Sep 14 2011

Why I resigned from the Board of American Task Force for Palestine?

Published by at 1:13 pm under Blogs,Palestinian politics

I have always believed that work on the American scene is of utmost importance for the advancement of the Palestinian cause. While there are many American-Palestinian organizations working in the US few had the methodology and ideology that can speak to the American mind and influence an American political establishment that has been taken hostage by the radical pro Israel lobby. Such a lobbying effort necessarily needed to be moderate in its politics, realistic in its goals and flexible in its approach. When I was asked by Dr. Saliba Sarsur to join the American Task force for Palestine I happily agreed. I saw in the ATFP an organization that is able to speak a language that Washington understood yet at the same time relate and convey the sincere and authentic wishes of the Palestinian people.

I never wanted nor want now that ATFP reflect or represent the Palestinian Authority or the PLO. The latter has a mission and a representative in both the UN and in Washington. Yet ATFP had at a minimum duty and responsibility to support the Palestinian people and their aspirations, the most important of which is independence and freedom from the brutal Israeli occupation.

The  preservation of ATFP was never in my mind a goal in itself. The idea that ATFP, its president and board have to worry about its own survival as an organization rather than the interest of the Palestinian people for which it is committed was never on my radar screen.

The task force for Palestine has a duty to Palestine. The paternalistic attitude that Americans including American Palestinians know what is best for Palestinians and their leadership is an arrogant attitude that I can’t agree to be part of.

Whenever a lobbying organization reaches the position that it has to worry about its own existence and how the local powers consider it, that is the day that such an organization has lost its mission statement.

The name of ATFP and its mission statement is clearly focused on the need to support Palestinian statehood and not reflect the policies of Washington. If ever there was an issue that ATFP should have taken on front back and center, the approach of the Palestinian leadership to the UN requesting recognition to statehood would be it. Here was a perfect opportunity for ATFP to shine and to be in harmony with its own goal, mission statement and even its own name.

Palestinians leaders were coming to New York to fulfill a pledge made by none other than the president of the United States a year ago. The approach to the UN was and is the most non violent alternative that was left available to the Palestinian leadership. Denying Palestinian leaders this option is nothing more than pushing them into the hands of extremists who believe that Palestinian statehood can only be won only through violent resistance.

My opposition to the desire of the president of ATFP to stay neutral on such an important issue is further exasperated by an unhealthy attitude of the president who has chosen to ignore earlier decision of his own board and published two opinion pieces unfavorable to the UN approach.

Furthermore and this was the straw the camel’s back for me was the refusal of the president to honor a simple motion made by myself and seconded by attorney George Salem asking for a simple up and down vote. The motion I had submitted in the board meeting on September 13 was simply this: ATFP supports the Palestinian approach to the UN for statehood.” The president didn’t explain why he was opposed to the motion, refused to allow it to a vote and after over an hour of delaying tactics claimed that there was no quorum in the meeting.

As a result of the above I sent the following email Tuesday night to board members:

I regret to announce my withdrawal from membership in the board of ATFP for the following reason:


1. The clear failure of the organization to take a position independent of the US government.

2. The lack of commitment to the main focus of the organization to the support of Palestine which makes up part of its name

3. The refusal of the president to honor the points of view of the board or to honor a simple motion presented and seconded by a board member

4. The fact that the organization – as stated by its president- appears to care more about the survival of the organization over everything else including the future of Palestine

5. The undemocratic nature in which the president conducted the board meeting on September 13, 2011  refusing to honor standard decision making practices

September 13, 2011

Daoud Kuttab

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Why I resigned from the Board of American Task Force for Palestine?”

  1. […] and their care is an conceited attitude that we can’t determine to be partial of,” he wrote. “Whenever a lobbying classification reaches a position that it has to worry about a possess […]

  2. […] ATFP.  The group recently also lost one of its own like-minded board members. In his September 14 letter of resignation from the ATFP board Daoud Kuttab, who by no stretch of the imagination can be described as an […]

  3. […] opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the United Nations. Kuttab denounced the “unhealthy attitude of [Asali] who has chosen to ignore earlier decision [sic] of his own […]

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