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3 December 2004 - MiddleEast.Org - MER is Free
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Washington's Palestinian Quislings
Latest: Ziad Asali

MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 3 December:  One of the many reasons the Palestinian people are in the terrible predicament they find themselves has been the extraordinarily co-opted quisling persons that so tragically have been allowed to represent them in Washington and to the American media for so many years.

For those wondering about this choice of words, the definition of 'quisling', admittedly very pointed and harsh, does not give the full explanation of what has happened in Washington but it will have to do for now.   During the German occupation of Norway in World War II the head of the Nazi-installed regime was Vidkun Quisling.  His very name has since come to essentially mean:
A traitor who serves as the puppet of the enemy occupying his or her country.

Washington has had it's parade of quisling Palestinians since the beginning of the new phase in Middle East history after the 1967 war.    There were attempts to bring honorable and respected Palestinians to Washington, but they were all undermined and failed.  The most important of these was in 1975, shortly after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Yasser Arafat sent Sabri Jiryis, an Israeli-educated lawyer, and Isam Sartawi, an American-trained heart surgeon resident, to Washington to open a serious office to represent the Palestinian people. These two distinguished Palestinians held a series of important meetings and were within a few hours of holding a press conference to announce the establishment of their new office. Then, in the middle of the night, Henry Kissinger, then the Secretary of State, working in coordination with Yitzhak Rabin, then the Israeli Prime Minister, sent the FBI to the Capitol Hilton hotel to awaken and deport Jiryis and Sartawi.

Palestinian representation in Washington has never recovered from what happened in those years.   Hassan Rahman -- a quite slimy corrupt guy -- was then designated the Palestinian Representative in Washington, and the joke ever since has been that Rahman wasn't thrown out of town because the Israelis decided they in facted wanted a Palestinian like Rahman in the job.

Subsequently, in what many think of as the good and hopeful years, the much despised James Zogby tried to establish himself as a kind of media spokesman for the Palestinians.  But the basic problem was Zogby wasn't Palestinians and was quite literally hated -- and rightly so -- by the grass-roots activists.

Khalil Jahshan came along in later years, working with Zogby he took over the National Association of Arab Americans, ran it into the ground, ran off with lots of money, and is still occassionally on the scene when the corporate media wants an under control Palestinian with good English diction and most of all political safe commentary.   Jahshan's problem as well was being hated by the grass-roots on top of being an Israeli Palestinian.

For a few years Ramonda Tawil of Ramallah came to Washington. She opened a big expensive office at the National Press Club, published a slick expensive magazine, The Return, and introduced her daughter Suha to Yasser Arafat.  Much money kept flowing through one ruse or another to the Tawil family as so much further harm befell the people of Palestine.

The list isn't complete without mentioning Hisham Sharabi of Georgetown University and his little Palestinian Center down in the high-rent district near the Kennedy Center and the Saudi Embassy.  But that's a more complicated yet in some ways even a more oh-so-sad-and-tragic story...but for another day.

The latest Palestinian quisling to push himself forward -- and the American media just loves these easily controlled, always available, and carefully politically correct at all times types -- is Ziad Asali.

Over the years Asali played the ADC game -- that's the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee -- and it too has its own long and sad story which MER has exposed in part over the years.   When Hala Maksoud, the wife of the former Arab League Ambassador Clovis, died at the helm of ADC some years ago Asali tried to take over; but even they had a hard time stomaching him.

So Asali set up a shop of his own with help from the Arab fat-cats and the regimes who control them -- the American Task Force on Palestine.

A few days ago Asali invited himself to lunch with the editors of the far right-wing pro-Israeli Washington Times newspaper.  They got the story they wanted.  Asali got his picture in the paper and the notoriety he craves.

Asali specializes in this kind of thing in fact. Last year when the crafty Zionist Rabbi who publishes Tikkun Magazine held a meeting in Washington -- Rabbi Michael Lerner -- they badly needed a Palestinian, any Palestinian, to show up and help legitimize them.   Indeed, for a Rabbi who claims to have spent the last 30 years in the forefront of bringing peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians it's a wonder that when he comes to Washington quite literally no Arabs or Palestinians show up to even listen to him. But sure enough, this time a lone Palestinian took to Lerner's podium full of amazing political deceptions and constant self-promotion -- Ziad Asali.

U.S. group sees opportunity in Arafat death
By Marion Baillot
THE WASHINGTON TIMES - From the World section

December 1, 2004 - A leading U.S.-based Palestinian advocacy group is urging both sides in the Middle East conflict to work with the late Yasser Arafat's successors to restart talks on a permanent peace.

"The moment is pregnant with possibility," Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), told editors and reporters during a recent lunch at The Washington Times.

"At one point in time Israel has to trust somebody and the Palestinians have to trust somebody. You can't do business any other way," said Mr. Asali, who served on the three-member U.S. delegation that attended the Nov. 12 funeral of Mr. Arafat in Cairo.

Founded in June 2003, Mr. Asali's organization has become a prominent voice in Washington advocating the establishment of a democratic state of Palestine.
"We are an American institution trying to work for peace and compromise and taking into account the serious core of the U.S. interests as it pushes for peace in the Middle East," he said.

ATFP, a nonpartisan and nonprofit corporation, receives its funding from Palestinian-Americans throughout the United States.

"We do not receive ever any institutional or government support," Mr. Asali said. "We support all peace initiatives and do not negotiate on behalf of anybody."
During the past few months, ATFP's activities have included testimony by Mr. Asali before Congress and briefings at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; American, George Washington and George Mason universities in Washington; Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

ATFP thinks peace in the Middle East can be achieved only by a historic compromise based upon the two-state solution.

"We are not doing this alone," Mr. Asali said, pointing out that the Quartet -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- as well as the Arab League and the majority of the Palestinian and Israeli publics favor this vision of peace.

The agenda is far from universally accepted, however, in a time of global terrorism waged through suicide bombings.

"It is not time to focus on the creation of a Palestinian state; it is time to stop suicide bombings. Creating another Arab state means creating another terrorist state, and this is what the world needs the least," said Morton Klein, president of Zionist Organization of America.

"What has to be done now is to promote the end of hatred and murder; after that, it will be possible to consider the creation of a Palestinian state," Mr. Klein said.
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a great source of anti-American sentiment, would greatly dissipate the hostility in the Arab and Muslim world against the United States, Mr. Asali said.

"The road map is not dead, but it is sick. With good competent medical help, it can recover," said Mr. Asali, a retired physician, referring to a Quartet-sponsored peace proposal.

The United States, he added, should play the role of broker and boost the Palestinian economy quickly and pressure Israel to do its part.

"So many things have to go right, and so much could go wrong," Mr. Asali said.

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Source: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2004/12/1225.htm