Candid conversation with Arab-American activist

Candid conversation with Arab-American activist

Hussein Ibish was a star at the recent conference of the Jewish Academic Network for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JANIP). He has long been an activist in, and a spokesperson for, the Arab-American community, including a six-year stint as communications director for the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. Currently a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, he blogs independently at

Although he sees no alternative to a negotiated agreement with Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and the conflict, he has been writing recently of three additional tactics: State and institution building by the Palestinian Authority (as being pursued by PA Prime Minister Fayyad), nonviolent popular protests against the occupation, and economic measures aimed at the settlements.

Ibish has a Ph.D. in comparative literature and is the author most recently of What’s Wrong with the One-State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal. An abbreviated version of our conversation is now online at the In These Times magazine website. The ITT article provides Dr. Ibish’s responses to the following:

1. How would you prevent Palestinians from doing construction work in settlements? Would you endorse strong-armed tactics, legislation or something else?

2. Hasn’t there been some progress for Palestinian interests from the era of negotiations which began in Madrid in 1991 and the backchannel Oslo process that began about a year later?

3. The failure of Oslo had everything to do with errors and malicious deeds by both sides and the United States: the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the wave of terror attacks in Feb-March ‘96 that led to the first election of Netanyahu, blunders (perhaps by all sides) in the negotiations at Camp David in 2000, Arafat’s mistaken belief that the violence of the second intifada could be controlled and used in such a way as to bolster his negotiating hand. Do you agree?

4. Is there something you’d like to say or ask about the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state or what such a Jewish state should be?

A more complete version of our conversation will be published in the fall in ISRAEL HORIZONS. Click here for more on my discussion with Dr. Ibish.

By | 2010-07-06T12:03:00-04:00 July 6th, 2010|Blog|3 Comments


  1. Anonymous July 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Mr. Ibish is one of the Tom Friedmanites associated with the American Task Force on Palestine, a concoction seen (rightly) to be a collaborationist creation. While he might be “palatable” to the the US State Department, he does not represent the average West Bank Palestinian whose 2006 vote — let us not forget — was undermined by the US and Israel.

  2. annie July 7, 2010 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Anonymous commenter is wrong : Dr. Ibish’s blog and his essays and interviews are fascinating and informative & read by many people (including Arabs and Muslims worldwide- and yes even Palestinians) who are very grateful for his efforts to take both Palestine and America seriously. I don’t always agree with him on every point- but I can not help but be impressed by his work.

  3. Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Ralph thinks his readers may have forgotten or not be aware that the American Task Force on Palestine, which Ibish now represents, is a completely unprincipled, sellout organization, bartering Palestinian rights for an office and salaries in DC. This was proven when ex-ATFP director and Americans Peace Now acolyte Rafi Dajani took the organization’s mission to its logical extreme, and was then jailed for stealing money from ATFP’s ill-gotten gains.

    After a period reeling from the exposure of his only Arab allies, two years on, Ralph believes he can sell us on one of Dajani’s sellout successors at ATFP, Hussein Ibish.

    Ibish is a creature of the DC thinktanks who represents no one but his own salary, and is only an activist on behalf of his waistline).

    Ralph, glad you were able to locate an “authentic” Arab who accepted to be interviewed you. Did you know, by the way, that Ibish is not even Palestinian?


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