Chicago Sun-Times owes Rush Darwish an apology

Chicago Sun-Times owes Rush Darwish an apology
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Chicago Sun-Times owes Rush Darwish an apology

The hotly contested 3rd Congressional District draws anti-Arab media attention from a historically racist anti-Arab Chicago Sun-Times because one of the candidates is Palestinian. The newspaper twisted around the words of Rush Darwish in a clear effort to take out a candidate who is both considered a “spoiler” and an Arab American.

By Ray Hanania

There is an interesting race evolving in the 3rd Congressional District in which three candidates are challenging incumbent Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary. The challengers are Marie Newman, who came very close to defeating him in 2018, Rush Darwish and Abe Matthew.

I’m not taking sides in the election, although I have known and defended Dan Lipinski several times, Darwish is a friend and Newman is very impressive. I don’t know Matthew very well. But I have noticed how the mainstream news media has turned Darwish’s Palestinian race into a pejorative election issue.

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a hatchet job last week intended to cast Darwish as being “anti-Jewish” based on past statements he has made.

Rush Darwish hosted his live radio show from the Arabesque Festival in June 2010 when Richard M. Daley was mayor. Photos by Ray Hanania

Rush Darwish hosted his live radio show from the Arabesque Festival in June 2010 when Richard M. Daley was mayor. Photos by Ray Hanania

I know Darwish and he isn’t anti-Jewish, or anti-Semitic. He is a critic of Israel, which you often have to remind some journalists is a “foreign country.” In this country, you can criticize the American Government and viciously attack the administration of President Donald Trump. But when you do the same to Israel, a foreign country, your criticism somehow is painted as being “anti-Semitic,” which is disgustingly hypocritical.

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In otherwords, you can criticize the American government as viciously and as wildly as you wish – and as the mainstream news media in fact does – but if dare to criticize Israel’s government policies, you are denounced as anti-Semitic by the very same hypocritical news media.

It’s pathetic.

But the most egregious part of the story is really how the Chicago Sun-Times defends AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC isn’t technically a Political Action Committee, although I think they added the “PAC” to their name as a joke on the public. But AIPAC in fact is an umbrella organization of Political Action Committees that raises huge amounts of money and donates them to political candidates who support Israel’s government. The more you support Israel the more money you get.

Marie Newman, candidate for the 3rd District

Marie Newman, candidate for the 3rd District

Incredulously, the Chicago Sun-Times criticized Darwish (playing into the anti-Jewish thing) because Darwish accused AIPAC of donating $15,000 to Congressman Lipinski.

That’s a big issue in the 3rd Congressional District. The District has one of the largest Polish American voter bases, but also has one of the largest Palestinian American voter bases, too. Lipinski is Polish and Darwish is Palestinian, so it matters.

The Sun-Times lambasted Darwish’s comment about AIPAC claiming that it doesn’t make PAC donations, but its members do through PACs they head.

Congressman Dan Lipinski

Of course, the Sun-Times should do a story on AIPAC and detail how using a very sophisticated network, it works with hundreds of pro-Israel Political Action Committees and then coordinates those PAC dollars to candidates who support their extremist, pro-Israel agenda.

Let’s get one thing straight. I criticize Israel’s government policies, but I don’t criticize “Jews.” The fact is my wife and son are Jewish. I happen to be Christian and as a Christian Arab, I know what it is like to be attacked, marginalized and hated. Anti-Semitism is repugnant, as is Islamophobia and anti-Christian hate. I got a lot of support from audiences during appearances last month at Libraries in Palos Heights and Orland Park.

But to give AIPAC a pass and not detail how it uses a system to coordinate donations for and against candidates because of their political views on Israel – a foreign country – is disingenuous at best. AIPAC isn’t like J Street, the centrist and fair Jewish American lobbying organization which I support with money and words. AIPAC is an extremist organization and to see some journalists defend it without explaining what it does is disgusting, unjournalistic and exposes the anti-Arab animosity that fuels much of what passes for professional journalism in this country.

The Chicago Sun-Times owes Rush Darwish an apology. But don’t hold your breath.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"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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Ray Hanania

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