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Friday, October 14, 2005


Daily Kos' Wants to Draw the Curtains On Pals

A cyberpal directed me to Congressman John Conyers blog. There I read a comment to his post on the September 24 anti-war rally in Washington DC.

The C-SPAN coverage was nothing but one droning communist/palistine/phillipines nonsense after another

The commenter, Jo, commented again about "fake Palestinians screaming angry hate slogans."

A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) was responsible for the speakers. Curious about the "fake" Palestinians I found on their website a list of speakers. The Palestinian names I recognized on the list were Elias Rashmawi, Musa Al-Hindi, and Michel Shehadeh. Mohammed Abed representing US Campaign to End the Occupation also spoke.

Elias Rashmawi was born in Gaza in 1959 and came to the states in 1981. Musa al-Hindi was born in Lebanon in 1965, a refugee "who spent most of his formative years amidst the squalor and deprivation of Bourj al-Barajneh, a densely populated refugee camp in Beirut. " Michel Shehadeh has lived in the US for over thirty years but he is originally from Palestine, also. Certainly not "fake" Palestinians.

Two widely read blogs, Daily Kos, which gets 75,000 hits a day and Steve Gilliard also weren't happy about CSPAN's coverage for Palestinians at the demo. Steve Gilliard wrote:

"Here's a hint, Palestine is really unpopular in the US, even among liberals. You do not gain support for the Palestinians by having some campus clown talk about the injustices of the Palestinian people. "

I do not know to whom he was referring. Musa Al-Hindi is active in Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, Michel Shehadeh, a businessman, and Elias Rashmawi, a civil engineer are respected in the Palestinian community. Elias Rashmawi is the director of the National Council of Arab Americans. Mohammed Abed is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, and an eloquent speaker and a measured writer. Gilliard suggested "getting a real Palestinian from Palestine who doesen't speak in slogans." Considering that Dr. Eyad Saraj from Gaza couldn't get out at the time for a conference in Switzerland, it may not have been possible for a "real" Palestinian, whatever Gilliard's definition of a "real" Palestinian is, to even get to Washington DC.

ToqueDeville, a diarist for Daily Kos, evidently finds the mere presence of Palestinians "anti-semitic."

There were actually two events yesterday in Washington DC. One was the coming together of many thousands of Americans to voice their opposition to the war in Iraq...

The other was a made for TV stage production designed to exploit the opposition to the war to promote the radical, anti-American, anti-Semitic, pro-communists (or socialist) agenda of International ANSWER...

Referring to the TV viewers he says, They would have gotten the impression our movement has "come together to stand with the people of Palestine as they fight for their homeland."

And he asks, How many people would have shown up for a rally to denounce the "occupation" of Palestine by Israel?

Notice that this enlightened blogger with a huge circulation puts "occupation" in quotes.

The majority of the 604 commenting "Kossacks"; that's how they lovingly refer to themselves, seem to want to organize their own anti-war rally next time in order to keep the Palestinians, among others, out.

Gilliard confirms what Wayne Madsen reported regarding AIPAC steering Congress away from the rally.

AIPAC didn't [ignore Palestinian presence]. Which kept the Congressmembers away. And they were right to point out that the groups there would bash Israel and forget about the senders of child suicide bombers from Hamas.

One of the commenters at Daily Kos wasn't browbeaten by the strident tone of ToqueDeville:

Only in America is a significant majority of the so-called progressive movement ok with blatant human rights abuses; even progressives here in the States define human rights abuses in a context-dependent fashion. So while I do vote for Democrats because their foreign and domestic policy is better than that of the Republicans (and I don't feel like throwing my vote away and giving it to a third party candidate), I think this diary exactly encapsulates the shortcomings of the American liberal movement...I really don't appreciate anyone denigrating the rights of our fellow human beings the Palestinians.

As for the speeches. Evidently, eloquent Palestinians and "human" rights are anathema for US "progressives." The full text of Mohammed Abed's "Is It Not Apartheid?" is here. For simply stating injustices, Mohammed is pilloried by the "liberal progressives" for soiling their anti-war demonstration, as if Iraq and Palestine were not intertwined.

Is not apartheid when the Palestinian refugees and their descendants are denied the right of return to the homeland they were expelled from in 1948 while any person of Jewish descent can immediately gain citizenship and settle on lands the Palestinian refugees have a legitimate moral claim to?

Is it not apartheid when a Palestinian who marries an Israeli citizen is legally prohibited from settling in Israel and acquiring residency and citizenship? Is it not apartheid when this law only applies to Palestinian Arabs?

Is it not apartheid when the main highways in Israel do not have exits to Arab towns and localities?Is it not apartheid when 93% of Israel is defined as state land held in perpetuity for the sole benefit of the Jewish people rather than Israel's citizens?

Is it not apartheid when Israeli citizens of Palestinian Arab descent cannot buy, lease, or work in these areas?

Musa Al-Hindi, also spoke about justice. But to many in "progressive" circles, calls for justice for Palestinians are "radical." Nowhere in his speech is to be found an "angry hate message."

Simultaneously, we ought to advance a progressive and humanist vision of ademocratic, secular state over the entirety of Palestine in which all enjoyequality of rights and duties.

The establishment of such a state would not only allow for the repatriationof the Palestinian refugees and free the 1948 Palestinians from thetentacles of occupation and Apartheid, but would also ensure a lasting peace in the region. Anything less is destined to be temporary and short-lived.

What's "hateful" are not these words from representatives of an occupied and imprisoned people calling for justice; what's hateful is the "progressive liberal" community's equating the call for human rights for Palestinians with "radicalism." One commenter summed it up beautifully:

Is the situation really this, that even among "progressive" Americans the rights of this one group of people are taboo and cannot be discussed, cannot be advocated? Is it utterly and inherently wrong to suggest that the Palestinians even have rights?

The self-proclaimed "progressives" are doing the bidding of their masters, the Democratic Party. They're not happy that Palestinians are on stage, and they're doing their best to get them off.

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