Friday, October 10, 2008

The Long Decline of Wadad Abed

According to Dante, the first and second rings of the ninth and worst circle of hell are reserved for those who have betrayed their kin and country, respectively. I was reminded of this last Friday when I heard Wadad Abed on Michigan Radio talking about an upcoming oud performance. In the course of the story, Abed identifies herself on-air not as a Palestinian, nor as a refugee but merely as "an immigrant [who] came here forty years ago."

I have a friend who's known Abed for many years and has excused her saying Abed used to be a strong Palestinian woman but she was just worn down by the relentless Zionist onslaught of lies and demonization. That's understandable, I always say, but it in no way excuses her for parroting the Zionist line and becoming, literally, the voice of Zionist propagandist Laurie White at the Ann Arbor premiere of the Zeitouna movie, a slick Hasbara operation which featured Abed prominently.

Abed, could just not speak on the subject of Palestine-Israel but instead she has embraced the Zionist narrative. Here, for instance, is a bit from a 2003 article in the Detroit Jewish News:
Abed says, at first, she would not hear about the Holocaust because her belief was that the Holocaust was the reason used to justify taking away her homeland. Then, as part of her personal growth, she realized the Holocaust was something she had to deal with. Because of her experience with Butter, she says, she is reading other personal Holocaust accounts.

“I love this human being who has this horrendous experience and comes out the other end with so much love and wisdom,” Abed says. “She represents a person who has dealt with ugliness and turned it into beauty and hope.”

Still, it has taken the group almost a year to begin to hear each other’s stories, and the discussion that follows.

Says Abed, “I’m beginning to understand the fear and concerns Jews have. It’s a legitimate feeling of being subjected to one atrocity after another throughout the world.”

She now accepts Israel’s right to exist, she says.
In 2006, Abed also played a role in the purging of the Middle East Task Force from the misnamed Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. Her role as the sole Palestinian in the "Imagine Process" gave the thugs in the organization's leadership some cover to make permanent the "suspension" of the METF and the ouster of a fellow Palestinian, who unlike Abed is also a Muslim. So, all in all, maybe it's a step forward if Wadad Abed no longer identifies herself as a Palestinian. I'm not sure it will keep her out of that ninth circle, though.

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I'm a bit disappointed with your attack on Abed. I personally know her as well as many of the older Palestinian activists in SE Michigan. It is interesting that you have chosen to post anonymously. As a young Arab American activist, I encourage you to refrain from attacking others from within our community (at least publicly). If you have beef, direct your comments at the right person in private.
I'm a bit disappointed in your knee-jerk, substance-less invocation of the 'dirty laundry' line while you ignore the content of Abed's actions. It's a fool's game to allow harmful actions to long remain hidden under the cloak of community. FWIW, Wadad Abed was approached privately to no avail--she chose not to engage and continued her Zionist collaboration. She is, by her own choice, a public figure and merits public scrutiny and criticism for her public pronouncements and behavior. It is interesting that you have chosen to comment anonymously. As a young Arab American activist, I encourage you to refrain from the mafioso what-happens-in-Vegas-stays-in-Vegas attitude.
P.S. Check out the "Open Letter to Noor Ali." You probably won't like that, either, and can complain about it while completely ignoring the substantive issues raised in it. Have fun.
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