  AskZad is pursuing an initiative through 2010 to license the top 100 Arabic language news publications from the Middle East. 

Pan-Arab News Index is a full Arabic language index going back to 1998 covering over 2,000 news sources from the Middle East, including hundreds of print newspapers, news websites, and magazines. PANI offers up-to-date indexing as well as article-level views of full content.

Pan-Arab E-Books contains nearly 25,000 digitized books.

Pan-Arab Academic Journal Index contains full Arabic language indices of more than 500 Middle Eastern university-published journals and approximately 150 organization-published journals.

Pan-Arab Academic Journals is a database of complete, licensed content of  almost 200 Applied Science and Social Science Academic Journals published in the Middle East. AskZad continues to negotiate with other journal publishers to expand its collection to include all of the 3,000 journals published across the Arab world.

Pan-Arab Dissertations contains almost 7,000 dissertations published by graduate students in the Middle East.

Pan-Arab Peer-Review Articles contains approximately  10,000 peer-reviewed articles in both Applied and Social Sciences.

Pan-Arab Conference Proceedings covers full materials from approximately 50 Middle Eastern conferences (most held annually), primarily academic, and includes white papers, research presentations, etc.

For more information, contact East View at info@eastview.com or view our recorded webinar on East View products from the Middle East.
--End--

About East View Information Services
East View Information Services is a leading provider of information products and services, including online databases of Russian, Chinese, and Arabic content, print periodicals, books, and microforms. The company serves all geographies and many market segments, including academic institutions, government organizations, corporations, public and federal libraries, and law firms. To learn more about our customers and our products, visit East View www.eastview.com.

About Arabia Inform
Arabia Inform is a Cairo and Dubai-based information services corporation aggregating, indexing and analyzing media content emanating from MENA countries.  Product lines include AskZad, Middle East Monitor, Acumen Media Intelligence and Moheet news portal..  Founded in 1997 to serve government entities, Arabia Inform has also established itself in Corporate and Academic circles as a cornerstone for Middle Eastern current awareness.  Arabia Inform has also opened an office in Washington, DC. Visit Arabia Inform at www.arabiainform.com.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Talfazat expands programming to include Palestine TV

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palestine TV Now Available on Talfazat
Leading Arabic TV Service Adds Top Palestine Entertainment Channel to Lineup
Toronto, Ontario – September 15, 2009 – Back by popular demand, Talfazat now gives viewers access to one of the Middle East’s premier channels – Palestine TV.  Offering the best entertainment and news from Palestine, this channel has returned to Talfazat’s service featuring series, game shows, news and more.
Palestine TV was a valued channel on Talfazat when the service first debuted in August 2008.  Popularity among viewers encouraged the channel’s return, which has now been re-launched on Talfazat joining the fleet of close to 30 top channels.
As a leading online Arabic TV service, Talfazat gives viewers global access to live channels and thousands of hours of video-on-demand.  Palestine TV is now available on the TV as part of the Talfazat set-top-box Gold and Silver packages and as well as the PC package.
Talfazat’s lineup continues to be one of the strongest in the market and proves to be the best way to watch the most preferred programming from the Middle East.
Palestine TV’s popularity among our viewers propelled us to welcome its return.  We are thrilled to offer such a diverse and quality content to our viewers.  Talfazat continues its efforts to further expand its channel offerings,” said Judeh Siwady, general manger of Talfazat. 
Talfazat comes to the marketplace through leading technology provider NeuLion (TSX:NLN).  As an end-to-end turnkey service, NeuLion is the backbone of both the online and set-top-box services for Talfazat and a number of other International partners.
Visit www.talfazat.com for Palestine TV today.
About Talfazat
Talfazat is a leading online Arabic television network.  The service gives viewers high quality access to the most popular live Arabic television channels and thousands of hours of video-on-demand.  As a multi-platform service, Talfazat programming can be viewed via the Internet on both the PC and TV through set-top-box.  There is no need for satellite or complex installation.  Begin watching today at www.talfazat.com 
About NeuLion
Based in Plainview, NY, Sanford, Florida and Toronto, Ontario, NeuLion (TSX:NLN) works with content partners to develop end-to-end solutions for multimedia IPTV services. The NeuLion IPTV Platform encodes, delivers, stores and manages an unlimited range of multimedia content and the Operational Support System (OSS) maintains all billing and customer support services. Content partners are responsible for content aggregation and the sales and marketing for the individual IPTV service. The Company ranks as a world leader in Partner relationships with sports and international television content partners including, in sports, the NHL, the NFL, NCAA Division I schools and conferences and, in respect to international television aggregators and networks, KyLinTV (Chinese), ABS-CBN (Filipino), Talfazat (Arabic), TV-Desi (South Asian) and Sky Angel (Christian). Partner content can be viewed by way of Internet on PCs and on the television through the Company’s IPTV set-top-box. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anti-Defamation League honors Muslim student in First Amendment Award in Villa Park


