Faux peace: Israel and Arab Gulf Royals

Ascribing the euphemism, peace, for formally normalizing the relationship between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the smaller Island of Bahrain with Israel, is an abysmal attempt to repackage Jarred Kushner’s string of failures and Donald Trump’s obsession for a pseudo achievement in a difficult election year.

Perched behind the Resolute desk on August 13, Trump mispronounced the name of the UAE Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed, proclaiming what he described as the first “Historic Peace Agreement” in 25 years. Archetypical of the President self-aggrandizing, he professed, “Everybody said this would be impossible …” 

“Everybody,” possibly except for Trump and Kushner, had known of UAE and Bahrain, not so secretive, back channels with Israel. In October 2018, the racist Israeli minister of culture, who likened the mosque’s Azan to barking dogs, was welcomed in Abu Dhabi, toured Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and Israel’s national anthem played in the UAE capital. 

In June 2019, on the side of Kushner’s botched “deal of the century” peace conference in Manama, Israeli journalists posed openly next to landmarks around the Bahraini capital 

With a background in real estate, both Kushner and his father in law, Trump, came from an industry imbued with apathetic market manipulators who inflate value to sell, and undervalue assets to buy. The culture had molded Kushner’s personality at a young age. Most of his recognized successes in the private business accredited to arm-twisting economically distressed property owners and the evictions of low income renters in New York. 

The same knack that gave Kushner an advantage in the world’s financial capital was in itself the very reason for his abject failure in brokering peace between Palestine and Israel. Ironically, however, the same had led to the superficial success in the normalization of relation between the two Arab states and Israel.  

In the first instance, and despite reading twenty five books on the Palestine Israeli issue, Kushner flunked the test. He failed for employing New York techniques and misconstruing the seventy years grievance for an opportunity to coerce the economically distressed Palestinians to accept a bad deal. 

A plan prepared by Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz, David Friedman, and presented by Kushner, all bono fide American Zionists. Kushner and Friedman are major donors subsidizing illegal “Jewish only” colonies over the same occupied Palestinian land slated for negotiation in their peace plan. Besides the conflict of interest, Kushner and company are ideologically incapable of being objective intermediaries.

On the second, his approach succeeded because his Arab counterparts were susceptible to New York street pressure and had much deficit to reconcile with the Trump Administration. 

Unlike previous US presidents, Trump reminded Arab Gulf Royals bluntly that America’s protection was the only legitimacy they have to maintain their DNA qualified familial rules. In October 2018 at a campaign stop, Trump addressed the Saudi King, “You might not be there for two weeks without us.”

Following the CIA conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman, had ordered the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashogg. Trump shared a practical example of his role when he bragged in a recorded conversation with Bob Woodard how he saved the Saudi Crown Prince “ass.” 

While a Saudi payback would have been the preferred option to temper Kushner’s list of failures, however―typical of a New York real estate loser―he settled for a diminutive faux peace between parties that had never engaged in war. 

The formal normalization of the back channels is the product of a symbiotic relationship between Trump and Arab Gulf Royals. Having mismanaged COVID-19 and aftermath economic crises, Trump despaired for an election boost, possibly a stunt to gain favor with pro-Israeli voters in swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida. 

Gulf Royals on the other hand, fear a new American administration where US Congress could reopen the CIA findings on the murder of the Washington journalist, vote to halt US weapons, or investigate Amnesty International reports asserting Saudi led war crimes in Yemen.

Fright in the Gulf, election anxiety in Washington crafted the opportunity for a mediocre accord between Israel and two Arab rulers lacking valid popular legitimacy. 

This week, Kushner stands to celebrate another faux achievement. Following three and a half years, he produced a molehill when he promised mountain of a deal. Or to paraphrase a well-known Arabic proverb: after long and arduous birth pangs, the camel gave birth to a mouse 

*Mr Kanj is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His second coauthored novel, “Bride of the Sea,” published in Germany and Poland. He can be reached at jamal@jamalkanj.com

Founding Fathers’ Worst Nightmare: How Israel normalized foreign meddling in US elections

In his 1787 farewell speech George Washington warned, “… foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.” 

Washington’s compatriots were more specific. Later in the same year, John Adams wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson sharing his apprehension “of foreign Interference, Intrigue and Influence.” Adams posited that foreign meddling correlates with election cycles. “As often as Elections happen,” Adams wrote, “the danger of foreign Influence recurs.”

The Founding Fathers’ premonition did not come out of a vacuum. Following their victory against the army of the Crown, the revolutionaries had to defeat the internal enemy manifested by the Loyalists in the colonies. 

Confronted with the dual allegiance of Loyalists, high number of the new Americans with strong ties to their original countries, the Founding Fathers were perceptively concerned with the influence of foreign powers on US electorates. 

Almost two hundred and fifty years later, the bane of foreign influence on US elections today is as real as the days following the revolutionary war.

