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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Muslim Public Affairs Council’

Dustin Hoffman a No-Show, But Sent Love via Audio to Israel-Hater

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Dustin Hoffman did not make it to the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s 22nd Annual Media Affairs Gala in Los Angeles this past Saturday night.  As reported in The Jewish Press, Hoffman was scheduled to present MPAC’s Media Award to Emad Burnat, the co-director of the Arab Palestinian propaganda film “5 Broken Cameras.”

That film is riddled with half-truths and full omissions, but because it fits the standard Hollywood position of “Israel bad, Arab Palestinians good,” its lack of veracity and documentary standards did not prevent it from being nominated this year for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary.”  At least it did not win.

But Dustin Hoffman seemed to be an odd choice as the presenter of the award on behalf of the Muslim Public Affairs Council – he is neither Muslim or Arab, nor is he Middle Eastern.  In fact, the only connection between Hoffman and either the movie “5 Broken Cameras” or the Arab-Israeli conflict – which is the topic of the film – is that he is Jewish.

Because Hoffman had – or so the story goes – “contracted a very serious virus,” he did not show up at the Gala Saturday night.  Perhaps someone with an actual yiddishe kupf advised Hoffman it may not be the best move of his career to appear in promotional pictures with the MPAC leader, Salam al-Marayati.

That’s because Salam al-Marayati tried to blame the 9/11 attacks on Israel and has lobbied the U.S. government to remove Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from its Foreign Terrorist Organization list.  Who knows how pictures of Hoffman at the MPAC Gala might have been used later to boost the legitimacy of MPAC.  “See? Dustin Hoffman – and everyone knows he’s a Jew! – loves us, we must be good.”

Hoffman’s taped message of congratulations to Burnat was played at the Gala, and MPAC posted it online.  Based on what he says in the brief message, Hoffman appears to have either watched the movie or at least read what it was about.  It also appears he made no effort to determine whether the film was a truthful documentary or a mere propaganda film.  This is the message Hoffman sent:

Hello, this is Dustin Hoffman.  I’m sorry that illness has made it impossible for me to be with you tonight, and that I am compelled to speak to you through this recorded message. I had been looking very forward [SIC] to being the one who, as a fellow artist, would present the award to Emad Burnat and “5 Broken Cameras,” a film he co-directed. It was for me a most powerful, moving and sometimes a very tender film and in it he demonstrates, I think, out of the texture of his own life experience, in the village of Bi’ilin, that his is, indeed, a voice of courage and conscience.  Courage and conscience – those are virtues so greatly needed for this troubled and confusing time.  Wherever we find them, they should be embraced and celebrated and that’s why I am so thrilled that “5 Broken Cameras” and Emad Burnat are being honored – it is so well deserved.  Emad, congratulations, and I hope to see you soon.  Thank you.

Courage and conscience?  Actually watching the film and making an effort to determine its veracity might warrant such weighty words.

But MPAC and Burnat, both of whom were probably disappointed that their opportunity to have a real live famous Jewish movie star pose for pictures with them, were not deterred. In fact, they had another Jew on hand to present the award. Quoting surah 3, ayahs 113-115, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati introduced Rabbi Leonard Beerman, to present the award to Burnat.

The 91 year-old Beerman is on the J Street Advisory Council, was on the rabbinic cabinet of the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace before it merged with J Street, and in 2009 signed a public letter opposing Israel’s policy in Gaza, which stated, in part,

 

As human beings, we are shocked and appalled at the mass destruction unleashed by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza in its military operation, following years of Israeli occupation, siege, and deprivation.

As Americans, we protest the carte blanche given Israel by the US government to pursue a war of “national honor,” “restoring deterrence,” “destroying Hamas,” and “searing Israel’s military might into the consciousness of the Gazans.

“My camera is a strong weapon and a strong witness,” Burnat said upon receiving the award.