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Local Villa Park Student Wins First Amendment Award

Adem Shauipas of Villa Park Honored at the ADL’s First Amendment Freedom Award Dinner

On September 16, Villa Park resident and Islamic Foundation School student Adem Shauipas will be honored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Upper Midwest chapter for his knowledge and expression of the First Amendment. Adem is a first place Essay Winner in the Grades 10 & 11 category, and, in addition to attending the First Amendment dinner, he will receive $1000.

“We were amazed at the thoughtfulness and eloquence of the essay finalists,” says ADL Upper Midwest Chapter Regional Director Lonnie Nasatir. “We were also especially heartened by the fact that over 1700 high school students took the time to sit down and write about how the 1st Amendment affects their every day lives.”

The 2009 First Amendment Art & Essay Contest, sponsored by ADL, Greenberg Traurig, LLP and the Chicago Tribune, was held this past May. Students in grades 8 through 11 were asked to submit their artwork and/or essays based on how one or more of the five freedoms listed in the First Amendment personally affects their daily lives. The entries were judged based on creativity, originality, general skill and following the theme. There were two finalists in each grade level and a total of 14 honorable mentions, and the winning art pieces and essays were chosen from over 1700 entries.

About the 4th Annual First Amendment Freedom Award Dinner

On September 16, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Upper Midwest chapter will honor Abner J. Mikva and Newton N. Minow, two men who have fought to preserve the five freedoms guaranteed to every American under the First Amendment, and the First Amendment Art & Essay Contest winners in the 4th Annual First Amendment Freedom Award Dinner. The event will take place on Thursday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Chicago Hilton. To purchase tickets, please visit www.adl.org/firstamendment.

Please see below for a complete list of judges and student winners for the 2009 First Amendment Art & Essay Contest. Also, please let me know if you would like to speak with the students.

Andrea Cordts

ACordts@EmpowerPR.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Those pimping for the U.S. Census should be honest, its about their money not our community empowerment


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The U.S. Government has done a great job hiring Arabs in our community to shill for their cause, to continue to oppress our community. The focus on the effort is the U.S. Census.

I want you to notice something. Everyone one pimping and pushing for the American Arab community to "participate" in the U.S. Census are all PAID by the U.S. Government to tell us to fill out the census form.

They lie that filling out the census form and "writing in our race" Arab in the little line at the bottom of the form is a way for us to be empowered. And when someone questions their lies, they slam and slander Arabs who argue that we have been misled by lazy, do-nothing Arab activists who have taken the short and easy route to money instead of fighting the long term challenge.

What is the long term challenge? Arabs should be listed officially on the census.

Here is who are now listed on the U.S. Census:

The census form asks for your Race, listing Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin. And they ask if you are Mexican, Mexican American (I didn’t know there were two categories of Mexicans), or Chicano? What kind of race is “Chicano?” What country do “Chicanos” come from? “Chicano-stan?”

They ask the same question again on the long form: Are you White? Black, African American or Negro? Are you American Indian or Alaskan Native and they even give you a place to write in your tribe name.

That’s not all. The form asks are you Asian Indian? Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Guamanian or Chamorro, Filipino, Vietnamese, Samoan or Other Asian where they give you a space so you can print your “race” like Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian “and so on.”

