Friday, April 4, 2008

Arab fanatics come out swinging against my moderation

Sousan Hammad described herself to me as a Palestinian from Ramallah who can't decide if she wants to be a journalist or a political activist during an "interview" prior to my comedy performance at the World Affairs Council at Houston's Hobby Center March 25. I asked her if she was a Christian and she responded that she was "non-religious."

Then she went into her attack, criticizing me for performing with Israelis and denouncing my comedy before she even had a chance to see the show.

Hammad is the opinion page editor at the University of Houston's student newspaper "The Daily Cougar."

She then did a review of the show. And after reading it, I realized she decided to forgo journalism and become an activist before graduation.

I don't mind the criticism, especially from extremists who hate those like me who embrace peace based on compromise, denounce Hamas terrorism and suicide bombing as immoral, and who reject the ridiculous notion that the Holocaust did not exist. In fact, when the criticism is clever, talented and creative, I admire it. But Sousan doesn't have the talent to be creative, or clever. People who hate rarely do. So before the interview began, Sousan and I were not on good terms.

But what I do mind are her factual errors -- intentional, apparently.

She makes the false claim that I support the occupation of the Palestinians. Only a moron would say that. I didn't. She did. Of the fact that five Arab American groups cancelled my pre-bookings in early 2007, it was because I reject the Arab taboo on normalization, which she mischaracterizes as embracing the occupation. Dumb, but it feeds the haters out there.

She says that I won't go to Ramallah to perform because the Palestinians will shoot me. What I said was WE WANT TO GO TO RAMALLAH and to BETHLEHEM to perform comedy but there are hurdles that prevent Israelis from performing there and because the Palestinian groups said they could not guarantee security for the Israelis.

Sousan then rewrote the feature and changed more of the quotes and had it published on the "Electronic Intifada," the web site of the fanatics who embraced people like George Habash, the extremist who embraced violence and who fought for control of the Palestinian revolution with Yasir Arafat. Habash has always been hailed as a "Christian" but who openly denounced and rejected religion. He was a Marxist-Leninist, not a Christian.

When I look in Sousan's face, I recognize immediately why Palestinians have lost in their effort to establish a Palestinian State. So consumed with hatred, some Palestinians like Sousan live in a self-inflicted world of blind rage where they find it okay to murder innocent little Israeli children but only speak out against the killing of Palestinian children. When I told her I embrace one principle that I apply to all killings -- whether they are by Israeli occupation soldiers murdering Palestinian civilians, or Palestinian Hamas terrorists murdering Israeli civilians, I denounce them both -- she laughed saying I was "naive."

What I am confident of is that in her vicious hatred and intentionally distorted reporting, people like Sousan are the reasons why palestinians are this year commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Nakba.

Here's the version that appeared in the Electronic Intifada, the web site of the advocates of the "One State Solution," a failed and impossible dream promoted by extremist hatred not an embrace of living together. I'm glad the hatred has finally come out from under the rock of Palestinian extremism and is now in the public arena.

Ray Hanania

Here's my letter sent to The Daily Cougar:

Sousan Hammd's "review" of the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour was filled with factual errors, distortions of what I said, and a clear effort to advance her own agenda.

I don't mind criticism when it is clever, creative and accurate, but when it completely distorts my views (saying I wouldn't perform in Ramallah because I was afraid Palestinians would shoot me is ridiculous since my cousins and many relatives live there, is pathetic on her part). And to say that I support the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank is also an outright lie. Clearly she hates me because I won't kill Jews, I oppose Hamas terrorism, denounce suicide bombings, criticize both the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians, and openly embrace peace based on two-states and compromise, things that clearly pose a problem for her.

Sousan told me she couldn't decide whether to pursue journalism or political activism. I think her ridiculous and inaccurate political attack against me and the Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour demonstrates that she has already made a choice.

Ray Hanania


Charley W. said...

wow...good job!! She couldn't even get our jokes right. If I were her journalism teacher, I would have flunked her for that one. But it's a great resume for her future employers in Beirut, which is where she wants to go after graduation.


