Ali Gharib

Group linked to Israeli lobby, neocons releases another Islamophobic film

WASHINGTON (IPS) - A new documentary from a shadowy non-profit, the Clarion Fund, has ties to groups widely accused of Islamophobia. The Third Jihad purports to educate US citizens about the threat of a “cultural Jihad” by the country’s own Muslim-American population. The film goes to great lengths to define itself as an expose of radical Muslim elements, not the faith at large. 

Obama administration renews Bush-era sanctions on Syria

WASHINGTON (IPS) - US President Barack Obama issued a statement on 8 May calling for the renewal of sanctions on Syria, which were set to expire on Monday. The declaration came at the end of a busy week in which both high-level US officials and the Iranian president visited the Syrian capital, Damascus. Though Syria has recently sought engagement with the US and Israel, the executive order extending sanctions is only the latest in a series of significant stumbling blocks to peeling off one of Iran’s closest regional allies. 

AIPAC conference comes amid turmoil

WASHINGTON (IPS) - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington’s powerful and hawkish pro-Israel lobby, kicked off its annual policy conference this weekend during a period of unusual turbulence both for the organization and for the US-Israel relationship. AIPAC won a notable victory on Friday, when prosecutors moved to dismiss charges against two former AIPAC staffers who had been accused of committing espionage violations by passing classified information to the Israeli government and to reporters. 

Experts to Obama: Political Islam not the enemy

WASHINGTON (IPS) - Scores of Middle East and democracy experts released an open letter to US President Barack Obama Tuesday asking him to focus more of his foreign policy efforts at making reforms in the region, including boosting human rights. Signed by more than 120 academics, scholars, experts and others, the letter said that previous US policy had been “misguided” and “produced a region increasingly tormented by rampant corruption, extremism, and instability.” 

Anti-Hamas policies stymie Gaza recovery

WASHINGTON (IPS) - Despite a desperate need to rebuild the Gaza Strip, viewed by many as a key ingredient to reuniting the Palestinian territories and building a two-state peace deal with Israel, it appears that the United States and the international community are poised to continue old, politically-charged policies that will impede progress. Even before Israel’s three-week war on the Gaza Strip, some 80 percent of the besieged territory’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents reportedly depended on aid to meet their basic needs. 

US media didn't report Israeli ceasefire violation

WASHINGTON (IPS) - Consumed by coverage of the 4 November presidential election, US mainstream media ignored a key Israeli military attack on a Hamas target that some Palestinians claim marked the effective end of the ceasefire between the two sides and set the stage for the current round of bloodletting. While the major US news wire Associated Press (AP) reported that the attack, in which six members of Hamas’s military wing were killed by Israeli ground forces, threatened the ceasefire, its report was carried by only a handful of small newspapers around the country. 

Neo-cons, ex-Israeli diplomats push Islamophobic video

WASHINGTON (IPS) - A group of hard-line United States neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats, among others, are behind the mass distribution, ahead of the November US presidential election, of a controversial DVD that critics have denounced as Islamophobic. The group, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, is working with another organization called the Clarion Fund, which produced the 60-minute video and is itself tied closely to an Israeli organization called Aish Hatorah. 

Critics see vendetta in al-Arian's legal limbo

WASHINGTON (IPS) - Palestinian activist and former university professor Sami al-Arian was arraigned Monday in US federal court on two counts of criminal contempt for his refusal to testify in a grand jury investigation of a Northern Virginia Muslim think-tank. The indictment is the latest episode of a long, Kafka-esque process that has violated nearly every tenet of al-Arian’s plea agreement following the end of his first trial in 2005, and kept al-Arian in prison for over five years. 

Poll backs greater UN role in Mideast peace

WASHINGTON (IPS) - A majority of global publics say their governments should “not take either side” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead supporting a call for the United Nations to play a greater role in regional peace, according to a new international poll of 18 countries released here Tuesday. World publics gave low marks to Israeli, Palestinian, US and Arab leaders when asked how well the international actors were doing to resolve the 60-year old conflict, according to the poll conducted by