ROCHESTER, New York, May 29, 2013 – It’s about Arab money, arms dealers, the cocktail circuit in Georgetown, and how, when, where and why America began selling herself to the highest bidder. It is not a pretty picture and it continues today. Looking back on the classic volume “Pay Off: Wheeling and Dealing in the Arab World” by the late Said K. Aburish, we learn that American CEOs were and still are viewed as pathetic, groveling idiots, with an outsized desire-to-please by the same Arab fixers and middle-men who have been helping to tear down America for decades.
Worse still, the Aburish disdain for Jews and Israel is everywhere in this volume, of course, and he revels in goading America to see just how far she will go to defend her values.
“The answer to every complaint is to buy the protesting party. This has submerged the sense of right and wrong in a sea of ready cash,” writes Aburish, the late Palestinian author, arms dealer, fixer and middleman who even enjoyed a stint as a Vice-President of Ted Bates Advertising. “Swift as the destruction of values and relationships has been their replacement of other workable ones is more difficult,” he observes.
That deep and abiding love story between Leftists and Arabists, long hidden deep inside their joint closet, gets outted a bit in “Pay Off.” Shades of Jimmy Carter pal Bert Lance, anyone? But Aburish actually goes further and insists on telling everyone’s dirty secrets. He is amazed that Arabs have a secret admiration for American anti-corruption laws, but still advises future fixers on how to sniff out weak points in individual corporations. How much easier it is, after all, to navigate “wasteful minutiae” in order to “identify the possible.”
Many of us in the Tea Party – particularly those who have had our privacies breached – have long wondered why the Human Rights Industrial Complex routinely ignores human dignity when it comes to the Arab World. Some of us have followed the scent to the pages of books like “Pay Off.” There we have discovered at least some of the damning answers. In a week during which we have learned that Lockheed helps fund the radical Center for America Progress, why not digest the entire story of corporate perfidy by reading about, say, Lockheed and weapons dealer-fixer Adnan Khashoggi?
Aburish’s final chapter makes clear something so many are still afraid to say out loud. “The Islamic resurgence and the desire to shut out the ‘mostly corrupt’ world of Western Christendom and revert to traditional socio-religious values,” he writes, “is one of the major political movements of the time.” Thankfully, however, this major political movement isn’t going too well. It seems to be taking a bit longer than planned. Which is why this book, first published in 1985, could not be more relevant as a wake-up call to new readers in 2013.
“Pay Off” is a slim volume and a fast read. Aburish the ex-ad man writes with an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek cosmopolitanism. In addition, Aburish was a provocateur. For instance, he informs us in his book that the bond between Germans and Arabs is their historic attitude toward the Jews, but admits it is never spoken of openly. But how else, he insists, is it possible to know the art of the German-Arab deal?
Aburish’s New York Times 2012 obituary whitewashes his life and times. No mention of his Quaker schooling. No mention of Ted Bates Advertising where he was eventually fired for an anti-Jewish slur. His degree from University of Chicago? Also absent.
Some things will never, ever change unless we go back in time and re-acquaint ourselves with books like these. It is only then that we will begin to understand what we are up against today.
“Pay Off: Wheeling and Dealing in the Arab World,” by Said K. Aburish. New York: HarperCollins Distribution Services, 1985. 192 pp. Pricing varies. Pb.: $1.99 and up, used.
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