Pro-Israel groups ignore US voters’ needs, trying to ‘buy’ Michigan elections, says daughter of Palestinian immigrants

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Updated 21 July 2022

Pro-Israel groups ignore US voters’ needs, trying to ‘buy’ Michigan elections, says daughter of Palestinian immigrants

Pro-Israel groups ignore US voters’ needs, trying to ‘buy’ Michigan elections, says daughter of Palestinian immigrants
  • Democratic Party congressional candidate Huwaida Arraf decries AIPAC’s ‘lies’ and insults, and big-money campaigns
  • Affordable healthcare and lower taxes are critical issues for American workers, argues civil rights attorney

Civil rights attorney Huwaida Arraf told Arab News Wednesday she is determined to address the “real issues” facing voters to overcome personal and false attacks, and big-money campaigns, from pro-Israel political action committees seeking to block her from winning the Democratic Party nomination for congress in Michigan’s 10th District.

Arraf is being targeted by negative ads worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, funded by pro-Tel Aviv PACs coordinated by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has this year spent more than $12 million mostly attacking candidates who question or challenge Israel’s policies.

This past Tuesday in Maryland’s Democratic primary election, AIPAC-affiliated groups channeled more than $6 million to defeat former Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards in a wave of negative ads because during her past decade in congress she sought to hold Israel accountable for its actions.

Similarly, Arraf is facing a wave of negative ads funded by AIPAC-affiliated PACs focused on Michigan’s Democratic Primary on Aug. 2. But she believes most voters see past AIPAC’s “vitriol and their lies” and are responding to her message which addresses core issues that mean more to them than the politics of a foreign country.

Arraf said AIPAC is trying to “buy the election” to protect their interests in Israel, a foreign country, rather than address “the real needs” of voters who live in America.

 

 

“I am fighting to make this government and economy work for working people. We have a structure that is largely due to the influence of big money in politics. And AIPAC obviously falls into that. With their millions of dollars they try to buy politicians and that is why we see a lot of members of congress, unfortunately, blindly voting in support of Israel,” Arraf explained during an appearance on The Ray Hanania Radio Show.

“And I am talking to voters about the need to get big money out of politics so that we can make this government and economy work for them. When we are talking about why people don’t have healthcare. Why 40 percent of Americans newly diagnosed with cancer lose their entire life savings within two years because they can’t pay for the treatment that they need. Or you have an illness or an accident and you are worried about bankruptcy. Why we can’t guarantee healthcare. You are talking about big insurance companies and the influence of their money in politics. Why we are so overcharged for prescription drugs and life-saving drugs. That is the pharmaceutical companies.

“Why we are not cleaning up our air and water. You are talking about fossil fuels and the coal companies. People feel very much and are very cynical unfortunately about the elections. Who are these people representing (us) in elections? Are they representing us or are they representing those buying them or who are writing them the big checks?”

Arraf said the influence of big money is “destroying” American democracy and must be stopped.

A Christian Palestinian and mother of two young children whose immigrant father was a UAW worker in Detroit’s motor industry, Arraf is seeking to strengthen support among the large population of Christian Arabs and Chaldean Middle East Christians who constitute a large pocket of voters in the 10th District, which is considered a 50-50 Democratic and Republican district.

She said that when voters can hear her message above the attacks funded by AIPAC, voters are more sympathetic and supportive of her candidacy.

 

 

“I have been trying to motivate more people to support. And as you say, our community has been slow to come on and support for a variety of reasons, unfortunately. So, it has been a struggle getting the resources to be able to do the voter outreach,” Arraf conceded.

“But one of the things that has been very interesting is we ran a poll a couple of months ago. And that poll showed that if the election was today and voters were just going by name, this opponent that I have would win by double digits. He would beat me and everybody else. Because everybody knows his name.

“But then we read to the voter everybody’s biographies and their issues and then I move ahead slightly of this person. And then we read (to) the voters positives and negatives about everyone. For me, I included negatives like all of the horrible things that AIPAC and the like throw at me that I am antisemitic or that I am a terrorist supporter, all of these lies because they probably hear them.