Despite all the hoopla, Russian interference in US elections is trifle compared to the entrenched and systematic single-issue influence that had shaped the outcome of US elections, at least since the late 1970s. 

Long before Russia, Israel has been the most egregious foreign government meddling in US elections through organized webs of “Parnas” in every state, every district, and every precinct. 

Webs of single-issue dual Israeli-American citizens and bona fide American Zionists target their contributions to tame Democratic and Republican candidates. Unlike Russia favoring one side, Israel’s webs support candidates on both sides of the spectrum, guaranteeing Israel wins no matter who loses.

American Zionist casino magnet, Sheldon Adelson and Israeli wife Mariam―Awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor by Trump―jokey the GOP agenda, while dual Israeli-American citizen Haim Saban’s money domesticates the Democratic Party. Their money filters out Republican and Democratic candidates who fail to muster the Israeli litmus test.  

Notwithstanding, Haim’s and Adelson’s apparent diametric views on what is best for America, they manage to wholeheartedly agree on what is best for Israel. They diverge on all other issues, but unite in steering most of America’s financial foreign aid (per capita) to Israel, and monopolize America’s prestige and credibility to serve Israel.

Most recently, and according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission, a self-proclaimed pro-Israel Democratic organization spent close to $800,000 on 30-second ad attacking Democratic front runner Bernie Sanders. 

Sanders who is a Jew, refused to bow to the special interest of the Israeli lobby and condemned Israeli racism against Palestinians.

Israel unabashed interference is not limited to the US, but UK elections too. Chief British Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis joined hands with prominent Israel lobbyist Joe Glasman to wage a coordinated Israeli efforts to undermine labor party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. 

Glasman was sanguine following Corbyn loss claiming credit and chirping, “The beast is slain … we defeated him … They tried to kill us …we won.” 

The UK Israeli lobby and the Chief Rabbi helped “slain” Corbyn not because they disagree on the country’s welfare, brexit or the economy. They smeared his character for promising to recognize the state of Palestine and criticizing Israeli malevolent siege against Gaza.    

Israel-first donors in America mimic the corrupt strategy of big corporations, such as pharmaceutical or climate polluters: bestow largesse on both political spectrum to preserve special status, protect monopoly and profit. 

To supplement Israeli firsters on the mainland, the Zionist lobby in the USA franchised to Israel by financing iVoteIsrael initiative to organize Americans who became settlers in the “Jewish only” colonies in Israel/Palestine. 

Contrary to what the name might imply, iVoteIsrael’s objectives is to increase Israeli absentee ballots in swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The initiative is a subsidiary of a US registered non-profit organization funded by US tax-deductible contributions from wealthy pro-Israel Jewish Americans.

The once organization’s British-born campaign strategic manager Aron Shaviv described iVoteIsrael to the New Jersey Jewish News: “We… encourage people… to think about what (American) candidate is best for Israel.” 

In response to an article by the Times of Israel questioning iVoteIsrael’s partisan, Shaviv wrote, “We don’t care who you vote for – Republican, Democrat or Independent – as long as you have taken the time to vet the candidates on their position toward Israel.”

Regarding the source of iVoteIsrael funding, Shaviv told +972 magazine: “Much of the donated money comes from the (Sheldon) Adelsons of the world”.  

It’s worth mentioning that in an April 2019 Shaviv’s name was mentioned in a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee in connection with its probe into the 2016 US election. 

Like in the case of the British Chief Rabbi, supposed US civil rights Jewish organizations such as B’nai B’rith and ADL work as an extension to billionaires by waging intellectual terror campaign to silence critics of Israel and aspersing their characters as anti-Semitics, or self-loathing Jews. 

To put this in context with contemporaneous political discussions, what if a group of Russian-Americans created an iVoteRussia initiative financed by US Tax-deductible donations to vet candidates “on their position toward Russia”, what if a major US presidential candidate held a campaign fund raiser in Moscow for dual Russian-American citizens, or become a recipient of large contributions from dual US-Russian citizens?

Most likely, the candidate would be admonished vehemently―certainly before Trump―lose election, shamed or impeached by the other party. And like Lev Parnas, the donors could be arrested for violations of campaign finance law.

In the case of Israel, however, there is no need to imagine anymore. In 2012, a major US presidential candidate (Romney) held a $50,000 plate fund raiser for dual Israeli-American citizens in Jerusalem. In 2016, Adelson and Saban vetted and donated generously to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, respectively.

What makes, though, the prospect of a Russian intervention in US election a “baneful foe,” but the factual Israeli interference, Kosher?

This normalized symbiotic relationship between the two party system and foreign interest advocated by the likes of the Sabans and the Adelsons, is the “the danger of foreign Influence” the Founding Fathers had predicted. 

In his frequent visits to Moscow, Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu better advise his friend Vladimir Putin to learn from the Israeli lobby by not betting on one horse in US elections, else, risk infuriating the competing jockey. 