“We should tell our stories before others hijack them. I got the idea to make this film from one of my friends who said ‘Why don’t you make a film about us, who live here? You know how it is to live under the pressure, under the army, under the occupation.’

“I did this film from my point of view, from my heart, from my mind. I’m very happy because the message was sent to the world, and everybody was shocked and moved by its story.”

No doubt especially shocked were the many members of the Israel Defense Forces who appear in the film which, they claim, was spliced and edited into such a distortion of reality that an organization which represents IDF members and alumni has asked the Israeli Attorney General’s office to bring charges of slander and incitement against the filmmakers.

Dustin Hoffman – Latest Jew to Give Israel-Hater an Award

Friday, April 26th, 2013

America’s favorite serious Jewish actor for much of the 1960′s and ’70′s, Dustin Hoffman, is about to present an award to a filmmaker at an event put on by the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

The recipient of the award is a professional Israel hater, and MPAC is led by someone who publicly suggested Israel was to blame for 9/11 and who advocates for the removal of Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the American terrorism list.  With Jews like Dustin Hoffman, who needs enemies?

This Saturday, April 27, Dustin Hoffman will appear at MPAC’s Media Award Gala in Los Angeles to present MPAC’s Media Award to the anti-Israel film “5 Broken Cameras.”  According to MPAC, Hoffman is a “supporter of the documentary.”

The objective of  “5 Broken Cameras,” like that of so many Pallywood videos, is to portray Arabs as the innocent victims of the rapacious Israel.  This movie began as video clips of the protests that were submitted as “evidence” to Israeli courts and handed over to be used by mainstream media to show the sad plight of the Arabs.  The videos which then became this movie were taken and put together by someone participating on one side of a propaganda war, and not by an objective film maker seeking to document reality – as is the role of documentaries – that fact should have sounded alarm bells for a professional actor of Hoffman’s stature.

In his very first film, “The Graduate,” (1967), Hoffman played a recent college graduate whose parents expect him to do great things, but who was stuck in an emotional and motivational dead zone.  His character, Benjamin Braddock, is turned off by the plastic values of his parents’ generation, but has no passion or interests to replace them.  And so he is portrayed floating in his parents’ swimming pool, suspended below the water, cocooned in indifference, pondering the bizarre lecture given to him by a family friend about “plastics.”

Over the course of his career, Hoffman’s extraordinary roles included the disabled homeless vet Ratzo Rizzo, in “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), the highly talented yet self-destructive break-through comedian Lenny Bruce in “Lenny” (1974).  Hoffman won an Oscar for portraying a newly divorced father painfully attempting to know his young son in “Kramer v. Kramer” (1979), and was nominated for an Oscar for playing the opportunistically gender-bending actor/actress title role in “Tootsie!” (1982).

Hoffman’s stature as a great actor continued into the late 1980′s – he was riveting as an autistic man, Raymond Babbit, in “Rain Main,” for which he won his second Oscar (1988).  Hoffman’s movie roles have become more sporadic and less artistically and financially successful in recent years.

Perhaps that explains why he was willing to be used as the latest in a long series of Jewish “fig leaves,” for anti-Israel projects.  There seems to be no other reason why the Muslim Public Affairs Council would call upon Hoffman to present an award for a documentary film which portrays Israel in the worst possible light, with no balance or nuance.

Hoffman has never been involved in Middle East issues or interests – other than co-starring in a disastrous film set in Morocco. “Ishtar” (1987) was described in London’s Time Out as “so bad it could almost have been deliberate.”

There had been a rumor – which caught fire and remains rampant on the Internet – that Hoffman snubbed Israel and pulled out of appearing at a Jerusalem Film Festival in 2010 in the wake of the Gaza flotilla incident. However, Yigal Molad Hayo, the associate director of the Cinematheque at which the festival takes place, was quoted in an article in the Jewish Chronicle that the account had not been accurate, and the discussions with Hoffman had not progressed even before the Mavi Marmara incident.