“And at the end of the poll when we repolled everyone, I actually beat this guy, the considered front runner who has the name recognition. I beat him by 11 points. That shows you that my message resonates with people if they hear it, if we can reach them. And the attacks against me for my Palestine work … don’t lose me very much support because of this district.”

The 10th District is officially 78 percent White. But because Arabs are not included in the US Census there is no way to estimate the size of the Arab and Muslim community in the district.

The district, Arraf said, has a sizeable Chaldean voter population.

 

 

“But there is a very strong Arab presence here. Arabic has become now, according to a recent article that I have seen, the second most common language spoken after English in the house. And we have at least in one of the cities here almost a third of the population is Chaldean. So, Chaldean(s) and Arabs make up a sizable portion of this district. Not like Dearborn but it could get there and we are definitely expanding when we are sharing the culture, and we have a lot more Mediterranean places popping up,” Arraf said.

“But one thing that I see and I talk about a lot, is, then why are we not, why isn’t anyone talking about the power of the Arab or Middle Eastern vote? Every election cycle we hear about the power of the African American vote and the Jewish vote and the Latino vote. At least in Michigan, make them give us (Arabs and Middle Eastern people) some consideration by showing that we get out there and we vote. And that has been the struggle, part of the struggle with this race, at least, knowing that there are a lot of Arabs and Chaldeans in this district but they might not get out there and vote. And that is something that we have to work on.”

Lower taxes, better healthcare and wanting human rights are not partisan issues, Arraf argued. “My message is universal and voters who are not blindly pro-Israel can see that,” she said.

Arraf acknowledged that the Arab community is “very generous” when it comes to doing humanitarian work, but they are still far from the political level of the pro-Israel community which funds millions for their own causes.

 

 

“With regard to the Chaldean community and the Arab American community as a whole, I know that we are successful in business and in many different areas of life, but we are not represented in politics. We need more of our voices in order to be more integrated into this society, in order to have people that understand our issues and who can fight for our issues,” Arraf said.

“There is this misconception that Republicans are better for business. I am a supporter of small businesses that many Chaldeans and Arab Americans have here. A big proponent of not only incentivizing small businesses and especially when we are talking about minority communities starting small businesses. But also in leveling the playing field because we have so many mega-corporations here and monopolies that are squeezing out our small businesses and we need to fight that and I will.”

The Ray Hanania Show is broadcast live every Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern EST on WNZK AM 690 radio in Greater Detroit including parts of Ohio, and WDMV AM 700 radio in Washington D.C. including parts of Virginia and Maryland. The show is rebroadcast on Thursdays at 7 a.m. in Detroit on WNZK AM 690 and in Chicago at 12 noon on WNWI AM 1080.

You can listen to the radio show’s podcast by visiting ArabNews.com/rayradioshow.


