Sunday, December 27, 2009

Principles that should guide Palestinian and Israeli Peace

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These are some principles I have fashioned that I hope will become the basis for establishment of Yalla Peace Parties throughout the world to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

1-We can disagree about the past with passion and emotion and still come together for a great future together. We do not have to deny each other's narratives about the past, or challenge them, on order to agree on a mutual future of peace and compromise. This is the first step. Stop using the past as a bludgeon to attack the other side, while closing a blind eye to similar conduct among our own peoples.
2-We apply one principle of fairness, justice, morality to achieve compromise looking within ourselves to find and correct the fault. Israelis must be able to denounce the killing of Palestinians before they can denounce the killing of Israelis. Palestinians must be able to denounce the killing of Israelis before they can denounce the killings of Palestinians.

3-We resist the temptation to blame people for the actions of individuals, and resist the temptation to respond in anger and in kind. This is not about people but rather about politics and government policies that have gone wrong and feed on the suffering, tragedy and confusion of our peoples.

4-We set aside the old paradym of Israelis versus Palestinians and instead define our movement as moderates versus extremists. We use the M Word proudly and reject those who seek to deny it as a means of distracting eyes from their own extremist ways and views.

5-We embrace two-states, Israel and Palestine, and deal with the issues after we achieve a real peace and two states. We create two states on the basis of the bigger principle and later negotiate the final borders, the sharing of Jerusalem, compensation and resettlement of the Palestinian refugees, the dismantling of which specific settlements, the swap of land, etc. Create two states so that Israel and Palestine become equal partners at the negotiating table rather that seeking to achieve the unachievable through an imbalance with Israel as the subjugator and Palestine as the subjugated.

6-We strive to see the bigger picture and not get drawn in to the battle over the "pebble." We see that peace based on compromise is the answer to past violence and terrorism. We don't allow one disagreement to discourage us from seeking the bigger agreement of peace.

7-We resist the rhetoric of hatred. We stop stereotyping Israelis and Palestinians. We reject hate speech, denial of the suffering of others. Palestinians must stop enabling or advocating Holocaust revisionism or questioning the Holocaust. israelis must stop questioning the existence of Palestinians or the facts that they lost many homes and lands as civilians in the 1947-48 war.

8-We view criminal acts (violence, terrorism, all acts of physical injury) not as the consequences of a people but rather as the result of individual conduct. Terrorism and violence must be treated as criminal acts not an excuse to persecute or demonize any other people.

9-We do not allow violence and terrorism to derail compromise and recognize that the more successful we become in reaching peace based on compromise and two-states, the extremists will push harder until it is too late with more violence, and violence of the most despicable kind including suicide bombings and military massacres.

10-We view violence of the past in its context not as a means of defining the future. The massacres in the Gaza Strip are horrendous but the answer is not to respond with violence, but rather to build peace to prevent future events from re-occurring. The same with violence against Israelis. We treat them as horrific incidents, not blanket condemnation of an entire people.

11-We stop blaming others and begin to address the challenges among ourselves. Palestinians stop blaming Israelis and Israelis stop blaming Palestinians. Instead, Palestinians look into themselves and identify their errors, mistakes, misconduct and change them. Israelis look into themselves and identify their errors, mistakes, misconduct and change them.

12-We accept that Peace is the answer and that both sides have injured each other.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Representativ es from 43 Countries to march to Israeli border

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Media Advisory for                                For more information contact:
December 23rd, 2009                              Blair Fitzgibbon 202-503-6141
                                                                          Medea Benjamin (Cairo) 0189561919
                                                                          (Gaza) 0599501519

*Telephone Press Conference Call December 23rd, 11 AM EST USA*

One Year After Invasion Of Gaza 1,300 People to Participate in
March as Part of Global Effort to Lift Devastating Blockade

For TV/WEB Satellite Coordinates of Live Feed, email

Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, former Italian Vice President of European Parliament Luisa Morgantini, French Senator Alima Boumediene–Thiery leading Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, author and Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, and 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein

On December 31st, over one thousand representatives from 43 nations around the globe will convene at the Gaza/Egypt border as part of the Gaza Freedom March. The event is in response to a growing global initiative, to lift the crippling blockade on Gaza in order to allow food, medicine and rebuilding supplies to enter the Palestinian territory. 