Sousan H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sousan H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oswald said...

hey, you got a mention here

I am just curious- has Charley ever experienced this kind of intimidation or ostracization from fellow Jews?

Oswald said...

a quick google search for Sousan Hammad comes up with this:

"During World War II, he was perhaps the most notorious war propagandist, creating hundreds of anti-Nazi and anti-Japanese war posters, political cartoons and war propaganda films."

ok, so now we know where she's coming from...

Jafra Jenin said...

Hey Ray,

How do you normalize with the one who killed your father, imprisoned your brother and made your sister give birth at a military roadblock and let her watch her baby die before her eyes and after that called your nephew a terrorist for fighting against this oppression? Perhaps your future ideas would be to expect a raped woman to befriend her rapist? You clearly suffer from an inferiority complex. George Habash was/is a great Palestinian leader who was expelled at gun point at the hands of the jewish terrorist gangs from his town of Lidda right after he finished burying his sister. It doesn't matter whether he was christian or marxist; he was/is a Palestinian who was proud of his identity no matter what the occupiers said or did. Meanwhile, you feel inferior to your enemies and brown nose to them. It seems that you forgot that they are the ones in NEED for our acceptance in order to be recognized and not the other way around. Unfortunately for you, you seem to think the other way and that is due to your low self-esteem and lack of respect for your history and roots. Feel free to call me an extremist and a hater. Your opinion of me has no weight out there since you chose to side with those that have zero credibility.

PS. feel free to delete my comment like you did to Sousan's. It just shows what kind of a person you are.

Dennis Dixon said...

What you say about the cruelty of the Israelis toward the Arab population of Palestine is true. But, Sousan did not base her article on those facts. She based her article on resentments resulting from those facts and subsequently lied about the content of what was told to her by Ray and the others. You cannot "debate" someone or even really dialogue in any way with a person who makes up things out of whole cloth.

Fundamentally, it is Europeans, like myself, who created the situation in Palestine. So, do you feel free to mis-state anything that I might say simply because I am part of a group that you feel is responsible for the plight of the Arabs in the Middle East. Actually, I don't think that you even fully realize who your enemy really is--and it is not a person. It is an international system that did not allow the Jews to emigrate out of Germany and other parts of Europe in the 1930s for economic and cultural reasons. Very few of them wanted to live in Palestine per se. But once they were "settled" there (by the UN refugee "service") or settled there on their own, they needed to survive. A lot of cruelty has been the result. A lot of idealism has been spoiled. Reconciliation and recognition of your "enemy"('s) narrative is really the only answer. Or keep up the killing and keep the Israeli Right wing on your side.

Jafra Jenin said...


My comment was not about what Sousan wrote. I was commenting on what Ray wrote. I did not see the show and I can't judge it without seeing it though I doubt that I'll ever see it because I boycott anything "israeli." I refuse to fund the murder of my people.

I do know who my enemy is. I did my research. Had it not been for oil, Palestine would not have been colonized. The euorpeans needed a foot in the region and chose the jews as their cannon fodder with the aid of dishonest jewish leaders. if europe really cared about the jews and wanted to truly compensate them, it would have given them a piece of germany. europe solved its jewish problem by dumping the jews on us. do I have to sympathize with the jews who always thought and still think that they are superior to everyone else? When they get off of their high horse, I'll contemplate this idea. When they start having respect for a Palestinian life as much as they have respect for a jewish life, I'll start thinking about it. I believe that the jews are in need of collective therapy. Don't expect the Palestinians to turn into their therapists or show understanding for their history. Don't lay the burden on us. The victim should not be expected to show recognition and understanding for his oppressor. That is a racist demand. Imagine asking the African Americans to show understanding and recognition of the history of the whites who are lynching them! You would at least be laughed at and shunned. Why do you think that you can ask that of the Palestinians? Is it because we are the weakest link? Why can't the jews do their own healing with their own hands and get off of our back? Do we have to do that for them too? After all that we went through at their hands, you want us to spend time recognizing them? Do you suggest that we do that before, during or after the raids and bombings? Perhaps while we are being searched and humiliated at the military roadblocks? You know that it takes 4-5 hours to cross a few meters and that is good time for contemplating!

