Arab-American group blocks musician over ‘freedom’ song

June 9, 2011

A leading Arab American group dropped a prominent Syrian-American musician from performing at their annual convention in a dispute over a freedom-tinged song that he was set to perform.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a longtime Washington civil rights group, repeatedly asked the German-born Syrian composer and pianist Malek Jandali to reconsider his piece choice, Jandali told POLITICO. When he refused, Jandali was told today that he couldn’t perform at this weekend’s event.
Jandali’s “Watani Ana: I am my Homeland” doesn’t specifically mention Syria or the broader Arab Spring uprisings, but is heavy on the themes of freedom and liberty. Jandali calls it a “humanitarian song.” But lyrics include “oh my homeland, when will I see you free” and “When the land is watered with the blood of martyrs and the brave/ And all the people shout: Freedom to mankind.”
Jandali himself declined to speculate why he wasn’t allowed to perform “Watani Ana,” and an official at the ADC, Nabil Mohamad, refused to explain its decision.
“Is is it the words? The scale of the music? Was the rhythm too slow? Did the melody maybe bother them?” Jandali asked POLITICO. “I really would love to hear their answer. It would have been a perfect song.”
“It doesn”t mention the word ‘Arab’ or ‘Syria’ or anything,” he said. “It”s a humanitarian song.”
However other observers speculated that the song’s implications might have troubled the Syrian government, which is in the midst of a bloody crackdown on its citizens, or its allies. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has defied international calls to end the crackdown and ordered security forces into the streets to quell unrest. He has also ratcheted up tensions with neighboring Israel, allowing Palestinian and Syrian protesters to approach the sealed Syrian-Israeli boarder. Twenty-three of those demonstrators were later killed by Israeli forces after they tried to rush the border.
“We are just saddened by the atrocities and the killing of innocent children,” Jandali, an American citizen who was born in Germany but raised in Syria, said.
The chairman of the ADC board, gynecologist Safa Rifka, is aligned with Syria’s ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha. In a blog post, Moustapha called Rifka one of his three “best friends” in Washington D.C. The ADC describes itself as the largest Arab-American grassroots advocacy group and vows to end “discrimination and bias against Arab Americans wherever it is practiced.”

“I have nothing to say on that,” said ADC Vice President Nabil Mohamad on charges that politics were the reason. The ADC cited logistical problems in canceling Jandali’s performance. “You should get the facts,” said Muhamad in a brief interview with POLITICO before declining to comment further. via myemail.constantcontact.com

Who should be held accountable? Let’s start with the most obvious associated with this controversy:

apparently Hanania and Electronic Intifada don’t get along.  Ray just tweeted…

Maybe hypocrite Ali Abunimeh should sing a protest song against Jordan’s undemocratic ways, but that might undermine his daddy – Ray Hanania

I’m conflicted over the controversy involving Syria. On the one hand, the government of Bashar al-Assad has been brutal towards the protestors. On the other hand, I don’t know who these protestors really are. Most American Arabs feel the way I do about Syria. They are conflicted. Why fan the flames of one side over the other, just to make Israel and the rightwing U.S. Congress happy? via  rayhanania.wordpress.com

they are killing their own people for asking for what all the other Arab Spring Revolutions are asking for.  Admit it… Ray is wrong. h/t @JIDF

Ray Hanania a bit unclear on the concept of "free speech"

December 7, 2010

Elder of Ziyon
06 December ’10
From UPI:

Journalist Helen Thomas ripped Wayne State University in Michigan for ending a diversity award in her name, saying the school mocked the First Amendment.
The university ended the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award last week after she made controversial remarks in Dearborn, Mich., about what she saw as Zionist control of American institutions. When announcing the end of the annual award, Wayne State said it pulled the prize and “strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas.”
Thomas told the Detroit Free Press in an article published Monday the leaders of Wayne State University “have made a mockery of the First Amendment and disgraced their understanding of its inherent freedom of speech and the press.
Thomas, 90, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, added, “The university also has betrayed academic freedom — a sad day for its students.”
Some Arab-American leaders joined in criticizing Wayne State’s decision to pull the award named after Thomas, who grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne.

Who are the Arab American leaders who criticized the decision? The only one I can find so far by name is our old pal Ray Hanania, who called this blog an “often racistly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate site” and accused me of hypocrisy.
Let’s talk about hypocrisy, Ray.
(Read full post)

UPDATE: Once I’m calling Ray a liar, here’s a doozy on one of his many websites:

 The Palestinians are ready to accept Israel’s hold on most of the settlements in exchange for final borders, but Israel’s Netanyahu is dragging his feet and demanding more. Netanyahu’s version of Give and Take: The Palestinians give everything and Israel takes everything.