Amongst the 1,300 international delegates participating in the March are some prominent names, including Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, former Italian Vice President of European Parliament Luisa Morgantini, French Senator Alima Boumediene–Thiery leading Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, author and Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, and 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.

Organizers will hold a telephone news press conference call on December 23rd at 11 AM EST to preview the March.  Satellite coordinates to stream live footage for the media will be provided the night before the crossing.

Call-In Number: 1 + 785-424-1051 – conference ID: “GAZA” – this is a US phone number – reporters can call in internationally.

The international delegates, including international diplomats, doctors, lawyers, students, religious leaders, war veterans, women’s groups, and members of the Jewish community, will enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December. In the morning December 31, they will join Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza to the Erez/Israeli border. On the Israeli side of the Erez border will be a gathering of Palestinians and Jews who are also calling on the Israeli government to open the border.

The call will be with the following organizers and activists: Gaza Freedom March Lead Organizer – Medea Benjamin, Pulitzer Prize winning author – Alice Walker, Former Vice President of European Parliament – Luisa Morgan Gini.

WHEN: December 23rd at 11 AM Eastern (USA).

For more information please visit


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:


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 :


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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

US Labor Secretary on Wage and Hour Division’s increased enforcement and outreach efforts

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Statement by US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on

Wage and Hour Division’s increased enforcement and outreach efforts

WASHINGTON – ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding the increased enforcement and outreach efforts of the department’s Wage and Hour Division: 

“There is no excuse for employers who disregard federal labor standards – especially those that are designed to protect the most vulnerable in the workplace.  The failure to comply with these basic labor standards means that workers are not receiving the money they have earned.  It is both an economic issue and a fairness issue. America’s workers should rest assured that protecting worker rights is a top priority at the Department of Labor.  To make good on that promise, I have hired an additional 250 new wage and hour investigators, a staff increase of more than one third, to ensure that we promptly respond to complaints and can undertake more targeted enforcement.

“In the past three months alone, the department has had several significant enforcement cases, including collecting nearly $2 million in back wages for more than 500 workers.

“In early 2010, the department will launch a national public awareness campaign titled “We Can Help” to inform workers about their rights. The department will work closely with advocacy groups and other stakeholders to ensure that the materials developed for the campaign reach the workers who need them.  We will not rest until the law is followed by every employer, and each worker is treated and compensated fairly.”

# # #

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Middle East Leaders Forum Nov. 20, 2009

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Middle East Leaders Forum 2009, "Challenges and Opportunities", generously sponsored by Qatar Airways, forum that will examine the profound challenges, dynamic opportunities and pressing issues associated with the current economic climate and unprecedented business opportunities in the Middle East.’s Middle East Leaders Forum 2009, "Challenges and Opportunities", will be the forum where businessmen, executives, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and professionals following the developments in the region will obtain crucial insights they can act upon immediately to take advantage of the incredible opportunities presented in the Arabian Gulf.
Middle East Leaders Forum 2009, "Challenges and Opportunities", will feature experienced executives, experts and practitioners from leading organizations:
  • Mr. Mahmoud Salem, Managing Director, The Bank of New York Mellon
  • Mr. Rushdi Siddiqui, Head of Islamic Finance, Thomson Reuters
  • Mr. Ahmed Fattouh, Chief Executive Officer, Baron Group Holdings
  • Mr. Mohannad Aama, Managing Director, Beam Capital Management, LLC
  • Mr. Sharif Touray, Of Counsel, DLA Piper
  • Mr. Omar Taha, Chief Executive Officer, The S&T Group
  • Mr. Jim McCarthy, Chief Investment Officer, Strategic Capital Solutions, LLC
  • Mr. George Assad, Director of International Affairs, Blackstar Group LLC
  • Mr. Karim Babay, Private Investor
  • Mr. Tarek Younes, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Capitol Health Special Fund, L.P.
  • Mr. Rafi-uddin Shikoh, Founder, Dinar Standard's Middle East Leaders Forum 2009, "Challenges and Opportunities", will feature panels covering the most insightful, relevant and timely topics that top executives of financial firms, asset management and hedge funds, private equity and venture capital institutions, real estate investment trusts and any other company with a stake in the Middle East cannot afford to ignore:
  • Evolution of Capital Markets in the Middle East
  • Alternative Approaches for Private Equity Investing in the Gulf
  • Tapping into the World’s Richest Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Retaining Talent and Focusing Teams in the Middle East