It isn’t hard to imagine why the Muslim Public Affairs Council would want a famous Jewish actor to give them the kosher certification of acceptability (“Dustin Hoffman, the famous Jewish actor, hangs out with us, we must be fine” is the not-so-subtle message). But why would Hoffman agree to participate?

Hoffman is someone whose Jewishness seems to have played very little role in his life other than as a trigger to anti-Semitic bullies, and the fact that his height, his nose, his nasal voice and his plucky, outsider roles are all stereotypically Jewish.  Hoffman recently spoke about the complete absence of anything Jewish in his life growing up.  He did not become a bar mitzvah and he never learned any Hebrew.

Is Fear of Blaming Islam Greater than a Need to Fight Terrorism?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

“The lights are going out in the enlightenment” Professor Barry Rubin told The Jewish Press in an interview this week.  “Too many reporters have no interest in reporting accurately, too many professors have no interest in speaking accurately, and too many policy makers have no interest in promulgating responsible policy.”

Rubin was talking about the reluctance to name revolutionary Islamism – Rubin calls this the “mysterious motivation,” and he refuses to be cowed into playing that avoidance game.

Rubin wrote a very important article about this after he watched the mainstream media and Western politicos twist themselves into pretzels in an effort to avoid the obvious. Rubin explains that the West seems to believe that if we admit the ideology and movement of  Islamism threatens Western society, that will have radical implications for our worldview.

As a result, Rubin points out, most current policy makers and opinion shapers prefer to avoid any policy that considering Islamism as the motive for terrorism would necessitate.  The fear of short term pain is indulged at the expense of preventing the real danger that will follow.  And we are being lied to – “albeit for virtuous reasons” – by the politicians and the mainstream press.

What is the fear which leads to the conclusion that “doing nothing has become better than doing anything”? The fear is that speaking the truth: that the Tsarnaev brothers acted in accordance with their (or at least the older brother’s) understanding, as well as that of many Muslims, of what Islam requires will lead to disaster.  It will cause widespread hatred of Muslims to be unleashed, the specter of Islamophobia to spread, racism will again become rampant, and all the things that a hoped-for post-racist America tried to put behind it will again spread throughout the land.

But the failure to take Islam into consideration might be the very reason why, despite the warning the U.S. was given by Russia that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “a radical Muslim and a strong believer” the U.S. nonetheless watched Tsarnaev leave the country for Russia and allowed the case file on him to expire during the time Tsarnaev was in a heavily radicalized Muslim territory of Russia, and why other terrorists have also been able to launch attacks.

In a telephone interview from his home in Tel Aviv, The Jewish Press spoke with Rubin, the director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.  Rubin is the author of more than two dozen books on topics including terrorism, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, the PLO, Israel, the Middle East and Islam, which have been published by the most esteemed publishing houses including the Oxford, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge University presses.

First Rubin lists off and explains the many ways the Tsarnaev brothers’ “mysterious motive” to maim and murder Americans has been and continues to be aggressively obfuscated. The list includes fingers pointed at a troubled youth; the Chechen code of honor; immigrants’ malaise; and unemployment.  Read his article, it is well worth seeing how he lays out this case.

Rubin then flips to the other side, and explores the justifications used to avoid saying Islamic extremism is a motivating factor in terrorism generally, and was so in the Boston Marathon Bombings specifically.

These reasons fall primarily into two groups; the first, that by linking the act of terrorism with Islam, even the movement of Islamism, it will unleash a wave of Islamophobic violence, and two, that such attacks are really our (that is, that of the U.S. and of the West) fault.

Rubin, an honest-to-goodness liberal (not “progressive”) finds these lists of false motivations and obviously flawed self-blame theories not just foolish, but dangerous.

A variant of the “you can’t link Islam to terrorism” problem is to insist that the only kind of Islamist strategic threat dangerous to the United States is the one that emanates from al Qaeda.

“If it isn’t al Qaeda, it supposedly isn’t our problem,” is how Rubin described to The Jewish Press this refusal to look directly at the problem.  “In Syria, for example, up to three dozen radical Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have received arms due to U.S. supported policies but only one – the direct affiliate to al Qaeda – is barred from this program,” Rubin said.

The connection between Islamism and terrorism has to be dealt with forthrightly – sometimes the motivation for a terrorist act will be Islamist terrorism, and sometimes it won’t be, but when it is and we avoid naming it, we are setting ourselves up for a continuation, a metastases of the problem.

AMERICAN MUSLIMS AREN’T COWED

US Arabs: Obama Blames Israel, Congress for Slacking Peace Progress

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Most reports about the meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and several representatives of various Arab American organizations which took place on Monday, March 11, have been fairly sketchy.

But at least some participants at that meeting provided three rather startling revelations to an Arabic news source.

First, they said the U.S. president blamed the stalled peace process on the Israeli government for refusing to offer concessions, and second, that he blamed the U.S. congress for providing cover to the Israelis whenever the president tries to apply pressure on the Jewish State.  The implication the sources came away with was that Obama said he will get around those problems when he is in Israel by bypassing the Israeli government and going directly to the Israeli people.

The third surprising revelation from the meeting was that President Obama plans to hand over half a billion dollars in additional aid to the PA during his visit.

As with Obama’s meeting with representatives of Jewish organizations a week ago, his get together with Arab and Muslim leaders was not part of the president’s public schedule, and participants had been asked not to comment about the confidential conversations which took place.

Most reports about the meeting merely mentioned the names of some of the participating organizations, which included the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Task Force for Palestine, the Arab American Institute, the Arab Federation of Ramallah, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

As was also the case with the Jewish representatives’ meeting, there were some Arab American participants who discussed some details of the meetings, a few with attribution and others on condition of anonymity.  Several sources at each meeting told members of the media that the president told their group that he was not going to attempt to kickstart a new Arab-Israeli peace initiative.

But one story in an important Arab media outlet quoted participants as having provided a reason for the U.S. president’s unwillingness to push a peace initiative during this trip.  That anonymous Arab and/or Muslim participant told Al Arabiya.net reporters that Obama said to the group: “since the Israeli government has not been willing to make concessions, there is no point in pushing [for negotiations] right now.”

In addition, the U.S. president expressed solidarity with the plight of the Arab Palestinians. “‘The only people more frustrated than me,’” Obama was quoted by a source as saying, are the ‘”Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza – it’s a legitimate frustration,’” Al Arabiya‘s source said.

The U.S. congress also came in for criticism by the U.S. president. “Every time the pressure gets to the Israelis, they go to Congress.”

The message understood by that source who was present at the March 11 meeting was that Obama believed he could get around the interference of the U.S. congress and the obstructionist Israeli government by speaking directly to the Israeli people. The source said, “He wants to find a way around that, that’s why he wants to talk to the Israeli public directly.”

In other words, the Israeli elected government should be sidelined because President Obama believes he knows what is best for Israel, and he will deal directly with the Israeli people this time, rather than with their elected government.  At least that is the message some meeting participants either believed or want others to believe.

There was one additional piece of information in the Al Arabiya article that was not reported elsewhere.

President Obama, who has been railing against what he describes as the Republican-imposed sequester, “will take with him a cash infusion of $500 million – which Congress will soon release – of much needed financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.”

A condition-free gift to the PA of half a billion dollars in additional aid from the U.S. is hard to imagine given all the cuts being imposed because of the sequester.  For one thing, several hundred million dollars is due to be cut from Israel’s portion of the defense budget, but more importantly, as this is U.S. taxpayer money, are the statements made by the president that the U.S. is reducing naval warpower in the Persian Gulf because of the sequester.  This came up recently in the context of a dust-up between the White House and liberal journalist Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/u-s-arabs-obama-blames-israeli-govt-u-s-congress-for-lack-of-peace-progress/2013/03/13/

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