Washington Watch: The Struggle for the Idea of America

Posted on April 21, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby This week I traveled to Dearborn, Michigan to speak at the 15th annual "Images and Perceptions" Diversity Conference. The focus of my remarks were the challenges we are facing today. Dark forces have been unleashed in our society that are threatening the very meaning of the America that we have fought to create and that we must now fight to protect.    Before discussing this issue, I want to reflect on how important it is that Arab American leadership brought together this convening of elected officials, law enforcement, educational institutions, social service agencies and a broad...

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Washington Watch: Gaza Is In Need of Our Support

Posted on April 16, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby To say that the situation in Gaza is deplorable and desperate is an understatement. That impoverished strip of land on the Eastern Mediterranean has been deplorable and desperate for decades. I traveled to Gaza many times during the 1990's, in my capacity as co-Chair of Builders for Peace, which was a project launched by Vice President Al Gore to help grow the Palestinian economy. My colleagues and I were unprepared for what we found. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, who led one of these delegations, described what he saw...

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Washington Watch: The Martin Luther King Jr. We Should Remember

Posted on April 07, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

On April 4th, we commemorated the anniversary of the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although it's been 50 years since that terrible day, like many in my generation I will never forget the horror we felt, the profound sense of loss we experienced, and the feeling that we were standing at the edge of an abyss. 

What followed in the days and months ahead, tragically validated our deepest fears. Rioting broke out in over 100 American cities, as traumatized African Americans rose up in shock and anger at the slaying of their beloved...

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Washington Watch: A Letter to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Posted on March 31, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

During the week of March 25, 2018, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of ten house democrats to Israel and Jordan. I sent her the following letter:

Dear Leader Pelosi,

I have just learned that you are leading a delegation of Democratic Members of Congress visiting Israel and Jordan this week. I hope I am not too late in writing to you to offer some concerns that I hope will help frame your conversations while you are in the region.

I realize that this year marks the 70th anniversary of Israel's Independence and that you have...

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Washington Watch: Early Warning

Posted on March 24, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

As we await President Trump's "deal of the century," there are hints aplenty as to what it may or may not contain. The New York Times has written an account of what it believed was an outline of the “deal.” It is reported Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has been briefed by the White House as to the general direction of the deal and he, in turn briefed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah on its contents. The Palestinian and Jordanian leaders, we have been told are deeply troubled by what they have...

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Washington Watch: Ireland: Overcoming a History of Hurt

Posted on March 17, 2018 in Washington Watch

by Dr. James J. Zogby

One hundred and seventy years ago, Ireland was in the throes of a genocidal famine during which the island lost between twenty to twenty-five percent of its population. During the half-decade long famine, over one million Irish died from starvation or famine-related illnesses. During this same period, another million and one-half Irish emigrated to the United States, about one in five of whom died as a result of the deplorable conditions to which they were subjected while crossing the Atlantic.

I called this humanitarian disaster a genocide because it could have been avoided if not...

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Washington Watch: Welcome to AIPAC: Where Words Lose All Meaning

Posted on March 10, 2018 in Washington Watch

by Dr. James J. Zogby

You need to prepare yourself for language shock before listening to speeches at the annual convention of AIPAC, the Israel lobby. Speaker after speaker will use words that you think you understand, but they will use them in ways that so distort their meaning that the experience will leave you exhausted or exasperated. 

On the opening day, for example, the group's new president, Mort Fridman and a former Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, wreaked havoc with the word "progressive." Motivated by recent polls showing that Israel has lost support among Americans on the left, Fridman issued...

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Washington Watch: My Political Philosophy: Grow Up!

Posted on March 03, 2018 in Washington Watch

by Dr. James J. Zogby

I have been involved in politics my entire adult life. There were two main sources of inspiration from my childhood that have molded my thinking and my actions.

I inherited my mother's belief in the positive role that government could play in providing for the common good by caring for those who needed a helping hand. It was our government that built our schools and our infrastructure, protected our rights, insured our safety and security, and when pressured by political movements have created at least a modicum of economic justice.

Having lived through the Great...

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Washington Watch: Our Political Dysfunction Has Turned Us Inward

Posted on February 10, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

Domestic American politics have become so cripplingly partisan that Congress can't pass a long-term spending bill or deal the critical issues like immigration reform, comprehensive health care reform, or provide the massive funding needed to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Due to this deep and bitter divide—fueled, in part, by: the president's inflammatory tweets; the harsh and inflammatory rhetoric from pundits; and the media's penchant to create feeding frenzies over "gotcha" scandalous news stories—Washington has turned decidedly inward and disturbingly dysfunctional. 

Focused more on fighting for the sake of fighting and scoring points against political opponents, too...

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Washington Watch: Black History Month: Recognizing Black Contributions and Atoning for Our Past

Posted on February 03, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

This is Black history month, an important time to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the history of the United States of America. It is important because, as we have discovered, in too many instances these contributions have been either deliberately ignored or are just not known or recognized. More than that, however, this month should provide also us with an opportunity to learn more about the shameful legacy of white America's treatment black Americans. By this, I mean, not just the major crimes - slavery, mass lynchings, Jim Crow, and segregation -...

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