Putin to host Kremlin ceremony annexing parts of Ukraine

Putin to host Kremlin ceremony annexing parts of Ukraine
Updated 14 sec ago

Putin to host Kremlin ceremony annexing parts of Ukraine

Putin to host Kremlin ceremony annexing parts of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to host a Kremlin ceremony on Friday annexing four regions of Ukraine, while his Ukrainian counterpart said Putin would have to be stopped for Russia to avoid the most damaging consequences of the war.
There was a warning too from United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who said the planned annexations were a “dangerous escalation” and jeopardize prospects for peace.
Putin has doubled down on the invasion he ordered in February despite suffering a major reversal on the battlefield this month and discontent in Russia over a widely criticized “partial mobilization” of thousands more men to fight in Ukraine. Russia calls the war in Ukraine a “special operation.”
“The cost of one person in Russia wanting to continue this war is that Russian society will be left without a normal economy, a worthwhile life, or any respect for humanitarian values,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Thursday evening address.
“It can still be stopped. But to stop it we have to stop that person in Russia who wants war more than life. Your lives, citizens of Russia,” said Zelensky, who earlier spoke of Ukraine delivering a “very harsh” reaction to Russian recognition of so-called referendum results.
Moscow plans annexation of eastern and southern provinces after what Ukraine and Western countries said were sham votes staged at gunpoint in Russian-occupied areas of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The territory Russia controls amounts to more than 90,000 square km, or about 15 percent of Ukraine’s total area — equal to the size of Hungary or Portugal.
Putin took the intermediary step of signing decrees on Thursday paving the way for occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be formally annexed into Russia. The decrees were made public by the Kremlin.
Zelensky promised a strong response to the annexations and summoned his defense and security chiefs for an emergency meeting on Friday where “fundamental decisions” will be taken, an official said.
CEREMONY
On the eve of the planned ceremony in the Georgievsky Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace and a concert in Red Square, Putin said that “all mistakes” made in a call-up announced last week should be corrected, his first public acknowledgment that it had not gone smoothly.
Thousands of men have fled Russia to avoid a draft that was billed as enlisting those with military experience and required specialities but has often appeared oblivious to individuals’ service record, health, student status or even age.
Russia says the referendums, ostensibly asking people in the four regions whether they wanted to be part of Russia, were genuine and showed public support.
At Friday’s event, Putin will give a speech, meet leaders of the self-styled Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) as well as the Russian-installed leaders of the parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia that Russian forces occupy.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not say whether Putin would attend the Red Square concert, as he did a similar event in 2014 after Russia proclaimed it had annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.
A stage has been set up on the Moscow square with giant video screens and billboards proclaiming the four areas part of Russia.
“Any decision to proceed with the annexation ... would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned,” United Nations Secretary General Guterres told reporters.
US President Joe Biden said the United States would never recognize Russia’s claims on Ukraine’s territory, denouncing the referendums. “The results were manufactured in Moscow,” Biden said at a conference of Pacific Island leaders on Thursday.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pressed Putin in a call to take steps to reduce tensions in Ukraine.
NUCLEAR UMBRELLA
Russian government officials have said that the four regions will fall under Moscow’s nuclear umbrella once they have been formally incorporated into Russia. Putin has said he could use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory if necessary.
Washington and the European Union are set to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the annexation plan, and even some of Russia’s close traditional allies, such as Serbia and Kazakhstan, say they will not recognize the move.
What Russia is billing as a celebration comes after Moscow has faced its worst setbacks of the seven-month-old war, with its forces routed in Ukraine’s northeast Kharkiv region.
Heavy fighting continues in the four disputed regions, particularly Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Our situation (in Luhansk region) is more difficult than in the Kharkiv region. There is no effect of surprise here,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Thursday. “They (the Armed Forces of Ukraine) are advancing. And I hope we will receive very positive news in the near future.”
Some military experts say Kyiv is poised to deliver another major defeat, gradually encircling the town of Lyman, Russia’s main remaining bastion in the northern part of Donetsk province.
“The most difficult area for us remains (Lyman). Allied forces are holding their ground. And given that reinforcements will be coming, I believe we will make a breakthrough there,” Denis Pushilin, leader of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, said on Telegram.


Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia
Updated 30 September 2022

Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Heirs of a late Southeast Asian sultan filed a request in a Dutch court on Thursday to recognize and enforce a $15 billion arbitration award granted to them against Malaysia’s government, their lawyer said.

The petition was filed in The Hague Court of Appeal, said lawyer Paul Cohen, a lead co-counsel for the sultan’s heirs from British law firm 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square.

“This filing in the Netherlands will soon be followed by other enforcement actions, of varying types, in multiple jurisdictions. This may include immediate, direct attachment of specific Malaysian assets in The Netherlands and elsewhere,” Cohen said.

Malaysia’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the filings with Dutch court authorities.

A French arbitration court in February ordered Malaysia to pay the $15 billion sum to the descendents of the last Sultan of Sulu to settle a dispute over a colonial-era land deal.

Malaysia has obtained a stay on the ruling pending an appeal, but the award remains enforceable outside France under a United Nations treaty on international arbitration.

Malaysia has said it did not recognize the heirs’ claim and would take all steps to uphold the country’s sovereignty.


Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests

Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests
Updated 30 September 2022

Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests

Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests
  • Demonstrators gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul chanting ‘women, life, freedom’
  • Rally was soon dispersed by Taliban security forces, who fired into the air

KABUL: Afghan women rallied in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul on Thursday, joining global protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was detained in Tehran on Sept. 12 for failing to cover her hair in a manner deemed proper by the authorities. Women who were arrested along with Amini have said she was beaten inside a police van. Three days later she died in hospital after falling into a coma.

