Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Six Months Later: Little Improvement in Gaza, Since Israeli ‘Easing’ of Blockade, Says Report from Aid and Human Rights Groups

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PRESS RELEASE -  Under Strict Embargo Until Tuesday, November 30, 7:01 PM EST/ 02:01 Jerusalem

Six Months Later: Little Improvement in Gaza, Since Israeli ‘Easing’ of Blockade, Says Report from Aid and Human Rights Groups

  • Imports of construction materials still only 11 per cent of 2007 pre-blockade levels.
  • Israel approves imports for only seven per cent of UNRWA’s rebuilding plan for Gaza.

November 30, 2010Israel’s measures to ‘ease’ the illegal blockade of Gaza in the face of significant international pressure[i] have done little to change the plight of Gaza’s civilians, says a report published today by an international coalition of 22 development, human rights and peace-building organisations. They are calling for renewed international action to ensure an immediate, unconditional and complete lifting of the blockade.

The international community has eased its pressure on Israel, but too little has been done to effectively ease the restrictions on the daily lives of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are children, says the report, Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade. The report says that not only has Israel neglected to address major elements of the blockade in its ‘easing’ measures, such as lifting the ban on exports from Gaza, but it has failed so far to live up to key commitments it did make.

Israel promised to expand and accelerate imports of desperately-needed construction materials for United Nations and other international projects such as schools, health centers, houses and sewage plants, many of which were damaged or destroyed during the military operation in December 2008-January 2009. But in reality the report shows that progress has been slow and limited since this pledge.  Israel has so far only approved the import of materials for 25 UNRWA[ii] construction projects for schools and clinics, a mere seven per cent of UNRWA’s entire reconstruction plan for Gaza. Even for these approved projects, only a small fraction of the required construction materials have actually been permitted to enter Gaza so far.

More generally, says the report, the United Nations has estimated that Gaza needs 670,000 truckloads of construction materials for housing alone in Gaza. An average of only 715 truckloads of construction materials have entered the Gaza Strip per month since the ‘easing’ announcement, says the report. At this rate, it would take many decades to build the needed homes. And because UNRWA has been unable to get construction materials to build new schools, 40,000 eligible children could not be enrolled at UN schools at the start of the new academic year.

“Only a fraction of the aid needed has made it to the civilians trapped in Gaza by the blockade”, said Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International. “Israel’s failure to live up to its commitments and the lack of  international action to lift the blockade are depriving Palestinians in Gaza of access to clean water, electricity, jobs and a peaceful future.”

[i] Government of Israel’s announcements of 20 June and 5 July 2010.
[ii] United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Syria reacts to Israeli move to kill the peace process

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November 23, 2010

The Syrian Foreign Ministry announced today the following:

“The decision taken by the Israeli Knesset to organize a referendum before withdrawing from the Occupied Syrian Golan and East Jerusalem constitutes a complete disregard for international law and the demands of the international community that considers East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan occupied Arab territories, and has decried the annexation of the Golan and East Jerusalem as null and void.

The decision taken by Israel on Monday confirms that it rejects the requirements of a just and comprehensive peace based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and the principle of land-for-peace.

This procedure taken by Israel is unequivocally rejected, and does not change the fact that the Golan is occupied Syrian territory, not up for negotiations, and that the full return of the Golan to the line of June 4, 1967 constitutes the basis for establishing peace.

The Syrian Arab Republic considers this Israeli procedure as directed to those who are still under the delusion that the current Israeli government seeks peace and, on this basis, continue to shower Israel with rewards.”

For more information, please contact the Press Office at 202-232-6313 x139, as1@syrembassy.net


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Helen Thomas is a hero slandered because of her fierce independence

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Helen Thomas is a hero slandered because of her fierce independence

Helen Thomas is a hero. For more than 57 years, she has stood up to all forms of discrimination. First as a woman journalist in a man's world. Second as a fiercely objective journalist who questioned every President From Eisenhower to Obama with the same principles of justice, objectivity and balance. And Third, she is a hero because she has stood up to the onslaught of ugly name-calling from extremists in the American Jewish Community who are not happy kicking Palestinians out of Palestine, they want to kick them out of America, too.

Tonight, Thomas will receive among many honors the Dr. M.T. Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. The award was established in 1999 to honor the work of journalists who have stood up to hatred, fear mongering, defamation and slander because of their work. It is presented to journalists who have shown courage in speaking and writing the truth in the face of overwhelming public anger.

It is so easy for many mainstream American journalists to remain silent, rather than to expose the hypocrisies in American society, especially after the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001. It is easy because the hatred and racism against Arabs and Muslims in America has reached an unprecedented height. Arabs and Muslims are easy prey for racists and bigots because the American public is so uneducated about truth and accuracy and they are fed a constant stream of lies from the mainstream American media.