OK, Ray, please find a single public statement made by any Palestinian Arab leader saying that they were willing to accept anything of the sort. You won’t find it, for reasons you know very well – anyone who says that would be assassinated. Just because you believe it doesn’t mean that the PLO, or Hamas, or anyone in a position to matter does.
On the contrary, as I have documented, Mahmoud Abbas has bragged – publicly – that the Palestinian Arab negotiating position has not changed one iota since 1988.
It is a lie, and you are a liar.
Should I waste my time to find more of your lies, Ray? Or have we already established a pattern?


Ray Hanania

November 25, 2009

Ray says pretty much “two state solution” things… and then ends it with “Israel should apologize to the Palestinian people”. It pissed me off so much that I didn’t bother to talk about it till it was mentioned on this blog. Hanania plays “moderate”, but in the end he indicts pie in the victim’s faces.

on the positive side of things… (gotta keep positive)… I do like the subway idea connecting Gaza and areas occupied by Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

…but in the end this guy is just looking to fling mud. Israel should never apologize for not dying.

I’d sooner see Israel give up Jerusalem then ever apologize to those that were trying to murder Jews for centuries merely because they did not share a religion.

Ray Hanania: Re-Energizing The Two-State Solution To Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Yes, I am running for President of Palestine in the next election, if there is one. No, I don’t expect to win. But then, many long shot candidates who don’t expect to win, actually find themselves winning.

Still, my goal isn’t to win office but to help re-ignite the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis not by pushing the leaders to do their jobs and stop putzing around but by reaching out to the grassroots Palestinian and Israeli publics.

I figure the leaders are hemming and hawing and violating past agreements because they believe the public doesn’t care any more and that things have gotten so bad that conflict seems like a better alternative. Conflict is never a better alternative.

So I threw my political hat in the proverbial election campaign ring, and I am tossing my tongue in my stand up comedian cheek, too, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the publics of both people can return to a place of sanity and end the blame game.

Here’s my campaign platform and I think it’s doable because Israelis and Palestinians are already responding positively:

  • I support two-states, one Israel and one Palestine. As far as I am concerned, I can recognize Israel’s “Jewish” character and Israelis should recognize Palestine’s “non-Jewish” character.
  • I oppose violence of any kind from and by anyone. I reject Hamas’ participation in any Palestinian government without first agreeing to surrender all arms and to accept two-states as a “final” peace agreement. But I also reject allowing Israeli settlers to carry any weapons and believe Israelis must impose the same restrictions on them.
  • I can support some settlements remaining – given the reality of 42 years of time passing — in a dunum-for-dunum land exchange. If Ariel is 500 dunums with a lifeline from Israel, then Israel gives Palestine 500 dunums in exchange.
  • Jerusalem should be a shared city and Palestinians should have an official presence in East Jerusalem. The Old City should be shared by both permitting open access to the city to all with a joint Palestinian-Israeli police presence.
  • Palestinian refugees would give up their demand to return to pre-1948 homes and lands lost during the conflict with Israel. Instead, some could apply for family reunification through Israel and the remainder would be compensated through a fund created and maintained by the United States, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.
  • I also think Israelis should find it in their hearts to show compassion and offer their apologies to Palestinians for the conflict.
  • I support creation of a similar fund to compensate those Jews from Arab lands who lost their homes and lands, too, when they fled.
  • I think the Wall should be torn down, or relocated to the new borders. I have no problem separating the two nations for a short duration to help rebuild confidence between our two people.
  • All political parties, Palestinian and Israelis, should eliminate languages denying each other’s existence, and all maps should be reprinted so that Israeli maps finally show Palestine and Palestinian maps finally show Israel.
  • A subway system should be built linking the West Bank portion of the Palestine state to the Gaza Strip portion of the Palestine State. Palestine should be permitted to build a seaport access to strengthen its’ industry, and an airport to permit flights and too and from the Arab and Israeli world.
  • I would urge the Arab World to renew their offer to normalize relations with Israel if Israel agrees to support the creation of a Palestinian State.
  • And I would ask both countries to establish embassies in each other’s country to address other problems.
  • While non-Jewish Palestinians would continue to live in Israel as citizens, Jews who wish to live in settlements surrendered by Israel could become Palestinian citizens and they should be recognized and treated equally.
  • If Jews want to live in Hebron, they should be allowed to live in Hebron and should be protected, just as non-Jews. In fact, for every Jewish individual seeking to live in Palestine, a Palestinian should be permitted to live in Israel. In fact, major Palestinian populations in Israel could be annexed into Palestine (like settlements).
  • Another concept is to have non-Jews living in Israel continue to live there but only vote in Palestinian elections, while Jews living in Palestine would only vote in Israeli elections. A special citizenship protection committee could be created to explore how to protect the rights of minorities in each state.
  • Israel and Palestine should create joint-governing and security agencies working with the United States to monitor the peace, and establish an agency to pursue criminal acts of violence.

You tell me who has a better campaign platform that makes more sense among Israel’s and Palestine’s leaders?

Everyone knows what the answer is, we just need to find people with courage to start saying it. But Palestinians and Israelis don’t have to wait until their leaders suddenly see the light and stop pandering to the extremists.

Enough is enough! Yalla Peace!