Oh, they don’t stop there. They ask are you “Pacific Islander” and ask you to print your race like Fijian, Tongan “and so on.”

Way at the bottom, in case they missed someone, someone not so important, they have the throw away line, to check here if you are “Some Other Race – Print Race.”

That is where I have to hand-write that I am “Arab.” And proud of it too, by the way.

Read the full original column that has Rashad al-Dabbagh, who works for the census, and some members of the Arab American Institute targeting me because I don't agree with their laid-back lack of activism against this problem. Click here to read the column?

The fact is that while these activists are cashing their checks and telling American Arabs, "Don't worry. You don't have to be listed on the census form, you can write it in so the AAI can complete their list," government agencies across America are discriminating against American Arabs specifically and directly because the U.S. Census DOES NOT list Arabs as "Arab" on the Census form.

The federal government requires police officers who pull people over for traffic stops to list the race of the person being stopped. But, they are required only to list those races AND ethnicities listed on the U.S. Census form.

Why is that important? If the race is listed on statistics, communities can easily see if they are being targeted for discrimination by police officers and then use that as "EMPOWERMENT" to demand that the police department hire American Arabs.

But American Arabs are NOT listed and police are not required to list us at all.

In every instance of EMPOWERMENT, not being listed on the U.S. Census means we are denied the ability to confront and stop discrimination, discrimination that is holding our community back.

And all that the activists who are PAID by the U.S. Census can do is attack me ands my argument and tell us little American Arab Sheep to "write your race on the form."

Well, writing your name on the form does not stop the discrimination and it DOES NOT force government agencies from the top of the Federal Government to the bottom of the local suburban government to recognize the rights of Americans Arabs.

When we ask school districts how many Arabs have they hired, the answer is "We are not required to list employees based on the race 'Arabs' and we only list race and ethnicity based on those identified in the U.S. Census."

I know what the problem is. It's easier for some in our community to take the handout from the government and keep the American Arabs in a stupor than to find the courage to stand up and change a system that needs to be change.

Arabs should and MUST be listed on the U.S. Census form and until we are, we will continue to be discriminated against, denied government grants, denied government jobs and marginalized in our society.

-- Ray Hanania

www.RadioChicagoland.com

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Israel continues theft of lands from Christians and Muslims through jewish National Fund

New Israel Land Reform Law Passed by Knesset

"Adalah will challenge the new Israel land reform law before the Supreme Court as it violates the constitutional rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel as well as the property rights of the Palestinian refugees"

(Haifa, Israel 3 August 2009) Today, 3 August 2009, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed the Israel Land Administration (ILA) Law, with 61 Members of Knesset (MKs) voting in favor of the law and 45 MKs voting against it. The new land reform law is wide ranging in scope: it institutes broad land privatization; permits land exchanges between the State and the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet Le-Israel) (hereinafter - the “JNF”), the land of which is exclusively reserved for the Jewish people; allows lands to be allocated in accordance with "admissions committee" mechanisms and only to candidates approved by Zionist institutions working solely on behalf of the Jewish people; and grants decisive weight to JNF representatives in a new Land Authority Council, which would replace the Israel Land Administration (ILA). The new law is extremely prejudicial to the constitutional rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, and it violates the property rights of the Palestinian refugees as it contravenes international humanitarian law (IHL) applicable to them and their property.

Currently, the State of Israel controls and the ILA manages 93% of the land in Israel. State-controlled properties are leased on a long-term basis to residents. The new ILA Law or the "Israel Land Reform Law" will lead to the transfer of ownership from the state to private individuals, those who have been leasing the properties, throughout certain urban, rural and agricultural areas of the state, as well as with respect to land governed by outline plans that enable the issuance of building permits. It will lead to the transfer of title to private owners in real estate properties which were expropriated by the state from the Palestinian Arab population. The law will also lead to privatization of property of some of the lands of destroyed and evacuated Arab villages, as well as many properties belonging to Palestinian refugees, which are currently controlled by the state's Custodian of Absentee Property and the Development Authority. This privatization policy will frustrate any future possibility of returning the abovementioned lands to their original Palestinian owners, in violation of their constitutional right to property and in contravention of both domestic Israeli law and IHL.