In American elections, the Israeli lobby owns the two horses, thus, guaranteeing Israel a winning jockey. 

* Jamal Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) wrote for several years a weekly newspaper column and published on several websites on Arab world issues. His latest coauthored book “Bride of the Sea” published in Germany and Poland. This Op-Ed piece can be published with the author’s permission.

Deal of the Century or Eon of Disasters?

By Jamal Kanj*

June 24, 2019

The Trumpian hyperbole marketing brand had generated unrealistic expectations for the “Deal of the Century.” For over a year and a half, Jared Kushner promised but missed at least three dates to unveil the “secret” plan.

Assisted by two bono fide Zionists, Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman, Kushner’s lone political experience with Palestine/Israel is his family’s tax deductible contributions to building “Jewish only colonies.”  

Kushner’s predisposed conviction and his parochial bias were palpable in the June 2nd interview with Axios on HBO. In the interview, he opined that Palestinians were not “capable of governing” themselves or become free from Israeli occupation.

After more than a year of hyped promotion, Kushner’s Zionist team revealed a scaled down version of Trump’s “concrete plan.” Evident in the leaked conference agenda, the goal of Kushner’s gathering is not to offer economic support to Palestinians, but rather to provide a cover-up for opening the doors of Arab capitals to Israeli officials.

Israel gets the reward of the illusionary peace upfront while US tantalizes to Arabs a peace process that may never materialize. Deferring and circumventing political process is archetypical Israeli trademark strategy that seeks to harvest fruits before the tree blossoms. Hence, the fruits of the US proposed miniature workshop in Bahrain. 

In the Oslo Accord in 1993, the PLO agreed to recognize Israel, in advance, over 78% of historical Palestine. There was no reciprocal Israeli obligation toward the PLO on the remaining 22% (West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza). 

A quarter of a century later, peace did not blossom and the only implemented sections of the Oslo Accords were the PLO recognition of Israel. In addition, it relieved Israel of administering the life of five million Palestinians, security coordination and outsourcing―free of cost―the security services to the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile, Israel continued to violate and effectively buried the Oslo Accords under new expansive “Jewish only colonies” changing the demographics of the population in areas allotted for the future Palestinian state.

Ten years following the Accord, George W Bush proposed a Road Map for peace. To placate Israeli reservations, Bush rewarded Israel, in advance, with an official American letter agreeing to annex “Jewish only colonies” in the West Bank as part of any future peace agreement.

Israel crushed Bush’s Road Map under the bulldozers of yet more “Jewish only colonies.” The American letter remains the sole outcome of the Road Map. Greenblatt and Friedman are using Bush’s letter to advocate Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Kushner’s economic peace is an age old Israeli contrived gas bubble intends to skirt compliance with international law and UN resolutions. Shimon Peres floated the idea to equivocate Israel’s commitments under the Oslo Accords. Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived it in 2009 to sidestep the American (Bush and Obama) administration’s support for two-state solution.

Yet, for quarter of a century since the establishment of the Palestinian authority, Israel had systematically strangled the very economy it (and now Kushner) claims to champion.

Since 1993, the European Union invested billions of dollars in economic infrastructure, including an airport and seaport in Gaza. In 2002 after the failure of Camp David, Israel obliterated both facilities denying Palestinians access to trade and fishing.

To further stifle the economy, Israel erected walls separating farmers from their olive groves and farms, spiked the West Bank with intrusive military checkpoints encumbering the movement of goods, divided towns and cities and misappropriated tax money held on Palestinian imports.

Kushner and Israel’s invented economic peace is a political shenanigan to sedate the bird cage (walled) economy, or leverage it in the form of collective punishment to suppress resistance and subjugate Palestinians.

Like Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and now ahead of rolling the political plan for the “Deal of Century”, Trump conferred on Israel another advanced installment by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, cut financial aid to Palestinians including UN organizations, and the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights without any Israeli concession.

In addition to normalizing contacts between Arabs attending the Manama workshop and Israel (another advanced installment), Kushner’s plan would relegate the cost of the caged Palestinian economy to Arab countries, gifting Israel yet more freebies without negotiation. 

Kushner economic peace workshop is a false allure to salve Palestinian (and Arab) capitulation before rolling out the eon of all political disasters.

*Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) an author who had written weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His recent coauthored book “Bride of the Sea” was published in Germany and Poland. 

Islamophobia and the elephant in the room …

christchurch mosque al nur

The Al Nur mosque in Christchurch, where dozens were killed and injured last week.  Every human life is precious and sacred, killing one is like triggering a genocide. (Al Quran 5:32)

Jamal Kanj

By: Jamal Kanj, Ph.D.

Were you surprised by Masjid al Noor massacre in Christchurch, New Zeeland? If your answer is yes, I would like to be the first to welcome you to our planet earth. According to FBI records, hate crimes against Muslims have increased by as much as five folds since 2001.