My campaign web site is www.YallaPeace.com. Join in this movement, not to make me president, but to give our children a better future than the nightmare of a past and present we now have.


Ray Hanania

November 25, 2009

Ray says pretty much “two state solution” things… and then ends it with “Israel should apologize to the Palestinian people”. It pissed me off so much that I didn’t bother to talk about it till it was mentioned on this blog. Hanania plays “moderate”, but in the end he indicts pie in the victim’s faces.

on the positive side of things… (gotta keep positive)… I do like the subway idea connecting Gaza and areas occupied by Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

…but in the end this guy is just looking to fling mud. Israel should never apologize for not dying.

I’d sooner see Israel give up Jerusalem then ever apologize to those that were trying to murder Jews for centuries merely because they did not share a religion.

Ray Hanania: Re-Energizing The Two-State Solution To Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Yes, I am running for President of Palestine in the next election, if there is one. No, I don’t expect to win. But then, many long shot candidates who don’t expect to win, actually find themselves winning.

Still, my goal isn’t to win office but to help re-ignite the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis not by pushing the leaders to do their jobs and stop putzing around but by reaching out to the grassroots Palestinian and Israeli publics.

I figure the leaders are hemming and hawing and violating past agreements because they believe the public doesn’t care any more and that things have gotten so bad that conflict seems like a better alternative. Conflict is never a better alternative.

So I threw my political hat in the proverbial election campaign ring, and I am tossing my tongue in my stand up comedian cheek, too, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the publics of both people can return to a place of sanity and end the blame game.

Here’s my campaign platform and I think it’s doable because Israelis and Palestinians are already responding positively:

  • I support two-states, one Israel and one Palestine. As far as I am concerned, I can recognize Israel’s “Jewish” character and Israelis should recognize Palestine’s “non-Jewish” character.
  • I oppose violence of any kind from and by anyone. I reject Hamas’ participation in any Palestinian government without first agreeing to surrender all arms and to accept two-states as a “final” peace agreement. But I also reject allowing Israeli settlers to carry any weapons and believe Israelis must impose the same restrictions on them.
  • I can support some settlements remaining – given the reality of 42 years of time passing — in a dunum-for-dunum land exchange. If Ariel is 500 dunums with a lifeline from Israel, then Israel gives Palestine 500 dunums in exchange.
  • Jerusalem should be a shared city and Palestinians should have an official presence in East Jerusalem. The Old City should be shared by both permitting open access to the city to all with a joint Palestinian-Israeli police presence.
  • Palestinian refugees would give up their demand to return to pre-1948 homes and lands lost during the conflict with Israel. Instead, some could apply for family reunification through Israel and the remainder would be compensated through a fund created and maintained by the United States, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.
  • I also think Israelis should find it in their hearts to show compassion and offer their apologies to Palestinians for the conflict.
  • I support creation of a similar fund to compensate those Jews from Arab lands who lost their homes and lands, too, when they fled.
  • I think the Wall should be torn down, or relocated to the new borders. I have no problem separating the two nations for a short duration to help rebuild confidence between our two people.
  • All political parties, Palestinian and Israelis, should eliminate languages denying each other’s existence, and all maps should be reprinted so that Israeli maps finally show Palestine and Palestinian maps finally show Israel.
  • A subway system should be built linking the West Bank portion of the Palestine state to the Gaza Strip portion of the Palestine State. Palestine should be permitted to build a seaport access to strengthen its’ industry, and an airport to permit flights and too and from the Arab and Israeli world.
  • I would urge the Arab World to renew their offer to normalize relations with Israel if Israel agrees to support the creation of a Palestinian State.
  • And I would ask both countries to establish embassies in each other’s country to address other problems.
  • While non-Jewish Palestinians would continue to live in Israel as citizens, Jews who wish to live in settlements surrendered by Israel could become Palestinian citizens and they should be recognized and treated equally.
  • If Jews want to live in Hebron, they should be allowed to live in Hebron and should be protected, just as non-Jews. In fact, for every Jewish individual seeking to live in Palestine, a Palestinian should be permitted to live in Israel. In fact, major Palestinian populations in Israel could be annexed into Palestine (like settlements).
  • Another concept is to have non-Jews living in Israel continue to live there but only vote in Palestinian elections, while Jews living in Palestine would only vote in Israeli elections. A special citizenship protection committee could be created to explore how to protect the rights of minorities in each state.
  • Israel and Palestine should create joint-governing and security agencies working with the United States to monitor the peace, and establish an agency to pursue criminal acts of violence.

You tell me who has a better campaign platform that makes more sense among Israel’s and Palestine’s leaders?

Everyone knows what the answer is, we just need to find people with courage to start saying it. But Palestinians and Israelis don’t have to wait until their leaders suddenly see the light and stop pandering to the extremists.

Enough is enough! Yalla Peace!

My campaign web site is www.YallaPeace.com. Join in this movement, not to make me president, but to give our children a better future than the nightmare of a past and present we now have.