Arab American National Museum seeks artifacts of community and public service in US

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Dearborn, MI (November 17, 2009) – The Arab American National Museum is issuing a nationwide call for stories and artifacts for potential inclusion in its exhibition Arab Americans in Service to Our Country, set to open in February 2012.

This exhibition will allow the Museum to document and present to audiences the public service-oriented contributions of Arab Americans to our society. This timely exhibition serves the Museum’s mission to “document, preserve and educate the public about the history, life, culture and contributions of Arab Americans.”

Target Communities
This exhibition will reflect the experiences of Arab Americans regardless of time of immigration, religious affiliation, national origin or place of residency. We seek individual and organizational stories, artifacts and historical documents that reflect the Arab American experience through public service in the following areas: Peace Corps; AmeriCorps; City Year; Teach for America; all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces; U.S. diplomatic corps; and municipal police and fire departments. Collected artifacts and historical documents can be donated or loaned to the Museum.

Items Requested
The AANM is seeking items that represent the diversity of the Arab American experience, including representation from all states, all Arab American communities, and all of the aforementioned service areas. Potential items include: oral histories; medals, awards, and other honors; letters and documents; personal objects; uniforms or other clothing worn by servicepersons; or photographs and memorabilia collected during the period of service.

How to Submit Items for Consideration
Those who have artifacts to submit for potential inclusion in the exhibition should provide contact information and a brief description of the items to Suzy Mazloum, Curator of Collections, at 313.624.0229 or The Museum will then contact potential lenders directly for more information. Lenders will be credited for items selected for display in the exhibition.


The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates and educates the public on the history, life, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. It serves as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at and

The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Museum hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under, free. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.



Thursday, November 05, 2009

Arab American Veterans Organization condemns killings at Fort Hood military base

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At a time of deep sorrow in the midst of this horrific tragedy, our thoughts are first and foremost with the Fort Hood shooting victims and their families. One can only imagine the unspeakable pain and loss they are and will be dealing with in the weeks, months and years to come.
It is unfortunate that whatever demons possessed Nidal Hasan, that he chose to deal with his problems in this way.
In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, it is more important than ever that we not make the same scapegoating and broad stroke mistakes that were evident in the aftermath of previous tragedies. The Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military urges the media, government officials and all of our fellow Americans to recognize that the actions of Hasan are those of a deranged gunman, and are in no way representative of the wider Arab American or American Muslim community.
In fact, thousands of Arab Americans and American Muslims serve honorably everyday in all four branches of the U.S. military and in the National Guard. Additionally, many of us have willingly stepped forward to fulfill our duty with our fellow soldiers in both Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations around the globe, including most of the member of APAAM. Indeed, many of us are today currently deployed in both countries, honorably serving each and every day.
The Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military (APAAM) was created shortly after September 11th, 2001, in an effort to organize current and former Arab- Americans in the military. There are approximately 3,500 Arab- Americans serving in our Armed Forces.  Based on the fact that there are no other formal organizations representing Arab- Americans in the military, APAAM has the distinction of being the first official organization for Arab- Americans in the Military.
Jamal S. Baadani
President & Founder, 1stSgt US Marine Reserves
Phone: 818-425-7389
Ray Hanania
APAAM Media Coordinator, and Vietnam Era Veteran
cell: 312-933-9855

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Daley welcomes Etihad Airlines to Chicago

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Daley welcomes Etihad (Itihad) Airlines CEO and Staff to Chicago

(Chicago, IL) James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, and members of the airline’s senior management team have hosted a high level gala reception in Chicago to celebrate the launch of Etihad’s flights to the famed ‘windy city’.

