Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim politicians Schumer and Cornyn have introduced a bill that supposedly will allow victims of terrorism to file lawsuits against foreign countries accused of sponsoring or being connected to those terrorist acts. But the intent really isn’t to protect Americans or give American justice. Instead, the purpose is to pander to the families who lost relatives in the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and, more importantly, pander to the uninformed-driven emotions of mainstream American voters.
By Ray Hanania
The bill is called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and it has been introduced by two notoriously anti-Arab and anti-Muslim politicians, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas.
“JASTA,” as it is being called, would allow Americans who are victims of terrorism or are related to victims of terrorism to file lawsuits against foreign countries that are alleged or accused of being involved in terrorist violence in the United States.
Schumer and Cornyn have been very careful to word the bill so that it only allows lawsuits not against every country, but only against certain countries, specifically against Saudi Arabia, which over the past 30 years has helped Americans by holding down the price of oil so that gasoline costs can remain for American among the lowest in the world.
In most countries, gasoline costs as much as $10 per gallon but in America, gasoline costs average around $2.50 (for the lowest unleaded grades).
Saudi Arabia has also stood by the United States in its illegal invasions of foreign countries, invasions that have cost the lives of tens of thousands or even more of innocent Arab and Muslim civilians. But of course, no one in America cares about the lives of thousands of Arab and Muslim civilians. They only care about paying their mortgages, gambling on lotteries, wasting food and water, creating pollutants that destroy the environment and imposing their values on everyone else.
Have I covered everything in that? Probably not.
Americans are easy victims of exploitation and political pandering. They are literally the most educated people in the world but the least educated about foreign affairs, especially in the Middle East. Their minds are manipulated, molded and managed through sophisticated public relations and communications strategies that compromise truth, exaggerate lies, weaken justice and disguise injustice as justifiable vengeance.
That’s why Schumer and Cornyn can get away with what they get away with all the time in the U.S. Congress.
They want to punish Saudi Arabia, because even though the Saudi Arabians have fought to defend America in the increasingly hostile Islamic World, and opposed any compromise with the extremist religious fanatics that run Iran and oppress the Iranian people, the Saudis still represent the single most influential Arab nation in the Middle East.
And if you haven’t noticed lately, the United States has been behind strategies that have weakened and destroyed almost all of the Arab countries, and compromised the rest. Let’s tick them off: Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, and Lebanon have been so weakened by US foreign policy they are all in turmoil of different sorts. Jordan, Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain are under America’s financial thumb. But then there is Saudi Arabia, the elephant in the Middle East room that spends as much money on gambling and obscene lifestyles as they do helping the poor and the needy from Syrian and Palestinian refugees to Muslim victims of today’s modernday Western Christian-driven crusades.
Yes, we are in the midst of an intense Western Christian-driven crusade against not just Muslims but all Arabs and all of their allies, too.
If Schumer and Cornyn really cared about justice, they would have long ago introduced legislation to not only allow Americans to file lawsuits against foreign countries that have engaged in the murder of American citizens in those countries, but they would have led the prosecutions themselves.
A good example, of course, of a foreign country that has murdered many Americans is Israel. But Schumer and Cornyn are part and parcel of the Israeli lobby which has American in a pressure-cooker headlock. You so much as open your mouth to criticize Israel’s policies and its government, and you are labeled an “anti-Semite” and could face punishment and legal hassles under the nation’s narrowly defined hate crime laws.
You can be accused of hating on Israel and face punishment — as we have seen in state after state where rights have been taken away from those who support boycotting food products made by the illegal racist and violent Israeli settler movement. The system is geared to help advance lawsuits against victims that are pro-Israel and against those who criticize Israel, like the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement which reflects the principled morals that fueled the same boycott process against Apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
But if you hate on a Muslim, or discriminate against a Palestinian or Arab for any reason, the burden is on the backs of the victims to make the steep uphill climb for justice. The roadblocks put in the way of Muslims and Arabs preventing them from prevailing in lawsuits is so insurmountable that it requires huge resources, a battalion of lawyers and deep financial pockets. The intent is to prohibit Muslims and Arabs from seeking justice against those here in this country who injure them or against foreign countries, like Israel, that do far worse.
And how bad has it been?
Well, Israel has been responsible for the death of many American citizens. But you would never know it from the way the news media, under an assault of RPR spin and political pressure, that refuse to cover such incidents.
If an American citizen who has citizenship in Israel — and is supportive of Israel — is injured or killed, the news media is all over the story. The story lasts for weeks and months. Some media assign reporters to bird-dog the stories to report any burp or wrinkle that surfaces in the stories. No development is too insignificant for the news media to rehash a pro-Israel, anti-Arab story, especially when the targets are Muslims and Arabs.
But, if an American citizen who may or may not have Israeli citizenship, — and who is critical of Israel — is injured or killed, Schumer and Cornyn join with the mainstream American news media and the unprincipled and morally corrupt American judicial system to prevent justice from ever seeing the light of day.
Here is a list of Americans who were killed by Israelis, and it’s not even a question as to whether the Israeli government was involved in the killings at all as the Israeli violence against the Americans was committed in most cases either by Israeli military personnel, police personnel or Israeli settlers who are armed with permission by the Israeli government and protected by the Israeli government:
34 American soldiers killed by Israel
On June 8, 1967, Israeli jet fighters attacked the U.S.S. Liberty naval spy ship that was monitoring the war between Israel and its Arab neighbors. What the Liberty crew discovered and what Israel wanted buried, was that Israel wasn’t being attacked by the Arabs. Instead, Israel did the attacking on the flimsy argument that Egypt’s President Gamal Abdul Nasser had made empty threats. And Israel spread its war against Egypt, then Syria and then to Jordan to capture the West Bank and more importantly the Old City of Jerusalem, which Israel had tried to captured in 1947 when it attacked Palestinian villages and towns to create its state.
