The ‘sanity’ of today’s world

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The ‘sanity’ of today’s world
Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:40 AM, Saudi Gazette

By Ray Hanania

Why wouldn’t an American Congressman strip off all his clothes and swim naked in the Galilee where Jesus, the Messiah of the Christians, walked on water and prepared for his crucifixion?

That’s exactly what conservative Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder from the 3rd District in Kansas did while in Israel recently. He jumped in the lake naked and swam without regard for the significance of where he was and what he was doing.

Isn’t that what most members of Congress do? Act irresponsibly?

Congress gives billions of American taxpayer dollars every year to Israel, even during the worst of times as the American economy stumbles through recession, so why would anyone expect members of Congress to act responsibly?

Congressmen are not responsible when it comes to managing hard earned American dollars. They are even less responsible when it comes to respecting things like the International Rule of Law, the human rights of oppressed Muslims and Christians in Israel, or even respecting sites that are important to their own religion.

It’s a mystery why Congress doesn’t really care too much about Christians because most of the 535 members of Congress are Christian. There are only 39 members who are Jewish, making you wonder why Israel gets the most foreign aid of any foreign nation. Only two members of Congress are Muslim.

So to thank the Congress for giving Israel billions every year in American tax dollars who some might argue are better served feeding the millions of poor and hungry Americans, Israel’s lobbyists take Congress members on free trips to, you guessed it, Israel.

Well, the all-expense-paid junkets to Israel are not really free. The trips are funded by one of the many lobbying groups under the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and congressmen are expected to give Israel, in return, their votes. Blindly and without regard to things like morality, principle and justice.

So who is surprised that some of those members of Congress on a trip that took place more than a year ago involving 30 members and their families would act like giddy and unmannered children?

The debauchery of last year’s AIPAC-paid trip is best symbolized by the conduct – or misconduct – of Congressman Yoder who, while on the boondoggle, decided to join others and swim in the Sea of Galilee. Except Yoder thought it appropriate to remove all of his clothing and swim in the holy waters naked.

Yoder is a Christian and you might have forgiven him if he felt compelled to enter the waters in observance of Christian Biblical tradition. It was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, which was occupied by Israel in 1948, that Jesus performed many of his miracles including “walking on water” and feeding thousands of followers with only one loaf of bread.

Yet it took one year for the story to finally rise to the occasion of outrage in Christian America.

You see, AIPAC-funded trips for members of Congress are so common and routine that no one bothers to ask about the ethics, or the lack of ethics, of allowing an entity dedicated to the policies of a foreign country to pay for the all-expense-paid trips, and presumably, the daunting naked swim in the Sea of Galilee where the principles of Christianity found its roots.

Oh, the members of Congress who returned from the overseas vacation that was billed as a “fact finding trip” laughed and joked about the incident for more than a year until it finally made a political news web site only a few months before Americans will go to the polls and vote to elect a president.

Will they elect Mitt Romney, the Republican who is Mormon? Or might they re-elect President Barack Obama, who is Christian but who many Americans believe is a Muslim?

Meanwhile, back on the home front, American newspapers published stories of how Muslims in Pakistan and in Egypt are oppressing Christians and ignoring the many more incidents of how Christians are oppressing Muslims and Christian Arabs who American treat as Muslims.

Last week, an Arab Muslim grave site in suburban Chicago was vandalized by unknown suspects who scribbled ugly racist stereotypes on the tomb stone of Hassan Abdallah, a former diplomat of the Arab League. The extremist or extremists misspelled their hateful message on Abdallah’s tomb, writing “Raghaed Killer.” It’s not uncommon for racists and bigots to be illiterate and uneducated.

As the Holy Muslim Month of Ramadan came to close last week, Mosques around America were vandalized, burned and defaced with racial epithets that can’t be repeated here. All these are incidents that make you wonder about the sanity of our world, although in truth, it does kind of explain the insanity of the US Congress.

— Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist. Reach him at

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This post has already been read 2016 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania