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Jewish comic sacks comedian for being Palestinian

The HomeTown Channel & Associated Press
August 27, 2002

Jackie Manson

Having a comedian of Palestinian descent on the opening bill Tuesday night was no laughing matter for Jewish comedian Jackie Mason.

So, he had him removed.

Ray Hanania was supposed to open for Mason at a club in Chicago. A few hours before showtime, he got a call saying his act was canceled.

Mason's manager, Jyll Rosenfeld, said Mason hadn't been told earlier that Hanania was Palestinian.

Mason is an strong supporter of Israel, and his manager cited recent Israeli-Palestinian violence and delayed peace as she expained the decision.

"Jackie does not feel comfortable having a Palestinian open for him," Rosenfeld told The Associated Press. "Right now it's a very sensitive thing, it's just not a good idea."

Rosenfeld added that the decision had nothing to do with Hanania himself, a Vietnam vet and former journalist.

But members of the Arab-American community are outraged. Ali Alarabi of the United Arab American League says it's an act of hate and racism, and he wants an apology.

Mason, 71, has appeared in such films as "The Jerk," "Caddyshack 2," and has voiced a role on television's "The Simpsons." He earned a lifetime achievement Tony Award in 1987 for his contributions to live theater.