Few choices in US election for those who support peace

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Few choices in US election for those who support peace
Ray Hanania
Saudi Gazette August 5, 2012 – What a choice Americans have for president.

Those who hope for peace in the Middle East do not have a chance in the November elections. It really doesn’t matter if President Barack Obama is re-elected or if Mitt Romney takes his place. It doesn’t matter if the president is a Republican or a Democrat. And it doesn’t matter if the president is a Christian or a Mormon. Both Obama and Romney offer the same future for the Middle East, continued peace stagnation and the continued crimes of Israel’s government.

Israel is becoming more anti-peace, more radical and even more opposed to compromise. Israelis just love the stagnation and uncertainty that surrounds peace. Uncertainty gives them what they hope for. Everything.

And which president would undermine that hope? Obama? Romney? Neither!

Imagine that nearly half of American voters believe that Obama is Muslim, anti-Israel and too willing to stab Israel in the back. The other half don’t, but they also don’t believe that Obama has the will to force Israel to compromise.

There are only two real choices in American politics that Obama and Romney are pandering to. The choices are simple. Either, the United States openly gives Israel everything it wants, or the United States closes its eyes and knowingly allows Israel to do whatever it wants.

In some ways, ignorance of reality is bliss, more easily acceptable than the reality of doing what is clearly unprincipled, unethical and immoral.
Last week Romney returned from a political trip to Israel in which he pandered to Jewish voters in America. Jewish voters vote. Arab voters don’t vote. Muslims are divided.

The Romney trip was overshadowed by bumbling and embarrassing political gaffes. But Romney’s snub of the Palestinians was telling. And Romney was funded by one of the most virulently anti-Arab and anti-Muslim supporters of Israel in the world, billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

In the shadow of that, Romney’s words are not so important. He declared Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel, swore allegiance to Israel’s distorted narrative of Palestinian-Israeli history, justified Israel’s militaristic supremacy over Iran and made it very clear whose side of peace he is on. Obama hasn’t been as clear in his obsequiousness to Israel but his four years of failure to implement the empty words of his promises show that either he was lying to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech, or he is just incompetent. Maybe he just changed his mind.

Human beings are frail. Isn’t it enough that Obama achieved something that is unprecedented in American history? He is the first African American to be elected president. Obama’s failures won’t undermine his legacy the way his very human predecessor Bill Clinton severely damaged his own.
Romney is selling himself out to Israel. Obama is basically bowing to Israel’s political hegemony over American politics and elections.

This isn’t about peace. It is about getting elected. And every American president since Harry Truman has been willing to set aside principle and even the best interests of the United States in order to make Israel happy and win votes.

So what choice is left to American Arabs or the people of the Middle East who have hoped and prayed for a Moses who might rise up and lead them out of the horror of injustice, oppression and violence?

It’s a simple question. What’s best for the Middle East? A president like Obama who seems incapable of bringing justice to Palestine and the Muslim world? Or a president who is willing to do and say whatever his financial backers want?

Arabs and Muslims are good natured people. They really are. It’s the Western media, heavily influenced by Israel’s interests, that convinces the world that Arabs and Muslims are culturally violent. While there is violence in the Middle East, there is even more violence in the West. There is more crime in America than there ever has been in all of the Arab countries combined.

Being good natured people, Arabs and Muslims might want to go for the lesser of the two evils and back Obama. After all, although Arabs and Muslims know Obama is not a Muslim, they want to believe it. They also want to believe that what the Middle East needs is a US president who at least says the good words, even if he can’t act on them to bring about Middle East peace.

But, the Arabs and Muslims should be cheering on Romney. Why? Well, Romney is politically naïve and uneducated about the justice of the Palestinian cause. He may never be educated about it.

He’s a pawn of the Israeli lobby and his Mormon religion may not embrace Judaism enthusiastically but it embraces Islam and the Arab world even less.

The consequences are that a President Romney would create an environment that will fuel uncertainty.

President Romney would push the region to the brink of conflict through policies so favorable to Israel that the Arab people will realize that Israel does not react positively to peace gestures. Israel only exploits peace while relishing the West’s hallucination of it being the “victim.”
Since the Palestinians and the Arab world extended their hand in peace to Israel in 1988, Israel has expanded its settlements, reinforced its control of the occupied West Bank, undermined the independence and nationalism of Arab countries like Jordan and many Gulf states, and dug in its heels. Only conflict can change all that. And only the election of Mitt Romney can insure that conflict will start.

Obama’s re-election will merely delay the inevitable conflict that achieving peace requires. Israel won’t make the concessions for peace it must make without conflict on the horizon.

— Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist and radio talk show host. Reach him at www.RadioChicagoland.com

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

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