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Date: Tue, 21 Apr 98 15:16:09 CDT
From: MID-EAST REALITIES <MeR@middleeast.org>
Subject: The Arabs - More Impotent and Co-opted Than Ever
Article: 32924
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.24263.19980422181600@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Deir Yassin remembers and The Quilt: Much too little, much too late, much too easy. Pathetic response from Arab American Organizations

Mid-East Realities, 19 April 1998

MER - WASHINGTON - 19 April—It's 50 years after the Arab defeat in 1948, and the Arab organizations have finally advanced to figure out how to put an ad in a newspaper about a massacre 50 years ago, hold a few scattered lectures, and sew a big quilt together remembering the villages of yesteryear!

Meanwhile the small country of Israel (5 million people) has an army eight times stronger than that of all the Arab armies combined (nearly 200 million people); and a dozen or more Jewish organizations can each individually and easily run circles around all the Arab organizations combined!

And when it comes to the press, the Israelis and their friends have a number of major national publications, and significant weekly publications in major cities all around the country. The Arabs and their friends have nothing significant in the big leagues worth noting.

Among the major problems with nearly all of the Arab regimes, not to mention the impotent groups they sponsor in Washington these days, is that they always do things far too late and far too little, not to mention with such weakness and corruption, amateurism and repression.

Two interesting displays of just how little the Arabs have advanced since the days of Lawrence of Arabia, the Balfour Declaration, and the defeat in 1948, are the recent Deir Yassin newspaper ad in The Washington Post and The Quilt (that grand effort of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee [ADC] recently endorsed (hold the laughter) by the Council of Presidents of Arab American Organizations).

Believe it or not, these two minor achievements are touted as major and significant responses to Israel's massive 50th anniversary celebrations that included last week's two-hour Hollywood TV extravaganza as well as the major kick-off celebration in occupied Hebron.

Here we are in 1998—Iraq in the midst of near genocidal misery and the Palestinians being rounded up onto Reservations with Israeli settlements still expanding all around them and Israeli army roadblocks at every turn— and the elite Arab students at Georgetown University, carefully manipulated by the dysfunctional Arab organizations, have managed to remember the Deir Yassin Massacre of 1948 in a newspaper ad, hold a few campus lectures, and squander their time and resources on the much talked about quilt, while saying and doing nothing of significance about the events taking place right under their noses in their own lifetimes!

In many ways, fifty years after Deir Yassin the Arabs are in worse shape then ever—both in the Middle East and in Washington.

From horrible civil war in Algeria, to terrible repression in Egypt, to the de facto American occupation of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, to the destruction of Iraq coming on top of the earlier destruction of Lebanon, to the imposition and legalization of Apartheid in Palestine, to the new U.S.- Israeli-Turkish Alliance; the region is in total chaos with the CIA, Mossad and repression omnipresent as never before.

And in Washington, after decades of pretense, there is still not one independent and significant Arab American organization while the community is actually represented on national TV (just occasionally thank God!) by such a corrupt and despised personality as Jim Zogby and such a weak and pathetic personality as Hala Maksoud.

Furthermore, though there are few places to put such widely discussed thoughts in print, repression and/or co-option of nearly all independent Arab institutions and thinkers has never so great. Even Edward Said has been twisted of late into writing his column for an Arab-language publication owned by the Saudi Royal Family, with English translation in a publication controlled by the Egyptian government—with the concomitant actual and self-censorship this situation entails.

In today's Washington, whether from the miserably inadequate offices of the Arab League, to the prostituted offices of such organizations as Zogby's Arab-American Institute or Jahshan's National Association of Arab Americans or Maksoud's Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, never has the influence and power of the Israeli/Jewish lobby been greater while that of the Arabs totally marginalized, illusory, and co- opted. Even after all the tragedies of recent decades, all of the Arab organizations combined in Washington have no serious political importance, serving primarily to control and manipulate Arab Americans at the behest of the client-regime governments that pull their strings and reward their leaders.

In summary of these 50 years, rarely has any ethnic people squandered so much wealth and power while receiving so little for it. Overall it seems the Arab regimes, and the panoply of organizations and publications they now support and control, continue to be far more interested in the subjugation, exploitation, and repression of their own people than in the building of strong and viable institutions.

It's so unfair really. In the Middle East the kids of occupied Palestine managed to sustain an Intifada against the Israeli occupiers, until Arafat's crowd came on board to push them under; and the kids of Iran managed to bring down the Shah. But in the Arab Diaspora the kids of the Arab elite have only managed to figure out how to hold a seminar, put an ad in a newspaper, or sew a patch into the quilt.

After 50 years the Israelis have nuclear weapons, the Mossad, Hollywood, a kosher White House, and their own Assistant Secretary of State; while the Arabs have corruption, secret-police, pathetic Arab-American organizations, Arafat, and the 50th anniversary quilt!