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Video Stand up Comedy: Ray Hanania Performance
A comedy performance by Ray Hanania before a Jewish American audience at a Chicagoland temple.
Ray Hanania entered standup comedy as a professional communicator following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to help audiences better understand American Arabs and Arab culture.
The Arab community has done a poor job presenting itself and its story to mainstream Americans and the mainstream news media along with anti-Arab racists have twisted and negatively distorted stereotypes about Arabs to exaggerate their stories and propaganda.
Hanania said he used comedy as a means of breaking through the hatred, telling audiences “If we can laugh together, we can live together.”
Hanania launched the Israeli-Palestinian comedy tour with Israeli comedians Charley Warady and Yisrael Campbell and American celebrity Jewish comedian Aaron Freeman in 2007 to expand the concept of “Comedy for Peace” to the Israeli and Palestinian audiences.
The group performed more than 30 shows in Israel, Palestine, Dublin, Toronto, and for Jewish, Arab and Christians groups, and at colleges throughout the United States.
The only criticism came from anti-Semitic writers who hate Jews and denounced the concept of a Palestinian performing with “Israelis” — extreme supporters of the extreme side of the BDS movement, and from fanatic Israelis and Jews who believe that Palestinians don’t exist.
Despite the animosity from some critics, the shows were widely embraced by Jews, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians and Israelis. Performances included Limude in Los Angeles, and for Palestinian college campus events.
“It wasn’t any easy thing to do. I expected a lot of hate, boycotts of our show from fanatics and haters, but I also know the majority of Palestinians and Israelis are moderates looking for hope but who are fearful of the rhetoric and actions of the extremists who oppose all peace,” Hanania is quoated as saying.
An overview of Ray Hanania’s comedy from his performance at B’nai Yehuda Beth Shalom synagogue in Homewood, Illinois in 2008.
The group is planning a revival and launching a new website at www.IsraeliPalestinianComedy.com.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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