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Disgraceful American Arab Leadership falters at Democratic convention
By Ray Hanania
Some of the self-appointed leaders of the American Arab community are stamping their flat feet loudly — well, as loud as they are able — declaring that this year’s record number of American Arab delegates is something American Arabs should be proud of.
You have to be kidding.
This year, there were nearly 6,000 total delegates, pledged and unpledged. In 2008, there were only 4,419 total delegates. That means the number of delegates participating in the Democratic Convention increased by nearly 50 percent.
Yet, that cannot be said about many of the American Arab leaders who participated in the convention.
In 2008, there were 43 American Arab delegates who “participated” in the Democratic National Convention. This year, it went up to 52. That’s an increase of about 19 percent.
We couldn’t even keep up with the growth of the delegates as a whole. In other words, in real numbers, the “clout” of the American Arabs — if they even had any clout, weakened. It went down. Although there were nine more American Arabs at the convention, their voice in the overall mix of delegates went down significantly.
Still, the phony dictators who claim to be leaders are bellowing about how great a job they did. Great job? I doubt it.
Many American Arabs live in America physically but mentally are still living “back home.” And our so-called “leaders” are no different. The “leaders” are self-appointed presidents-for-life who act worse than the tyrants who control our countries in Syria, Jordan, Palestine and the organizations that make up our populations there.
These presidents-for-life have to feed the BS to the American Arab community to make us believe that we are successful. We’re not successful. But we are told that bread crumbs are cake.
A good example of the failure of this sad collection of American Arab representation is the controversy over the issue of Jerusalem.
The Democratic Party adopted a platform that included a section on the Middle East that was 23 words less from the one the same Democratic Party adopted in 2008. This year, the Democrats dropped the ridiculous assertion that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, a statement that reinforces the racist discrimination against Muslims and Christians who also live in the city under Israeli oppression.
When Israeli activists discovered the change, they started to go ballistic, screaming and yelling. They complained loudly and prompted President Barack Obama to “order” that the wording be re-inserted into the Platform.
On Wednesday, Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, reconvened the delegates and proposed that the wording that Jerusalem is the ‘”undivided capital of Israel” be re-entered into the platform.
Villaraigosa recognized the former governor of Ohio Ted Strickland to make the motion to suspend the rules to permit a new vote. The delegates voted to suspend the rules by a clear voice vote.
Villaraigosa needed a two-thirds vote of the delegates to have the wording amended back into the platform. He called for a voice vote expecting that the delegates would overwhelmingly support the move. Instead, the overwhelming majority of the delegates shouted down Villaraigosa and voted No to block the change.
Stunned, Villaraigosa stared at the crowd and then looked around as if seeking guidance on what to do. Instead of declaring that the amendment had been soundly rejected, he simply did what many American politicians and Middle East dictators do and lied, saying that two-thirds of the delegates had voted to support adding the language back to the platform.
What a sham. What a disgrace for Obama and the Democratic Party. But what an even greater disgrace for the American Arab “leaders” at the convention who didn’t know anything about the platform or even the decision to take a new vote. The 52 American Arab delegates were stunned even more by the treachery of the Democratic Party.
This convention may have more numbers — 9 — in terms of American Arab participation, but it will remain another example of the disgraceful failed leadership of Washington’s Arab American leaders.
They are not leaders at all.
Shame on them.
Here is a video of the vote on the issue of Jerusalem.
— Ray Hanania
This post has already been read 42 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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