The gala reception took place at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel and was the culmination of a week of activities to promote the airline’s latest US destination. This included meetings with mayor of the city, Richard Daley, and James Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, as well as prominent members of the Arab business community in the US.

Mr Hogan said: “Etihad Airways has received a very warm welcome in Chicago since we launched our flights last month and we are delighted build on our established relations with O’Hare airport and civic and trade officials in the city.”

Last week Mr Hogan was the key note speaker at a special luncheon in the hosted by AmCham Abu Dhabi.

During the speech, Mr Hogan discussed the growing relationship between Abu Dhabi and Chicago and explained how Etihad’s new service will bring significant economic benefits to America’s third largest city.

Etihad Airways began flights to the US city of Chicago at the beginning of September 2009. The initial three flights per week service will increase to six flights per week at the beginning of November and then move to a daily service at the beginning of 2010.

Chicago is the third largest US market for air travel to the Middle East and GCC, after New York and Washington DC, and the state of Illinois is home to one of the largest Arab-American communities in the US with an estimated population of more than 240,000 residents.

About Etihad Airways:

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates based in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. Currently Etihad offers flights to more than 50 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia. For further details: Etihad Airways Corporate Communications: Tel: + 971 (0) 2 511 1032 / 1036 or visit:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Jersey Conference explores Muslim Empowerment Oct. 31

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Salaam! Join industry leaders on October 31st at Rutgers State University in Piscataway, NJ for the 1st Annual American Muslim Conference!

It’s time to reach the American Muslim Market. $170 billion purchasing power - now that’s a nice chunk of change. For years, few advertisers in the United States have dared to reach out to Muslims. Either they did not see much potential for sales or they feared a political backlash. That is beginning to change. Consumer companies and advertising executives are focusing on ways to use the cultural aspects of the Muslim religion to help sell their products. Learn key considerations in strategically and successfully selling products and services to American Muslim Consumers.

Honorable Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey Paul Barrett (Assistant Managing Editor, BusinessWeek; Author, “American
Carla Power (Journalist, TIME Magazine)
Monem Salam (President and CEO, Saturna Brokerage Services) Ahmad Adam (President/CEO, Crescent Foods) Bob Burg (Co-Author of Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best seller, "The Go-Giver") Kamran Pasha (Hollywood Screenwriter and Director) Lubna Khalid (CEO, Real Cosmetics)

American Muslim Consumer Conference gives insight into the untapped American Muslim Market from leading marketing professionals and entrepreneurs. Registration includes lectures, copy of presentations and all meals (breakfast and lunch included).

Monday, October 12, 2009

New film on Taybeh Palestine

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a film trailer on line about Taybeh Oktoberfest
It needs a minimum amount of votes to stay on line so thought to share it with you so you might view it, vote, share it with others if possible

It appears on the second page of the site as:
Palestine, Beer & Oktoberfest: Under Occupation

The filmmaker Lara Van Raay filmed this last Oktoberfest 2008 and I will try (don’t know how right now)  to use this film as a fundraiser to help finish the Taybeh Post Office since my husband started this public building but did not finish it so when I show it in the usa I will ask for a minimum donation of $500 written to the Taybeh Municipality specifically towards the Post Office building and hoping this will be David Khoury’s last month as mayor but it would be great to finish the post office project which has been in the works for three years.

The synopsis:

Meet the family that created Palestine’s first beer and see a side of Palestine where Jews, Muslims, and Christians all drink together in peace. A heart-warming story of success that touches on the politics of Jewish settlements, control of natural resources and the difficulties of doing business under occupation. Filmed at the Oktoberfest in the Christian town of Taybeh, on Palestine’s West Bank- this is a light, festive, and positive story from Palestine that you never get to see. (43 minutes)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize and that puts world's evil on notice

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President Obama’s genuine desire for peace earns Nobel Peace Prize
By Ray Hanania

President Obama’s first call in coming to office was to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He then made an epoch speech to the Arab and Muslim world to repair the damage caused by his rightwing and narrow-minded predecessor President George W. Bush.

