The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

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

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

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

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; 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
[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.