Israel confiscated massive amounts of land from Palestinian citizens of the state under several laws; a principal law used was the Land Acquisition (Validation of Acts and Compensations) Law - 1953. Under this law, lands in the destroyed and evacuated villages, as well as lands in the Arab villages which survived the War of 1948, were expropriated. The scope of these expropriated lands under this particular law is estimated at approximately 1.2 million dunams (around 300,000 acres). In addition, much land was expropriated under the Land Ordinance (Acquisition for Public Purposes) - 1943 such as the 1976 Land Day expropriations of approximately 21,000 dunams (around 5,200 acres).

For more information, please contact:
Gabrielle Rubin, International Media Coordinator, Adalah
gaby@adalah.org; Mobile: 052-8332430

Adalah ("Justice" in Arabic) is an independent human rights organization and legal center. It works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

Facts and Figures: Land

1. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) presently owns approximately 2.5 million dunams of land, about 13% of the area of the state of Israel. These lands are spread over all areas and regions of the country.
2. About two million dunams of land were transferred to the JNF by the state.[1] This fact led to the granting of special status to the JNF in Israeli law, and to a view of the JNF as the decisive entity in land policy in Israel.
3. Over half of the Arab citizens of Israel (53%) live in the northern district, and about 13.9% live in the south. These areas have the highest concentrations of Arab citizens in the state.
4. 69% of the Arab villages and towns in Israel (excluding the mixed Arab-Jewish cities and the unrecognized villages) are located in the north. In the south, there are seven government-planned towns for the Arab Bedouin, and another 10 Arab Bedouin unrecognized villages have been recently afforded official recognition. There are 40 unrecognized villages in the Naqab,[2] in which 80,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel reside.
5. The jurisdictional areas of Arab local councils in the north constitute 12.2% of the land, whereas the Arab population in the north constitutes 53% of the entire population therein.[3]
6. In the Beer Sheva district in the south, the jurisdictional areas of the Arab local councils, in addition to those recently recognized, is less than 1%, while the percentage of the Arab population in the area is 28.3%.[4]
7. The Arab population in these districts is relatively young: the percentage of Arab citizens belonging to the 0-19 age group out of the total Arab population is 50%.[5]
8. A detailed look at the northern and southern districts shows that the young Arab population (the 0-19 age-group) in the north amounts to 46.6% whereas in the south this group constitutes 66.1%.[6] At the same time, the growth rate of the Arab population in the south is 4.4% per annum, and in the north, it is 2% per annum.[7]
9. The ongoing policy of non-recognition of the villages has led to extremely abysmal living conditions: there is no water, no electricity, no infrastructure, no health services and no educational facilities in many of these villages. Approximately 50% of the Arab Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev) are affected by these policies.


For more information:
See: "Adalah position paper on behalf of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel: Critique of the Israeli government's land reform bill", 21 July 2009
http://www.adalah.org/newsletter/eng/jul09/jul09.html
[1] Arnon Golan, Seizure of Arab Land by Jewish Settlements in the War of Independence, Katedra: The Journal of the History and Settlement of the Land of Israel, 63, pp. 151-152; Ruth Kark, 1955, “The Emergent Shaping of Authorities, and State Land Policy in the State of Israel,” The Institute for the Study of the Use of Land, p. 177; Yif’at Holman-Gazit, 2002, “Using the Law as a Status Symbol: the JNF Law, 5715-1953, and the JNF’s Struggle to Establish its Status in the State,” Iyunei Mishpat, 26(2), p. 636.
[2] Some of these villages existed even before the establishment of the State in 1948, and some were set up pursuant to orders issued by the military governor, at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s. The military governor then transferred these residents from their original villages to the present ones.
[3] Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) Israel Statistical Annual No. 59, 2008, Table 2.8.
[4] Ibid. .
[5] Ibid., Table 2.10.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid., Table 2.4.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sheik Zayed Book Awards nominations end Sept. 15

