Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is a veteran, award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter, covering the beat full time from 1976 through 1992 for the Daily Southtown, and beginning in 1985 for the Chicago Sun-Times.

In 1992, Hanania launched Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs and works with governments, officials, political candidates, businesses and private clients to develop media messages and advocacy. And he continues to write columns for newspapers around the world on American politics and lifestyle, and on Middle East issues.

Hanania hosted a live call-in radio show from 1980 until 1992 on WLS AM Radio (Saturday and Sunday, 6 am until 10 am). He also hosted shows on WLUP FM,  WBBM FM and on WJJG radio. He was a regular panelist on WMAQ TV’s City Desk with Dick Kay, and on Chicago Week in Review with Joel Weisman, and he appeared as a guest panelist on WBBM TV’s Newsmakers with Walter Jacobson, WGN TV’s People to People program, and on WLS TV’s morning news program.

26-spjawardapril2003Hanania received four (4) Peter Lisagor Awards for Journalism Excellence fromt he Chicago Headline Club, the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the New America Media’s Best Ethnic American Columnist Award, and many other awards for his writings.

A Palestinian Christian whose parents are from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Hanania has dedicated much of his activism to encourage peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Hanania’s wife and son are Jewish, and he has a daughter, who isChristian, from a prior marriage.

Hanania writes critical columns for newspapers around the world analyzing Middle East issues, including in the past for the Jerusalem Post and the Arab News in Saudi Arabia, and he continues to analyze mainstream political issues writing weekly syndicated columns for more than a half dozen community newspapers in Illinois including the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News, the Palos Reporter Newspaper and the Regional News newspaper.

Additionally, Hanania has used the power of humor and standup comedy — lampooning his Palestinian-Jewish marriage — to help Jewish, Arab, Muslim and Christian Audiences to better recognize the conflict as one between human beings who share much in common. His comedy has been celebrated around the world in Israel, Palestine, Dubai, Ireland, England and throughout the United States, showcased in a performance troupe he co-founded called The Israeli Palestinian Comedy Tour.


Ray Hanania and Aaron performed standup comedy, Comedy for Peace, for the Society of Professional Journalists conference in 2004

Click here to read Ray Hanania’s full professional Biography.

He is the author of several books including “PoweR PR: Ethnic Activists Guide to Strategic Communications” $22.95 Click here for info


More information on Ray Hanania

“Defining the moderate Palestinian Arab voice”

Ray Hanania offers a unique perspective on the news, and special insights that are sometimes humorous & always insightful on the challenges of bringing peace and an end to violence in the Middle East

“two-fisted, award-winning journalism … a journalist who matters” — Chicago Reader,
— Mike Mine


  • Winner, 2009 Sigma Delta Chi National Award from the Society of Professional Journalists
  • Winner 2009 Dr. M.T. Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award
  • National Winner Best Ethnic Columnist in America 2006/2007 New America Media
  • Four (4) time winner, Society of Professional Journalists Peter Lisagor Award for Column Writing (for 1985, 2002, 2006, 2009) (7-time finalist)
  • Two-time winner, Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick-O-Type Award
  • 1990 Pulitzer Prize Nominee (nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Professional communicator, media consultant, author, standup comedian, satirist, filmmaker, radio talk show host

(and Review Recommendation Letters)

What Editor & Publisher Magazine says about Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

“Ray Hanania, a former Creators columnist who’s now self-syndicated, is a Palestinian-American writer married to a Jewish woman. He writes about Mideast issues in an evenhanded way that makes him seem positively radical in a sea of columnists who back Israel almost unconditionally.

Hanania’s approach, as former President Jimmy Carter discovered with his latest book, is not popular with much of the mainstream media. But it would be interesting if U.S. dailies followed the lead of Israeli newspapers in allowing a much wider spectrum of debate about Mideast issues. By the way, Hanania is also a stand-up comedian who’s hilarious when he opts to use humor.” — Dec. 28, 2006

(View entire article?)

Interviewed on alHurra TV (in Arabic)

View on Youtube


I support Two-States, Palestine and Israel. I oppose extremism, but strongly speak out against “extremists,” whether they are Jewish or Arab.

I OFTEN criticize Israel’s government, but my comments are always focused on the politics of the Government of Israel and the policies, and the politicians who support those policies. My comments are NEVER against Jews.

I recognize that Jewish extremists hate Arab Moderates because the Jewish Extremists don’t want peace. They want to steal all of the land of Palestine and expel all of the Palestinians because they are Christian and Muslim and not Jewish. When I write about Jews, I do so in the contest of the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

I am proud to support Jews, Muslims and Christians. And I am proud to stand up to racist hatred whether it is from a Jew, from a Muslim or from a Christian.

The Jewish extremists are just as bad as the Muslim and Christian fanatics, who I also openly criticize without restraint.

I will NOT be silent about fanatics and extremism.

The Middle East conflict IS about the conflict between extremists and moderates, those who embrace hatred and conflict, and those who oppose racism and support peace based on compromise.



