Overcoming Divisions to Form an Arab American Community

Posted on July 22, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby During the past century, Arab Americans have faced significant obstacles on the way to securing our place in the political mainstream—from pervasive media-projected negative stereotypes to the political pressures used by some groups to deny us a seat at the table.  In addition to these external factors, Arab Americans have also faced internal obstacles that we had to overcome as we worked to build and empower our community. In many instances, these problems were carry-overs—the impact of competing identities and loyalties that Arab immigrants brought with them as they made their way to...

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Washington Watch: The History Is Too Deep, the Pain Is Too Real

Posted on July 15, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby A week ago, a pro-Israel media monitoring group accused me of making "an unsubstantiated charge that Israel supporters are responsible" for discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans. Because this issue is so important to Arab Americans and because some hardline pro-Israel groups refuse to acknowledge their role in harming my community, I am obliged to respond with a few examples representing just the tip of the iceberg of painful acts of defamation, discrimination, exclusion, threats, and violence.  From the moment Arab Americans began to organize and to advocate for causes...

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Washington Watch: Poll - Negative Campaign Against Arabs and Muslims Has Consequences

Posted on July 10, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby While, as president, Donald Trump has worked to cultivate a relationship with Arab leaders, the antipathy towards Arabs and Muslims that he and his party have cultivated in recent years continues to have a worrisome impact on American public opinion and policy.   Recent polling conducted three weeks after Trump's summits in Saudi Arabia, establishes the persistence of a deep and disturbing partisan divide in American attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims. On many questions, the views of Democrats and Republicans are exactly the opposite of one another, with Republican attitudes toward the...

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Washington Watch: What an Italian American Leader Did for Arab Americans and for Me

Posted on July 01, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby Fred Rotondaro, an Italian American leader, died on June 26th. He was, by every measure, a remarkable man. On hearing of his passing, my brother John commented, "Fred was a creation God would be proud of. He was a smart, elegant man who never forgot where he came from".  To this I would add that I feel fortunate, because for nearly four decades Fred was my friend and my mentor.  When, in the 1970's and 1980's many in Washington refused to work with Arab Americans, Fred took me under his wing and taught me, often...

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Washington Watch: Protecting Egypt and Its Coptic Christians

Posted on June 24, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby In many ways, the future of Egypt will be shaped by how the government and the majority of Egyptians treat the country's minority Christian community. Will Egypt be an open, tolerant, and creative society? Or will it be closed and intolerant, looking backward? This is choice that Egyptians must make. A few months back I accepted an invitation to speak at a mid-June conference organized by Coptic Solidarity, a US organization. I did so because I was eager to address the challenges facing Egypt, in general, and its Coptic community, in particular. A...

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Washington Watch: What We Didn't Know or Chose to Ignore About the '67 War

Posted on June 17, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby In June of 1967, I was in the midst of my final weeks in college when the war broke out. At the time, I knew little about the Middle East, since I was more engaged in the anti-war and civil rights movements. And so as I watched the UN Security Council debates that preceded and followed the war, I saw what was unfolding through the prism of those struggles with which I was more familiar—the one in opposition to the war in Vietnam and the other for civil rights and justice in America. As...

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Washington Watch: Sanders Is Right. Russell Vought's Nomination Should Be Rejected.

Posted on June 10, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby While most of Washington was eagerly awaiting former FBI Director James Comey's Thursday appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, they may have missed an important confirmation hearing that occurred a day earlier. On Wednesday, Russell Vought, President Trump's nominee for Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) appeared before the Senate Budget Committee where he was subjected to stiff questioning by Senator Bernie Sanders.  At issue were a number of statements Vought had made in support of Wheaton College's decision, last year, to suspend and then fire a...

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Washington Watch: Not the Way to Defend Christians

Posted on June 03, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

The recent horrific massacre of 29 Egyptian Coptic Christian pilgrims served as a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of minority faith communities in many parts of the Middle East.

As a Maronite Catholic with family and friends in the Middle East, a PhD in Comparative Religion, and over 40 years of work experience throughout the Arab World, this issue is a deeply personal one for me. I know that in many parts of the world, there are religious communities that are facing threats to their very survival or dealing with serious problems of discrimination and dispossession....

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Washington Watch: Trump Returns

Posted on May 27, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby  If I were a movie critic writing reviews of audience reactions to US President Donald Trump's performances abroad, they would look something like this: "...a big hit in Riyadh"; "...a smash sensation across the Holy Land"; "...subdued, but a success in Vatican City"; and "...a disaster, a flop in Brussels". Those were the reactions abroad.     The White House must be feeling quite good about the trip, since the President played to script and appeared to accomplish multiple objectives. He reset frayed relations and restored confidence with Gulf Arab allies—to the tune...

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