And those Arabs and Muslims who dare to challenge the lies in the coverage of the rights of the Palestinian people are even easier to target because on top of the bigots and racists who attack Arabs and Muslims, American Jews often also join in the assaults against morality and ethics.

You can read the blog called Elder of Ziyon, an often racistly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate site to see this hypocrisy at work. (Click here to read their most recent hateful post.)

On the one hand, the writer argues that Helen Thomas did not say that Jews should get out of the occupied territory, making the precision of the words their strongest case. And then they hypocritically violate principle, morality and even truth, arguing that Helen Thomas said that Jews should get out of Israel. The fact is Helen Thomas NEVER used the word "Jews." She was asked by a racist rabbi what Israelis should do and she said "Get the hell out of Palestine." 

The most outrageous example of bigotry and racist hate comes from Morton Klein, the head of the Zionist Organization of America. His history of racism and bigotry is shameful. Klein could care less about the truth. He is more concerned with protecting a foreign country rather than defending Americans from bigotry and racism. Klein prefers to defend Israel and he hates Helen Thomas for the very reason she deserves to be honored tonight by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC, www.ADC.org)and the National Arab American Journalists Association (www.NAAJA-US.com).

More than any other journalist, Helen Thomas was not afraid to challenge the hypocrisies and lies about Palestinians and Arabs and Muslims. She often asked the tough questions of Presidents exposing the hypocrisies of American Foreign policy that sacrificed truth and ethics for political bias towards one foreign country called Israel. And her colleagues, who rarely reported on her courageous challenges, shouted her down with their ugly silence and unprofessional and unjournalistic conduct.

NAAJA salutes Helen Thomas and American Arabs who refuse to be shouted down by bigots, demagogues and hatemongers like Morton Klein and others all because they have DARED to challenge the political polices of a foreign government, Israel.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, November 08, 2010

NAAJA and Radio Baladi announce 2011 Journalism Conference in Dearborn

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            Ray Hanania
Nov. 10, 2010                                                     rayhanania@comcast.net
                                                                            Laila alhusinni

NAAJA and Radio Baladi announce 2011 Journalism Conference in Dearborn

(Dearborn/Chicago) The National Arab American Journalists Association is partnering with Radio Baladi radio to host a journalism conference to explore the state of American Arab and Muslim news media and journalism 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001.

Titled “The Future of American Arab and Muslim Journalism 10 Years After September 11,” the conference will feature more than 14 panels and workshops exploring all aspects of American Arab/Muslim life and the state of journalism in the community.

Guest speakers will represent the ethnic Arab and Muslim media as well as Arabs and Muslims working in the mainstream American news media, and also mainstream American journalists whose beats cover Arab and Muslim issues. We will also showcase journalists working for Arab and Islamic World publications and media outlets at the three-day conference that will be held March 4 through 6, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency, Dearborn, Michigan.

The journalism conference is the 6th hosted and organized by NAAJA, which has more than 300 networked members across the United States. Radio Baladi is a partner and broadcasts a simulcast live radio show in Chicago (WJJG AM 1530) and Detroit (WNZK AM 690) every Friday morning at 7 am (Chicago) 8 am (Detroit).

“How have the post-Sept. 11 events impacted the practices and effectiveness of the American Arab and Muslim American news media and what are the successes and the challenges they face is the purpose of the conference,” explained Ray Hanania, a veteran Chicago-based Palestinian American journalist and radio talk show host and national coordinator for NAAJA.

 “This is NAAJA’s 6th Conference and each event grows bigger and more effective. We anticipate that this will be our most successful and largest conference of all.”

Laila alhusinni, who hosts the Detroit-based radio show “Good Morning Michigan on WNZK radio, and co-hosts the weekly Radio Baladi program, said that Dearborn was chosen as the location for the conference for very specific reasons.

“Dearborn is recognized as the capitol of the American Arab community and also the Arab Muslim community in America,” alHusinni said.

“We wanted the conference to also be centrally located in the country so that we can facilitate participation from Arab, Muslim and non-Arab and non-Muslim journalists from across the country. The conference will also integrate the participation of major community organizations and businesses. They will have a major presence.”

Hanania and alhusinni said the conference has several goals they hope will be achieved when completed.

Strengthen communications among Arab and Muslim journalists in the ethnic, mainstream American and Middle East communities. “We have to communication with each other and establish professional networking in order to strengthen our mission to be professional journalists operating in the United States,” Hanania said.

Establish a scholarship fund to encourage young American Arabs and Muslims to pursue journalism as a professional career choice.