Welcome to my Columns & Op-Ed Archives web page. My life is all about communications. Journalism, books, radio, cable TV, political comic strips, and the most powerful form of communications, standup comedy & humor, based on my Arab-Jewish marriage and Middle East/American Arab heritage. “If we can laugh together, we can live together” is my motto. And I believe it.

Here, you will find an archive of many of my columns dating back to 2007, or earlier when I have been able to recover past columns. These columns address a wide array of topics from the Middle East to American politics, society, humor and reviews of books, movies, TV entertainment and features on travel.

IF YOU HAVE A BOOK you would like reviewed, please send it to me at:

PO Box 2127
Orland Park, IL., 60462

I read everything related to American life, American and International politics, and the Middle East.

But this is not my only website. Because, I love to write. A lot.

I manage as a writer two other heavy-trafficked online news websites, and I write for many other publications:

The Arab Daily News, which includes original news and features about the American Arab community, the Middle East and blogs featuring some of the best writers in the American Arab community. It also articles about interviews I conduct on my online podcasts and live radio show broadcasts. The website is:


Illinois News Network, which includes many of my mainstream American focused columns, and original articles. This website features columns that I write for many newspapers including the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News and the Regional News and Palos Reporter, newspapers that cover the Southwest Side of Chicago and Southwest suburbs of Chicagoland. The website is:


I have many links here to my columns, books, blogs, radio show and cable TV show. You can also find links to my writings on the history of Arab American settlement in Chicago, and my activism to bring professionalism to Arab journalists.

Ya Habibi; Growing up Arab in AmericaI hope you will visit my FaceBook page and join my network there. You can also subscribe to my weekly eNewsletter which provides email notices about columns and radio and TV programs.

The best way to fight extremism in the Middle East and bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians is through truth and facts. In my columns, you will read my opinions which provide a balanced view of the conflict, to let you understand the facts and the issues. I don’t just criticize Israel. I also criticize the Arabs. I don’t just point a finger at Israel and blame them for everything, I also point out the faults of the Arabs, too.

The Middle East conflict is the result of EXTREMISTS on both sides taking control of the controversy. Moderates need to take control back and bring the debate back to the center where tolerance permits both sides to listen to each other even when we disagree.

We have to fight the extremists. The problem in the Middle East is not one between Arabs and Jews or Palestinians and Israelis or even Americans and Muslims. The real problem is between Moderates and Extremists and often the moderates are not active enough, disorganized and their communications are ineffective and poor.

PoweR PR: Ethnic Activists Guide to Strategic Communications challenging the bias of the Mainstream Media

PoweR PR: Ethnic Activists Guide to Strategic Communications challenging the bias of the Mainstream Media $22.95

We have to bring the debate back to the center. We have to strengthen the moderate voice. But that doesn’t mean we can’t address even the touchiest of issues, which is what my columns on the Middle East do. I try to define the moderate Arab voice. Naturally I am partisan because I am Palestinian. But unlike many columnists, I openly bring my personal experiences into my writings openly and upfront, while many other columnists pretend to be objective and don’t address the fact that they are biased and are partisan.

I am also one of the FEW Professional Palestinian American journalists writing about the Middle East. I began in professional journalism in 1976 and my opinions are offered on the basis of more than 35 years of professional journalism experience. I can’t write a lie. I have to write what I believe. I may be wrong, but it’s not a strategy to say something as it often is with other biased columnists who represent one of the other side. I represent the side of honesty and truth. My columns represent what I believe, even when what I believe does not put one side or the other in the best of lights.

It’s that important to me.

I also believe humor can help break the ice between people who have been engaged in years of conflict. Humor can change people and counter-act the growing animosity fueled by the fanatics on both sides. Despite 10 years of trying to bring standup comedy to Arab-Israeli audience, I feel that the effort failed. Not because humor is not powerful but because somehow I did not do it the right way. I continue to perform my Palestinian-Jewish Marriage based standup comedy for audiences around the world. And when the shows are done, audiences leave with a refreshed perspective on the conflict, and with hope. (Yes, my wife is Jewish and we have the perfect marriage — so why can’t Arabs and Israelis just get along?)

You can help by ordering my books, some of which are featured on the menu above, by participating in the many programs and presentations I give across this country, and by booking me as your next speaker.

If your group has an event and needs a speaker to discuss the power of humor in conflict situations, the real battle between moderates and extremists in the Middle East, or just want to understand Chicago and Illinois politics or the complex world of mainstream American journalism, please email me and schedule a presentation.

I hope you enjoy this web site, learn a little about me, my views on the Middle East, Chicago politics and moderation, and more.

Thank you.

Best Ethnic American Columnist, New America Media, Nov. 2006
Send me an Email: rghanania@gmail.com

Ray Hanania interviewed on alHurra Arabic Satellite TV on the failure of American Arabs to tell their story fully and effectively. Click to view.

I have written several books I hope you might enjoy including the first-ever American Arab humor book on growing up Arab in America “I’m Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America.” The book has been the foundation of many American Arab comedian careers and also an inspiration for several of the films and writings about the American Arab experience.

I have also written a pictorial history of Chicago’s American Arab community “Arabs of Chicagoland” which details prominent community leaders.