The massacre in New Zealand, or the murders of shop-owners (some were Indian Sikhs suspected of being Muslims) and mosque bombings in the US, or Quebec City mosque massacre and the London van ramming into a crowd of worshippers in 2017. To name just few, these were not abstract singular events, but the outcome of organized virulent campaigns to demonize Muslims in the West.

It is impossible to have constructive discourse on Islamophobia absent of confronting the elephant in the room: Islamophobia is the creation of an unholy alliance between political Zionism and neocons in the West. The depraved alliance made it easy for Islamophobes to normalize Muslim hate and castigate Islam as “radical” religion.

In America, the recent coordinated malicious attacks on Muslim US Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar for questioning Israeli hold on US elected officials, are inseparable from the Islamophobic cultural onslaught vilifying followers of the “demonized” religion and dismissing their views as irreverent and out of touch.

Hordes of Islamophobe predators cast slanderous aspersions on Congresswoman Omar as Anti-Sematic for expressing views on the nation of Israel. The defamatory blackmail label intentionally conflates Anti-Jewish racists—who are for the most part allies of political Zionism—with those who justly criticize the Netanyahu Jewish apartheid regime in Israel.

Throughout the years, political Zionism has successfully perfected this intellectual terrorism tool to silence critique of Israel. Sadly, the same is blindly mimicked by most Jewish leaders, media outlets and Islamophobes to stifle any rational debate on Israel.

It is not mere coincidence that the exact same phrase “radical Islam” is parroted across four continents: Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, John Hagabee  in the US, Scott Morrison and Fraser Anning in Australia, Tommy Robinson and Gerard Batten in UK.

Defying centuries old trends to regionalize the English language, it’s most likely that globalizing the same Islamophobic locutions is part of a cheat sheet to debase Islam and hence, promote Islamophobia. Especially since all these pundits have one thing in common, besides uniting an English lexicon, they’re staunch supporters of Israel and political Zionism.

Neocons and political Zionism mantras like “radical Islam” are fodders for Islamophobia in the West. It blames the belief system of more than one billion human beings for the actions of relatively small number of individuals, although this only applies to Muslims.  

It’s certain that Benton Tarrant massacre will not be attributed to “radical Christianity.” As no one had implicated “radical Judaism” on the celebrated Jewish terrorist Brauch Goldstein—who used an Israeli army supplied automatic rifle to massacre 29 Palestinian worshipers in 1994. And his tomb became a religious shrine with a plaque that read “To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah, and the nation of Israel”.

Owning to their shared Islamophobic values, anti-Muslim pundits have cultivated unique relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As with his allies in the West, Netanyahu has just entered into unholy alliance with Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of “Jewish Power”―the Israeli Jewish version of the KKK.

Typical of tribal hate, Gvir calls Christians “bloodsucking vampires” and displays a photo in his room of the Jewish copy of the Christchurch terrorist. Gvir, the decedent of a Kurdish immigrant advocates the ethnic cleansing of non-Jewish Native Palestinians from villages and homes their existence predated Gvir’s birth, and certainly before his father immigrated to Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.

Israeli racist Jewish politics had drifted too far, prominent Jewish and international Linguist and Scholar Noam Chomsky has recently reminded us of decades old concerns expressed by renowned Israeli biochemist and polymath, Yeshayahu Leibowitz who described Israeli occupation of Palestinian land as “Judeo-Nazi” in nature. Leibowitz had cautioned his compatriots of the danger in making Israel and Zionism more sacred than Jewish humanist values.

The onus is therefore on mainstream Jewish organizations to make sure “Jewish humanist values” are not defined by Israeli Prime Minister alliance with the Jewish version of the KKK, or with Netanyahu’s Islamophobe allies in the likes of Trump, Morrison, Cruz, Hagabee, Huckabee, Batten …etc.   

Mainstream Jewish leaders must stop abusing the “Anti-Semitic” cry to stifle legitimate political debate on Israel’s version of the KKK, or to defend the unholy alliance between political Zionism and Islamophobes in the West.

Else, they risk making the Anti-Semitic label as hollow as the gun barrel that massacred 51 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand.

*Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) an author who had written weekly newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. His recent coauthored book “Bride of the Sea” was published in Germany and Poland. This Op-Ed piece can be published with the author’s permission.

Arafat, the leader I knew

By Jamal Kanj

November 4, 2017

Thirteen years ago, I published my first article in a major US newspaper, San Diego Union Tribune. It was unwittingly published on the same day news came out of Paris that Yasser Arafat had passed away. The article wasn’t meant to be a eulogy but to introduce Arafat and his cause to readers who rarely read a Palestinian view point in the Zionist controlled US media.

The article was of the first time I had met Yasser Arafat in February of 1973. In the early morning hours of the previous night, I was jolted from my sleep by the rattle of guns and thunderous booms. Israeli commandos landed at the sea shores of a defenseless sleepy Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon. The Israeli military target was a vacant community clinic, but for a lonely sleeping unarmed night guard.