Israeli fighter jets killed 34 American soldiers on the U.S.S. Liberty that day, and injured 171 others. The United States blocked the families from filing lawsuits against Israel and they have blocked the veterans from receiving justice ever since, even till this day.
Khaled and Mohammed Salah, American citizens killed by Israel
On July 6, 2004, American doctor Khaled Salah, 54 and his son Mohammed Salah, 16, who had returned to Nablus, Palestine to work and study, were murdered in cold blood when Israeli soldiers surrounded his home in the occupied West Bank. The two victims were severely wounded but the Israelis refused to give them medical care and they were lying on the ground for more than four hours until they bled to death.
Not one American newspaper covered the murder. Israel’s military prevented the media from covering the crime scene. Dr. Salah established the Department of Electrical Engineering at An-Najah University in Nablus.
American law prevented the Salahs from filing lawsuits against Israel’s government in the United States, the way Schumer and Cronyn want to allow Israelis to file lawsuits in American courts against Arab foreign governments like Saudi Arabia. Here’s one place where the murder was documented.
Rachel Corrie, American Citizen killed by Israel
The year before that on March 16, 2003, Israeli soldiers were demolishing a Palestinian home to make room for illegal Israeli settlers when American citizen Rachel Corrie joined other Palestinians in a peaceful protest against the demolitions in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli soldiers were directing the destruction of the Palestinian civilian homes (in violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions which prohibit an occupying power from punishing civilians, etc). A soldier was driving the American Made D-9 tractor, made in Peoria, Illinois by Caterpillar, and he ran her over intentionally as she protested.
Corrie’s parents sought justice in a wrongful death lawsuit in Israel against the Israeli government and military that took more than 12 years, but the Israeli government — in rigged judicial system that is biased against non-Jews — prevailed.
Although Corrie was American, killed by a foreign country, the American government — her own government — refused to conduct an investigation and relied on the skewered, slanted Israeli investigation which alleged that Corrie basically killed herself by walking in front of the tractor as it was illegally demolishing a civilian home. Click here for more info.
Orwa Hammad, 14-year-old American Citizen killed by Israel
On Oct. 24, 2014, 14-year-old Orwa Hammad, an American citizen living with relatives in Silwan in the Israeli Occupied West Bank, was shot to death by Israeli soldiers during a peaceful protest that turned violent when Israeli soldiers attacked the protestors.
Israel prevents objective media from covering this confrontations that they initiate and they issued a false press release asserting that Hammad was about to throw a Molotov Cocktail, an accusation that Israel’s military often uses to explain away the killing of young children. Hammad was shot in the neck and head (not the body) and was left on the ground as Israeli soldiers milled around, to bleed to death.
Schumer and Cornyn, and the U.S. Government, did nothing in response to his killing.
But had he been a Jewish settler living in an illegal settlement on lands taken from Palestinian Christians and Muslims, there would have been a full fledged American investigation, and lawsuits would be filed in the United States seeking “justice.” But American courts will not accept lawsuits filed against Israel for the murder of American citizens who are there, saying it is under Israeli jurisdiction.
Mahmoud Muhammad Shaalan, 17 year old American citizen killed by Israel
Mahmoud Muhammad Shaalan, 17, was killed on Feb. 26, 2016 (two months ago) after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier stationed at a military checkpoint near the illegal settlement of Beit El. The allegation that he tried to stab an Israeli soldier was made by the Israeli soldiers and there is no video proof of thealleged attack.
Shaalan, an American citizens, was visiting relatives in Deir Dibwan in Ramallah in the Israeli Occupied West Bank. His body was riddled with bullets and he was left to die on the street, denied medical assistance or treatment. No Israeli soldiers were wounded in that alleged attack.
Type his name “Mahmoud Muhammad Shaalan” in Google News. Not one major American newspaper published a story about his murder.
I mean, like the murder of Black teenager Laquan McDonald on the streets of Chicago in 2014 by an aggressively racist Chicago Police officer, the killing was covered up. At least in America, the family of murder victims can seek and demand justice. But not Americans killed by Israel.
How many Americans have been killed by Israelis in Israel? It’s hard to know the total because the mainstream American news media, prejudicially, refuses to cover these killings. But when a Jewish American is killed while living in Israel with dual citizenship at an illegal Israeli settlement or participating in the military oppressing non-Jewish civilians, the story is published far and wide. In fact, pro-Israel groups that monitor the killing of American citizens as a propaganda ploy refuse to include Americans killed who are Palestinian.
I think that if Schumer and Cornyn really cared about the lives of American citizens killed at the hands of terrorists and in terrorist related violence, they should include those murdered by Israeli soldiers who are unaccountable to the world and ignored by the biased American mainstream news media.
But we know they really don’t care about Americans being killed. They care only about how they can exploit those killings for their own political benefit. It’s about them and their politics, not about the American victims. It always has been that way!
For a good analysis of how differently the United States and Israel respond to the killing of civilians when they are Israeli versus when they are Palestinian, Arab or Muslim, click here to read Glen Greenwald’s article. For a good commentary on how the pro-Israel lobby panders its victims to American audiences while ignoring Americans killed by Israel, click the link here.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania 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 at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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