Assist the community to more effectively engage the media through workshops that will showcase strategies to be heard in the Arab and Muslim ethnic media, the Arab World media and also in the mainstream American media.

“This will include sessions addressing how to write an effective press release and then distribute it effectively,” Hanania said.

Hanania, alhusinni and 34 American Arab and Muslim organizations based on Dearborn agreed during a planning conference that the Arab and Muslims in American are denied equal access to journalism jobs and opportunities not only by the major mainstream media but also by the major professional mainstream American  journalism organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists, UNITY and others.

“We expect the hypocrisy from the uneducated public but we don’t expect it from organizations that claim to represent professional journalism.

More details on the conference can be obtained at www.NAAJA-US.com or on the web site of Radio Baladi at www.RadioBaladi.com.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

American Messianic Muslim group condemns last week's attack on a Christian Church in Baghdad that took 52 lives

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Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
condemns attack on church in Iraq

Muslims invite all people to understand the
true peaceful teachings and spirit of Islam
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community strongly condemns the attack on a Baghdad church by extremists on Sunday, which resulted in the death of 58 Christian worshipers, including three priests.
“As Muslims who believe in the Messiah, we call on all Muslims to follow the example of our Holy Prophet Muhammad and work to live in harmony with our non-Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. “There is no place in Islam for violence. Islam strongly establishes freedom of belief and worship and urges protection of places of worship of all faiths.”
For more information, please contact spokesperson Waseem Sayed at 909-636-4397 or visit MuslimsforPeace.org. 

About the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, reformist and fast-growing international movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, the Community spans more than 195 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, established in 1920, is the first American-Muslim organization.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organization to believe that the long-awaited messiah has come in the person of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian, India. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Ahmad’s advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival and moderation. He divested Muslims of fanatical beliefs and practices by vigorously championing Islam’s true and essential teachings.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is also the only Islamic organization to endorse a separation of mosque and state. More than a century ago, Ahmad taught his followers to protect the sanctity of both religion and government by staying loyal to one’s homeland. He cautioned against irrational interpretations of Quranic pronouncements and misapplications of Islamic law. He continually voiced his concerns over protecting the rights of God’s creatures. Today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to be an advocate for universal human rights. It champions the empowerment and education of women. Its members are among the most law-abiding, educated, and engaged Muslims in the world.

# # #

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Helen Thomas Recipient of the 2010 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award

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Helen Thomas Recipient of the 2010 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | November 1, 2010 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is   proud to announce that the 2010 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award will be presented to Helen Thomas at ADC's November 18, 2010, Gala dinner in her honor. The National Arab American Journalists Association (NAAJA) and the family of the late Arab American leader, Dr. Mohammad T. Mehdi, have selected Helen Thomas as this year's award recipient.

"The story of Helen Thomas, like my father's, is one of integrity, vision, boldness, and unflagging determination," said Anisa Mehdi, a Fulbright Scholar, documentary film producer, and Dr. Mehdi's eldest daughter. "Helen Thomas is a professional journalist who reported accurately, regardless of consequences, asked the tough questions, and applied principles of fairness -- not based on politics, race or religion, but on the merits of a story."
ADC National Board Chair, Dr. Safa Rifka, states, "It is befitting to have this award presented at the Gala celebrating the achievements and courage of Helen Thomas. Like Dr. Mehdi, Ms. Thomas is a courageous pioneer who is proud of her heritage and pursues the truth."

ADC President, Sara Najjar-Wilson, stated that, "No one deserves the Courage in Journalism award more than Helen Thomas. Helen's unwavering dedication to her work, love for her country, and courage in asking the tough questions that no other person dared ask, are a source of pride to all Americans. She broke the glass ceiling for all women and is a role model for all aspiring journalists."

Dr. Mehdi was a pioneer in American Arab journalism, publishing Action Newspaper in English in the 1970s and 1980s, and distributing it to communities around the country. Dr. Mehdi is often called "the father of the Arab movement in America."

The Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award was founded in 1999 by NAAJA and the family of Dr. Mehdi. This award honors those who display extraordinary courage in reporting on stories related to Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and the Middle East. 


Contact: adc@adc.org

Support ADC
This is a crucial time for ADC and Arab Americans. ADC’s success is dependent on the support and commitment of its members and donors. Your contribution will help combat discrimination, celebrate our rich cultural heritage, and promote a just US policy towards our relatives and the people in the Arab world.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk. ADC has a national network of chapters and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADCRI) is a Section 501(c)(3) educational affiliate. ADCRI 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 and ADCRI celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Arabs and Arab-Americans.


