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Growing extremism, not Fayyad, is the problem
Controversy over Salam Fayyad’s appointment as a UN deputy for Libya reflects fundamental weakness of the U.S. Approach to the Middle East. But it also exposes the hypocrisies of the pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian critics who profess anger over the snub
By Ray Hanania
Now that he is out, the same extremists are expressing “outrage” that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is blocking his appointment to an obscure UN post in violence-torn Libya.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres informed the UN Security Council last week of his plans to name Fayyad as a “special representative” to Libya.
Immediately, Haley declared the appointment was “unfair” to Israel, although honestly I didn’t know that Israel’s foreign policy extends to Libya beyond its apartheid abuse of Christian and Muslim Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem.
Haley’s extremist hatred of Palestinians traces back to her heritage as a Sikh from India, a nation where sectarian hatred flourishes among Sikhs, Punjabis and Muslims. In America, many Indian and Sikh Americans support Israel and marginalize Palestinian rights.
Instead of focusing on Haley, though, the Arab and Palestinian extremists turned their anger against President Donald Trump, asserting the move is another example of Trump’s “hatred of Muslims.”
That a qualified, visionary Palestinians has been prevented from playing a role in the diplomatic arena is not the real issue to these fanatics because the same fanatics led the attacks against Fayyad when he served as Palestinian prime minister between 2007 and 2013.
During his tenure, Fayyad was viciously attacked by the anti-peace extremists because of his practices of “normalization” – the process of dealing with Israel rather than bombing it — and of his embrace of moderation in support of the “Two-State Solution.”
These Arab and Palestinian extremists did everything possible to block his efforts to rebuild Palestine from the inside in anticipation of statehood. They derogatorily referred to Fayyad’s moderate-driven agenda as “Fayyadism.”
They even blamed the occupation on Fayyad.
They were angered even more when Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who partnered in 1993 with Yitzhak Rabin to recognize Palestinian Statehood in the Two-State Solution, praised Fayyad as the face of the Palestinian future.
The criticism was relentless and it ended only when Fayyad was pushed out of office by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was both dysfunctional and paranoid about his rivals.
Yet there is a typical but greater irony here. The very same fanatics, whose unrelenting attacks doomed Fayyad’s efforts as prime minister, are now using Fayyad’s troubles to attack Trump.
Nothing motivates Arab and Palestinian fanatics more than the ability to destroy something, block something or reject everything. Their entire existence is based on rejectionism.
Rejectionism has allowed Arab and Palestinian extremists to rally their supporters through fear-mongering and by fanning the flames of hate. They “oppose” but never “support.” Their rejection allows them to survive as worthless, failed leaders without ever having to be accountable, the problem that plagues most Arab and Palestinian activism not just in America but throughout the Arab World.
The voices of the rejectionists have always been louder than the voices of the bullied and assaulted moderates. They denounce the alleged hypocrisy of the peacemakers while embracing hypocrisy as their political agenda.
Rejectionism is a disease that the Arab World and Palestinians do not do enough to denounce.
Fayyad’s biggest problem wasn’t his moderate, progressive agenda, but rather his failure to embrace strategic communications strategies. Fayyad did a poor job of communicating with the public. He relied on the accolades of his supporters to get the word out and they weren’t very good in overcoming the larger assault of criticism from the haters of moderation and “normalization.”
As a consequence, Fayyad is not recognized for his achievements, which is why he is so easily by brushed aside.
This absence of communications strategy, a fundamental flaw in Arab culture and Palestinian activism, was the real cause of Fayyad’s downfall. It also allowed for the rise of the extremists.
Arab and Palestinian extremists have been standing in the way of peace for decades. They are responsible for enabling the rise of extremism in Israel.
How extreme is Israel today?
Years ago, the debate in the Arab World was whether we would refer to Israel as “Israel” or as the “Zionist entity.” Today, Israel is more fanatic than the most fanatic activists on the Arab and Palestinians side, but that Israeli fanaticism is accepted as the “norm.”
Just recently Naftali Bennett, the David Duke of Israel, urged the government to stop using the words “Palestinian State.” Bennett isn’t just a pro-Apartheid racist. He also happens to be Israel’s Minister of Education. Bennett shares the stage with a coterie of racist extremists including Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Minister of “Justice.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who longs to be a moderate but has to embrace the extremists to survive, joined in the attacks against Fayyad’s appointment. Netanyahu argued the appointment gives Palestinians an edge over Israel that they shouldn’t have.
Guterres quickly announced plans to name Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former Minister of Justice and a moderate Israeli voice, to a deputy post, too.
Instead of naming Fayyad to a UN post to monitor Libya, he should replace Abbas as Palestinian President, something that not only would upset the Arab and Palestinian extremists even more, but would also upset their Israeli extremist counterparts.
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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 www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.
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, 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.
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
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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