Sheikh Zayed Book Award’ fourth year witnesses record number of nominations to date

Abu Dhabi, July 29, 2009 – The Sheikh Zayed Book Award, one of the world's most prestigious and well-funded prizes, has received a record number of nominations to date for its fourth session of 2009/2010. The Award has received a major 230 nominations that met the initial conditions, according to Mr. Rashed Al Oraimi, The Secretary General of Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

Mr. Al Oraimi elaborated that the nominations were distributed among all of the Award’s nine categories. The category of “Best Contribution to the Development of the Country” came first with 26.3% of the total nominations received to date, while the categories of “Literature” and “The Young Author” followed closely with 25.4% and 22.5% of total respectively. The Award also received varying number of nominations in the rest of its categories, including Children’s Literature, Translation, Literature, Fine Arts, Best Technology in the Field of Culture, Best Publishing and Distribution House, and Cultural Personality of the Year.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Al Oraimi said: “ We hope that this massive flow of nominations continue until the closing date - September 15th,2009- and we are definite that such contributions will heat up the race towards winning the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards 2010.”

A total of 20 countries contributed to this year’s session of Award so far, of which are 17 Arab countries, including UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Somalia. In addition, the Award received nominations from the United States of America, Germany and Turkey.

-End-

Notes to the Editor

About the Award
The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is an independent cultural award established under the patronage and support of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. The award was established in memory of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, who served as the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE for more than 30 years. The award comprises a total monetary prize value of seven million UAE dirhams. Each prize consists of a gold medal bearing the Sheikh Zayed Book Award logo, a certificate of merit and a cash reward.

The award recognizes cultural achievement across one of the broadest and most diverse areas of any cultural awards internationally, including:

1. Contribution to the Development of the Country Award
Open to works in the fields of economics, sociology, management, politics, law and theology that contribute to the country’s advancement

2. Children’s Literature Award
Open to literary and cultural works addressing various children’s groups.

3. Young Author Award
Open to scientific, literary or cultural works produced by authors younger than 40 years

4. Translation Award
Open to translated works, either to or from Arabic

5. Literature Award
Open to works across various categories of literature including poetry, stories, novels and plays, research addressing literary theories, creative writings or works of criticism

6. Fine Arts Award
Open to books about various forms of art such as music, cinema, architecture, plastic art, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, photography and digital arts

7. Best Technology in the Field of Culture Award
Recognizes written or digital works and researches which promote the Arabic language.

8. Publishing and Distribution Award
Open to publishers, distributors, agents and research institutions which produce a diverse range of texts printed to the highest standard in the Arabic language.

9. Cultural Personality of the Year Award
Honors a prominent Arab or international figure who has contributed to the advancement of the Arabic culture, embodies through his/her work tolerance and promotes peaceful coexistence

For further information please contact:
Karin Aghadjanian
Communication and press
Mobile +971 508343823
Email: Karin.a@zayedaward.com
OR Karin_aghadjanian@hotmail.com

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Book details secrets of overcoming mainstream news media bias

Secrets of New Media Networking; New book released by award winning journalist and author
PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ray Hanania
July 26, 2009 rayhanania@comcast.net

Book details insider tips on using the Internet to
side step the biased Mainstream American News Media

(Chicago) Veteran Journalist and award winning columnist Ray Hanania has been battling bias in the mainstream news media since the day he picked up his first newspaper in the suburbs of Chicago.

An American Arab, Hanania believed that the media was unfairly covering the Middle east conflict and was intentionally portraying American Arabs as terrorists, always ignoring their positive contributions to American society.

That battle has become his lifelong avocation and this week he announced the release of his latest book, a battlefield manual to fight against the inherent bias in the mainstream American news media using Internet networking strategies.

“Too often people in my community blame media bias on another race or religion but this is mistaken stereotyping to excuse away their lack of understanding of how the mainstream news media really works,” says Hanania who entered professional journalism in the early 1970s.

“In the past, the only way to battle mainstream media bias was to enter journalism as a profession and balance the two goals of journalism professionalism against activism. But with the rise of the Internet and the collapsing mainstream news media, you do not need to go to the mainstream news media to reach the public.

