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By Ray Hanania – Is it unknowing and unintentional, or is it just the typical kind of stupidity we have come to expect from the Arab and Islamic World governments and businesses? Regardless, the Arab and Islamic Worlds are undermining President Barack Obama and the Democratic agenda in the American elections, and undermining the process to bring peace to the Middle East.
When it comes to changing American public perceptions and attitudes about the Middle East, we already know the Arab and Islamic Worlds are failures. But to now learn they are helping the very people who are Arab and Muslim rights and goals in America is pathetic.
It is all being done through the Arab and Islamic World’s alliance with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the United States. They promote big business, of course, and the Arab and Islamic World have much in common with that. Although you have to wonder if the Arab and Islamic Worlds really understand big business since they use their copious financial assets so poorly to enhance the image of Arabs and Muslims in the West – in fact, I would say the Arab and Islamic governments mismanage their enormous financial assets.
But that’s another story. This one will surprise you.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is behind a series of election-related advertisements that are hammering President Barack Obama. You remember, “Barack Hussein Obama,” the first president ever to have an Arab name but more importantly a moral conscientious to pursue a principled stand in addressing the concerns of the Middle East.
I always thought that despite the demagoguery and tyranny of the Arab and Islamic world governments, that they at least believed in solving the Palestine conflict and other of the great human tragedies that have defined the Middle East.
But no. Turns out they are stupid and so are the big businesses in the Arab and Muslim World that are donating billions to special interest groups in the West and especially in the United States that are undermining the very principles of justice that are lacking in the Palestine-Israel relations and the Middle East.
The US Chamber of Commerce has founded Business Councils or AmChams (American Chambers) in many foreign countries with cash reserves and no region has more money (that is misspent and wasted) than in the Arab and Islamic Worlds. And they have targeted foreign corporations, especially those directly controlled by the foreign governments, for their fundraising drives.
The money that the US Chamber raises from these foreign interests, Arabs and Muslims, is comingled, according to political critics, with their other funds which are sent to the Chamber’s H Street office in Washington DC. They are comingled in to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6) account which is in turn the funding mechanism that the US Chamber is now using to attack political candidates who 1) support President Barack Obama and 2) support greater freedoms for Arabs and Muslims in the United States.
Maybe people in the Arab and Islamic World haven’t noticed that Arabs and Muslims in the United States have been turned in to a persecuted minority and are not protected by the landmark civil rights rulings adopted to protect other minorities like African Americans.
Juan Williams, the so-called “moderate” media voice, expressed that prejudicial rage in his hateful but casually expressed view that people who board planes in “Muslim Garb” frighten him. (He didn’t mention that the Ku Klux Klan back in the 1950s and 1960s said the same thing about his people, Blacks, in America when they boarded buses, moved in to White neighborhoods and tried to take their place in American society.)
The US Chamber of Commerce money for these anti-Obama driven election campaign advertisements comes from many foreign countries, mostly from the Arab World. One country is Bahrain where the US Chamber created the U.S. Bahrain Business Council”(USBBC) which ostensibly was intended to help Bahrain exploit the U.S. Chamber’s worldwide business network.
Many of the USBBC’s board members, according to published reports, are Bahrainian, including Aluminum Bahrain, Gulf Air, Midal Cables, the Nass Group, Bahrain Maritime & Mercantile International, the Bahrain Petroleum Company (state-owned), Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, and First Leasing Bank.
These foreign board members donated more than $10,000 annually each.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt is a separate entity based in Cairo that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars from both Egyptian firms and American businesses, but it boasts that it is the most active. And there is one in Abu Dhabi which includes subsidiaries of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. And one in Saudi Arabia, too.
The U.S. Chamber worked hard to kill legislation requiring more detailed disclosures of their election spending. As a result, these Arab and Muslim funds are being mixed in with millions of dollars donated by FOX News to pay for attack ads directed against Barack Hussein Obama. (It always amazes me how the Arab and Islamic World hotels provide their clients with access to the hatefully anti-Arab FOX News Network.)
The Chamber responds to these reports claiming that they do not comingle the funding. But even if that is true, one dollar donated from the Arab and Muslim World frees up another dollar donated by rightwing anti-Arab hate groups that are then used to pay for attack ads that have inundated this year’s elections.
The biggest victims of these attacks ads are truth, justice and the civil rights of Arabs and Muslims in America.
I wouldn’t expect the Arab World or the Islamic World to understand any of this. Over the past 62 years since the destruction of Palestine began, the Arab and Islamic Worlds have done a poor job, failing to convey the rights of the Arab and Muslims to Western audiences.
But then, they have made a lot of money that can be used to support their luxury lifestyles and their frequent gambling sprees in Las Vegas.
With friends like this, who needs enemies?
(Ray Hanania can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com)
This post has already been read 24 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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