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Dr. Zogby

Obama: “Pitch Perfect”

I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical as I approached last week's "White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism" (CVE). I was concerned that it might end up being nothing more than a "box-checking" exercise. I was troubled that it might be perceived as targeting American Muslims and fostering a sense of increased alienation for some, while at the same time feeding the sense of suspicion that could result in a spike in hate crimes against Muslims. Read More »

Obama: Sound Theology and Smart Politics

President Obama's remarks, two weeks ago, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast were theologically sound and politically smart. In spite of this, his comments set off a storm of criticism from conservative critics who took him to task for both his theology and his politics. While I cannot read their hearts, their rhetoric was so predictable and so harsh, that I suspect some were prompted by a mixture of blind ideology and anti-Muslim animus, coupled with a tinge of racism. More to the point, the President's critics are just plain wrong-- theologically and politically.  Read More »

Jindal: From Rhodes Scholar to Dangerous Demagogue

A few weeks back, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivered a speech to the Henry Jackson Society in London focusing on the dangers "radical Islam" poses to the world's "freedom loving people". Far from a serious discussion, the speech amounted to little more than a dangerous mix of trite sloganeering and reckless jingoism. Jindal is no simple-minded demagogue like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman. Because he is a Rhodes Scholar and a presidential aspirant, one supposes that he thought through his remarks. Read More »

An Early Look at the 2016 Contest

The election season has just begun and for those who have a consuming passion for presidential politics, the 2016 cycle promises to be a delight. A few months back, pundits were writing about the likelihood of a Hillary Clinton/Jeb Bush contest, but that speculation was clearly premature. While it appears that Mrs. Clinton will have little trouble winning the Democratic nomination, should she decide to run, the GOP contest is shaping up as a free-for-all. Read More »

Boehner/Netanyahu: “So Smart, They’re Stupid”

When I was growing up, I remember a saying that was used to describe the behavior of persons who were so cocky that they did really dumb things -- "He's so smart, he's stupid." I thought of this expression when I heard Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, announce that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in order to challenge President Obama's handling of "the grave threats of radical Islam and Iran." Read More »

Were the Murders at Charlie Hebdo Really About Islam?

The perpetrators of the horror at Charlie Hebdo were not devout Muslims outraged by insults directed at their faith. They were not motivated by religious piety, nor did they seek to strike a blow at "freedom of expression". Rather they were crude political actors who planned an act of terror--seeking to create the greatest possible impact. They were murderers, plain and simple. Read More »

Syria: The Way Forward, Without Illusions

It should be clear after four bloody years in Syria that if we are to make any progress moving forward, it is necessary to shed illusions and fantasies that have shaped too much of the discussion about the conflict. From the beginning, it was inevitable that this conflict, however it began, would morph into a proxy war between Iran and those who were deeply concerned by Iran's hegemonic ambitions. Read More »

A Bad End to a Bad Year

The closing weeks of 2014 spelled disaster for US leadership and the rule of law. During the last two weeks of December, the US countered three different efforts designed to affirm Palestinian rights. It was unfortunate since in doing so the US undercut its stated commitments to uphold the rule of law in international relations and to support a non-violent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read More »

The Silent Cry of Bethlehem

Bethlehem has always loomed large in our imagination. For generations, the feelings evoked by this town have been captured in multiple art forms, serving to inspire both believers and non-believers with its message of hope and the joyful promise of new life. For those who do not know the place, Bethlehem possesses a timeless quality, derived from these artistic creations. It is a place of mystery and contradictions. Read More »

The Unraveling of the Arab Spring Narrative

Four years ago, Tunisia and the Egypt erupted in broad popular revolts. At first, analysts, Arab and Westerners alike, were confounded. When Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria followed, in short order, the upheavals came to be described as the "Arab Spring" -- the assumption being that what was occurring in the Middle East would unfold in a manner reminiscent of the rapid transformations that took place in Eastern and Central Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Read More »