“You can do it on your own. ‘Secrets of New Media Networking’ helps you understand not only how to set up an effective Internet Media Network to promote your community, views, activities, opinions and more. But it also walks you through a real understanding of communications in America and the principles that make message compelling.”

Hanania manages a network of four major web sites, 11 blogs, writes for more than two dozen newspapers in print and online, manages several online news organizations, hosts his own morning radio show and weekly cable TV show, and uploads his radio and video broadcasts to the Internet. Merging in social networking strategies and other online assets, his network reaches millions of people every year.

“The mainstream news media is biased and they won’t change. That bias more than any other factor is what is helping to undermine the media and force many mainstream newspapers to close,” Hanania says.

“You can still use the mainstream news media, but you do not need them to get your message out. You can create your own media and my book helps you do it in a professional and effective manner.”

For more information on Secrets of New Media Networking, visit www.TheMediaOasis.com.

Contact Ray Hanania at rayhanania@comcast.net

236 Pages, $34.95. Published by Hanania Enterprises Ltd., and CafePress.com

# # #

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chicago 2016 Olympic bid jeopardized by Mayor Daley's failure to seriously address needs of American Arabs

Commentary on Mayor Daley and the 2016 Olympic Bid

Discrimination against Arabs in Chicago could jeopardize the Chicago bid and Mayor Daley has the ability to change it. But will he?



-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New documentary premiers on images and perceptions of ethnics in the news

With race and gender as her main interests of study, Geri Alumit Zeldes , an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University, is in the process of completing her first documentary on these very topics.

Called “Arabs, Jews, and the News,” the 30-minute film explores the often times tense relationship between the Arab and Jewish communities of both the Middle East and metro Detroit since the July 2006 war in Lebanon, and how the media have represented them.

“I’ve always been interested in how the media portrays people of color, because the media, as we know, is very powerful,” she said.

After almost two and a half years of working on the documentary, she recently entered it into several film festivals. It will premiere on MSU’s campus at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 21 in Room 147 of the Communication Arts and Sciences building.

“It’s always exciting to work so hard on something and it’s so exciting to share it with other people,” she said.

Alumit Zeldes will teach a new course this fall called “Reporting on Islam,” and will launch a Web site this spring called IMAJE, which stands for Islam, Muslims and Journalism Education.

For more information on the documentary “Arabs, Jews, and the News,” visitwww.arabsjewsnews.org/.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Take your 2010 U.S. Census form and shove it!

Take your US Census form and shove-it!

By Ray Hanania

The first question I always get from “Americans” is, “Why do you keep calling yourself ‘Arab-American?’ You are American!”

It represents the rock and the hard place where American Arabs have been pushed by the lack of education among most Americans.

It’s aggravated by what I also call the U.S. Government’s split personality when it comes to Americans Arabs. On one hand, they want to know us. On the other, they don’t. Here’s what I mean.

The only time the United States Government wants to know about Americans Arabs is when they are “profiling” us at airport and border security to “protect” the country from “the terrorist threat.”

But when it comes to counting people in the U.S. Census (so they can participate and share in government programs like grant funding awards, defining the borders of election districts like for congress, state legislatures or municipal councils) the U.S. Government pretends American Arabs don’t exist.

That is exactly what’s happening now in the massive 2010 U.S. Census drive.

The Government isn’t completely stupid, nor are they na├»ve. They are dishing out just enough money to American Arab organizations and PR agencies to do the outreach to the American Arab community.

The Government could do it but they don’t have a positive file on who we are. The Government only has “the negative file,” the one were American Arabs have been historically followed, investigated and probed by FBI agents repeatedly over the past 75 years.

The FBI investigated me over a two year period beginning in August 1975, right after I completed my active duty military service for this country during the Vietnam War. They said I must be a terrorist, because I was Arab; but they concluded the 45 page report by saying in small type, I’m just an American who is concerned about advancing his ethnic community.

