Illinois Declares War on the Arab World
The state of Illinois this week declared war on the Arab world, on Muslims and on Christian Arabs who have long ago been abandoned by the Christian West.
The declaration comes in the form of a new law, overwhelmingly approved this week, that punishes anyone who criticizes or boycotts Israel by denying them taxpayer-funded investments and support.
Although the pro-Israel sponsors of the bill, which was drafted by AIPAC, assert it doesn't stifle criticism, in fact it does by defining any criticism as a form of "boycott" and thereby allows the overseeing agency to determine what is and what isn't a "boycott."
Can the Arab world and the Muslim world respond?
The pro-Israel sponsors of the bill introduced it as a means of shielding Israel, a foreign country, from criticism of its oppressive policies, which discriminates against individuals based on race and religion.
Israel is a racist country that gives special privileges to Jewish citizens while denying the same rights to non-Jews, including and especially against Christians.
Israel practices a form of apartheid by denying legal and civil rights to Palestinians based on their religion and ethnicity, and confiscates their land and property.
By adopting the new Anti-Criticism law, Illinois says it is OK for Israel to brutalize and persecute Christians and Muslims and that it is wrong for the victims to protest that oppression.
The Arab world and Muslim world must stand up to this violation of international human and civil rights.
The law was introduced by State Sen. Ira Silverstein and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and supported overwhelmingly by the members of the Illinois legislature including by Rep. Darin LaHood who ironically as an American-Arab who has abandoned his heritage and pride.
I'm not sure what is worse, when two American politicians like Silverstein and Feigenholtz exploit the rights of Americans to advance their agenda towards a foreign country, or when an American-Arab sells out his heritage for political gain?
It's not a coincidence that Illinois would do this. The legislature is merely following in the footsteps of the racist mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who has done everything in his power to undermine the rights of Arabs in his city.
The question is, do the Arab world and Muslim world have the moral fortitude to defend its people? Do they have pride in Arab culture and Islam, or is it all just meaningless words?
Can anyone just step on and trample upon Christian Arab world heritage and the religion of Islam with impunity and without consequence?
Many Illinois institutions do business in the Arab and Muslim world? How can that stand?
Several Arab world airlines do business in Illinois. They include Middle East Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Royal Jordanian Airline just to name a few.
We can't boycott Israel; maybe we should boycott them?
Many Illinois educational institutions have relationships with the Arab world, too: Northwestern, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. Those relationships should be curtailed immediately, too.
And, not to mention he outrageous decision of the United Arab Emirates to allow Caterpillar, whose D9 tractors have become the symbol of the expansion of the illegal and racist Israeli settler movement to open a Middle East business center in Dubai. I mean, after Israel used a Caterpillar D9 tractor to kill pro-Palestinian American activist Rachel Corrie, you would think Caterpillar's name would be worse than a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on a piece of worthless paper.
When it comes to finances, Illinois is ranked among the worst in the country. Its finances are overburdened by excessive debt and a lack of revenues. Even the smallest boycott of Illinois by the Arab world and the Muslim world would kick the state where it would be painfully felt.
That's another irony, of course. Rather than find ways to improve Illinois' finances and fix the broken pension system to benefit Americans, Silverstein and Feigenholtz focus instead on how to use the state's broken pension system to advance the interests of a foreign country.
What another great opportunity for the Arab world and the Muslim world to take a principled stand against injustice, civil rights violations and political corruption.
Boycott anything that carries the name "Illinois" until Illinois starts to respect the rights of all its citizens.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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