Eric Holder: Profiling Continues

I first met Eric Holder during the Clinton years when he was serving as Deputy Attorney General. Back then, my community was deeply troubled by FBI harassment, the government's use of "secret evidence" to detain individuals, and profiling of Muslim or Arab-looking individuals at airports around the country. Read More »

‘Protect and Serve’ or ‘In Your Face’

In 1971, I was working at a Boy's Club in the Germantown section of Philadelphia running an after-school program. One day, the Police Athletic League representative dropped off a pile of coloring books for the younger kids. On the cover was a picture of a policeman walking hand-in-hand with a little girl, clearly (or so I thought) helping her across the street. My assumption, however, wasn't shared by 7-year-old Tanya. The minute she was handed her book she shouted out: "Oh, oh, she's in trouble. He's taking her away to jail." Read More »

The Arab and Iranian Disconnect

There is widespread upset in capitals across the Arab World at having been sidelined by the Obama Administration in the on-going P5+1 negotiations with Iran. Many are suspicious of U.S. intentions and worried that their concerns with Iran's regional role will be given short shrift in the effort to reach a nuclear agreement. Read More »

Arab Americans: Confident and Concerned

Over the many years I have been involved working within the Arab American community, I have had to contend with a range of myths and misunderstandings about both the nature and composition of the community as well as their attitudes toward major issues of concern facing the United States. On the one hand, we have engaged in demographic work to better know who we are, where we come from, and where we are living in the US today. Read More »

Arab Americans Getting Ready for 2016

Next week, Arab American leaders and activists from a dozen key electoral states will convene in Washington to map out a political strategy for 2016. Despite the very real challenges facing the leaders who will gather, this generation of Arab Americans can approach the future with some confidence given the progress that has been made the last three decades.Thirty years ago, the obstacles confronting the community were quite different. Back then, Arab Americans, as an organized constituency, were excluded from the mainstream of American political life. Read More »

A 2014 Postmortem

A few observations about this week's elections: 1. Our politics continue to be distorted and corrupted. In October, 1994, I was in the lounge at Kennedy Airport in New York City waiting to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo. My fellow passengers, mostly Egyptians, were seated near a television watching a rather engaging program. Being just a few weeks before Election Day, each of the commercial breaks that interrupted the show featured hard-hitting political ads. They were dramatic and graphically compelling as such ads can be, with both the Democratic and Republican candidates' campaigns ferociously attacking each other.  Read More »

More to the US-Israel Spat Than Meets the Eye

In case you haven't noticed, the Obama Administration is in the midst of an on-going and very public spat with the Netanyahu government in Israel. The "tit for tat" exchanges have been noted in the press, with reporters and some analysts providing banal motives for the acrimony. Some have suggested "revenge" -- pointing to Netanyahu's support for Obama's 2012 rival, Mitt Romney.  Read More »

My Mother, My Values, My Vote

Back in 1996, my mother was interviewed on Good Morning America. They were doing a story on the November election and wanted to know why she, an 89-year-old Catholic woman, was voting for Democrats. In her responses to the GMA reporter, Mom related how her life experiences had shaped her politics. Her words are as relevant today, as they were 18 years ago. Read More »

We Need to Know More, But the “Experts” Aren’t Helping

With the U.S. currently engaged in an air-war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and with voices now calling for deeper engagement in both conflict zones, the American public is being bombarded with commentary and analysis about ISIS, Syria and Iraq, and Muslims.  Read More »

The Fateful Decision: British House of Commons Votes on Palestine

On Monday, the British House of Commons will vote on a resolution recognizing the "State of Palestine." Passage of the motion will not create a state nor will it end the Israeli occupation. A "yes" vote is, nevertheless, important for several reasons. Though symbolic, passage will provide a much needed boost to the beleaguered Palestinian people. It will send a message that the world is paying attention to their plight and recognizes their rights.  Read More »

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