Arab News & YouGov expose US ignorance of Middle East
A new poll by the Arab News and YouGov.com has exposed a major flaw in the understanding that American shave of the Middle East. This is remarkable because in the past two years, more Americans have died because of the Middle East than as a result of any other world region. The depth of this lack of education is shocking, and explains why American minds are so easily manipulated by Israeli propaganda and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism
By Ray Hanania
When the Arab News and YouGov.com gave me an exclusive look at their recent poll of American attitudes of the Middle East, I have to say I was shocked at the actual depths of how little Americans know.
I have always known that Americans no very little about the facts and reality of the Middle East, which explains why their minds are so easily manipulated by the powerful pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, and why anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racism is so rampant.
The ignorance pretty much explains everything. I would often tell American and Arab audiences that “Americans are the most educated people in the world, but the least educated about the world.”
But until the Arab News and YouGov.com poll was published just today — and after being given an exclusive look into it’s shocking findings, I have to say the lack of knowledge is worse than anything I ever expected.
One of the most shocking aspects of the poll is that some 21 percent of the nearly 2,100 Americans who responded to the poll identify the “Sultanate of Agrabah” is a real Arab country.
Apparently, Americans were really moved by the Hollywood lyrics, “Oh, I come from a land, from a faraway place where the caravan camels roam. Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”
Agrabah, Arabia is the “City of Mystery” located “this side of the Jordan river” that was home for Aladdin in Disney’s 1993 children’s animated movie.
It does not exist. But 38 percent said that Agrabah should be added to the US travel ban if its “citizens” pose a threat.
21 percent of the nearly 2,100 Americans who
responded to a recent poll on the Middle East
believe the “Sultanate of Agrabah” is an Arab country
Doesn’t that make sense considering that most Americans believe that Israel is the victim of Palestinian violence and hate, and believe that Palestinians do not have a right to statehood?
It makes sense that most Americans, who are Christian, have turned their backs on the essence of their own Christian religion, closing their eyes to Israeli atrocities, land confiscations and Israeli violence against Christian citizens of the “Jewish State” and Christian civilians living under Israel’s brutal oppression of the West Bank.
How do Americans get so ignorant about facts?
Public Relations. Compelling fiction. Strategic communications spin. These are the three things the Israelis invest much of their money in. They spend a fortune to convince Americans of the lie that Palestine was ” a land without a people.”
Making Israel’s propaganda even more effective is the fact that the Arab World doesn’t spend a Dinar on public relations, or strategic communications spin. The Arab World doesn’t invest money in movies that promote the Arab cause and culture, or on fiction books that Americans consume like popcorn at a movie. (American consume more than 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year, an amount that would fill the Empire State Building 18 times.)
And you can read my column on the poll by clicking here.
What’s amazing to me is that I write a column each week on Middle East affairs, Palestine and American perceptions of Arab World issues for the Arab News, and I wrote about American issues for Americans in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in Chicagoland in Illinois.
Maybe I should convince the Southwest News Newspaper group to let me write about Middle East issues in the hopes of bringing up America’s failure grade to a level of acceptability, or a basic passing grade!
(Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist, author and former CHicago City Hall political reporter. He writes a weekly column for the Arab News on Middle East issues, and a weekly column on American politics for the Southwest News Newspaper group in Chicago, Illinois. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania 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 www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, 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 www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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