Washington Watch: A Week of Horrors and Changing Perceptions

Posted on May 19, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

This has been a week of horrors in Palestine. On Monday, 63 mostly young Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli snipers. Another 2,700 were injured, mostly by live fire or tear gas. Adding insult to this injury, on the same day, the US opened its Embassy in Jerusalem, pounding what may be the final nail in the coffin of the hopes for just Israeli/Palestinian peace.

For hours on Monday, we sat glued to our televisions, watching these two events playing out, on split screen, in real time. The juxtaposition of the...

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Washington Watch: Palestinians: The Invisible Victims

Posted on May 12, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

This year will mark the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish regions, and the anniversary of the first Middle East War of 1948. In the West, these are commemorated as the events which paved the way for the founding of the State of Israel, “the return of Jewish rule to the land of Zion.” For the people of the East however, they have a very different meaning. There, 1948 is known as the “Year of the Disaster”, the year of the destruction of Palestine, and the dispossession and...

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Washington Watch: What is Facebook Trying to Do?

Posted on May 05, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

This week, Facebook made a rather strange and disturbing set of announcements. In response to concerns raised by several civil rights organizations—including my own, the Arab American Institute—about hate groups using their platform to harass and at times, to threaten Black, Muslim, Arab, and other minority communities. Facebook executives announced that they were asking Laura Murphy, former Director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to conduct an "audit of [Facebook's] impact on underrepresented communities and communities of color." What was troubling was that Facebook coupled this action with the appointment...

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Washington Watch: Celebrating Service to Others

Posted on April 28, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby This week, the Arab American Institute held its 20th Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Awards Gala. This annual event provides an opportunity for Arab Americans to recognize organizations, leaders and activists from around the world for their service to humanity. During the past two decades, the Institute has honored such illustrious figures as: Mohammad Ali, Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity Movement and former Prime Minister of Poland, Queen Noor al Hussein, Salma Hayek, and former President of Ireland...

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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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