Obama has pushed the Israelis to force them to accept peace based on returning Arab lands, even though the Israelis have surrounded the wagons and have allowed Israel’s most racist elected official, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman to become their spokesman. In fact, Israel’s Lieberman is the new face of hate in the world.

He is shifting from the illegal American war and occupation in Iraq to the genuine fight against terrorism and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

And Obama has vowed to the American people that despite this country having wasted hundreds of billions on politically motivated wars driven by oil money greed, he will fight to make their own country a place where every American will be guaranteed the right to adequate healthcare, something most Americans now lack.

You don’t even need to read the announcement from the Nobel Committee explaining why they have given this year’s Peace Prize to President Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama is more than just a president seeking justice. His name has come to symbolize a movement of change. Change from a past driven by racist bigotry and hatred to a future of justice where the Rule of Law actually has relevance and justice is based on issues of principle and fairness, not on partisan political influence.

Israel is not just a “Jewish State” in Obama’s eyes, but a nation that must also abide by the Rule of Law. Hypocrisy has no place in Obama’s administration, which is why his words have placed special notice on Israel which has more nuclear weapons than any other power outside of the United States and Russia. And yet Israel refuses, like Iran, to abide by the International rules seeking to limit and monitor and inspect nuclear weapons.

Although Obama has not achieved any of his mighty goals, the fact that he has set them is what earns him the special honor. It takes a real courageous man in this world to stand up to the forces of hatred and bias to advocate for fairness for all.

Obama’s policies may or may not achieve their stated goals, but they have already changed the dynamics of one important region of the world in the Middle East.

The Nobel Peace Prize award will put a special pressure on Israel to stop pretending that it supports peace. It throws cold water on the face of Israel’s arrogant and reticent society that it cannot pretend to seek peace and embrace politics and politics of racism, apartheid, bigotry and war.

Israel cannot pretend to support peace and continue to occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and continue to imprison 1.4 million civilians in the world’s largest and most oppressive prison system called the Gaza Strip.

Israel cannot claim the right of defense when it is in offense against justice, the Rule of Law and peace, and it cannot hide behind lies it perpetrated through the manipulation of a friendly international media to assert that Hamas started the Nov. 2008 war. In fact, everyone knows that Israel started that war for one reason, to exact punishment on Hamas before Obama could be sworn in as president.

For the first time in World History, the facts are clear and all of the crimes in this world have been placed together shoulder-to-shoulder. Israel’s phony claims of being the victim when it is in fact the aggressor and oppressor are exposed.

Barack Hussein Obama is what the late great President John F. Kennedy is said to have been but could never become. He is the light of hope that might open the door to a world that is genuinely at peace and where all men and women are created equally and where the concerns of the poor are as important as the concerns of the wealthy.

As an American and a Palestinian Arab Christian, I am proud of this year’s choice for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in a way I feel a special part in that award as if the peace prize has been awarded not to just one man, but to an entire world of people who have not completely given up on hope.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and Chicago radio talks how host. he can be reached at

Monday, October 05, 2009

Commerce Secretary Locke to meet with Arab/Muslim community in Dearborn Oct. 6

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Dearborn Mayor John B. O'Reilly, Jr. to Join Conversation with Arab- and Muslim-American communities in Dearborn, Mich.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will meet with members of the Muslim- and Arab-American business communities in Dearborn, Mich. tomorrow to discuss innovative ways to forge new business partnerships and grow and sustain business development in the region. Locke will also talk about the importance of the 2010 Census in ensuring representation and federal funding for the community.

In his June speech in Cairo, President Obama proposed a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim community, based upon “mutual interest and mutual respect.” The administration is specifically committed to pursing new partnerships with governments, citizens, community organizations, religious leaders, businesses and international organizations in the areas of education, economic development, science and technology and health. Locke’s meeting tomorrow is a direct outgrowth of that commitment.  

WHO:             Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
                        Dearborn Mayor John B. O'Reilly, Jr.
WHAT:           Meeting with Muslim- and Arab-American business leaders
WHEN:           4 p.m., Tues, Oct. 6, 2009
                        Press arrival time:  3:45 p.m.
WHERE:        Lebanese American Heritage Club

                       4337 Maple Street
                       Dearborn, MI 48126

Media Coverage:  This meeting is open press. To RSVP, please contact Charmion Kinder at 202-482-4883 or For logistical information, contact the Department of Commerce Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at 202-482-0699.


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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taybeh OctoberFest to continue despite arson attacks

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Oktoberfest Press Release, Taybeh Municipality, Taybeh-Ramallah, Palestine Coordinator: Dr. Maria C. Khoury,  Tel:  054 5 465 845 or 0599 318 347  Email: (Interviews: Nadim Khoury +972 2 289 8868)  Sep 28, 2009
Taybeh Municipality will host the Oktoberfest as planned although during the regular Monday Municipality Meeting in Taybeh, Sept 28th, 8:45 pm, the mayor’s car was set on fire and totally burned causing damage to the municipality building but no one was hurt.  A successful 2005 first time event initiated by Taybeh Brewing Company, the Oktoberfest in Palestine promoting all local products produced in Taybeh also occurred immediately after the worst tragedy in the history of Taybeh in having 14 houses completely burned. Taybeh will continue to be a flame of peace and have peaceful resolutions to conflict.  Non violent action is part of the peaceful resistance in celebrating one’s existence. 
Taybeh Oktoberfest, 5th annual village festival scheduled, Sat and Sun, Oct 3 and 4, 2009 in Taybeh-Ramallah, Palestine, 11 am to 10 pm with the opening celebration, 11am at the Taybeh Municipality on Sat, Oct 3rd including the Brazilian band, Clube do Choro performing for the first time in Palestine. Other bands from Greece, RASCASSE from Berlin and Two Down from London and Japanese Traditional Dance from Japan will perform during the two day Oktoberfest, Palestinian Style under the patronage of the Minister of National Economy, HE Bassem Khoury. The festival is the cooperative work of Taybeh Municipality ( for directions and schedule) and its mayor David Canaan Khoury with all local civic organizations. 
Entertainment will include Spafford Children’s Center; Al Harah Theater, “The Red Apple;” Sanabel Theater, “Happiness City”; CultureShoc, Rock-Rap Band; Ramallah Underground; G-Town: Palestinian Hip Hop Makers; Anger Boys with Dj Shahbari; Sarab for Dance; Baladi Group/Bethlehem; Ramallah Orthodox Club; Alrowwad Cultural & Theater Training Center; and local Dabkeh with the Taybeh Folklore Group also including a Karate Demonstration from Japan. The Beit Jala Lions Rugby Club will host TAG Games in Taybeh on Sunday at 3pm.
Taybeh Municipality expresses sincere appreciation to all sponsors:  Royal Danish Representative-Ramallah; Representative Office of Finland-Ramallah; Representative Office, Federative Republic of Brazil; Consulate General of Greece in Jerusalem; Representative of the   Federal Republic of Germany-Ramallah; Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS); Goethe Institute-Ramallah; Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC); Pontifical Mission; Spafford Children’s Center; National Beverage Company Coca Cola/Marawi; Wataniya Palestine Telecom; Caritas Jerusalem Youth Volunteers; Dr. Tony Nazzal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ADC Names Melissa Bejjani to national staff

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Press Release: 
Melissa Bejjani Joins ADC National Office Staff

Washington, DC | September 29, 2009 | | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination (ADC) is pleased to welcome a new addition to the ADC National office. Melissa Bejjani is a recent graduate of George Mason University where she earned a degree in Government and International Politics with a concentration in International and Comparative Politics. Bejjani is of Lebanese origin, but grew up in the Sultanate of Oman. During her college years, Bejjani was Vice President and Acting President of Pi Sigma Alpha’s Honor Society. Bejjani, who is fluent in English and Arabic, interned at the ADC National Office as a Government Affairs associate during summer 2009. She will be serving in multiple capacities and working with the ADC Finance, Government Affairs and Organizing Departments.

ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said “We are pleased to welcome Melissa. She is a talented, industrious and knowledgeable woman who will complement the work of ADC and our staff.”
Bejjani formally started with ADC at the beginning of September and can be reached at

NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.