The public health center serving the poor was just meters from our home. The building structure was blown up over the unarmed guard. Israeli media spin which was reported by BBC, described the raid on the clinic in Nahr el Bared refugee camp as a preemptive strike against a military target.

The next day and while I played with other children on the small dirt road, two speeding jeeps headed in our direction. The vehicles swerved toward the heap of concrete, brakes squealed, tires skidded and dust billowed in the air.

The back doors flung wide open before the car stopped completely. Two men jumped out of the vehicle and ran along its side. A short man dressed in his trademark Kufiah, emerged from the swirling dusts hovering over the jeep.

We immediately recognized him as the leader of Fatah organization, Abu Ammar, as he was commonly known. I, along with other kids gathered around him to shake his hand. He was very gracious, and in no time, a large crowd from the neighborhood started to congregate and to chant “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Abu Ammar.” Abu Ammar led another chant, “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Palestine.”

He was very young at the time, and full of energy, unlike the last public photo of the feeble old man embarking on the helicopter for his trip to a Paris hospital. He died less than two weeks later.

Arafat lived a life of contradictions. Under his leadership, group of Palestinian intellectuals acquiesced to abandon their conflicting ideologies to form a national movement for the liberation of Palestine.  He is credited with conceiving an ingenious simple idea called: National Liberation. This philosophy gave birth to a powerful political and military organization, harakat Fatah.

Shortly thereafter, Fatah seized leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Inspired by the same National Liberation philosophy, the PLO grew more independent and like Che Guevara beret, Arafat’s Kufia became a new symbol for revolution.

Subsequently, Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly in 1974 and for the first time, the world had a chance to hear directly from the leader of Palestine. Following his U.N. visit, more nations recognized and established PLO offices in their capitals than have recognized the state of Israel.

Arafat led the Palestinians with strong hand and was unwilling to share power. To the chagrin of many Palestinians and Arab governments alike, Arafat accentuated Palestinian nationalism over pan Arabism and secularism over religion.

Irrespective of whether one would agree or disagree with Arafat during the many tumultuous years of his leadership to the PLO, and later the Palestinian Authority, Arafat became an icon of his people’s struggle for statehood.

On the thirteenth anniversary of his death, Arafat shall be remembered as a master tactician who left short of liberating his people from a malicious occupation. Israel’s intransigence and confiscation of land for the benefit of Jewish only colonies undermined the Oslo Agreement and stripped Arafat’s ability to transform the National Liberation philosophy into nation building.

Arafat’s strong leadership qualities left behind much more to be desired in Palestine, today.

Why I’ll vote for the Jewish candidate in US presidential election?

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Let me start off with a confession: I didn’t get it right when I speculated the Republican Party would not nominate Donald Trump for US president. I argued in an earlier column that if they did, the narcissistic Trump would most likely run as an independent candidate.

I had posited, or hoped in such scenario Bernie Sanders would do the same and run against the Democratic Party establishment’s nominee. The Republican leadership however, chose Party unity over what was best for America. And Sanders folded under the Democratic Party for the obvious reasons.  

Four major candidates running for the final election could have signaled an end to the absolute two-party reign over US politics since 1792.  The governing duopoly has made American election process lengthy, expensive and stale, unlike the shorter, less costly and the much more dynamic European elections.

Today, American voters are left to choose between the lesser of two evils. The disapproval rating of Clinton and Trump hovers around 60%.  Possibly for the first time in American history, the new White House resident will be the least disliked of the two party picks.

In 2000, electorates were faced with similar quandary. They had to choose between George W Bush/Dick Cheney or Al Gore/Joe Lieberman tickets. Else, cast their votes for the alternative that had little or no chance of winning.

Three years later, it became very clear that “evils” flock together. To make the case for war, Bush’s greatest asset in US Senate was none other than Gore’s running mate, Lieberman. The Democratic vice presidential candidate who ran against the “evil” Republican, was the most faithful warrior in Bush’s loyal “evil” army in US Senate.

Hilary Clinton wasn’t far behind Lieberman. With her eyes on the White House, she proved to be an opportunist, voting to the sentiment of the majority of Americans who at the time supported the war. Leadership is front of the wagon, not behind it; Clinton failed her biggest leadership test.

Experience aside, Clinton and Trump are not much different: She’s wicked in politics, he’s evil in business. She supported unjust wars. He exploited workers and bankrupted businesses.

That’s why in 2016, I refuse to vote for the lesser evil and have decided to cast my vote next November for the Jewish US presidential candidate.

Jill Stein refuses to sell her soul to “evil doers” and financiers of US elections. She speaks for millions of students who are overburdened by bank loans. Her Green Party platform advocates living wages for hard working Americans. She stood up to American Zionist financiers of the two-party system: Shedlon Adelson supporting Trump and Haim Saban backing Clinton.