Monday, November 01, 2010


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DETROIT, NOVEMBER 1, 2010 — AT&T* announced today a new sales and service center dedicated to serving customers in Arabic in the Midwest. Staffed by Arabic-speaking representatives, the new center provides customers who prefer to speak their native tongue with the full portfolio of AT&T services. The center allows customers to talk with a live Arabic-speaking representative and receive billing and technical support, as well as order AT&T products and services.

“We recognize the value of Arab American consumers and this new center was designed to better serve our important Arabic-speaking customer base in the Midwest,” said Jody Garcia, vice president, AT&T Consumer Sales Centers. “The new center is part of our continuing efforts to provide services that are relevant to this community, and that reflect how AT&T’s offerings fit into their lives and aspirations.”

The newly-launched Arabic center is available to assist customers in the following Midwest states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Customers who call 1-877-677-9195 for live Arabic service support can receive information regarding AT&T’s home phone, Internet, wireless and AT&T U-verse® TV. U-verse TV offers popular Arabic-language programming as part of its diverse lineup, including Arabic Radio & Television, featuring live sporting events, dramas, news, variety, movies, and programming on national festivals and religious celebrations from around the Arab world.

AT&T connects with its customers through multicultural outreach efforts, including in-language advertising and marketing campaigns that represent the diversity of the communities it serves and that authentically portray diverse individuals in positive roles. Sponsorships of events such as the Arab International Festival, the Chaldean American Festival, and serving as corporate sponsor for the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, enable AT&T to inform consumers about its products and services, while at the same time connect with them through meaningful moments in a culturally-relevant way.

Customers who want additional information on AT&T U-verse TV — or to find out if it’s available in their area — can visit http://uverse.att.com or stop by the nearest AT&T retail location. For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries.  It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine. 

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.  This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATTNews. Find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ATT to discover more about our consumer and wireless services or at www.Facebook.com/ATTSmallBiz to discover more about our small business services.

© 2010 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Geographic and service restrictions apply to AT&T U-verse. Call or go to www.att.com/uverse to see if you qualify.



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CNN 's redesigned Arabic language website www.CNNArabic.com reinforces CNN’s on-going commitment to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as bringing CNN news to Arab-speaking communities across the globe. It follows a year after the opening of CNN Abu Dhabi in November 2009, which made CNN the first Western news organization to have a permanent broadcast and production hub in the region.

The investment is the most substantial in the website’s history and means that CNNArabic.com will now be aligned  with the look and feel of the brand’s award-winning CNN.com/international and CNN.com sites, at the same time as introducing a significantly enhanced content offering. 

The refreshed website is a direct response to extensive audience feedback on what they looked for from CNN. It puts ease of navigation, regional stories, exclusive interviews and content, and more video and enhanced interactivity at the heart of the re-design, and has invested in additional stringers to deliver the increased local content.

“This is a fundamental re-imagining of CNNArabic.com as part of our ongoing engagement with the Arabic speaking world,” says Rani Raad, senior vice president and managing director of CNN International Ad Sales and Business Development and General Manager of CNNArabic.com. “The investment is a statement of the scope of our ambitions in this important part of the world.”  

CNNArabic.com editor Caroline Faraj adds, “CNNArabic.com is your home for not just breaking news, but also human interest stories, expanded regional sports and business coverage and an aggregator for the best from the Arab blogosphere. We’ve put video content front and center to enrich the user experience, and we have made it easy for users to interact with the content and put their imprint on the site with their commentary and recommendations.”

About the new features
Connecting with the blogosphere and Facebook forums in the Arab world
Expanding on current activity with influential bloggers and Facebook forums in the Arab world, there are two dedicated segments for key social media influencers in the region to post their latest thoughts and ideas, and at the same time add their URL so users can easily access their pages. The site’s team will provide their weekly roundup of the most important and interesting Arab blogs and Facebook forums and invites users to recommend their own favorites.

Bringing the latest regional business, sports and entertainment news
CNN’s reporting takes on a more localized perspective to provide a daily roundup of the stories making the headlines across both Arab and international media.  There are daily reports from the MENA markets as well as weekly roundup of financial news.  Moving beyond the news headlines, it also throws the spotlight on the big sports names from the region with regular segments on Arab athletes and brings the latest news from the world of entertainment with recommended movies of the week.  Each week a feature story tackles the hot topics from the region and users are encouraged to post their comments online.

Keeping users up-to-date on CNN’s local programming
Users can stay up to date on CNN’s most popular programming from the region, including Inside the Middle East, Inside Africa, Marketplace Middle East, and Marketplace Africa via locally edited programming pages.

Notes to Editors:
Launched in 2002, CNNArabic.com is produced in Dubai. Follow CNNarabic.com on Twitter @cnnarabic and Facebook www.facebook.com/CNNArabic