One would think an organization based primarily on high-level access to power would be happy to have a board member at President Barack Obama’s first state dinner.
The American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP), however, has removed from its website Tareq (Tarek) Salahi, the most famous party crasher in the world. He, along with his wife, snuck into the state dinner Tuesday night.
This screen shot of their website shows Salahi listed as a member of the board of directors less than a week ago. Today, his image is gone.
A few years ago, ATFP’s spiritual leader Ziad Assali told me Arab-Americans should disregard grassroots political organizing and put on suits, which meant of course, playing the Washington, DC access game. Here, Salahi out did him. He put on a tux.
Perhaps Salahi left the board a long time ago and the webmaster was delaying his removal. Or, perhaps ATFP is avoiding an embarrassing association. My explanation is that what the Salahis did was too cool for ATFP to handle. It set off their stiff-reflex.
The Salahis won some major bonus fuck-the-man points with me. Who after all does not think that party-crashing is the ultimate act of free-spirited rebellion? Sure, they did it for the wrong we-want-to-be-seen-with-the-man reasons, and they could be a little crazy, but it takes cajones, chutzpah, or whatever you want to call it, to what they did.
Does anything say “youthful” and “vibrant” as much as sneaking into a party? Such buzzwords are the basic logic of everything American, from political campaigns to Viagra adverts.
Arab culture, by the way, has treated wedding crashing and uninvited visits as the norm. In fact, it would have been shameful not to try to attend a friend’s party.
Plus, this is also cool because I love when something reminds Obama what a political liability our people are. From Tony Rezko to Rashid Khalidi to Major Hasan to the Iraqi resistance and to the Palestinian people — Arabs have been nothing but a sore in the side of a President still accused of being Muslim. Tareq Salahi can be added to the list. I think that’s awesome because it’s not like the man’s doing anything for us anyways.
As an aside: I still think Arab-American activists need to think about our power to hurt politicians by association. We should negotiate with presidential candidates so that we get concessions for backing their opponents. Our negative influence on electoral campaigns is power, too.
So, unlike ATFP, I’m loving this.
And now the Salahis are getting tons of free publicity. And their facebook photos from the party are amazing.
The Virginia couple’s intrusion is being widely covered throughout the international press. KABOBer Fayyad called them the new balloon boy. In some ways, this latest news spectacle feels even more trivial. At least with the balloon boy, it appeared that someone’s life was in danger temporarily.
However, there are serious concerns about this as a lapse in security. Even I am asking how did the secret service fail to prevent an Arab-American from entering a strictly non-Arab political event teeming with political sensitivitis? How did Obama’s political handlers fail to stop an Arab-American, a human political liability, from entering the ultra-exclusive shindig?
One could point to the blonde wife as a distraction for racial profilers. She is after all two feet taller than he.
Those of us with more knowledge of our people consider a blonde wife a huge tip-off for Arab heritage. Perhaps the security people were looking for the dark beard, dark eyes, big nose and bushy eyebrows type of Arab. This would explain why the fair-skinned Salahi slipped through. Perhaps racial profiling is as ineffective as the experts suggest, or the security people could use consultation from KABOBfest on how to catch under-the-radar Arabs.
A more likely explanation, though, is that they likely had to relax the racial profiling scrutiny that evening.
The dinner was in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose turban would probably set off a red alert among the security people if they were not forewarned. An important part of the story may be that many invitees were of Indian background:
wellness guru Deepak Chopra, M. Night Shyamalan, Hollywood director of “The Sixth Sense” and other creepy flicks, Raju Narisetti, a managing editor of the Washington Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, the almost-surgeon general, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a Washington Post writer and author of the Iraq War book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” Rajesh De, deputy assistant attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, and Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen.
How could security do their job? We all know white people think Arabs and Indians look the same, as post-September 11 hate crime patterns demonstrated.
This India theme explains the strategic thinking behind his blonde wife’s donning of a red sari. It was like social intruder camouflage. Though she gets props for the stealthy move, it looked ridiculous on her white ass.
The couple was recognized by a reporter who knew they were auditioning for a reality show, Desperate Housewives, Washington, DC. That, I think, is what blew the story up.
Anyways, after the collapse of Obama’s peace push in the region and the continues political fiasco of the PA, ATFP could use the image boost from having Salahi back on board. They must fight the stiff-reflex.
Plus, if Farouk Shami’s campaign for Texas governor gets serious, he will leave the board.Filed Under ATFP, KABOBsnark, obamatards