Contact: ADC Media Department,

Do you agree with ADC’s position on this vital issue? Would you like to see ADC continue to lead these types of efforts in support of human rights and our constitutional values? Do you believe in ADC's mission?

Vice President Joseph Biden expresses support for new government to Lebanese President Michel Sleiman

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Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
September 28, 2009


Earlier today, Vice President Biden spoke with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and conveyed the Administration’s firm support for Lebanon’s efforts to form a new government soon. The Vice President emphasized the United States’ continued support for Lebanon, stressing the importance of Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty.  In his conversation with President Sleiman, Vice President Biden expressed his hope that the ongoing discussions over cabinet formation will proceed smoothly and that a new government will be in place to undertake its important work without delay.  The Vice President thanked President Sleiman for his efforts and expressed support for his leadership.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Toronto Palestine Film Festival opens with sell out first day crowd

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PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release                      September 27, 2009
Toronto Palestine Film Festival's Opening Film Thrills Audience
Toronto ? More than 900 people turned up for the second annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) at the Bloor Cinema last night. Enthusiastic crowds came to see the Canadian premiere of the internationally acclaimed comedy-drama Amreeka, written and directed by Palestinian-American Cherien Dabis. The film tells the story of a single mother who leaves Ramallah for the US to provide her teenage son a better future.

Rafeef Ziadah, festival coordinator, welcomed the sold-out theatre by thanking them for their tremendous support and making the opening night a huge success. She told the audience that ?we started planning TPFF09 as bombs were being dropped on Gaza so we decided to shine a spotlight on Gaza with our films.?

Following the screening, the film?s Canadian producers Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin, assistant director Markian Saray, and the film?s youngest actress, Jenna Kawar, participated in a lively question and answer discussion with members of audience. Piovesan said the film was more than seven years in the making and reflected the director?s childhood experience growing up in the US during the Iraq war.  When asked whether they preferred filming in Ramallah or Manitoba, Piovesan responded by saying they had a great experience filming in Ramallah and really enjoyed working with the Palestinian crew on the film; whereas it ?snowed in May in Manitoba.? 

Invited guests celebrated the successful opening at a gala reception held at the Butler?s Pantry after the film. Guests included members of the Arab community, co-presenters, sponsors, filmmakers, and a number of prominent Torontonians. Dania Majid, festival organizer and media liaison, acknowledged the dedication and incredible work of the volunteer-based TPFF organizing committee in creating a programme that features 34 films, an art exhibit, a film food brunch and three discussion forums.  Majid explained that ?TPFF believes it plays an important role as a Palestinian cultural institution by bringing the best of Palestinian art and culture to Toronto.?

The festival continues through the week with 10 Canadian premieres and three North American premieres. On September 27, 2009, TPFF starts the day with the sold-out SAHTAIN! Film & Food Brunch, where participants will enjoy two food-themed short films and a traditional Palestinian brunch prepared by Isam Kaisi, chef and owner of 93 Harbord. In the afternoon, TPFF will feature two films by the masters of Palestinian cinema ? Tale of Three Jewels, by Michel Kleifi and Rana?s Wedding by Hany Abu-Assad.

Dania Majid, Media Liaison
Toronto Palestine Film Festival
September 26-October 2, 2009

Arab delegates of the Olympic Committee can begin change in anti-Arab American foreign policies

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Hanania column on International Olympics and American Arab empowerment
Arab World has opportunity to confront bigotry in America
By Ray Hanania

This week, the Arab World will be participating in a vote that on its face may seem insignificant to the many problems that plague the Middle East but could begin a process of changing the United States.

The vote will take place Friday in Copenhagen where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide which of four cities between Madrid, Tokyo, Rio and Chicago will win the right to host the Olympics in 2016.

Compared to the votes in the United Nations where the pro-Israel bloc continues to block peace, hold back the advances of the Arab World and continues to denigrate the rights of Islamic countries, the IOC vote Friday may seem insignificant.

In fact, though, the vote could begin a process not of changing the United Nations, but rather creating an opportunity to enact change in the United States, the one nation that holds the key to the future of the Middle East.

