AAI Commends Constructive Congressional Efforts Towards Palestinian-Israeli Peace

Posted on November 20, 2007 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – November 20, 2007 – With the Annapolis conference less than one week away, the Arab American Institute commends the bipartisan efforts of Congressmen Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA) (pictured left) to support U.S. engagement on Palestinian-Israeli peace. Yesterday, Ackerman and Boustany sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging sustained U.S. diplomacy, including a substantial increase in Palestinian aid. The letter was signed by 135 Members of Congress.

The letter advocates a reorientation of U.S. aid programs to the Palestinians, encouraging a focus on economic development and job creation. It also outlines...

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Democratic Candidates Discuss Israel-Palestine

Posted on November 06, 2007 in Washington Watch

Last weekend, most of the Democratic presidential candidates addressed remarks to a gathering of Arab American leaders assembled at their Quadrennial National Leadership Conference (NLC) in Michigan. An examination of how each of them dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proved quite revealing.

But first, to set the context. Over 600 Arab Americans gathered for this year’s NLC, sponsored by the Arab American Institute. Among the bi-partisan group were Arab American elected officials and party leaders, and representatives of forty-one organization from twenty states. During the three day meeting, they discussed key domestic and foreign policy issues, and took...

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An Arab Initiative to Avoid a Failed Conference

Posted on October 22, 2007 in Washington Watch

In the aftermath of Secretary of State Rice’s fourth recent visit to the region to prepare for a Middle East peace conference, only the meeting’s proposed location has been decided. The situation looks quite bleak, with little to show for the efforts made to date.

Early in her visit, Rice made an effort to tamp down expectations about the conference – not a good sign – sending mixed and confusing signals. Despite, yet again, reiterating the Bush Administration’s commitment to a Palestinian state, after meeting with a number of Israeli officials, the U.S. Secretary made it clear that...

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Bush Policy: Neglect and Fantasy

Posted on July 23, 2007 in Washington Watch

On the heels of his upbeat mid-summer progress report on Iraq, President Bush delivered an equally fanciful account of his Administration’s efforts to achieve a “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was the speech the President had been expected to give a few weeks ago on the fifth anniversary of his “two-state vision” speech. And because it bore no relation to reality, it was the speech I feared he would give.

In his selective recounting of the events that have transpired since 2002, Bush ignored the damage done by his Administration’s neglect; and described the current situation...

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Aid is Step Forward, but Bolder Leadership Still Needed

Posted on July 16, 2007 in Press Releases

A Statement by AAI President James Zogby on President Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Aid:

President George W. Bush’s generous offer of assistance to the Palestinian Authority and his intention of convening a regional peace conference are welcome. Unfortunately they bear the trademarks of this administration’s policies: failing to act when the U.S. could have done some good, and ignoring reality when finally engaging.

The time to have acted would have been when Abu Mazen was first elected and had the support of the majority of Palestinians; or when an Israeli Prime Minister was strong and popular. At...

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Seeing Eye to Eye: A Survey of Jewish American and Arab American Public Opinion (2007)

Posted on July 09, 2007 in Reports

In 2002, Americans for Peace Now (APN) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) commissioned Zogby International (ZI) to conduct the first ever side-by-side poll of Jewish and Arab American public opinion to gauge support within both communities for Arab-Israeli peace. With the region's political landscape significantly altered since the first poll was conducted—including the US war in Iraq, Israel's disengagement fromGaza, Hamas' victory in Palestinian legislative elections, and the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war—APN and AAI commissioned ZI in May 2007 to reexamine Jewish and ArabAmerican public opinion.

Download the Poll

Related...

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Bush’s Two-State Vision Speech: Five Years Later

Posted on July 02, 2007 in Washington Watch

It was five years ago that President George W. Bush delivered the speech that outlined his “vision” for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There had been some speculation that the President would mark the occasion by reprising his “vision” speech. I, for one, am glad that he did not. It was a disastrous speech that marked a radical change in U.S. policy toward the Middle East peace process – the consequences of which are still with us.

Hype having overtaken history, the actual speech delivered on June 24, 2002 has been forgotten. What is remembered is...

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Tragedy in Gaza

Posted on June 18, 2007 in Washington Watch

The scenes playing out in Gaza are reminiscent of those we’ve seen too many times before. The pictures are so common, in fact, that they have come to define the Palestinian reality in the West: masked young men ducking behind walls firing semi-automatic weapons, emptying their clips into distant buildings or at other young armed men behind other walls. These are matched by pictures of women and children running for shelter from the deadly thugs. This time, of course, is different because the shooting is all part of a blind and pointless fratricidal war.

And toward what end?...

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Four Decades of Heroes in Palestine

Posted on June 07, 2007 in Washington Watch

We are forty years into this occupation, and the systematic destruction of Palestine, its people and their culture continues. I am not Palestinian, but throughout my adult life their story has been important to me.

From my first visit to the Palestinian camps in Lebanon in 1971, which led to my doctoral dissertation “Arabs in the Promised Land,” a study of the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness, and later motivated me to found the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, I have been haunted by the plight of this captive and displaced nation.

Along the way, I...

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Arab Americans and American Jews

Posted on June 07, 2007 in Washington Watch

In the flush of excitement that greeted the 2002 release of the Geneva Agreements (a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiated by leading, though “unofficial,” Israelis and Palestinians), the Arab American Institute (AAI) and Americans for Peace Now (APN) polled Arab Americans and American Jews to test their support for the terms of the agreement.

We found that not only did both communities demonstrate significant support for a resolution to the conflict along the lines of the Geneva Agreements, they also agreed on a host of other issues related to U.S. Middle East policy.

Five years later, our two groups undertook...

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