Heads or tails, Zionist financiers can always count on a winner in the White House.

Stein is the only candidate with the courage to tell Israeli leaders that US taxpayers’ money will be contingent on peace talk. Unlike current and previous presidents, Stein promised to withhold U.S. financial aid if Israeli continues flaunting American human rights values.

In an interview with the Israeli Newspaper Haartz, Stein warned Israel, “Home demolitions, occupation, assassination, apartheid…” against Palestinians wouldn’t be tolerated in her administration.

Despite my dissatisfaction with Barak Obama’s presidency especially on the Palestine question. The truth to be said however, Obama broke the mold of the Party establishment candidate. He rattled the status quo and won. He had created more than 14 million jobs since February 2010 and 20 million new Americans have gained health insurance coverage under his Affordable Care Act.

On the International front, he ended most of Bush and the Zioncon’s wars.  He ended America’s last cold war relic and established relationship with Cuba. And to a lesser extent, he stood up to the hubris Israeli rightwing prime minister and the powerful Israeli lobby in Washington. Even though, last week he cowered and agreed to grant Israel $38 billion of US taxpayers’ money in next ten years, the largest set-aside entitlement foreign aid package ever.

Still, optimistic as it maybe, but I’m hoping Obama will garner the audacity before he leaves office and proclaim an enforceable peace framework and to recognize Palestine.

Back to US election, it could be rationally argued that if it wasn’t for eight miserable years under Bush, American voters might not have taken a chance on someone, like Obama from outside the Party establishment.

The worst that could happen in November is electing the less experienced evil. Unfortunately, Americans would most likely suffer as a result. But hopefully short pain, long term gain. The bigger the evil in the White House, the better the chance is for no evil next election’s round.

American should vote for the greater good, not the lesser evil.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

Chilcot verdict: Tony B_liar

By Jamal Kanj

  Jamal Kanj

How many words does it take the British to say a liar? 2.6 million words to be exact.

The Chiclot report had also painted Tony Blair as submissive to George W Bush, and lacked rudimentary judgment when evaluating intelligence data.

According to the report, eight months before the invasion of Iraq, Blair authored a six-page personal memo to Bush. In the memo Blair posited a deeply entrenched oxymoronic colonial view suggesting that occupation would “free up the region.” He somehow believed he would free the poor Iraqis by occupying them, just like his ancestors argued long ago that colonialism was altruistic venture to help the colonized. Who knows, the victor might one day claim that torture in Abu Ghraib prison was a dividend of the exported democracy.

The most revealing part of the personal memo was however, Blair’s pledge to Bush: “I will be with you whatever.” I did a double take on it, for the statement sounded more like a communication between two teenagers who were high on drugs rather than world leaders committing to a war with incalculable consequences.

Blair attempted to rationalize deferring to Bush the decision to take the UK to war asserting that by joining Bush he would bring a positive influence on US policy after the occupation of Iraq. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how Blair could bring a value eight months after he committed “whatever” to his buddy in Washington.

I had argued myriad of times in this column that the Iraq war was designed in the dens of US Pentagon by a team of Israeli firsters―some of whom were investigated by the FBI for being Israel spies―including Paul Wolfowitz, David Frum, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen to name just few.

Blair adopted the Israeli firsters’ view of the contrived Iraqi threat and ignored his own UK joint intelligence committee which had concluded that unlike Iran or N Korea, Iraq didn’t have immediate capabilities to produce enough fissile material for a weapon. In fact now, Blair’s deputy at the time, John Prescott who supported the war, had turned against his previous boss admitting that the basis for going to war were “tittle-tattle”

American Zioncons had designed a blue print to breakup Iraq several years before Bush’s election. The Israeli firsters envisioned a war financed by US taxpayers and fueled by the blood of American soldiers. They worked in Israeli think tanks in Washington and waited patiently for a gullible megalomaniac president to come to the White House.

Their blue print design was manifested by the first acts of the Zioncons’ appointed US administration in Iraq.  It dismantled the Iraqi army, imposed a sectarian political system and expanded the autonomous regional powers along sectarian and ethnic lines. The US Zioncons’ deeds in Baghdad germinated the seeds of Al Qaida and IS to grow in the new fertile sectarian environment.  

Ruining Iraq wasn’t enough for Bush. The Washington cowboy rewarded the ex UK prime minister with leading the so called Middle East Peace Quartet. Under Blair’s leadership the Quartet had become a fig leaf allowing the extremist Israeli rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu to violate with impunity all of Israel’s previous commitments to peace.

Eight years under his leadership, the Quartet achieved nothing but unfulfilled promises of economic crumps to Palestinians while the “Jewish only” colonies on stolen land grew at a faster pace.

Starting almost a century ago, colonial political chameleon Winston Churchill divided the Arab world with the French and transformed Palestine from a multi-cultural majority country into a European imported ethnocentric Jewish dominance.