I shall never give them the recognition that they need. I'm not going to recognize their brutal colonization of Palestine. Your final remark about the right wing was silly. It doesn't shake me. As a matter of fact, you are the one who is aiding them by providing them with legitimacy when you recognize them. The PLO recognized their apartheid state and what did we get in exchange? More murder and destruction. Our recognition of them only gives them protection to kill more of us. No thanks. Anyway, why should I waste my time on recognizing something that won't last for long? We are approaching the path of S. Africa.

PS. I just finished watching the Axis of Evil tour. That is awesome comedy. The guys are hilarious. I remember once seeing Ray's goat joke on TV and how people didn't like it. Is it because he didn't pass the Arab test of funny jokes so he got angry and decided to join the other side?

Ray, when they stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide of our people feel free to work with them. When you work with them now, you aid them in killing more of your people. I don't know how you can live with yourself and dare to call yourself Palestinian!

hezbeleb said...

how come none of you clowns are funny. Really, I mean reading Sousan's description of your show you sound really lame "GI Abdallah" and "Fatima" instead of Barbie. Wow, the comedic genius cannot be surpassed there. And Charley how did you come up with that Hummus Hamas thing. This is so out of this world.
My God how lame. If a lame-o-meter was placed in that hall it would explode (that last sentence was lame I know, so Ray don't go using it now).

Edan said...

Jafra, when will you be able to see past the suffering of your own people? You know what the difference between yourself and Ray? You cannot see past your own nose when it comes to suffering. Ray talks about the suffering of Palestinians.

Just as much as you would struggle to normalize with the one who would kill your father, how about the normalization with the one who blew up a bus with your wife and child on it? You have to, because otherwise the violence will continue and the body count will continue to climb on both sides.

To compare the conflict of Israel and Palestine to Appartheid South Africa changes a lot of the complexities of the situation. Unlike in South Africa, the jews have a much stronger connection to the land than the White South African's did. Secondly, Israel has also tried to help set up a Palestinian state, the South African government did nothing for the native Bantustans. Thirdly, Arabs are allowed to continue living in Israel, quiet freely, in several cities around Israel. The list goes on and on.

The only thing I would ask of you to do differently Ray, is to drop your comedy. We need more people like yourself working in the political sections of the middle east, and by people like you I mean highly intelligent individuals who can see past their own noses, and this goes for morons on both sides of the wall.

Ray Hanania said...

Thanks Edan ... we have a lot of haters and bigots in the Arab community who hide behind the suffering of Palestinians to exercise their anger and hatred of Jews and oppose peace. Sousan is just an example of 1) a partisan activist pretending to be objective, and 2) a Palestinian who can't do anything good so they tear everything down.

They are in the minority though. I can assure you. The truth is that you can't condemn the killing of Palestinians by Israelis if you don't also denounce the killing of Israelis by Palestinians. When you take sides, as Souhsan has, she is merely exposing her own unprofessionalism and hypocrisy.

I deleted her comment because she chose to delete my response to her biased column in her newspaper in Houston. But the fanatics and extremists and haters don't care much for an honest debate. They want to destroy everything and everyone who doesn't agree with them in order to make themselves look powerful and like leaders, even though they are the epitomy of being false phony leaders.

Ray Hanania

Edan said...


I completely understand. I'm on the other side of the fence though. Far too often the voice of the jewish community around the world is a harsh voice that is very borderline racist towards arabs. It's disgusting some of the views within my community. One must only look as far as the comments section on Ha'aretz to find the worst of these views.

If you are ever in Melbourne and doing a talk or show I'd love to come and see you.

It is unfortunately until people on both sides can see their opponents as humans who have suffered, and as human this conflict will continue. I'm happily showing your views to my friends. If you could suggest other alternative voices to Hamas could you pass their names on. In my community all you hear out of the Palestinians is about Hamas, and I get the feeling it isn't necessarily an accurate representation of the average Palestinian.

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