Public anger over her death has prompted days of rage and protests across Iran, in what has been the largest manifestation of dissent against the government in over a decade.

Protests have also spilled into other countries.

A group of about 25 women who gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul carried placards that read: “Beautiful Mahsa, your blood is our way and inspiration,” as they chanted “women, life, freedom” — the phrase that has been used by demonstrators in Iran.

A 24-year-old university student who participated in the protest told Arab News she had attended the rally in solidarity.

“Women in Iran and we are facing the same oppression. We wanted to show that we can amplify the voices of our sisters in Iran while highlighting our own concerns for freedom and dignity,” she said, on condition of anonymity.

“The widespread protests in Iran supported by men and women also inspired us to continue our fight for the rights of Afghan women in Afghanistan. Afghan women have been brave enough to defy the Taliban’s restrictive attitude. We will not be silenced and we will rise again.”

The rights of Afghan women have been limited since the Taliban took control of the country after US-led forces withdrew from the country in August last year.

Although they had previously promised a softer version of the harsh rule during their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001, women have already been ordered to wear face coverings in public, banned from making long-distance journeys alone, and prevented from working in most sectors outside of health and education.

Since September last year, permission from the Ministry of Justice is required to organize a protest. Slogans used during rallies must also be approved by authorities.

Soon after Thursday’s rally in front of the embassy began, it was dispersed by Taliban security forces, who fired into the air.

For Afghan women’s rights activists like Muzhgan Noori, the protest was a “fine example of sisterhood and solidarity among women sharing the same pain and concerns.

“Afghan women have protested whenever they felt the need for it, and they should be able to do so now. The government must support and protect them instead of frightening them,” she told Arab News.

“I hope women continue to stand for each other.”


US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine

US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine
Updated 29 September 2022

US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine

US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine
  • It provides $4.5 billion for Kyiv to keep the country's finances stable and keep the government running
  • It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to declare the annexation of parts of Ukraine

WASHINGTON: The US Senate approved $12 billion in new economic and military aid for Ukraine Thursday as part of a stopgap extension of the federal budget into December.
The measure, agreed by senators of both parties, includes $3 billion for arms, supplies and salaries for Ukraine’s military, and authorizes President Joe Biden to direct the US Defense Department to take $3.7 billion worth of its own weapons and materiel to provide Ukraine.
It also provides $4.5 billion for Kyiv to keep the country’s finances stable and keep the government running, providing services to the Ukrainian people.
It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to declare the annexation of parts of Ukraine occupied by Russian troops on Friday.
“Seven months since the conflict began, it’s crystal clear that American assistance has gone a long way to helping the Ukrainian people resist Putin’s evil, vicious aggression,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“But the fight is far from over, and we must, we must, continue helping the brave, valiant Ukrainian people.”
The Ukraine aid is part of a short-term extension of the federal budget, which is to expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30 without the parties in Congress having agreed to a full-year allocation for fiscal 2022-23.
The extension, or continuing resolution, will keep the government running into December, but it has to first be approved by the House of Representatives to avoid shutting down parts of the government on Monday.


US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia
Updated 29 September 2022

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia
  • The indictment alleges that the plot started after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine
  • Prosecutors said the pair wanted to try to help the Russian government by providing them with data

WASHINGTON: A former US Army major and his anesthesiologist wife have been criminally charged for allegedly plotting to leak highly sensitive health care data about military patients to Russia, the Justice Department revealed on Thursday.
Jamie Lee Henry, the former major who was also a doctor at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and his wife, Dr. Anna Gabrielian, were charged in an unsealed indictment in a federal court in Maryland with conspiracy and the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information.
The indictment alleges that the plot started after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
Prosecutors said the pair wanted to try to help the Russian government by providing them with data to help the Putin regime “gain insights into the medical conditions of individuals associated with the US government and military.”
The two met with someone whom they believed was a Russian official, but in fact was actually an FBI undercover agent, the indictment says.