Washington Watch: Hype Versus Reality

Posted on August 11, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby 

Fifty years ago, when I was getting started in national politics, Ibrahim Abu Lughod, a friend and mentor, offered words of wisdom I never forgot. Although he read the New York Times every day (he called it his "daily drug"), he cautioned me not to be fooled or swayed by the ebb and flow of events as they are covered in the press. Instead, he insisted that it was important to keep focused on the long-view—the deep currents that pointed in the direction we were heading.

While Ibrahim was specifically referring to coverage of events...

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Washington Watch: The Struggle for Palestinian Rights: Then and Now

Posted on August 04, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby 

Forty years ago this month I left a tenured teaching position and moved to Washington, DC to run the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC). It wasn't easy doing Palestine work back then, and Washington was an especially inhospitable city in which to pursue my new vocation. Advocating for Palestinian rights can still be difficult, but so much has changed in the past four decades that I thought it might be useful to reflect on where we were in the 1970's and where we are today. Back then, major pro-Israel and establishment American Jewish organizations threw their full weight...

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Washington Watch: It Bears Repeating: Foolish Wars Have Consequences

Posted on July 28, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby 

Fifteen years ago, we were still in the early stages of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, "the war that would change everything." Looking at the Middle East today, I feel an overwhelming sadness as I consider the far-reaching and devastating impact that the Iraq war has had on my country and the region and its peoples.   Neo-conservatives had been aggressively pushing the Bush Administration to launch a war against Iraq beginning immediately after the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They argued that America needed to forcefully respond to the attacks in order to...

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Washington Watch: The "Jewish Nation-State" Bill

Posted on July 21, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby This past week by a vote of 62 to 55, Israel's Knesset passed legislation called "Israel as a Nation-State of the Jewish People." Heralding the passage of the bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as "a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the annals of the state of Israel...We have determined in law the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all its citizens."   In reaction, Israeli hardliners and their supporters in the US celebrated the...

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Washington Watch: Thank You, Ireland

Posted on July 14, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby 

On Wednesday morning, I watched an amazing debate unfolding in the Irish Seanad (Senate), as members spoke for and against a bill to prohibit the importation of Israeli goods produced in settlements in occupied Palestinian lands. The legislation in question is the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territory) Bill 2018, which would "make it an offense for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory". The bill had been introduced by independent Senator Frances Black and a group of co-sponsors earlier in the...

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Washington Watch: Reporting Hate Crimes: The Arab American Experience

Posted on July 07, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby 

This week, the Arab American Institute Foundation will release a comprehensive study on anti-Arab hate crimes in the US. The result of eight months of work, "Underreported, Under Threat: Hate Crime in the United States and the Targeting of Arab Americans," fills a gap in available research on hate-based crime. More than just a compilation of acts of violence or threats against persons of Arab descent, the AAIF study also reviews the history of how law enforcement agencies have dealt with (or rather has not dealt with) anti-Arab hate crimes. The report then rates the performance...

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Washington Watch: The Consequences of Upholding Trump’s Ban

Posted on June 30, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James Zogby

The Supreme Court decision upholding the Trump Administration's infamous "Muslim ban" will have consequences far beyond its restriction on visas for nationals from the affected countries. Of the greatest concern is the validation it has given to the president's virulent anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric. It was Trump's inflammatory language against Muslims that caused lower courts to strike down his first iteration of the ban. While the Administration claimed to hold no anti-Muslim animus, the courts noted that during his campaign for the White House, Trump had said "I think Islam hates us...we can't allow people coming into this...

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Washington Watch: Lasting Damage to the "Idea of America"

Posted on June 23, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

The sights and sounds of Central American children being ripped from their parents by U.S. Border Patrol officers have, by now, spread across the globe. The experience has been traumatizing to its victims and deeply painful to watch. It has also done incalculable damage to the very idea of America.

This is June when we are supposed to be celebrating "Immigrant Heritage Month." Each year, I have taken this opportunity to recall my family's immigrant story—the opportunity and freedom they sought, the hardships they endured, and the remarkable progress they made in just one generation. ...

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Washington Watch: The Liberal's Lament

Posted on June 16, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby 

I find it exceptionally irritating when I hear liberals worry about whether Israel will be able to remain a "Jewish and Democratic State" if it retains control of occupied Palestinian lands. It's irritating because Israel is not now a democratic state nor has it ever tried to be one.

A state which prioritizes rights for one group of citizens (in this case Jews, who comprise 80% of the population) over the rights of another group (Arabs, who are 20% of Israel's citizenry), cannot be democratic. Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens in law, social services,...

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Washington Watch: The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act Is Back: Free Speech Is at Risk

Posted on June 09, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James Zogby 

Back in 2016, without debate or an actual vote, the US Senate stealthily passed a disturbing and dangerous piece of legislation called "The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016" (AAA). The bill would have required the Department of Education (ED) to apply a State Department (DOS) working definition of anti-Semitism in evaluating complaints of discrimination on US campuses. Because some conservative Members of Congress had concerns that the legislation would violate free speech, AAA didn't pass the House and died. Last week, the bill was reintroduced with minor changes. As I wrote back in 2016, the AAA was...

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