The IOC consists of 111 members, 12 of whom representative the Arab World  from Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Each country has one member on the IOC except Egypt and Morocco, which have participated the longest and most successful in past Olympic competitions, each have two members.

Those 12 Arab delegates can be the deciding factor in awarding the Olympics to Chicago.

Why is Chicago important? Unlike other nation’s competing for the Olympics, Chicago’s presentation is made by the city, not the country. Chicago officials beginning with its Mayor Richard M. Daley, have been lobbying to get President Barack Obama to make an appearance in Copenhagen to help swing the vote in Chicago’s favor.

As an American, I want the IOC to grant the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. But, as An American of Arab heritage, I also want the United States and Chicago to recognize their failure in respecting not only the principles of justice and fairness in the Middle East, but to end the practice and reality of the city’s discrimination against it’s citizens who are of Arab heritage.

In voting this week, the 12-member Arab delegation should use its power to condition their decision on how the winning city will respect its expatriate citizens.

That is a difficult thing to ask since none of the countries of the Arab World have ever recognized the real potential and the value that Americans of Arab heritage represent. The Arab World has always acted in a vacuum on Middle East issues believing that the decision-making process in American begins at the top levels of government.

The truth is, American power begins at the grassroots level. The “trenches” where American Arabs have been waging a long and difficult fight against discrimination for most of their existence in this nation.

Particularly in Chicago, one of three American cities with the largest population of Arabs, the American Arab community has been the most abused.

Local government officials like Mayor Daley have played a game with a double-edged sword. On the political level, Chicago has played a major role in strengthening the hand of the pro-Israel community in America giving them considerable voice in local and regional government.

At the same time, Chicago has gone out of its way to undermine the power of American Arabs who have been as much or even more American than their counterparts supporting Israel.

This vote Friday in Copenhagen can either permit the status quo where Arabs are disenfranchised in the American political system, or it can begin a new initiative to force American governments like Chicago to recognize and respect the rights of American Arabs.

Arabs in America have served in this nation’s military from the first day that they came to this country in the mid-19th Century. They have been loyal American citizens and also loyal to their heritage.

Yet, they have been disrespected by this country and victimized by American racism, fueled by the politics of the Middle East.

Worse, they have been abandoned by the Arab World. Their ability to help the Arab World counter the discriminatory policies in the United States has never been recognized by the Arab World.

When Arab delegates vote this Friday, they should keep in mind that if they support awarding the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, they should view this as an opportunity to demand that Chicago’s Mayor Daley end his discriminatory practices against Chicago’s Arab citizens and treat them as equals.

That means that Chicago should empower American Arabs the same way Chicago has empowered other citizens of other ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds.

Chicago has been deficient in giving jobs to American Arabs. There are 230,000 Arabs living in Chicago – according to Mayor Daley speech to the Ruler of Dubai earlier this year. That is 7.6 percent of the city’s population. Yet, Arabs have less than 1 percent of the thousands of jobs in city government. They have been patronized disrespectfully by politicians like Mayor Daley who want our votes but do not want to jeopardize their ties to other groups like the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Chicago and America.

The Arab delegates at the IOC can force Mayor Daley to do what is right and put ethics and principle above partisan politics.

Mayor Daley should be told he must do more to empower American Arabs in his city. Mayor Daley must be told he must do more to empower American Arabs in Illinois, the state in Which Chicago resides which is a powerful state among the country’s 50 states.

Mayor Daley must be told that the campaign to undermine American Arabs in his city must end.

If that happens, we will see the voices and empowerment of American Arabs rise in the United States, and in turn give the Arab World a greater voice in helping this country develop foreign policies that are based on the rule of law, ethics, principle and morality, rather than on partisan politics driven by the pro-Israel lobby and its extremist leaders.

It’s an easy price to exact from the United States. The question is, do the Arab delegates and the Arab World recognize that influencing American foreign policy through Americans of Arab heritage is far more beneficial and rewarding than trying to lobby this country from their far away Arab capitols?

(Ray Hanania is an award winning American Arab journalist, author and Chicago radio talk show host. He can be reached at