During the two years, they talked to banks, employers, neighbors friends and anyone who had anything to do with me. It was all in the report, most of it blacked out with marker. When I finally received a copy in 1979, it pretty much explained the dismissal from jobs, why some neighbors and some friends had stopped talking with me or associating with me, and why several prospective employers had refused to hire me.

Hey, when the U.S. Government puts its attention on American Arabs, it’s usually not for a good reason.

That’s why I am upset -- no angry -- that the Government is pretending that they care for us American Arabs by reaching out and asking us to complete our Federal Census form for 2010.

There are these benefits that we will get from participating. Yea? Like what? What benefits do we as American Arabs actually get from supporting anything this government does?

For example, when I go through an airport, I am immediately identified as an “Arab.” I’m pulled aside and my bags and possessions are thoroughly searched. The friends I am with who are not Arab are made to feel like they are traveling with Osama Bin Laden. And strangers who pass through normal levels of security look at me like I’m going to cut their throats or blow myself up when I get on the plane.

It’s humiliating. But no one really cares. Better to be safe than sorry. If we have to make Arabs go through embarrassing and humiliating procedures that single them out solely because of their “look” or their “profile,” so be it.

Meanwhile, Caucasian murderers and killers walk through security thankful that the government is doing at least part of their job to remove the Arab scourge. More than 95 percent of serial killers are Caucasian. Some of the biggest terrorists in the United States historically have been White supremicists and members of hillbilly militias and Neo-Nazi organizations based in the so-called “American Heartland.”

But if you have Olive skin and look Middle Eastern – a profile that fits more than 200 nationalities and ethnicities mainly from Middle East and Asian countries -- you are the person they have to stop.

This is the “Negative Attention” we get from our government.

Then, this same government that spends a fortune screwing us as American Arabs, spends a fortune trying to convince us that if we participate in the 2010 Census this year, we’re going to benefit?

I ask again, what benefit? There is no benefit. And there is no benefit for a reason. Arabs are NOT included on the Census forms anyway.

The census form asks for your Race, listing Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin. And they ask if you are Mexican, Mexican American (I didn’t know there were two categories of Mexicans), or Chicano? What kind of race is “Chicano?” What country do “Chicanos” come from? “Chicano-stan?”

They ask the same question again on the long form: Are you White? Black, African American or Negro? Are you American Indian or Alaskan Native and they even give you a place to write in your tribe name.

That’s not all. The form asks are you Asian Indian? Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Guamanian or Chamorro, Filipino, Vietnamese, Samoan or Other Asian where they give you a space so you can print your “race” like Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian “and so on.”

Oh, they don’t stop there. They ask are you “Pacific Islander” and ask you to print your race like Fijian, Tongan “and so on.”

Way at the bottom, in case they missed someone, someone not so important, they have the throw away line, to check here if you are “Some Other Race – Print Race.”

That is where I have to hand-write that I am “Arab.” And proud of it too, by the way.

Now, the U.S. Government argues “Arabs” are not a race. So they can’t be counted. They consider us “Caucasian,” although the last time I looked it was the Caucasian hate groups in this country like the former Bush Administration that singled out Arabs for special mistreatment, harassment and discrimination.

Arabs are “not” a race, but we are a “people” that must be profiled at airports, security centers, thrown out of buildings in New York City, expelled from seats on Airplanes, and denied jobs and government grants and rejected by voters on election day.

“Not” a race, the Government insists? Really? Wow. Is that why they have taken the other “races” and broken them down into so many miscellaneous categories? It is not enough to know that someone is Asian. They want to know what kind of Asian? What kind of Native American? What kind of Mexican. Is “Chicano” a race? Are “Latino” or “Hispanic” races?

But not “Arabs.”

We’re not a race.

We’re just a bunch of people that ignorant Americans can step all over and use us as punching bags when the times get rough or some nut job we’ve never heard of before decides to declare himself the spokesman for all Arabs and Muslims.

So here’s the bottom line, U.S. Government. You don’t put “Arab” on the form, I don’t fill it out.

Either add the category “Arab” to the form or throw out all of the categories and stop lying to us American Arabs about how much you care.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American Arab columnist, author and Chicago Radio Talk Show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)