In the post-colonial era, another political chameleon with his trademark strained facial muscles confused for a smile, coalesced with a Texan cowboy to implement the Israeli firsters’ vision of fragmenting the sub-nations and gulping what remained of Palestine by messianic “Jewish only” enclaves to end all hopes of peace in this region.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America.

Muhammad Ali: An American tale

Jamal Kanj

By Jamal Kanj

It is fair to assume that most readers today can’t name the current heavyweight boxing champion. The same people would most likely name the champion from 50 years ago.

That’s what makes Muhammad Ali unique. The champ or the “greatest” brought a special aura to the ring. It didn’t matter whether it was the formidable US government in court, or fighting the unbeatable in the boxing ring.  He won.

I grew up with Muhammad Ali’s memories. In the 1960s, I lived in a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon where we had no electricity. My father and his friends gathered around a battery powered radio listening live to the broadcast of Muhammad Ali fights. He was the subject of conversations at homes and among pupils at school.

We followed his battle in US courts when he refused induction in the army during the Vietnam War. He was stripped of his championship and served time in prison. Years later, we also celebrated the US Supreme Court’s unanimous knockout ruling (8-0) reversing his earlier verdict.

I remember, albeit with a tinge of jealousy his 1974 visit to another Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon. He saw firsthand that Israel wasn‘t the panacea of Jewish refugees. But it was the product of an ideology that exploited Jewish suffering in Europe to justify the making of Palestinian refugees in another part of the world.

After his visit to Ein El Hilwa camp, the champ decried Zionism’s influence on US politics and avowed “support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland and oust the Zionist invaders.”

Four years later, I attended college in Houston, Texas and worked a night shift, six to six, at a Gulf self-service petrol station. The night shift allowed me to go to school during the day and study inside the kiosk during low traffic in the early morning hours.

On Friday September 15, 1978, I had a conflict with my work schedule. I wanted to watch Muhammad Ali’s fight against Leon Spinks in New Orleans. My job paid the minimum $2.35 per hour and I couldn’t afford taking the night off. To watch the fight however, I risked my job and hid a small 12 inch black and white TV under the counter inside the kiosk. The rented TV ended up costing almost half of my wage for the night. But it was all worth it. For it was Muhammad Ali’s third and last time in his career to regain the world championship title.

Even while very sick, Muhammad didn’t back away from a fight. Last December Republican candidate Donald Trump called for a ban “on Muslims entering the US.”  Muhammad admonished him and called on political leaders “to use their position to bring understanding” and “clarify these misguided murderers (IS) who have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”

In the same week, the now Republican presumptive nominee Trump ridiculed US President Barak Obama for saying “Muslims are our sporting heroes.” Trump tweeted back, “What sport is he (Obama) talking about, and who?”

Still, on June third Trump tweeted: “Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. ”

It took Trump only six months to answer his own question.

Trump is an opportunist and schadenfreude. He got “excited” by the housing meltdown in 2008, and to vindicate his racist views, he slobbered over the blood of the Orlando gay bar victims.

This is an American tale of two men: One who was inspired by his belief to object to an unjust war. And a rich child who supported the war, but his wealthy father bought him a medical exemption to escape it.

Today, we mourn the life of the conscientious objector turned humanitarian activist. And dread the draft dodger morphed into an immature politician vying to become US president with the power to send more poor children to new wars.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

What cost, Israel…

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Much had been argued about the creation of Israel and the ensuing 1948 ethnic cleansing of non-Jewish Palestinians. Sadly however, most had become a desensitised academic debate. A lifeless abstract portrayal failing to depict what it really meant for one to be a refugee without a country.

On this 68th commemoration of the Nakba (or catastrophe), I wanted to show what it meant to one Palestinian refugee.

On May 15, 1948, Zionist Jews danced and firecrackers burst over the streets of New York celebrating the founding of Israel. About the same time, and on the other side of the world, Zionist terrorists’ mortar exploded in the middle of Jebal Al Luz (mountains of almonds) burning homes and forcing civilians to flee their village.

In the middle of the night, Abu Musa carried his physically disabled blind mother on his shoulders. His wife, Um Musa picked up their infant baby Musa and joined a throng of refugees escaping for their lives. Abu Musa’s family hid in a ditch on the outskirts of their village. The morning sun exposed the scattered refugees hiding in nearby bushes and under trees.

Sorties after sorties, Zionist planes strafed the area pushing the villagers further north towards Lebanon. Under heavy gun fire, panicking civilians ran in all directions. Abu Musa picked up his newborn son and ran for his life. Um Musa followed in his footsteps. Panting for air an hour later, Abu Musa realised he had left his blind mother behind.

Zionist forces continued to bomb from air and ground. Abu Musa attempted to go back, but all was in vain. The next day and during a lull in the Zionist terrorist bombardment, Abu Musa went looking for his mother. But she was nowhere to be found. He came across local villagers who returned to check on their properties. They told him they had just buried the remains of what had appeared to be an elderly woman. Her body ripped apart by animals.

