Monday, February 05, 2024

Choosing Friends Unwisely

The pre-presidency Joe Biden has returned

On Groundhog Day, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece, written by executive director Steven Stalinsky of the Middle East Media Research Institute, entitled "Welcome to Dearborn, America's Jihad Capital."   Outside of Detroit, Dearborn- at 54% of its overall population- has the largest Arab-American population per capita in the USA.

The column reportedly precipitated a surge in hostility to Muslims. Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud, son of immigrants from Lebanon, was not amused, tweeting that it "led to an alarming increase in bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric online targeting the city of Dearborn." (ABC) He ordered increased police presence at the locations of critical infrastructure and at houses of worship. 

The Wall Street Journal is typically behind a paywall and "Welcome to Dearborn" is not freely available. Evidently, though, as indicated by the Times of India, Stalinsky made pointed to legitimate concerns of the Department of Homeland Security about Dearborn, albeit with no smoking gun. Notably, Prior to his tweet, Hammoud had condemned the piece as "reckless. bigoted, Islamophobic."

More notably, Stalinsky challenged Hammoud to cite inaccuracies, and Hammoud has been conspicuously silent- or, rather, inconspicuously silent as no one has defended the author nor slammed the mayor. (It is too hot to handle.)

And there is a lot to criticize about Abdullah Hammoud, even if it has escaped the attention of President Biden. On the night of October 7, 2024, the Mayor- who has an extremely intimate and personal knowledge of bigotry- tweeted (in full)

Israel’s decades of illegal military occupation and imprisonment of Gaza make peace impossible and tragic violence inevitable. Israel has trapped millions of Palestinians in Gaza in what is recognized by the international community as the world’s largest open-air prison. Failure to recognize this context is the inability to comprehend what is unfolding overseas.

It is outrageous that our elected leaders from both parties continue to support this brutal occupation and in the same breath call for peace. This is not leadership, it is hypocrisy. What they are really calling for is not peace, but a return to the status quo of daily violence and humiliation against Palestinians, which many in the U.S. accept as normal. True peace requires justice. It requires the end of a racist apartheid system that criminalizes Palestinian existence. If our elected officials were truly interested in peace, we would hear their voices condemning the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, the torching of olive trees, the theft of water, the vandalism of mosques and churches, the violent theft of land, the illegal detention of Palestinian children, and the calls from Israeli leaders to “erase” Palestinians entirely.

Hypocrisy is sending billions of tax-payer dollars to Ukrainians fighting for their homeland and championing their armed struggle as “resistance,” while condemning even peaceful forms of Palestinian resistance, such as boycotts, as illegitimate.

I condemn the killing of all innocent civilians, no matter their background. Ending this violence requires ending the occupation. Peace and permanent occupation and apartheid cannot coexist. I urge global leaders to work towards a just and lasting solution that upholds the dignity, rights, and aspirations of all people.

Israel did not occupy Gaza. If it had done so, there would not have been the extensive tunnel network built by Hamas to store those weapons used against Israel, which did not "imprison" Gaza. Apartheid does not exist in Israel. Nor is the nation racist, with many of their whose residents not clearly racially differentiated from Palestinians. Nor are Palestinian homes being bulldozed in Gaza- and if Hammoud were referring to the West Bank, he should have said so rather than conflating Gazans with Palestinians elsewhere in the Middle East. Hammoud is deeply dishonest.

Of course, the Mayor is something much worse, even worse than one who obviously hates Jews. Claiming to "condemn the killing of all innocent civilians," he did not mention "Israelis" not "Hamas," instead promoting a false equivalence by adding "no matter their background"- on October 7.

The twelve sentences which follow Abdullah Hammoud's first sentence serve only to reinforce the Mayor's fondness for terrorists, at least of the Arab variety. Therein, he defended the terrorist attack which had occurred only hours earlier, labeling it "inevitable" because of "Israel's decades of illegal military occupation and imprisonment of Gaza." He would not say mass murder by Hamas was wrong, referring only to "tragic violence," as if it had been some act of God- a tornado, flood, earthquake, or even something positive.

There are liars and bigots everywhere, as Abdullah Hammoud demonstrated, yet we already knew.  More important than the head of one town, albeit a large one in a swing state, is the President of the United States of America, who is not a liar or bigot but is feckless.

In June, 2020 Kamala Harris at a presidential debate lectured Joe Biden for having decades earlier opposing school busing for racial integration. During a commercial break, Biden "muttered to fellow candidate Pete Buttigieg "Well, that was some f-king bullsh-t." The following week, Jill Biden on a conference call with supporters, evidently remarked "With what he cares about, what he fights for, what he's committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis? Go f-k yourself."

Nonetheless, Joe Biden selected Harris to be a heartbeat from the presidency. 

The "kick me" sign on the President's rear remains. Now the anti-Jewish, pro-terrorist mayor of Dearborn, Michigan accuses Biden (and others) of "hypocrisy" and of "not being interested in peace."  President Biden's response to the pro-Hamas public official is to do as he wished: condemn "Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate." 

Grow a pair, Mr. President. You're going to need them to defeat Donald Trump.


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