Click here to get information on my History of Arabs of Chicagoland Tours and Presentations.

As a journalist, I have learned that documenting your history is critical to successful existence in America. American Arabs have failed to fully document their history and I have spent much of my journalism and writing career trying to address that community-wide failure.

In journalism, we refer to having a “newspaper of record” which means that we need a newspaper that documents our existence in America so that others, Americans, will be able to reference our existence, and therefore our rights and our concerns and especially our achievements and contributions to this country. American Arabs have made great contributions to America, but you wouldn’t know it from reading the mainstream American media or from reading our own American Arab media.

Some of the books are available in print format and others are available through Amazon.com in eBook format at very reasonable prices.

I hope you find these books, which you can order by clicking on the book image, helpful in understanding who we are.

I’m Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America

I’m Glad I Look Like a Terrorist: Growing up Arab in America
Humor & Reality in the Ethnic American Experience

By Ray Hanania

(C) 1996 – 2008, USG Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved 315 Pages, 5×8 paperback Journalist, standup comedian and Chicago Morning Talk Show host, Ray Hanania takes you on a hilarious romp through his life growing up Arab in America. his father is from Jerusalem and mother from Bethlehem (Jesus is his cousin), Hanania’s wife is Jewish (Shhhh! She thinks he’s Puerto Rican!) Enjoy this book today and restore your faith in the hope for Middle East — “If we can laugh together, we can live together.”

Satirical and compelling insight into the Arab American experience. A collection of essays to help you better understand the Arabs in America. By Award winning author, Ray Hanania

ORDER from LULU.COM  $26.99 — 2nd Edition Click HERE to ORDER?

Or buy the eBook for Kindle and iPad. Click here

PowerPR By Ray Hanania


Price: $22.95
Prints in 3-5 business days
PoweR PR is a simple to follow blueprint for Ethnic and Minority Activists to help them develop strategic communications plans to overcome the bias in the mainstream news media to advance their narrative. The mainstream news media is biased, especially against “minority minorities.” This book helps you write the message and create the products to help promote the message directly to the target audience. It details the 10 Fundamentals of Strategic Communications. PoweR PR is authored by award winning veteran former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist Ray Hanania, an American Arab. The book is based on Hanania’s nearly 40 years of frontline experience in journalism and strategic communications in overcoming biases in the journalism profession. You can get more information and updates at http://www.UrbanStrategiesGroup.com
================== OTHER BOOKS =================

Arabs of Chicagoland -- a history of Chicagos Arab American settlement now available at all book stores.
Arabs of Chicagoland
(Only resource on Arab history in Chicago — Arcadia Publishing)

Grape Leaves of Wrath
The Grape Leaves of Wrath
The Palestinian tragedy told in a fictionalized format of the Steinbeck novel. eBook Click to view

If we can Laugh Together, We can Live Together
eBook — Ray Hanania’s “If We Can Laugh Together, We Can Live Together”

The Online free book:


Midnight Flight is an online book that tells the story of one family’s experience during the hectic years of White Flight in Chicago. One night you would say goodnight to your neighbors of 20 years, go to sleep and wake-up and find a new family there. It also offers a background on Chicago life during the 1960s. You can also share your experiences during this period in Chicago history in our special Midnight Flight Guest Book. A personal reflection on the tragedy of Chicago’s 1960s social and racial strife.

Read it for free online.




Click here to read Ray Hanania’s full professional Biography.


Interviewed on alHurra TV (in Arabic)

View on Youtube



Click the QR Code using your cell phone scanner to get
info on Ray Hanania’s Columns


Click HERE



View profile in the Orland Park Prairie Newspaper, Dec. 7, 2006?

View PDF?

NAMED “Best of the Best” Presenters/Speakers by LACONI (Library Administrators Conference of Northern Illinois, 2007)

Wins the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for General Column Writing Sept. 2010. Click HERE to read story

Named “Best Ethnic Columnist in America” by the New America Media (Nov. 2006). Click HERE to read Story?

Read the Profile by Renee Sweis

“two-fisted, award-winning journalism … a journalist who matters” — Chicago Reader,
— Mike Mine

Ray Hanania is a media analyst and political consultant specializing in Middle East issues and events, and mainstream American politics. He is president of Urban Strategies Group

Hanania writes several columns and provides commentary for broadcast media, including for:


Columnist: Arab News


Columnist: SOUTHWEST NEWS-HERALD, Des Plaines Valley News, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers

Radio Podcast RAY HANANIA PODCASTS iTunes and Podbean

Former Columnist: SAUDI GAZETTE NEWSPAPER every Sunday
Hanania also writes for the LAWNDALE NEWS newspaper. He was the political columnist at the Daily Southtown for seven years (1977-1985), the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992) and at the Southwest News-Herald (2002 – Present).

Hanania is a blogger for the alJazeera Listening Post segment offering commentary on specific topics in the news


Archive for The Jerusalem Post Newspaper columnsClick here

Archive for YnetNews Columns. Click Here

Archive of Hanania’s Radio podcasts. Click here


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