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In Appreciation: Muhammad Hallaj, Vincent T. Larsen, Rachelle Marshall, Jack G. Shaheen

Muhammad Hallaj was born in Qalqilya, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, much of which was dynamited by the Israeli occupying forces following the 1967 war.
 
Muhammad received his doctorate from the University of Florida and subsequently taught at Florida’s Jacksonville University and the University of Jordan in Amman.  In 1975, he returned to Palestine as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and later as Vice President of Berzeit University. In 1991 he was appointed director of the Palestine Research and Education Center in Fairfax, VA, and editor of its magazine, Palestine Perspectives.
 
Muhammad authored three feature articles for The Link: “Palestine The Suppression of an Idea” (Jan.-March 1982); “The Resurrection of a Myth” (Jan.-March 1985: This was in response to Joan Peter’s “From Time Immemorial.”); and “Zionist Violence Against Palestinians” (Sept. 1988).  All three are as relevant today as when he wrote them, and available on our website: www.ameu.org.
 
Missing from the above biography — but what I will remember about Muhammad, was his ever present sense of humor.
 
To his family, his wife Dixiane and children, we extend our condolences.
 
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Vincent T. Larsen was born in Jackson, MS.  After high school he joined the U.S. Coast Guard, and later graduated from Texas Tech with a BS in Petroleum geology. As a consulting geologist, Vince — as everyone called him — worked in Alaska, Haiti, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Billings, MT, which he called home.
 
As his obituary in The Billings Gazette noted, Vince was a quiet philanthropist, privately supporting causes such as Habitat for Humanity, and helping untold young people through college. But he had another, not-so-quiet cause that he lobbied publicly for: his belief that our country’s virtually unconditional support of Israel was disastrous for the Middle East and seriously eroded our own democratic values.
 
It was that belief that led to his strong financial backing of A.MEU. I will miss his regular phone calls, often made out of frustration, but always with genuine passion.
 
To Vince’s wife, Louise, his constant helpmate, go our deepest sympathy.

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Rachelle Marshall, a resident of California, was an editor and freelance writer, and longtime supporter of AMEU.  
 
I thought of Rachelle while reading Tom Suarez’s current Link article, where he mentions those anti-Zionist Jews who today are striving to rescind Zionism’s self-appointed right to exercise injustice in their name.
 
That was Rachelle. She was an active member of Jewish Voice for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the International Jewish Peace Union.  She wrote regularly for The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and her letters-to-the editor appeared often in The New York Times.
 
For us she was an inspiration.
 
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Jack G. Shaheen was born in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of Lebanese immigrants.  He received his doctorate in mass communications from the University of Missouri, and for over two decades taught at the University of Southern Illinois at Edwardsville, IL, where he meticulously documented the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims as “billionaires, bombers and belly dancers.”
 
Much of that early research appeared in Jack’s April-May 1980 Link, “The Arab Stereotype on Television.” It was one of our most popular issues and became the basis for his bestselling book “The TV Arab.”  
 
Jack’s other Link article (Dec. 1991) was “The Comic Book Arab.”  To our knowledge this is the only serious study that has been done on a medium that exerts a powerful influence on young minds.  Jack would go on to be recognized as our country’s preeminent authority in his field.
 
Truth to tell, though, what I think of first, when I think of Jack, is his smile. It was genuine, and it was contagious.  Google Jack Shaheen, look at the pictures of him, and see if they don’t bring a smile to your face.  He was the Happy Warrior who battled racism and bias.
 
Our sympathy goes out to his wife, Bernice, and his children.

John F. Mahoney
Executive Director