“Was my mother eaten alive by wild animals? Or had she been murdered by Zionists?” Those questions haunted Abu Musa all his life. The loss of his country and mother were just the start of his lugubrious life until his death in the mid-1990s.

Abu Musa ended up settling in the same camp as my parents. In addition to baby Musa, he had three more children in the camp, two boys and a girl.

Musa, who had left Palestine as an infant, joined the revolution in the early 1970s and returned to Palestine. He was murdered by the Israeli army and was buried in an unmarked grave. Abu Musa, who did not see his mother’s corpse, was unable to see or bury his eldest son either.

A short time after losing Musa, Abu Musa became disabled. I made it a point to call on him whenever I visited the camp. It broke my heart during the last visit before his death as I watched him crawling out of the bathroom like a little baby. I knelt down and kissed him; he kissed me back and then asked, “Who are you, my son?”

Calamity was a continuum to this one refugee. In the early 1990s, his youngest son Kamal was murdered while he was on his way to school in Tripoli, Lebanon. He was butchered in the year he would have graduated from high school.

For Israel, Abu Musa and the other Palestinian refugees like my parents were dispensable nuisances. In a 1948 foreign ministry study, Israel predicted the refugees “… will waste away. Some will die but most will turn into human debris and social outcasts … in the Arab countries.”

To Israel’s chagrin, the grandchildren from Abu Musa’s surviving son and daughter did not turn to “human debris.” Sixty-eight years later, Abu Musa’s progenies are more determined to find and bury their great-grandmother’s remains, in their original village.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

American election: The two death options…

By Jamal Kanj

Jamal Kanj

Donald Trump could change American electoral history for the better. Before explaining how, let’s first explore the politics and predicament of the 2016 Republican primary election.

About six weeks ago, I projected that Trump would win the Republican nomination. That was before the traditional Republican leadership came out of hibernation to spoil Trump’s chances. It was however, a little too late. It’s almost certain now that Trump will end up with the most delegates at the summer convention – although it might not be enough to give him a simple majority to become the outright Republican nominee at the next November election.

The Republican leadership has no one else to blame for the Trumpmania frenzy. The party had cultivated the extreme right wing of the American electorate for more than 30 years. They had pandered to Jerry Farwell’s “Moral Majority,” Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America and Michelle Bachmann’s Tea Party. The Republican leadership was content with the secured right-wing vote for their candidates. They turned unsettled, however, when the extremists’ base posited their own to challenge the traditional leadership.

This is universally true in all cases of breeding self-righteous groups to serve a short-term interest of the more dominant party. Once they garner influence, the self-righteous proponents become attracted to power like sharks are drawn to the smell of blood. Ultimately, their illusionary perception of supremacy inspires them to impose their agenda on others.

In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan administration nurtured Islamist ideologues to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. For as long as those fighters were the fuel to serve the US strategy, they were compared by Reagan to the “founding fathers.” But when Reagan’s adopted Islamists became powerful enough to implement their own agenda, conflict ensued. Israel encouraged the development of alternative Islamist Palestinian leadership in the hope of weakening the more secular PLO. Up until then, the Israeli public didn’t know the meaning of the walking rockets (suicide bombers) blowing themselves up in the middle of Tel Aviv.

In 1982, Israel dislodged the PLO from Lebanon. It weakened the secular Lebanese National Movement and created a vacuum that was soon filled by Hizbollah.

Today, Israel is repeating the same stratagem by collaborating with Al Qaeda affiliates in the hope to break up Syria. At one point, the Zionist movement foresaw the rise of Nazism in Europe (they do today) as an opportunity to induce Jewish immigration to Palestine. That is until the Nazi experiment went out of control.  It was the same result in all cases regardless of whether the self-righteousness groups were Jewish, Christians or Muslims.

To answer my earlier proposition on Trump, traditional Republicans had finally come face to face with the juvenile they reared; and they have come to dislike their creation. At next summer’s convention, party traditionalists are expected to abandon Trump and unite behind the second least hated alternative: Ted Cruz. Or to quote a Republican leader, to choose between “Death by being shot or poisoning”.

It is very plausible that Trump, with an ego larger than the Republican Party, will end up walking out of the convention. Trump has already hinted that he would recant his pledge to support the Republican candidate if he wasn’t on the November ticket.

If and when Trump decides to break away from the Republican Party, it should be an opportunity for Bernie Sanders to do the same at the Democratic side. Riding Trump’s ego is the best hope for Americans to end the 200-year-old Democratic and Republican monopoly over US presidential election. The traditionalist against the independent candidates to end the two-party reign.

Sanders has a better chance in the general election to halt his party’s retrograde and beat the Democratic traditionalist who was rejected by party voters eight years ago. Then continue the march to defeat the “shot or poisoning” death option of the Republican candidates.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.